After working at several campus bars in the University District such as Barrel 44, Tous and Out-R-In, Kario Ballard decided to open his own neighborhood bar and grill – Adela’s on Oak.
After meeting his wife Victoria Hink, the two bought and developed a vacant facility. 1485 Oak St, which will later open as Adela on Oki In October 2020, adding the names of their daughters, Addy and Stella. With a versatile regular and plant-based menu, live entertainment, and a new liquor license, Adela works to serve her community.
However, it did not start without some challenges, mainly due to the pandemic not having a liquor license. Without the license, his full vision for Adela would not be complete yet.
“It wasn’t easy, and I never sugar coated it,” Ballard said. “We sold our house to do this. We had to do a lot of things that people couldn’t stomach to do and do, but it was something I believed in.”
Without a liquor license, only beer and wine were sold. Despite the lack of a full bar, Adela’s was largely equipped with a plant-based menu alongside her usual menu, according to Ballard, whose family follows a plant-based diet.
“I feel like you’re cutting off a demographic when you don’t have it, you know?” Ballard said. “So basically, what we wanted to do was make our regular menu and have a plant-based option. Essentially, when you’re looking at our menu, almost everything that is on the regular menu is on the plant-based menu. ,
The bar and grill serves a variety of food options from tacos, burgers, club and meatball subs—all can be made plant-based, Ballard said. The restaurant proudly uses the slogan “Serving you food like you’ve never done before.”
Patrick Kalista, Ohio State alum and general manager of Adela on Oak, said its plant-based options help grow the business due to Columbus’s growing vegetarian population. He said Addella’s is one of the few restaurants that are listed as plant-based on Uber Eats and DoorDash in the area.
“There aren’t too many options here,” Kalista said. “That’s what I hear from people all the time, and I’d say the sale is about 50-50 days in. I actually have people who are meat eaters who eat plant-based burgers now because they say it’s better. Is.”
Adela finally received her full liquor license a year after opening with the help of the community.
Kalista said, “I was going door-to-door getting signed with Kario, and we were doing it all with a lot of help from our regular guys, who just went out with sheets and got the signatures and posted them online for help. “
Beginning in 2022, the restaurant began hosting live musicians, such as Harmonic Soul – an R&B and soul band – as well as showcasing local fine art pieces. Ballard said it’s another way to increase community participation.
“We have our regulars who come, and now they’ll know the band we’re hosting,” Kalista said. “Or other people who come to see the band, but then they say, ‘Oh, you guys sell food. Oh, you have it.’ And then it’s just everyone helping each other.”
Ballard has spent time in the University District bar industry, believing that Adela’s menu, performing arts, and music offer something different to students wanting to venture into the off-campus neighborhood.
“If you ever want to experience something different, and in places you’re probably going to be after you graduate, we’re like that next step,” Ballard said.
Challenging to become a popular neighborhood bar and grill in 2020, Kalista said she is happy for Ballard and the community that her vision came to fruition.
“Adela is special to me because we are super invested in this neighborhood,” Kalista said. “Put everything in it. Put my whole life on the line. What’s next, I don’t know. We’re really getting to the point where like, I finally feel a little grounded.”