The neighborhood bar and grill brings the surrounding communities together through an eclectic menu, entertainment and liquor license.

The neighborhood bar and grill brings the surrounding communities together through an eclectic menu, entertainment and liquor license.

Addella’s on Oak neighborhood bar and grill brings the surrounding communities together through a versatile, fun menu and a newly granted liquor license. Credit: Molly Goheen | LTV Arts and Life Producer

After working in the University District at a number of campus bars such as Barrel 44, Toos and Out-R-Inn, Karrio Ballard chose to open his own neighborhood bar and grill – Addella’s on Oak.

After meeting his wife Victoria Hink, the two bought and developed an empty facility in 1485 Oak St. which would later be opened as Addella’s on Oak in October 2020, combining the names of their daughters, Addy and Stella. With a versatile regular and plant-based menu, live entertainment and a newly minted liquor license, Addella works to serve its community.

However, its launch did not come without some challenges, mainly not having a liquor license due to the pandemic. Without the license, their full vision for Addella’s would still not be complete.

“It wasn’t easy and I never sugarcoated it,” Ballard said. “We sold our house to do this. We had to do a lot of things that people wouldn’t try to do, but it was something I believed in.”

Without a liquor license, the only alcohol sold was beer and wine. Despite lacking a full bar, Addella’s was stocked with a mostly plant-based menu alongside their normal menu, according to Ballard, whose family follows a plant-based diet.

“I feel like when you don’t have it, you’re cutting off a demographic, you know?” Ballard said. “So basically, what we wanted to do was take our regular menu and have a plant-based option. Basically, when you look at our menu, almost everything that’s on the regular menu is on the plant-based menu.”

The bar and grill serves a variety of food options from tacos, burgers, clubs and meatball subs — all of which can be made plant-based, Ballard said. The restaurant proudly uses the slogan “Serving food you’ve eaten before like never before.”

Patrick Kalista, Ohio State alum and general manager of Addella’s on Oak, said her plant-based options help grow business because of Columbus’ growing vegan population. He said Addella’s is one of the few restaurants listed as plant-based on Uber Eats and DoorDash in the area.

“There aren’t many options here,” Kalista said. “That’s what I hear from people all the time, and I’d say the sales are almost 50-50 some days. I actually have people who eat meat who now eat plant-based burgers because they say it’s better.”

Addella’s finally received its full liquor license a year after opening with the help of the community.

“I was going door to door to get signatures with Karrio and we were doing all of this with a lot of help from our regulars who just came out with sheets and got signatures and posted online to help,” Kalista said.

In early 2022, the restaurant began hosting live musicians, such as Harmonic Soul – an R&B and soul group – as well as displaying pieces of local fine art. Ballard said this was another way to increase community involvement.

“We have our regulars coming in, and now they’ll know the group we’re hosting,” Kalista said. “Or other people who come to see the band, but then say, ‘Oh, you guys sell food. Oh, there you have it. And then everyone helps each other.”

With Ballard having spent time in the University District bar industry, he believes Addella’s menu, art displays and music offer something different for students looking to tap into the off-campus neighborhood.

“If you ever want to experience something a little different, and in places where you’re probably going to be after you graduate, we’re kind of like that next step,” Ballard said.

From the challenge of opening in 2020 to becoming a popular neighborhood bar and grill, Kalista said he’s happy for Ballard and the community that their vision came to fruition.

“Addella’s is special to me because we’re super invested in this neighborhood,” Kalista said. “Put everything into it. Put my whole life on the line. What’s next, I don’t know. We’re really just getting to the point where I’m finally feeling a little grounded.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.