Predicting Food News for December 2022

With our regular columnist currently on vacation, we imagine what Columbus dining news could look like for the week of Dec. 26, 2022

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Local Cantina

A new Local Cantina opened this week, this time at the South Campus Gateway (1552 N. High St.). The local Tex-Mex chain, owned by George Tanchevski, is now up to 247 locations in Ohio. The growing chain celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year. 

Plans for the North Market Tower continue to evolve, with the project recently receiving approval for the construction of a 53-story building. The project, now known as the Local Cantina and North Market Tower, will be the tallest building constructed in Columbus in more than 30 years, and will offer taco flights at a height previously known only to small aircraft with the newly announced Local Cantina rooftop taco garden.

The Franklinton location of Local Cantina that opened in the Gravity building in April just announced that it will close in January 2023. The eatery will be replaced by new concept Local Cantina Express

Immersive art experience Otherworld announced the addition of a new restaurant. Otherworld Cantina by Local Cantina will take over the existing Otherworld Cafe in March.

Mayor Andrew Ginther announced the establishment of a new forgivable loan program aimed at restaurants suffering under the abercrombiecom wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The program, funded in part by surpluses generated by the many new taco restaurants opened in the city these last 12 months, will be known as the Local Cantina Paycheck Protection Program (LCPPP). Applications are currently being accepted.

George Tanchevski, owner of Local Cantina and new spinoff Local Cantina Express, also announced the planned opening of 37 more Local Cantina Express locations in Columbus. Each of the 37 eateries will open adjacent to existing locations of Barrio and Condado, a move Tanchevski described in an email as “a flex.”

Local Cantina announced plans to experiment with opening a series of successively smaller Local Cantinas within existing stores. Known internally as the Local Cantina Russian Nesting Doll Initiative, the company hopes the program can open up new expansion possibilities in an increasingly tight real estate market.

Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, who opened Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet in Columbus in 2018, recently announced plans to open a new restaurant concept at a to-be-determined location in Columbus. The restaurant, dubbed Mark Wahlberg’s Local Cantina, expands on the actor’s growing dining empire, which already includes nationwide locations of his hamburger chain Wahlburgers.