Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Black Olive & Cuppy Coffee & eleven

This summer has seen new players in the Short North restaurant business. The long running Coffee Table at the corner of Buttles and High Street was closed at the beginning of the year and the space was joined with a small restaurant called "8" to form a large up-scale restaurant now called "The Black Olive" (not affiliated with other Black Olive restaurants around the country). The Black Olive is now open along with Cuppy's Coffee (which is in the new Dakota Condo Building near 1st Avenue and High Street).

Speaking of a restaurant named "8", there is new one opening named "eleven"(not affiliated with other restaurants around the country named "11"). Eleven is a new venture by Hyde Park Steakhouse that now rents the entire west side of the I-670 "cap".( The High Street bridge over I-670 was rebuilt with fancy storefronts on each side hiding the freeway that is known as "the Cap". ) Eleven will serve Molecular Mixology and Gastronomy fare popularized in this country by Chicago's Moto Restaurant. There are a dozen or so such restaurants in North America, but this is a first for such a small city as Columbus. This new food and drink preparation uses science to cook, freeze, foam, display, and manipulate your order to create a 21st century light meal right out of the imagination. This could become the biggest draw the Short North has seen in years for the sophisticated adventurer.

The Black Olive is half way between Fabian's Pizza and Rosendale's and its decor reflects it. The bar is the center of attraction like Fabian's Chicago Style Pizza, while the rest of the Black Olive space is taken up with fancy restaurant tables like Rosendale's. The white line napkins don't change the fact that the Black Olive expects as much business at its prominent bar as its tables, both inside and out. It is a people watcher's paradise. And, judging from the cars parked out front, a place to impress.

The Coffee Table (where the Black Olive sits now) closed at the same time as the coffee and ice cream shop Emack and Bolio's near 2nd Avenue. Smack dab between these two exciting (defunkt) coffee shops is Cuppy's Coffee, a very tasteful franchise with free Wi-Fi and the usual assortment of specialty coffee. However, it is half the size of either of the two shops that closed. One person can run Cuppy's Coffee and ten people would probably fill the place. It does sell its packaged coffee beans from Italy at a reasonable price, including a decafe espresso. There is art on the wall and they offer other drinks and munchies. Also, its styrofoam cups are quite substantial and reusable at home or the art studio. The coffeeshop business seems to be hedging its bet and downsizing from the coffeeshop mania of the last ten years. The brand new Starbuck's in the Yukon Building is scheduled to close as well. The new Three Dog Bakery next door is selling Starbucks coffee in the bag. Still, this pretty much leaves the local chain Cup O' Joe with its Mo-Jo Lounge bar (on the Cap) as the only large Short North coffeeshop.

Monday, July 07, 2008

20 Years: July, 1988 Gallery Hop

The 1988 July Gallery Hop seemed to be dominated by 3-D art work of various kinds. (above) The Geoffery Taber Gallery was still in its original space. Large avant garde sculpture were featured by three local artists, including Skip Stander. 
The Ideal Building was newly opened and trying to find businesses to fill the space. Large banners that were hung downtown previous to 1988 were for sale and filled the entire floor. In center of the Ideal Building has a space that is not as welcoming today, but back then it was a cool space with goldfish swimming in the floor and sculpture for spandex clad gallery hopper to check-out. 

Also in the Ideal Building was the Roberta Kuhn Gallery which was reached off of Russell Avenue. Her taste in the best in local artists was unmatched.
In the empty field at Russell and High Street Glass Axis put on a rare demonstration of glass art making. 
Also in the Ideal Building 
Doo Wac was at King and High Street in 1988 and had become one of the most important galleries in the Short North during gallery hops. Curt Goldstein (above, lower left) was showing with (the now late) Wross Smith. Doo Wac would be a whole circus back then for their openings. Late in the evening a rock band would set-up in the small hair salon and a spread of chips (computer chips in this case) and beer would keep the crowd around. Earlier in the day a dancer (lower right) offered to dance in the window for hours.
Goldstein and Smith are among the most important local artists in the late 80's and early 90's. They brought the latest trends to their own exciting work.
The Ohio Ethnographic Gallery was new at the time run by the folks of the Ohio Gallery on King Avenue. For their gallery row shop  near the Short North Tavern they showed Mexican works of great quality.
Many old favorites back then are no longer around. Atlantis (above top left) was a long running clothing store at King and High St. known for their monthly mannequin displays. Not sure what Sakkara sold in their Body Shop boutique. Ritchey's used to be a collectible shop at the corner of Lincoln and High Street. Sally Windels was in the Carriage House next to 6 in Eight . The late 1980's was the hayday of the Short North boutique.

Friday, July 04, 2008

20 Years Ago Today: Doo Dah Parade 1988

The Doo Dah Parade was created in the early 1980's for the 4th of July to promote Victorian Village as a fun place to live. By 1988 the Gallery Hops had shown enough people that High Street was fixed up and a good place to see the parade. Most people camped out on High Street eventhough Neil Avenue and 2nd Avenue were less crowded and earlier in the parade. Before the parade began, a group of people were playing cards in the middle of the street (above left) despite a few cars zooming by. The 1988 parade was most notable for the spring break college student float (above right) which sang the Doo Dah song "Camp Town Races", though they pretended not to know the words.
In the 1980's people seemed more brave in their make-shift floats and costumes. The Doo Dah Parade officially disappeared in the late 1990's after it turned into a water fight, but has returned again. In 1988 it hadn't deteriorated, yet. It was still about the crazy Victorian Village and its people plus a few political floats.
A giant squid and purple grape baloons were representative of the simple fun displays. Whatever was hot in the media of that year that's what some group would make a float about. Back then, groups of people to do a float were not in short supply. In the past 10 years most people would rather watch the parade than participate. This could be because of media attention that first brought people down but is now making people shy about being on display to so many people.
Tall ships were in the news. One of the local movie theaters had a War of the World vehicle.
An early art car had some grass growing on it. Festive summer dress and decoration was common on such a beautiful July day in 1988.