Elizabeth Lessner

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In 2000, the Columbus bar scene was booming. Crowds flocked for sports on big screens and fluorescent lights on dance floors. But Liz saw something missing. What she saw missing, she set out to create. It would be a different kind of bar for Columbus. Somewhere women could have fun and be comfortable. Real tables — not just belly-up-to-the-bar seats. No big screens. Just comfort food, tasty cocktails, good beer, and friendly people serving it up. And that’s how this social entrepreneur’s first venture was born in 2001.

She’s since put her stamp on four more restaurants that purposefully buck a burgeoning social trend — from a yes-you-can-afford-to-eat-out-during-the-recession hot dog palace to a no-downtown-is-not-dead watering hole. She was born in Chicago, went west for college, and, lucky for us, visited Columbus one summer and never left. She’s out to do this bar-and-restaurant thing not just differently, but for the better. She’s hell-bent on providing progressive benefits to her employees, respecting the earth in philosophy and practice, and when she can’t find a solution — creating her own.

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