The restaurant business can be very rewarding, yet also tough as nails when it comes to surviving for the long haul. With that realization, the Columbus-Phenix City restaurant scene and local customers win some and lose some.
That said, the community will be adding a pizzeria within a few weeks, with a steakhouse having just opened its doors. But those two wins are countered by the loss of an eatery that drew a loyal following for nearly a decade.
First the good news. Food fans who have enjoyed The Rocky Marciano and The Grand Central pies at Lepoma’s Pizzeria in the Midland area of Columbus will have a second location from which to choose for lunch and dinner.
“It should be the end of September or the first week of October that it’s going to open up,” Jason Klingseisen, who will be manager of the new Lepoma’s at 7590 Schomburg Road, said Thursday. That is the former location for Hungry Howie’s Pizza.
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The Midland Lepoma’s, which made its debut in January, is located at 6526 Kitten Lake Drive, off Beaver Run Road or U.S. Hwy. 80. A third Lepoma’s Pizzeria opened about three years ago in Sharpsburg, Ga.
“It’s more of a family dining restaurant,” Klingseisen said of Lepoma’s, which uses brick ovens to bake its pies at 600 degrees. “At all three stores we have a party section for kids. You can book parties for free. The atmosphere is very good. We’ve got the history all over the walls in all three restaurants of the Lepoma’s ancestors and pizza. It’s good times.”
Meanwhile, fans of steaks and all the fixings can now venture to T-Bones Steakhouse & Grill at 3745 U.S. Hwy. 80, in the Ladonia area of Phenix City. It’s located in property that formerly was home to a Piggly Wiggly, with that supermarket closing in July 2017.
T-Bones is billing itself as “Phenix City’s newest premier dining establishment. Quality fine dining without the franchise or big name brand,” although there appears to be some initial growing pains.
“Thank you Phenix City for the overwhelming response,” T-Bones management wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “To say that we have been busy is an understatement! Management is working diligently to improve kitchen processes and wait times. Beat the crowds by dining early.”
With the two new dining additions, there also is a loss to report, with Wood Stone Restaurant closing its doors Sunday at 5739 Whitesville Road in Columbus. The restaurant operated by the Nia Family was known for its Italian and Mediterranean menu.
“Our family have been honored and privileged to serve Columbus and its surrounding areas for the past eight years, and have made many wonderful friends and ‘just like’ family,” the eatery’s staff posted on its Facebook page. “During this season of our lives we have come together and made the family decision to slow down by taking a break from the restaurant industry … We thank each and everyone of you, with love in our hearts and a smile on our face.”
Wood Stone obviously created a solid following among both Columbus-area foodies and visitors to the city.
“Hidden gem we found in Columbus,” a customer wrote on Wood Stone’s Facebook page in May. “Very friendly staff and most comfortable atmosphere. They made us feel like part of their family. The food and drinks were spot on. And don’t let me forget the tiramisu was so tasty. HATS OFF to the chef. I highly recommend this treasure. Look forward to visiting again on our next trip back to Columbus.”