COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Thursday, one local business and by-product of a Columbus non-profit is set to open their doors to the Fountain City.
Bytes and Brews is a tale of Columbus entrepreneurship, all four owners met through StartUP Columbus.
“There’s tons of great places to eat in Columbus. There’s tons of great entertainment in Columbus, but there’s no place you can really do both and do that well. So, we wanted to provide an option of a really good kitchen, really good menu, but also stuff that you can do to have fun but also do it all nice and quick,” Co-owner Chris Poirier said. “So, if you jump in for lunch, we’re hoping you can order up, grab your food within 30 minutes, play a quick round on the pinball or something you enjoy, and then get right back to work within the hour.”
Poirier went on to share the opportunities Columbus presents is what brought him to the Chattahoochee Valley from Raleigh-Durham.
“There’s tons of people that are either coming here that aren’t from here or locals that are rising up that want to just build out and continue expanding Columbus,” Poirier said. “So, it’s not just the big boys and girls that are putting money into huge projects. There are tons of us at the startup level that are just bootstrapping whatever thing we can and getting into Uptown or Midtown or expanding in all the different areas and markets.”
With support from organizations like StartUP Columbus, the Turner College of Business, the Chamber of Commerce, Always Uptown, and Columbus 2025, Columbus native and co-owner Michael Woodham says now is the time for other entrepreneurs to make dreams a reality.
“The economic scene has just completely changed in Columbus the past ten years, and it will continue to exponentially grow over the next five, ten, 20 years. Now is the time if you’re going to do something because it may be too late and you may end up paying double or triple, which you possibly could now,” Woodham said. “And with all the entrepreneurial help and guidance and the community right now, I mean, you really can’t go wrong.”
While Poirier and Woodham took advantage of the opportunities Columbus presented, they’re also paying homage to the rich history of their gaming hall and eatery.
“This building has been around since the early 1900’s. It’s gone through several different types of businesses. Previously, it was Vertigo and 12th Street Deli before that, and the Newsstand,” Woodham said.
“One of the things we will be highlighting at some point is the Newsstand, they actually had pinball machines here in this building. The Ledger covered that in 1976 where pinball was being played,” Poirier shared. “They talked about the judges coming from across the street to play pinball, grab a sandwich, read the newspaper, whatever. So, from the 70’s, all the way to today, we’re maintaining pinball and just fun stuff in this building.”
They’re also honoring local artists, both past and present. Under original ownership of formerly Vertigo Fusion Kitchen, a mural by local artist Jori Kent adorned the wall.
“During COVID, the business was sold, and this whole place was painted over. Everything was kind of blacked out. And, you know, TVs were thrown up over the wall. So that got a significant amount of backlash from the community and on social media,” Woodham shared. “When we were scouting out different places and then learning about the potential of us getting this location, that was the one thing we were hellbent on getting back in here.”
Kent’s work has rejoined the space with touches of Columbus mixed with virtual realms. However, Poirier says there’s plenty room for future artists.
“We’re hoping over the next couple of months we’ll roll out a few other things where you’ll see local artists and local students from CSU have their art on display here in different capacities that we have walls to fill, and we have tons of creatives. So why would we go out and buy stuff when we’re surrounded by so many creative people,” Poirier said.
All four co-owners are also looking to support other types of artists by bringing in live music, hosting game nights, and renting out lanes in a one-of-a-kind vending machine filled with different small prints, stickers, and other items created by other entrepreneurs.
“Any way that we can bring Columbus to the rest of the world, that’s. That’s what we’re trying to do,” Poirier informed.
The restaurant and entertainment destination has a menu catered for the hands-on experience. The grand opening and ribbon cutting is set for Thursday, Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. More information on the opening and Bytes and Brews can be found below.