First restaurant opens in COhatch The Market, others to open next week

The first of six vendors in COhatch The Market in downtown Springfield will open today.

Crust & Company, a European-style eatery, will introduce customers to authentic Roman-style pizza, gelato and freshly baked bread.

“We’ve been working on this project forever and it’s honestly a blessing to finally see these concepts come to life,” Community Orchestrator Joseph Harrison said.

COhatch, a Columbus-based company offering a variety of co-working options, private offices, event space, and restaurants, announced it was investing about $2 million into renovating the downtown Springfield’s historic Myers Market building around August of 2018. The building is located at 101 S. Fountain Ave.

“It feels great to have all of this hard work finally come together and start introducing people to amazing pizza,” Lisa Freeman, owner of Crust & Company said.

Lisa and her husband, Dan Freeman, also own Le Torte Dolci and Salato Deli on North Fountain Avenue.

The idea for Crust & Company came after COhatch announced it was renovating the downtown space.

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Dan Freeman said he and his wife had been in contact with those involved in the COhatch project and came up with an idea that would work well in that space.

The couple said they had planned to open Crust & Company in March, but due to construction delays and the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant’s opening was delayed.

“I appreciate the grace of the community during all of this,” Harrison said.

About three weeks ago their new oven, that was imported from Italy, was installed, Lisa Freeman said.

“We were able to get in there and start practicing with our new staff,” she said.

The new oven is a “bit of a technological wonder,” so they have been learning how their ingredients translate from the bakery’s oven to the new one, she said

The secret behind the authentic Roman-style pizza is in the dough, Lisa Freeman said.

The pizza crust is made with an aged dough using imported flour from Italy and olive oil, she said. The crust is thicker and crispier than the Neapolitan style.

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“The pizza that we make is as authentic as we can get it here in the states,” she said. “Its crust and its texture are completely different from something you would find locally.”

The couple said Crust & Company will offer European-style eating similar to their other restaurants “where it tends to be an event and a meeting place.”

“We love Springfield,” Lisa Freeman said. “We got started in the farmers market and found a real love of the people and just communicating and bringing people together over really great food.”

“It has been quite a road to get here, with a nice big bump in the middle - COVID-19,” Dan said. “It feels good to open.”

This week, Crust & Company is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday for dine-in and carryout. Dan said they will add additional hours as the other vendors begin to open.

Harrison explained that customers will be able to dine inside or outside of The Market. To ensure customer safety, tables will be marked if they are clean or dirty and seating will be six feet apart for groups of two, four or up to 10 people.

Many of the other vendors are planning to open next week, according to the owners. The Painted Pepper is slated to open Monday, June 1, followed by Cork + Board on Wednesday, June 3, North High Brewing on Friday, June 5 and Ironworks Waffle Cafe on Saturday, June 6. It is unknown when Fresh Abilities is planning to open.

The Market Bar, a hand-crafted cocktail bar that will have an elevated cocktail experience, wine and six local guest taps will open Friday, June 5.

For more information on when each vendor will open, search for the vendor on Facebook.

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