161 N. High Street Columbus, OH (614) 228-0500
Elevator is a relic of the early 20th century. Originally called the Columbia Building, the North High Street structure that houses the restaurant dates to 1897. The space was first Bott Brothers’ Billiards and Saloon, for a time housing the Midwest’s largest pool hall with over 40 pool tables. The restaurant as it is today opened its doors in 2000, but maintained much of its pool-hall roots. Nearly everything is original, from the stained glass in the front and rear, the mosaic tile floor and even the ceiling. The area behind the bar is a solid piece of hand-carved mahogany with solid onyx pillars on either side, acquired from the Chicago World Columbian Exposition in 1893 and is an original to the building, too.
Elevator is near the heart of downtown, but still within walking distance of the Arena District and Short North. A small brewery is on-site. This two-barrel brewery is where specialty beers for Elevator’s PHD program—that’s Professor of Hearty Drinking—are brewed. Across the street, at 165 N. Fourth St., is the main brewery for Elevator. Twelve beers are brewed here by brewmaster Vic Schiltz and served at Elevator and other local restaurants, and sold in specialty beer and wine shops. Their most popular are the Bleeding Buckeye Red Ale and the Dark Horse Lager.
The history-rich space was vacant for many years before Elevator took over in March 2000. The restaurant caters to a different crowd than it did in the early 1900s— when it was rumored to be a brothel and gentlemen’s club—but clues to its past still exist. The Owners’ Table, an elevated, private table that overlooks the dining room, is said to be where clandestine going-ons took place when the joint was a brothel. Now, it’s a unique setting for special occasions of a tamer kind, seating parties of two to four and can be reserved for lunch or dinner. Because of Elevator’s location, the restaurant caters to many crowds, from white collars, guests to the nearby convention center, Blue Jackets fans gearing up for a game at Nationwide Arena and Columbus residents who are just looking for a good meal and night out.
Myths, tales and legends abound when it comes to this building. Reportedly, a man named Colonel Pritchard was murdered at the location, and his presence still lingers. Appropriately, General Manager and Managing Partner Will Triplett has his own tale, although this one is a success story. Working his way through the ranks of the restaurant industry since 1994, from dishwasher, to busser, to bartender, waiter and chef, Triplett eventually garnered a managing position in 2001, and in 2009 became a managing partner of Elevator. Executive Chef Nate Crockett is classically French trained, which influenced the upscale, regional-American menu.
Food at the Elevator is mostly meat, all comfort and designed for those with big eyes and stomachs. Before addressing the task of ordering your main courses, take a moment to appreciate Elevator’s bread. Too many times restaurants provide an all-too-average basket of bread that goes untouched and stales by the time dinner is over. Elevator’s beer bread, however, is something to be admired. The bread is made with Elevator’s own heifer-weizen beer. It’s dense and chewy. With a dab of their butter, which combines malt extract, salt, pepper, rosemary and parsley, this breadbasket is one that you’ll want to get refilled.
We started with an order of Calamari and a plate of Crab Stuffed Scallops. Elevator’s calamari carries a kick by way of a bit of sriracha and a douse of thai pepper sauce. A dusting of semolina gives this calamari a bit more texture and the flavors of a small cucumber salad served with the calamari will even out the heat. The Crab Stuffed Scallops combine two richly satisfying ingredients. A serving of three large scallops are stuffed with crab cake and drizzled with lemon buerre blanc
For the main course we sliced into 12-ounces of Smoked Maple Pork Chop. Easily the thickest pork chop we’ve ever seen, you better be hungry before ordering this cut of meat. It’s accompanied by chipotle cheddar mashed potatoes, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Order Dirty Dick’s Nut Brown Ale with this entrée. The Blackened Salmon came served with a scallion potato cake, asparagus, carrots and was topped with maple béarnaise. Elevator suggests you sip on the Bear Ass Pale Ale with the salmon.
Our dessert was as rich as the history of Elevator. The Chocolate Cake, filled with black raspberry, arrived still warm and didn’t last long. The Vanilla Cheesecake, with a full-coverage crust, brought together flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. For those who can’t resist cheesecake, you’ve got to try this one.
Mon-Fri, 3-7 p.m.
$2.50 All handcrafted pints of lagers and ales
$2.50 Glasses of wine and well drinks
$5 Happy Hour Appetizer Menu
Large paintings adorn the walls of Elevator. Most come from the private collection of Dick Stephens, the owner of Elevator. Others have been privately commissioned for the restaurant. Make sure to admire them when you visit the restaurant.
Can’t Decide?Though you’ll find that no entrees will disappoint, if you’re having troubling deciding, may we suggest ordering one of their Signature Selections, like the Rock Filet, 7 ounces. of your choice of tenderloin or ahi tuna cooked at your table on a tulikivi stone; the Surf and Turk Rock, a 4 ounce filet, shrimp and scallops, also cooked on a stone at your table; or the New York Strip—14-ounces, no-explanation-needed.