Former Crew VP tackles the restaurant industry

When Andrew Arthurs and his wife were considering names for their New Albany restaurant, they asked a series of questions: What do we like? What resonates? What reflects who we're trying to be?

He landed on Soulshine Tavern, named after the Allman Brothers song “Soulshine,” from the band's 1994 album, Where It All Begins. “Let your soul shine, it's better than sunshine, it's better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain,” Gregg Allman sings on the track. A portion of that chorus is part of an eye-catching mural — designed entirely in marker by CCAD alum Dylan Menges — on a wall inside the restaurant. (The complete lyrics are printed and framed on the wall near the restrooms.)

“It's a positive and a warm, … authentic feel,” said Arthurs, who opened the tavern last June. “[It] represented what we wanted to try and build.”

Good vibes abound in the spacious setting featuring framed inspirational quotes from Theodore Roosevelt and Pablo Picasso on the soothing gray walls. And a “local thread” runs through the establishment with cocktails made from OYO spirits, high-top tables constructed from local, reclaimed wood, and branding and interior design by CCAD faculty members and business partners Josh Bodman and Kelly DeVore.

“Having [them] on my team is invaluable,” Arthurs said.

Venturing into the restaurant business was a major transition for Arthurs, whose life previously revolved around sports. He played soccer at Westerville North High School, returned and coached for 16 years, and then spent 12 years in senior management with Columbus Crew SC.

During his tenure, he started the Crew Youth System, which developed young players into pros. Current Crew midfielder Wil Trapp — Arthurs still calls him “Willie” — and defender Alex Crognale were both in Arthurs' program.

“I'm so proud of those guys,” Arthurs said. “All the guys that have come out of the system that are pros are not just great players, but good people, too.”

Like much of the city, Arthurs said he'd be disappointed if Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt follows through on his threat to move the team to Austin, Texas. “For all the players, but certainly the local ones, that's tough,” Arthurs said. “So I feel for them.”

“I wouldn't trade that experience and that run,” Arthurs said of his time with the Crew, but mentioned he and his wife dreamed of starting their own business.

“Every day you're looking to get to the next level and correct or improve things,” said Arthurs, who hopes to book more live music in the restaurant. “We're so much better than we were seven months ago.”