The former Sage American Bistro space (pictured here) has a new tenant. Billed as a modern American, regional cuisine restaurant, the Angry Bear Kitchen is the brainchild of three local chefs who met while working the line at Latitude 41 Downtown.
“We’re a nose-to-tail type of restaurant. We’re going to use every part of the animal, every part of the vegetable. We don’t see anyone else in Columbus using the whole animal,” says chef and co-owner Jarod Norris, adding they want to offer food in a fun, unintimidating way that will appeal to diners. “We want to get people to try new things.”
With a big emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients, the plan is to change the menu every month, in addition to rotating daily specials. Norris says the menu will include soups, salads, roughly a dozen small plates and five to seven entrees.
He hopes Sunday brunch will be a huge draw, offering rotating live music (like bluegrass or jazz). “The brunch menu will be a lot of fun,” he says, adding there will be dishes like his grandmother’s sausage gravy and biscuits, charcuterie and a variety of styles of eggs benedict.
To start, the plan is to be open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with late-night happy hour on Friday and Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.
The hope is to open in four to five weeks, toward the end of February. All that depends on how construction goes over the coming weeks, Norris says, as they look to revamp the small space. “We didn’t want people to walk in and see Sage with a new name,” he explains. Space changes include opening up the kitchen to be part of the dining room, a new wait-staff area, new bar and light fixtures.
The restaurant’s name comes from a nickname the chefs—Norris, Tyler Minnis and Daniel Scalzo—earned while working under chef Dave MacLennan at Latitude 41. While there, they were dubbed the “angry bears” by the serving staff, Norris says. “Sometimes cooks can get a little grouchy,” he laughs. “But it became a running joke. It was a funny way to break the tension.”
Norris followed MacLennan to the kitchen as Basi Italia, and Minnis eventually followed to join the Victorian Village spot’s kitchen staff. Scalzo was most recently the chef at Due Amici.
Chef Bill Glover closed his popular North Campus restaurant Sage American Bistro last year. The five-year-old High Street restaurant had been a regular on the Crave 10 list of best restaurants in the city. Glover is currently executive chef position at Gallerie Bar & Bistro inside the Hilton Downtown.