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Bodega set to close doors for renovations

Bodega, a favorite spot in the Short North for many draft beer lovers, is closing this February for the first time since it opened in 2005 for a face lift and relaunch.

Bodega is set to close Feb. 3 and reopen in three to five weeks, said Collin Castore, an owner of Bodega, in an email.

Castore said he and co-owner Sangeeta Lakhani are really looking forward to this opportunity.

“Me and my business partner Sang each just had the opportunity to open new places, Seventh Son Brewing and The Table, and enjoyed being able to plan an efficient space that functions well with the benefit of eight years of Bodega experience,” Castore said. “We have never had the opportunity to start from scratch at Bodega and are really trying to relieve some congestion and layout issues and create a space that works better for our employees and our customers.”

The changes will be significant, Castore said.

“We are going to take down our sign and awning and are in process of reapplying to the Italian Village Commission to rebuild a new patio enclosure,” Castore said. “The bar is moving and the seating is changing. We are also changing over to a more casual food ordering window rather than table service.”

Castore said the changes are more of going back to what Bodega, located at 1044 N High St., was designed for in the first place.

“We are taking it back to more of our original roots: Bodega as your neighborhood casual corner store with a little bit of everything done really well,” Castore said.

After the relaunch, many Bodega’s Grilled Cheese Mondays enthusiasts might find out that this long-lasting tradition will be gone.

Chelsea Torres, a fourth-year in biomedical science, said she does not understand why Bodega canceled Grilled Cheese Mondays.

“That is the only reason I go there,” Torres said. “And I have only gone there a couple other times besides Grilled Cheese Mondays.”

Castore said the decision was hard but the right one for them to make.

“Mondays get very crowded and the waits are very long,” Castore said. “It is hard on customers and creates stress on the customer and server relationship that is not there the rest of the week.”

Castore said the service is always the priority.

“We want people to enjoy our servers, our space, our drinks and our food, not to be too cramped or busy to enjoy the atmosphere,” Castore said. “Eight years is a lot of cheese. It’s time to move on.”

Adrien Fernandez, a fourth-year in history and Spanish, said she is not “entirely sold” on the changes Bodega is making.

“The all-season patio sounds like a logical remodeling choice because it will provide more space, but that’s about the only upgrade I’m keen on,” Fernandez said.

But Fernandez said she will still come and visit when Bodega reopens.

“I’ll definitely go to Bodega after the relaunch part out of curiosity and part because I don’t think the remodel will change the atmosphere too much,” Fernandez said. “The owners said they were expecting backlash and it sounds like they know what they are talking about even if I don’t agree with everything.”

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