A Columbus chef is preparing to bring a seafood restaurant to downtown Columbus next month.
Sonya Patterson is working to open Blu Crabs in the old Empire Building on 12th Street, she said this week as she was working inside the nearly 2,000 square feet of space.
“It will be fine-dining seafood,” Patterson said earlier this week of the menu. “For my land lovers, there will be some chicken, pork or beef somewhere on the menu.”
Patterson, who is the chef/owner of the restaurant, said she will focus on fresh seafood in an upscale environment.
“I will not do a lot of fried,” she said. “It’s going to be more baked, broiled and grilled cuisine. I may have one item on the grill that is fried. The vinaigrettes, the pastas, the sauces, all the way down to the mayonnaise will be made in house.”
Her entree selection will range in price from $10 to $55, Patterson said.
Seafood has been a love of Patterson’s since she was a child. Her father was in the Army and that brought the family to Columbus.
“Every year we go to Florida and we would always go crabbing,” she said. “We would come together as one, huge family and always do a crab boil. My mom would steam the crabs in a bag and we have this huge picnic table and she would dump all of the crab, sausage and corn in the middle of the table. To me, it was a place we could sit there and laugh and enjoy each others company.”
Her father owned Rip’s Seafood in south Columbus in the 1980s.
Patterson previously owned Lynn’s Cafe at 5300 Sidney Simon Blvd., in Columbus. She operated the restaurant for about a year before closing it in 2011 when she had health issues after the birth of her son.
Patterson has been going through the permitting process and renovating the space and said she plans to open the new restaurant in mid-August. Equipment is scheduled to be installed this week. She is also doing an overhaul of the space.
The spot on 12th Street between First Avenue and Broadway across from Synovus is an ideal location even though the previous restaurant there closed after about a year, Patterson said. El Flamboyan, a Puerto Rican restaurant, previously operated in that space at 19 12th St., but closed earlier this year. Patterson said she is leasing the space.
“The foot traffic and the type of people you have in this area — CB&T, TSYS, Columbus State University and the locals as well as the tourists — make it a good spot,” she said.
Blu Crabs plans to be open for lunch Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner hours will be from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Patterson said.
Patterson, 46, is trained in the culinary arts.
She was a member of the American Culinary Federation, where she trained under Executive Chef Darryl Evans, a Columbus native, at two Atlanta-area restaurants.
Patterson has met with Uptown Columbus Inc., a downtown development corporation that works with businesses coming into the central business district, said President Ross Horner on Wednesday.
“I think she will fill a niche in the market,” Horner said. “She has great credentials and I think her restaurant will be well received.”