Don’t get me wrong. I’ve felt incredibly lucky to have so many high-quality restaurants and eateries just minutes from my Gay Street office. However…if there’s a type of dining establishment I thought downtown Columbus was lacking, it was a place to get a yummy salad on the go. Perhaps I was not alone.
Since Market 65 began serving up salads and soups and various breakfast dishes at the end of February, there’s been a steady stream of customers through its doors at 65 E. State St. When I ask how business has been since the restaurant’s debut, its co-owner, Patrick Katzenmeyer, says it’s gone very well.
“We’ve gotten a really good reception from everyone working around Capital Square,” he adds. “Lunch is alive and full of energy and great conversation, and that’s what we were hoping to have before we opened up. We have customers that come in here five days a week and that’s great.”
To learn which locals lent the owners a helping hand, where they traveled to get inspiration for Market 65, and what they’re hoping the public will find out, read the rest of our interview with Katzenmeyer.
The Metropreneur: What inspired you to open Market 65?
Patrick Katzenmeyer: A love of food, restaurants, people, and a belief in downtown Columbus and where it’s heading.
[M]: Why are you committed to using Ohio meats, produce, and cheeses at Market 65?
PK: Most importantly, local food just tastes better. It’s fresher and you have relationships with a lot of the people that are producing it. I think that is really one of the best parts of this job: getting to know and work with these skilled individuals and sometimes even getting to tour their facility and watch them in action.
We also buy local because of a strong desire to help the local economy and do anything we can to help out our fellow Ohioans. We love giving local startup businesses a fighting chance, and another venue to sell their goods and get their name out there. We had someone write us an email last month telling us that he loved our cookies so much that he wanted the name of our baker so he could use her to help cater a party. It’s those types of collaborations between local businesses that we need more of. And, of course, buying local reduces our carbon footprint.
[M]: What were you doing professionally before opening the restaurant and how has that impacted the way you run it?
PK: I worked on economic development projects for the governor and for the Ohio House of Representatives before that. I had the opportunity to travel around the state and see a lot of the great things that people in Ohio make. Our love for this state and my experiences across the street are the driving factors of our commitment to local products.
[Market 65 Co-Owner Anthony Micheli] moved up the ranks at a few different Cameron Mitchell restaurants to the management level, and his knowledge of the industry and how to run a restaurant really shape our day-to-day operations.
[M]: What resources –books, websites, organizations, etc.− were the most helpful when you were working to get the restaurant off the ground?
PK: Our most important resources were the people that helped us get to this point. We’ve had a ton of help from family members and friends, and couldn’t have done it without their support.
We had a great attorney in Steve Baldwin, who didn’t mind doing a little pro bono work to help us get off the ground and really have any shot at success at all. Kacey Brankamp at Capital Crossroads and Walker Evans at Columbus Underground were great resources. Between them, they pretty much know every single thing that happens in Columbus and were very helpful. Jill Moorehead, from The Hills Market, really got us started in our search for local purveyors.
We also took a trip to Washington D.C. right before we signed the lease to look at a couple different concepts that had some similarities to ours. Taking note of what we liked and what we didn’t, and seeing that something like this could actually be done, was an important step for us.
[M]: What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a business owner and how did you overcome it?
PK: Staffing is extremely difficult. The commitment to local is not always an easy one; pricing and logistics are always a concern and it’s hard work balancing what you want to do with what you can do. Balancing your personal life and the business is nearly impossible. I fell asleep in a one-on-one meeting last week− very embarrassing. Overcoming this is still a work in progress.
[M]: Trust me, you’re not alone in that struggle. What do you consider the most rewarding aspect of being a business owner?
PK: To see your vision come to life and the feeling you get from a guest really enjoying something that you have worked so hard to achieve. It’s a great feeling to see countless hours of planning and discussion come to fruition. Also, providing a paycheck for 15 people is something we take a lot of pride in.
[M]: What would you like to achieve with Market 65?
PK: We want to serve good food and for people to enjoy their experience here. If there is something we’d like to see more of, it’s the night business. When there is a show at the Ohio Theatre or some event downtown, we get a pretty good crowd, but there is definitely room for improvement when there isn’t much going on. As it gets warmer and Columbus Commons officially opens, and more people find out we’re open ’til 8, we’re hoping this improves.
To learn more about Market 65, visit MarketSixtyFive.com.
Photography by Adam Slane Photography.