If you saw Columbus Business First’s recent article about Budd Dairy, then you know that ground is being made on the Budd Dairy Food Hall. It’s no secret, Lykens Companies has partnered with Cameron Mitchell, Columbus’s restaurant cornerstone, to create a first of its kind food hall. But before Budd Dairy Food Hall takes shape, one big thing needs to happen: Budd Dairy needs to find the right restaurants to fill it.
But first, a quick recap
When Lykens Companies first set eyes on the long abandoned Budd Dairy factory, we saw wasted history. Italian Village sits at the epicenter of Columbus’s Industrial culture. A quick walk down Fourth and Summit Street reveals factory after factory, warehouse after warehouse, most of which have been left the collect dust and erode with time.
Over the years, Lykens Companies has set out to give these factories new life. First, we took the former Wonder Bread factory and reinvented it. We kept its famous neon sign glowing bright, maintained the factory’s originality and highlighted its unique story as we transformed the former bakery into luxurious loft spaces. Now, the Wonder Bread Lofts are a staple of the Italian Village’s living history, an homage to where the neighborhood once was and where it is still heading.
Then, we began acquiring different abandoned commercial properties. After a drink at Seventh Son Brewery or Fox in the Snow, have you ever seen the former EJ Thomas warehouse on Detroit Avenue? If you haven’t yet, you’ll need to walk past this construction zone and take a look at what we’re transforming this rich brick building into. Soon, 20 unique lofts will fill a once abandoned space. Rather than tear it down and start fresh, we put the time, money, and creative effort into utilizing the building’s original elements in its revival. When all is said and done, residents can look forward to eating dinner in an elevator shaft, climbing up to a rooftop patio, and much, much more.
Then, of course, there stands the Budd Dairy factory. This beautiful building had been left to rot. Somehow, it felt invisible in Italian Village, despite being right there on Fourth Street. When we talked to most people about Budd Dairy, they most asked, “Wait, where is it again?”
Somehow, this diamond in the rough was left sitting for years. We have to tell you, we think this might be one of the most beautiful buildings in the entirety of Italian Village. Ornate signage pays homage to The Budd Dairy Co., a long gone dairy provider in Ohio. The factory’s brickwork has remained intact and elegant. The building’s details beg to be refurbished and shown off to the world. In the rear, the company’s stables provide a window to the past, moving visitors to imagine the cows and horses that once filled the room.
This one is special.
Yet, despite its history, its elegance, and its importance, it was left empty. Enter Lykens Companies.
Where Budd Dairy is heading
After we acquired the Budd Dairy factory, it was a question of what to do with it. We knew Budd Dairy was special and one-of-a-kind.
We knew that the rear stables would make a fantastic office space. They boast an open concept with a wonderfully high ceilings. Beautiful windows let in light. Original beams remind us of the space’s rich history. We know that when this space is completed, it will be like nothing else in the entire world.
We knew that Budd Dairy’s ground floor would make the perfect space for a coworking office. With any office machine that a person could need and an environment that motivates teamwork and creative thinking, this office will be an absolute must for veteran workhorses, brand-new entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.
But there are still things we don’t know.
What restaurants will take up the 14,000 square feet of Budd Dairy Food Hall?
In the same way that the Budd Dairy offices will allow businesses to grow, expand, and become solidified, Budd Dairy Food Hall will welcome seven aspiring restaurants who have yet to open their own kitchens. A centralized Cameron Mitchell bar will be surrounding with the seven 170 to 360 square foot kitchen spaces.
As Steve Weiss, vice president of Cameron Mitchell’s development, told Columbus Business First, “This isn’t about Cameron opening up a bar. This is going to be about those seven or eight people. We’re not in this to make money off of them. We want to help them go on to do something great.”
With two stories and a rooftop dedicated to the Budd Dairy Food Hall experience, these restaurants are sure to find the culture and exposure they need to help them succeed. All this and much more in the heart of the Short North’s Italian Village—it doesn’t get much better than that.
What about the food?
The specific restaurants that will fill Budd Dairy are still undecided. To date, well over 70 applicants have applied to fill one of the seven open spots. While any style of restaurant might get approved, Cameron Mitchell does have one must: breakfast.
Alongside Budd Dairy Food Hall’s main bar on the first floor, diners will be able to find most every restaurant stall surrounding the building’s main space. There is potential for a second floor restaurant and even an eighth spot in the future. In addition to the incredible food you’ll be able to get, we aren’t forgetting about something to pair with it, that is, of course, a good beer.
Between the rear stables and the main hall, you just might find a beer garden. More on that to come in the future.
Of course, Budd Dairy will feature common area seating in its building, but on warm and beautiful days, we’ll encourage our diners to enjoy a stunning rooftop patio with incredible views and even some live music.
The ultimate goal?
To be a part of something this special, you might think that restaurants are going to be charged an arm and a leg to even step inside these historic doors. With the Lykens Companies and Cameron Mitchell partnership, that won’t be the case.
This partnership isn’t solely about making money; it’s about helping brand-new restaurants find a name in one of the most booming restaurant cities (and neighborhoods, for that matter) in America. Together with Cameron Mitchell, we hope to offer a local, trusted, and organic means for small restaurant owners to find success. To ensure the success of this process, restaurants will pay a percentage of their sales as rent payment rather than a fixed monthly cost. Instead of constantly worrying about how to out sell a neighboring booth, each restaurant can focus on establishing its own identity and creating the best dishes possible that remain true to themselves.
We become more and more thrilled as we witness Budd Dairy Food Hall take shape. We are confident that our finished product will complement the ingenuity, historicity, and culture that all of Italian Village, the Short North, and Columbus stand for.
Budd Dairy is coming soon. Be ready.