COhatch The Market bustling as restaurants, bars all get up and running

When you walk into the old Myers Market building, the tile floors, sky-high ceilings and natural light keep the traditional, classic feel of the building alive. But, vibrant new restaurants and bars that you’re soon surrounded by, give the re-imagined COhatch The Market space an ambiance that’s fresh, invigorating and completely different from anywhere else in Springfield.

This week, all seven of the restaurants and bars are finally open and serving customers after some delays while navigating changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Market provides a comfortable space for friends and families looking to socialize, in addition to co-working areas of COhatch.

“This is a well-over-two-year project, and to be able to see people in here and to see them light up to be able to have a safe place to collaborate – that’s what’s important to me,” says Joseph Harrison, COhatch’s community orchestrator. “We’re really trying to elevate the downtown experience.”

We talked to the new businesses in The Market to learn more about what they each have to offer.

The Market Bar

The Market Bar is a concept born from co-creators Rod Hatfield and Andrew Lazear – both of Springfield.

With Hatfield’s background in mixed media and Lazear’s background in food service and bartending, the two – who met just a few years ago – had a dream of creating a niche bar.

“I’m pretty confident in my abilities with regard to image creation and programming experiences, but I’m also smart enough to know what I don’t know. And enter Andrew,” Hatfield says. “He is a master mixologist. He’s got the chemistry of the bartending heritage. He excels in that arena.”

From fresh squeezed juices and made-from-scratch flavored syrups, the upscale handcrafted cocktails at The Market Bar will often be paired with a feature for the day. Whether it’s cocktails matched with music on vinyl or a live band, Hatfield and Lazear hope to offer a full experience for their customers to enjoy and be a part of.

The bar officially opens Friday, with hours from 4 p.m. to midnight, which will carry on for future Fridays. Monday through Thursday, The Market Bar will still open at 4 p.m., but it will close an hour earlier at 11 p.m.

On the weekends, the bar will open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays for customers to enjoy a Bloody Mary or a mimosa in a Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) cup while they shop the farmers market. It will close for a couple hours to prep supplies for evening drinks and reopen from 4 to 11 p.m.

North High Brewing Taproom

In addition to his role at The Market Bar, Lazear is playing double duty as the general manager of the North High Brewing Taproom.

The 14-tap bar features almost every North High Brewing Company beer, including one Nitro.

The Columbus-based brewery chose Springfield for its first footprint outside the city where it has become a staple.

“I love that places like Columbus are seeing what we’re doing here in Springfield and want to be a part of the expansion and revitalization,” Lazear says. “I think it’s fantastic that the downtown Springfield area will now be able to share a brewery district along with Mother Stewart’s and all the great things they’re doing.”

North High Brewing Taproom will also have its grand opening this Friday. Hours Monday through Thursday will be 4 to 11 p.m. Friday hours will be 4 p.m. to midnight. Saturday hours will be from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday’s the bar will be open from 1 to 8 p.m.

Once football season kicks off, Lazear says customers can expect to be able to stop by the taproom, grab a beer and hangout to watch games broadcast in The Market area.

The Painted Pepper

For the last six years, customers have become familiar seeing The Painted Pepper food truck both at many Springfield events and throughout the Miami Valley.

But now, customers can still nosh on their Southwestern-themed favorites – including the well-loved breakfast burritos – within the walls of COhatch.

“We are excited to be a permanent fixture in Downtown, because we love Springfield and seeing familiar faces all the time,” says Amanda Ortega, who owns The Painted Pepper with her husband Louie. “It’s nice to have a place with potential of a more consistent flow and schedule for our family.

“Having a stable location gives us the opportunity to expand our menu, source local meats, and upgrade our packaging. These are things we just couldn’t get to with the daily planning of the food truck.”

Currently, The Painted Pepper is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. However, the hours will soon be extended, so watch the restaurants Facebook page for updates.

Cork & Board

The Ortegas are also undertaking a new startup – Cork & Board, which will offer wine, cheese and charcuterie options.

“Cork & Board came out of our passion for healthy food, which began to spread to the wine we drink,” Ortega says. “Cork & Borad is focusing on minimal intervention wines with less additives and more intentionality from the winemakers.”

The goal ultimately is to share quality food with Springfield in an approachable way, she says.

Though bottles of wine can be bought during the broader hours The Painted Pepper is open, on-site tastings and drink sales will be available Wednesday through Friday starting at 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Kombucha, juices and charcuterie and cheese plates will be available most days, Ortega says.

Crust & Company

The third local restaurant undertaking for owners Dan and Lisa Freeman, Crust & Company features artisan pizzas on handmade bread baked to order right in front of customers.

With these Roman-style pizzas, the bread is aged over a couple days before it’s ready to use, says Dan Freeman, who along with his wife Lisa also owns Le Torte Dolci bakery and Salato Deli.

“The deli was like a stair step. The bakery was it’s own thing, but opening the deli was a completely new thing for us, which gave us a lot of insight for how to do it this time and how to best source what we wanted for our food,” he says.

In addition to the pizzas, Crust & Company will be selling a variety of freshly baked breads, which will be available at the restaurant for the first time during the Springfield Farmers Market’s opening weekend this Saturday.

Crust & Company’s hours will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday but could change in the future depending on demand, Freeman says.

Ironworks Waffle Café

Mom and daughter team Marcy Nesselroade and Ellie Morgan have launched Ironworks Waffle Café, where patrons can order a variety of sweet or savory gourmet waffles.

The duo has created concoctions filled and topped with fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, spreads, jams, and just about anything else you could imagine, according to their website.

And, most of the waffle options on the menu pay homage to Springfield’s rich history – including The Davey Moore, The Johnny Lytle, The Bushnell and The National Road.

The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesday through Saturday. It’s closed Tuesday and Sundays.

Fresh Abilities

Fresh Abilities is a fresh concept that’s bringing fresh opportunities to Springfield and Clark County residents with developmental disabilities.

TAC Industries is an organization in Springfield that employs, connects and cares for adults with disabilities, says director of development Bridget Doane.

Many adults who the organization serves work in manufacturing, she says. And about 10 years ago, TAC created a hydroponic greenhouse to grow lettuce to sell to schools and other local businesses. But, because of staffing, that part of TAC’s services trailed off for a time.

“We were looking for ways to get back into retail business, and we were looking for ways we could sell what we produce,” Doane says. “Then, COhatch popped up.”

TAC has provided interested individuals with the training they need to grow the lettuce used in the products, as well as run the quick service, build-your-own salad restaurant.

“It’s created an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to work for food services in our community,” Doane says, adding that all the service staff are ServSafe Level 1 certified, which means they’ve completed the coursework to ensure they have a full understanding of food safety and preparation.

She said the goal is ultimately for Fresh Abilities employees be sought after and hired by other local restaurants who are looking for dependable, reliable, committed employees.

“Individuals with disabilities typically have a much higher rate of unemployment than folks without disabilities. So, just finding job opportunities for these individuals and making sure they’re well-equipped is really important, but it’s also really important to break down the stigma.”

The restaurant kicked off its soft opening Wednesday. It will be open during it’s regularly scheduled hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the grand opening is planned for the week of June 22.

“In light of no large groups gathering, we’ll do a virtual opening week,” says Doane, who adds that through Facebook and Instagram, followers can watch remarks from local officials and VIPs and take part in drawings and giveaways.

Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.