Owner of popular midtown restaurant preparing to enter downtown market

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Midtown restaurant owner to open new eatery downtown

The owner of a successful Midtown Columbus restaurant is preparing to open a new restaurant in the growing downtown culinary scene. 

Bryant Walker, who owns Wicked Hen, has leased space in the 1200 block of Broadway.

In an exclusive interview with News 3, Walker said he is looking forward to owning a downtown location. Over the last two years, there have been big changes in the 1200 block with restaurants, loft apartments and retail stores moving in. There are even bigger changes in store with two new downtown hotels planned. 

“I am excited about this block,” he said on Tuesday. “It looks like it’s growing and moving in the right direction. And it looks like it’s about to have two new hotels on this side. That looks appealing to me as a restaurant owner.” 

Walker and developer Chris Woodruff, CEO of The Cotton Companies, are playing their cards close to the vest. They are not ready to reveal the name or concept for the new restaurant. Those details will come out in the coming weeks. 

The new restaurant will go in the space where River & Rail operated until late last year when it closed. One thing Walker has said is it won’t be a clone of Wicked Hen, which is a what the chef calls New South cuisine. 

Walker, a Columbus native and 1999 Hardaway High School graduate, is a trained chef who has owned the Wicked Hen for four years. He previously worked as a chef at Green Island Country Club.

Woodruff said Walker is the right fit for downtown.

“It’s always important in development to get the right person in the space,” he said. “We did take our time to get the right person. We know at Cotton Companies that Bryant Walker is the right person for 1232 Broadway. And we are excited to see what he’s going to bring to this block.” 

Even though Wicken Hen is only a mile from downtown, Walker has been looking for an opportunity to open a restaurant in the central business district.

“I have always been interested in the downtown area, anyways,” he said. “It’s growing so rapidly and when the space became available, it became an opportunity for me to jump in there and do it.” 

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