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Columbus Restaurant Week Brings Relief As COVID-19, Winter Weather Hurt Dining

Restaurants and businesses on Grandview Avenue on May 14, 2020.
David Holm

Columbus' biannual Restaurant Week is underway, and local establishments are hoping the three-course promotions and new takeout options will bring back some diners who've stayed away during the pandemic.

Lindey’s in German Village saw business drop up to 30% over the past year, as COVID-19 forced Ohio restaurants to halt dine-in service and then reopen with strict limits. But manager Todd Cumbow says he expects about a 25% boost in business during Restaurant Week.

“It definitely helps every week that we participate in restaurant week,” Cumbow says. “It definitely brings in more people. It brings in maybe people who wouldn’t normally come in.”

The restaurant is offering a 25% discount on a three-course menu, which will cost $40, the higher-end of Restaurant Week offerings.

“It’s an opportunity for us to do something different, and it’s an opportunity for our guests to get something a little different,” Cumbow says.

Cumbow says the restaurant did receive federal funds through the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program last year, and did not have to lay off any of its more than 100 employees.  Two management employees were reassigned.

“It definitely helped keep people employed and helped keep the restaurant going,” Cumbow says.

Before March 2020, Cumbow says Lindey’s was experiencing record-level business, but that changed quickly when the state's stay-at-home orders went into effect. While the restaurant adjusted to curbside service, Cumbow says he looks forward to warmer weather returning.

“Spring helped a lot with the weather,” Cumbow says. “And we have a wonderful, amazing patio. That really became the focus of guests coming out and it definitely helped us.”

Cumbow says 2020 was the most challenging year in his 18-year career at Lindey’s. But he anticipates as more people receive the coronavirus vaccine, diners will start to come back.

“We’re just trying to do a good job and take care of our team and do our part,” says Cumbow. “We want to do it the right way. We don’t want to jeopardize the health of our team or any of our guests.”

About 100 restaurants are taking part in Restaurant Week, which ends January 30.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.