Gift Horse — New Raw Bar Downtown

Chef/owner Ben Sukle of Oberlin has opened his new full-service raw bar and restaurant Gift Horse tucked into the building at Grant’s Block that will soon house the relocated Oberlin. Sukle explained it to Gail Ciampa last year:

“They will be two concepts under the same roof with a cool little walkway between the two,” said Sukle in a phone interview. Both Gift Horse and Oberlin will occupy the new building next to Grant’s Block park. This is the first time Sukle has worked to open a restaurant in a new space rather than retrofit an older spot, he said.

Sukle compared the U-shaped bar of Gift Horse to that of another of his former downtown projects, Birch. But Gift Horse also has seating around the room’s perimeter, making it a 30-seat restaurant. Good idea. I found Birch a little too intimate. It was hard not to catch the eye of the people seated on the other side, but they weren’t close enough to talk to, so you all just smiled awkwardly and looked down.

This new interior is not so closed in. It’s roomy, airy, and inviting, with a view of Clemence Street, a graffiti enhanced alley that locals use as a shortcut. HB Design created the overhead stained glass canopy with its little horse.

The place was bustling today; I must return soon for oysters.

Opens Thursday through Monday at 4pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gift Horse, 272 Westminster Street, (directions)


Grant’s Block is where we used to watch movies, and I’m still a little sore about that. But the excellent Oberlin will be moving into this space shortly, with plenty of outdoor seating. The entrance to Gift Horse is around the corner on the right.


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