Ohio State to license sports bars
February 6th, 2010
Marla Matzer Rose, The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State University fans will have a new sports bar with a somewhat familiar name to celebrate victories or drown their sorrows after football games this coming season.
Nationwide Realty Investors has struck a licensing deal with Ohio State to open the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill at its Grandview Yard project. It is expected to open Sept. 1 as part of Grandview Yard’s first phase.
The restaurant’s name might sound familiar, but it is not associated with the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe on Olentangy River Road, which closed last month.
Nationwide is acquiring some equipment and fixtures from the former Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe but will acquire its own memorabilia, said Brian Ellis, president of Nationwide Realty Investors.
“We’re really thrilled to have this relationship with Ohio State,” Ellis said. “We expect this to be a best-of-class sports bar within a mile of both Ohio Stadium and Nationwide Arena, with really good food and some great memorabilia.”
He said he’s confident in the concept despite the previous restaurant’s struggles.
“This will be a completely different restaurant with a new operator,” Ellis said, adding that an operator will be chosen by the end of next month.
“This restaurant will be between 6,500 and 8,500 square feet, compared to the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe, which was nearly 50,000 square feet.”
The latter’s size was cited as one reason for its demise. The owners of that Olentangy River Road site, on which the Jai Lai restaurant once stood, now plan to build a hotel there.
The Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe at Port Columbus is unaffected by the Grandview Yard deal.
Other tenants in the first phase of Grandview Yard include a Hyatt Place hotel, an Urban Active fitness center, Jason’s Deli and an office building anchored by M&A Architects.
Capitol Square Ltd., the real-estate arm of The Dispatch Printing Company, publisher of The Dispatch, has a 20 percent stake in Grandview Yard.