Jury Room details still scarce, but it won't have the same name

Local restaurateur Liz Lessner announced she's selling downtown's Jury Room and transitioning to California, at least on a part-time basis. The new Jury Room owner hasn't been disclosed yet, but the popular eatery won't have the same name when it reopens in a few weeks. Capital Style file photo.

Columbus restaurateur Liz Lessner is in a state of transition. Last week she opened The Chintz Room in the old Lazarus building (she co-owns the restaurant with Michael Hermick). Now the Columbus Food League announced it has sold the Jury Room to new owners. And eventually Lessner will begin splitting her time between Columbus and southern California, to help establish a lemon tree farm with friends.

The timing of the restaurant sale was unexpected but fortuitous.

"The Jury Room needed a refresh or rebrand, and I don't know if I had energy to do it," Lessner shared.

Last Monday, she was approached by a local restaurateur who expressed interest in purchasing the eatery, and by Wednesday he made a formal offer. The restaurateur will announce the new concept - it won't be called the Jury Room - sometime next week.

Staff from the Jury Room are being moved to the new Chintz Room. Lessner reports that business has been going well at The Chintz Room, which will expand hours to 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and add lunch service starting Monday, Nov. 17. Chintz Room will also stay open until 1 a.m. on weekends, and plans include adding breakfast seven days a week after the first of the year.

As for the California farming operations, her work hasn't begun there yet. Lessner said she was looking for a shift in careers.

"I've never worked in food production; I've only worked the retail end," she said.

She's contributing her marketing and development expertise to the start-up lemon tree farm, which is still in the early planning phases. She'll make an extended visit in December to help with the farm, but otherwise she's remaining in Columbus for the time being, helping operate the Columbus Food League.