Milligans purchase Historic District restaurant, to open in August

A Columbus businessman and his son have purchased a Historic District property and plan to open a restaurant before the end of the summer.

Mike Milligan, a partner in JTM, a family business that owns 19 area Piggly Wiggly stores, and his son, Tommy, have purchased 222 Seventh Street. They are working to open a restaurant they will call Christopher’s, a play on the city of Columbus’ name.

“We pretty much got the concept nailed down,” Tommy Milligan said. “It will be elevated Southern food with a French background. Plus, we want it to be a light kind of atmosphere. So if there is something I find that is delicious and makes no sense, I am still going to put it on the menu.”

The plan is to have the restaurant open sometime in August, depending on when the various licenses to sell alcohol can be obtained, Tommy Milligan said.

It will serve lunch and dinner and possibly a Sunday brunch.

Tommy Milligan, 27, has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta. He has worked at restaurants in Panama City Beach, Fla., and Atlanta before returning to Columbus with his wife, Heather. The two of them will operate the business.

Mike Milligan said he and his son explored food service opportunities within the deli business of grocery store chain, but a standalone restaurant made more sense.

“The more we worked together, the more I realized that the better fit for Tommy is the restaurant business,” Mike Milligan said.

The restaurant previously operated as Vintage 222 and was part of the Rothschild-Pound House complex on Seventh Street. The restaurant and furnishings were purchased Thursday from Garry and Mamie Pound.

A sales price has not been disclosed.

Mike and Tommy Milligan formed Project 222 LLC to purchase the restaurant.

“It is an inside joke,” Mike Milligan said. “My New Year’s resolution for the last two years has been no new projects.”

Mike Milligan and his wife, Susan, live in the Historic District, which he said is ripe for such a neighborhood restaurant with a broader appeal.

“The blossoming of the properties between Broadway and Veterans probably put us in a better position for growth than this restaurant location has ever been in,” Mike Milligan said.