COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST)–High Bank Distillery is opening a new restaurant and bar.

The Grandview Heights distillery and eatery is expanding, taking a 7,500-square-foot space at 1379 E. Johnstown Road in Gahanna where it hopes to open its second establishment in spring 2022.

“Since we opened we’ve gotten a steady stream of inquiries about expanding and we listened to those opportunities,” co-founder Jordan Helman said.

But it wasn’t a pitch that caught his attention. It was a space itself.

“I grew up in Gahanna and I live in New Albany now,” Helman said. “I was driving by (the site) one day and thought, ‘Why can’t this be a restaurant?’”

The space sits at the end of a strip center at the intersection of Morse Road and Johnstown Road. It hadn’t been a restaurant previously, but with a good residential base already established and continued development in the Gahanna and New Albany areas, it checked a lot of boxes the High Bank team was seeking in an opportunity.

“Any time you open a restaurant, there’s a risk,” Helman said. “We wanted to be in a place where we felt comfortable day one.”

There’s a notable neighbor across the street that was part of the draw too: The Barn at Rocky Fork, a Cameron Mitchell Restaurant.

“I think The Barn really ingrained the restaurant habits there,” Helman said. “We see an opportunity to bring another elevated food and beverage operation to that area.”

The space has been vacant for a few years and was a furniture store prior to that. While that means more of a buildout for High Bank, it also gives them the ability to make the space to their own specifications.

Helman said the new restaurant will emulate much of the existing one in Grandview Heights.

The menu will be the same as the first restaurant.

The space will have a small distilling component and have additional barrel storage for the spirits maker, though the bulk of the operation will be the restaurant. It’ll have an on-site retail store too selling High Bank spirits and other accoutrements to go.

Though the Gahanna space is styled more like a barn than the more industrial Grandview spot, the goal is to meld those looks. A patio is in the works as well. The new space will have garage doors similar to original space to create an indoor-outdoor feel on nice days.

It is expected to seat 200 including the patio and add another 40 to 50 employees to the payroll.

High Bank continues to outpace its 2021 projections both on the retail and restaurant sides of the business.

It also earned another industry accolade as its Whiskey War Double Oaked was named the best blended whiskey and the best in Ohio whiskey in the 2021 Heartland Whiskey Competition. This comes after its Whiskey War Barrel Proof was named the best blended whiskey in America at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

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