Columbus Monthly explores Northstar Cafe's 'Summer of Discontent'

Andy Downing
Northstar Café in Westerville

Maybe you caught the viral video of Northstar Cafe employees walking out of the eatery's Short North location earlier this year?

In a new feature for Columbus Monthly, dining editor Erin Edwards explores the root-cause of the action, the company's fumbled response in the weeks leading up to it and how Northstar might be able to find a way forward from here.

“We can do better taking care of people of color in our organization," owner Kevin Malhame told Monthly. "We can do better training our leadership and management team, and doing those things is going to help us be a healthier, more vibrant company and community.”

Some former staffers express reservations about Northstar's commitment to change, however, including Briana Gunter, a Black employee who worked at Northstar’s Easton location and was laid off in March. Gunter said the company's show of support for Black employees was slow and lacking during the most recent round of protests.

“For you to project this image to the community that you’re all community-based and team-based—but which community?” Gunter asked. “I’m part of that community. I’m Black, and you can’t even stand up for me with a hard stance and say that we’ll protect you as an employee, we care about you? Which community are you for?”

Read the whole feature here.