After an on-going problem of vacancies, things might be off to a slow start for some of the South Campus Gateway businesses this fall, but The Oxley Tavern & Grillery has plans to bring back the energy that was once in the Gateway years ago.
The Oxley Tavern & Grillery opened its doors in early July at 1576 N. High St., formerly home to Kildare’s Irish Pub.
The space has been completely revamped, co-owner Chip Franz said. Fewer walls and more natural light are two of the changes Franz and fellow owner Martin Lamp made to the restaurant.
“Kildare’s was dark and dreary,” Franz said. “And I think their problem was that they were catering more to the Short North rather than campus.”
Before the building’s transformation from Irish pub to sports bar, the second story was originally divided into smaller sections. Now, it’s one room with a bar and stage for live entertainment.
“It gets really energetic in here,” Franz said. “We have a really good gameday crowd.”
Franz said they are continually focused on creating a tailgating atmosphere at The Oxley, but gamedays aren’t their only focus. The co-owners plan to host several parties throughout the school year, starting with Halloween and continuing through St. Patrick’s Day.
In regards to The Oxley Tavern & Grillery’s menu, the owners take the most pride in the “Big Ox,” a build-your-own sandwich stuffed with French fries and coleslaw. In an effort to be dubbed campus-friendly, every menu item is $10 or less.
Brooke Wiland, a fourth-year in communication, said she’s enthusiastic about The Oxley. Though she hasn’t visited yet, she plans to in the near future.
“The food looks delicious and it looks like a cool hangout spot for students,” she said.
However, business hasn’t picked up in the South Campus Gateway like it normally does during this time of year, according Ali Douds, a service manager at Mad Mex.
She said she hasn’t noticed much business at The Oxley so far.
“However, it’s slow all around the South Campus Gateway — not just The Oxley — which isn’t what we’ve been expecting,” she said.
Douds explained that in previous years, Mad Mex’s sales normally rise a lot more September than they have this year.
However, Franz said the South Campus Gateway is slowly reemerging.
“It went through a couple slow years, but I think with all these businesses working together, we’re going to make this a cool place for students to hang out,” he said.
Franz said they chose the particular bar’s location with the OSU community fully in mind. With many bars around the North Campus area, they felt students needed a bar farther south.
While the new business continues to establish its presence on campus, Franz said it has bands and DJs performing Fridays and Saturdays, and is in the process of booking more entertainment for Thursday nights as well.
“It’s a unique atmosphere,” Franz said. “We have two levels overlooking High Street and share the alley (with neighboring businesses).”
Franz also said he’s excited for a World of Beer location to open its doors this spring at its latest Columbus location in the Gateway.
“Getting a big name in here like that will help. And I’m sure they’ve spent a lot of money marketing,” he said.
While some businesses seem excited for World of Beer’s campus debut, Douds said she has her hesitations about their prices.
“We’re excited, but we just don’t know if students are willing to pay $8 for a drink,” she said.