Development seems to come hot and heavy in certain parts of town. The corner of Oak and 18th in Olde Towne East is certainly a burgeoning oasis in an oft-forgotten and mischaracterized section of the city, thanks in no small part to the presence of the Olde Towne Tavern. It is one of the key businesses in the Olde Towne East vanguard, and owners Kevin Burns, Brad and Krista Hobbs brought a great community feel to the neighborhood.
A mile or so west, Kevin Burns and the Hobbs have opened the doors of their new project, The Walrus. Getting people downtown might seem like a challenge, but Brad Hobbs has noted a following from OTE.
“The clientele is in fact as eclectic as in Olde Towne East and we love and live that ‘come as you are’ attitude in all aspects of The Walrus.”
It’s an expansive space, the entire northern wall of which opens garage door-style to welcome in the breeze and let out the sound of live local music.
“The inspiration for The Walrus,” Hobbs says, “came from the desire to see growth in the Columbus music scene as well as downtown dining and entertainment.”
Where the Olde Towne Tavern serves up self-purported ‘pub grub,’ the menu at The Walrus is considerably more adventurous, though the prices remain tethered to the ground.
“Tomi Reichard and Pedro Arriaga are the masterminds behind The Walrus menu. The vision was to create items that are relatable but unique and dishes that are not readily offered in Columbus,” Hobbs said.
One of the first things to note is the abundance of vegetarian options. From the vegan banh mi ($10) to the portobello fries ($7) to the smoky house made vegan burger, topped with Maui onion dressing ($9).
But there is more decadent fare as well. The signature deep-fried deviled eggs ($7) have created quite a stir, and there are three different lobster options: lobster pierogi ($10), lobster rolls ($14), and lobster mac & cheese ($14).
“Items like those appeal to totally different palates however these amazing items work really well together on the same menu,” Hobbs said.
In addition to the eclectic dining options, there’s a deep assortment of quality craft beers, a very respectable scotch selection to satisfy simpler tastes, and a ten-deep cocktail program for those looking for something classic yet complex. Juan Pablo’s Seeing Eye Dog ($7) is a mixture of bourbon, ginger beer, carrot and orange juice, and cinnamon.
Most importantly, The Walrus features live music several nights of the week and has already become a welcome addition to what has long been a somewhat thin and unpredictable downtown music scene.
“We have live music every Wednesday Thursday and Sunday,” Hobbs added. “We couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming greeting from the downtown residents and businesses and of course our continued support from our beloved Olde Towne East family.” •
To see who’s playing at The Walrus (143 E Main St.), view the calendar at thewalruscolumbus.com.