• Kelly Blanton

A Meal With A View ~ JUNIPER



Hey there, Gadabout Gal Kelly here!

Listen, I need to share something personal with you all.


I am VERY outdoorsy.


Well….

Outdoorsy in that I love to eat & drink on patios.


C’mon, who’s with me?


Seriously, I don’t know about all of you….but I spend a LOT of time searching for great local restaurants and bars that not only have delicious food and drinks…but that also have fun outdoor seating, and even better...a fabulous view.


Yep, my friends and family ALL know that whenever possible, I prefer to dine

‘al fresco’.


(No, that’s not Italian for ‘naked’, it’s French…for ‘in the open air’.)


Actually, that leads me to another confession. I took 4 years of high school French…but all I remember is a few common phrases. So, I try to use them in my conversations or writing every once in a while.


C’est la vie...how ‘trés chic’ of me.



OK, Just kidding.

Kinda.


Anyways, I better get back on track here ~ I want to share the scoop about a

FAB (new-ish) restaurant/event space that opened here in Columbus not quite a year ago,

in October 2017 ~ JUNIPER.



I remember reading about this venue during their construction phase. Rooftop restaurant/bar/event space with a killer view of the Columbus skyline and beyond. Heck, I don’t even have to hear the food or cocktail menu and I’m there. And I'm bringin’ a bunch of fun friends with me!


If you build something fun & fabulous in our area, they will come…and once JUNIPER opened, I started reading all sorts of great things about the food and cocktails. I also read OVER-THE-TOP raves about the gorgeous space and the absolute to-die-for rooftop patio and city skyline view.


Cue my ‘Happy Patio Gal' Dance.


Overhead view of JUNIPER rooftop at night. Wowza!

JUNIPER is located on top of the iconic Smith Brothers Hardware building in Columbus, Ohio near the Italian Village area.



I must admit, it took me a quite a bit longer than expected to finally find the right time to visit, but listen up friends…this place does NOT disappoint.


Cheers to drinking on rooftop patios!

I spent a recent fun evening with a great group of gal friends, enjoying the delicious food, tasty drinks and very cool ambiance of JUNIPER.


Our BEXLEY Basketball Moms ~ (Left to Right) Me, Martine Knisley, Joyce Edelman, Lisa Elliott and Brandi Kondracke

From here on out, I'm really gonna try for this review to have fewer words and more pics.


The ground floor doorway leading inside, you take an elevator up to the roof

The 12,000 square foot JUNIPER functions as a private event space on the weekends and a bar and restaurant open to the public three nights a week ~ Tuesdays through Thursdays. Don’t worry, they accept reservations. You can make them easily online, via Open Table on the JUNIPER site : Click to make reservations




JUNIPER has many areas, including an indoor dining room and an outdoor terrace. With both floor to ceiling windows surrounding the space AND a retractable glass roof, JUNIPER can easily become a completely outdoor or a completely indoor venue, depending on the weather (ya know, this IS Ohio after all. If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes, it’ll change). Ha!




The terrace has plentiful lounge and tabletop seating, along with a cozy fireplace and an absolutely FABulous panoramic view that lets you observe Downtown, the Arena District, the Convention Center, the Short North, the OSU Stadium and parts of Italian Villages.


In. Love.


During the week, JUNIPER offers a menu serving a creative fusion of tastes from the Caribbean island of Antigua and regional American dishes. Chef Andie Henri ~ born, raised and trained in Antigua, heads up the kitchen.


Our group all tried a variety of their dishes and cocktails…..


Left to Right above:

BRIE PLATE ($11)

fresh brie served with raw honeycomb, chopped pistachios, orange marmalade, and lavash made fresh daily. Nicley done, great crackers and assorted other nibbles.

CONCH FRITTERS ($11)

conch with a blend of vegetables, aromatics, and spices, served with your choice of fresh mango habanero aioli, creole sauce, or lemon aioli. These fritters were SO tasty and the sauces were DEE-lish!

TOMATO AND ARTICHOKE STACK ($9)

tomatoes concasse and artichoke hearts on a bed of haricots verts garnished with frisée salad and lemon vinaigrette. This 'salad' tasted so fresh and summery, a beautiful presentation and it tasted divine!



Left to Right above:

BEET SALAD ($9)

house-pickled beets with walnut-crusted goat cheese. I didn't try this, but my gals said it was tasty and a nice before-dinner portion.

JERK CHICKEN BREAST ($13/$24)

seared airline chicken breast, with traditional Caribbean rice and peas and fried plantains. My friend Joyce had this entreé (smaller serving) and loved it! Yummy flavors!

DUCK BREAST ($17/$30)

seared, with a ginger beer glaze, over a sweet corn puree and crispy matchstick vegetables. This was my entrée, I ordered the smaller serving and it was my first time having duck. EVER. Oh my my...everything about this was DEE-lish! The duck was so flavorful and tender. The corn puree and matchstick veggies were delicious also!


We did get a dessert to share, it was plenty for all of us...

BROWNIE À LA MODE ($8)

warm brownie made daily, topped with Graeter’s Madagascar Vanilla Bean ice cream, ganache, and soft caramel syrup. This was oooey, gooey and SO chocolately. We really had to force ourselves to eat this. Not. Actually, we all ate it so fast, I completely forgot to take a pic. Sorry.



Some of the cocktails:


JUNIPER GIN & TONIC ($9)

watershed bourbon barrel gin, lime juice, tonic syrup, club soda


ELVIS ($11)

watershed four peel gin, grapefruit juice, st. germain, IPA float


Wow. Truly tasty. ALL of it.


The Smith Brothers building itself was constructed in 1929, the era of Prohibition and bathtub gin. Thus, the inspiration for the cool Prohibition-era vibe of the space and the gin-centric cocktail menu. Honestly, Jay Gatsby himself could’ve walked in and joined us at our table that night and he would’ve felt completely at home.

(Yes, I know Gatsby is a fictional character. Just go with me on this.)



Perhaps Gatsby would've enjoyed this cocktail below: the PARK OF ROSES

watershed four peel gin, pineapple rose cordial, lemon juice, strawberry puree. Yum.



I must admit, the rooftop view is definitely what got me there, but the tasty food and cocktails, beautiful bar and retro decor make the JUNIPER drinking and dining experience something truly special. Check out their Facebook page and Instagram account for more great pics and venue scheduling info, etc.



I’m SO thrilled that I finally made it to JUNIPER! Honestly, it truly lived up to all of my expectations, yay! I highly recommend it, either for a special occasion or just a fun rooftop patio happy hour. The prices for food and drink are very reasonable, not crazy high as might be expected for such a trendy/cool spot. I was definitely pleased about that. I loved everything about this place and I can’t wait to go back! I really want to share it all with my husband Jason ~ maybe for our upcoming Anniversary? (hint, hint big guy…it’s coming up).


JUNIPER is also a much-requested wedding venue. That's quite a stunning backdrop for your wedding vows.

I'm curious, have any of you been to JUNIPER yet? If so, I’d love to hear your comments on the experience!


Hey, just think of it as one really outdoorsy person sharing nature tips with another.


C'est la vie.


*Most photos here are my own. Additional photos courtesy of the Juniper Instagram feed

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