In The News

Columbus operator readies two new Cincinnati restaurants

October 12, 2017  |  Matt the Miller’s
Matt the Miller’s

Columbus Business First

A Columbus restaurant brand is opening a pair of new dining destinations in Cincinnati.

Matt the Miller’s, owned by CLB Restaurantswill open its Kenwood Collection site restaurant at 5901 Galbraith Road on Oct. 23 and follow that with a West Chester site at 9558 Civic Center Blvd. on Nov. 9.

“These are two A-plus locations,” founder and president Craig Barnum told me. “We’ll be able to go against the big boys – Cheesecake Factory, Cooper’s Hawk (Winery & Restaurant). That’s great. That’s what we want.”

The two restaurants were announced last year, but construction and other issues delayed the openings, more prominently with Kenwood, which was expected to open last fall.

Both are around 5,500 square feet, which is bigger than the four existing Matt the Miller’s near Columbus in Dublin, near Grandview Heights, Polaris and Carmel, Ind. CLB owns Tucci’s in Dublin as well.

Barnum said the new Matt the Miller’s locations have larger kitchens and larger foyers for waiting guests.

The annual sales goal for both is around $3.5 million, which is in line with the existing restaurants and would put the company at around $20 million in annual sales.

“We’re in the market to be in,” Barnum said. “Casual dining like Applebee’s, Max & Erma’s is getting killed, but we’re not white table cloth either (like) Eddie Merlot’s (or) Ruth’s Chris.

"We’re a great environment. We have chefs in our kitchen.”

Matt the Miller’s slots between that traditional casual and the higher end. Some call it "polished casual" or "upscale casual." Competitors include the aforementioned Cooper’s Hawk and J. Alexander’s. Several Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC spots fit in the space as well.

The Cincinnati restaurants will have a few menu tweaks. There will be more seafood, for example, and a greater emphasis on wine. Both restaurants will have two eight-bottle Enomatic dispenser systems. Barnum said those spots will be filled with some more upscale wine choices.

“The wine market is going great right now,” he said. “Craft beer is doing well but isn’t selling as much as it was.”

In response to that he reduced the number of taps in the new restaurants from 26 to 21.

“That’s still a good number, but we want to focus on upscaling our wine program,” he said.