Independent Columbus Restaurants Fighting Uphill Battle

One member of the Downtown Columbus Independent Restaurant Association says more retail is needed downtown.

Fourth street in Columbus

Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU-WTIU News

4th Street Bar and Grill's owner says downtown redevelopment has been good to his bar, but says things besides eating and drinking need to be available to visitors of Columbus.

Small business owners in downtown Columbus say an over-abundance of eateries is making it difficult to keep restaurants open in the area. One person says a lack of diversity of downtown businesses may only be part of the problem.

Kurt Schwarze owns the Fourth Street Bar and Grill and is a member of the Downtown Columbus Independent Restaurant Association. He says while recent upgrades to downtown have made the area more of a nightlife destination, the number of daytime customers has not kept up with the growing restaurant scene.

“As the number of restaurants has grown, I think it has outpaced, a little bit, the growth in the job market downtown,” he says.

Just this week, Fork at 532, a downtown eatery specializing in small-plate cuisine, announced it was closing its doors.

Schwarze says while efforts to give downtown a facelift have helped in the past, he says the Columbus Redevelopment Commission needs to be hands-off going forward.

“The market itself will dictate the number of restaurants that want to move downtown,” he says. “It’s a very desirable place to be because of the development that has taken place, and I don’t think any further subsidy is required.”

Mayor Kristen Brown campaigned on increasing transparency in how the redevelopment commission handles projects, and has recently accused current members of the commission of misconduct regarding Columbus Downtown Inc., a public-private entity that directed much of the downtown revitalization.

Both Brown and members of the redevelopment commission did not return phone calls Tuesday.

Dan Goldblatt

Dan Goldblatt is the Multi-media Producer for WFIU/WTIU News. A graduate of Indiana University, he studied journalism and anthropology. He currently lives in Bloomington with his cat, June Carter.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Business & Economy Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook