J. Liu: A sign of good things to come

Jan 9, 2024 | Featured, Business | 0 comments

Columbus area chef Jason Liu plans to restore the Island House Hotel building, one of Port Clinton’s most historically significant structures, back to its former charm. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

This sign on the side of the Island House Hotel building foretells a new restaurant coming to town this spring. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

A little sign has caused a lot of buzz in Port Clinton. In December, the words, “J. Liu, restaurant & bar” were hung on the side of the Island House Hotel building, and locals began to wonder – and to hope – that it was a sign of something good to come.

They were right. Celebrated and talented Columbus-area chef, Jason Liu, is bringing his wildly popular, fine casual dining restaurant to Port Clinton.

“It will feature the same menu as my other restaurant, but I’ll also offer sushi,” Liu said. “A famous sushi chef from the Port Clinton area will be joining us.”

J. Liu’s current menu at his Columbus restaurant features options founded on Liu’s eclectic, culture-merging culinary style. The menu includes such diverse choices as tuna poke bowl, pasta diavolo, filet mignon, pad Thai and chophouse burger. Diners can start with appetizers like calamari, grilled avocado or samurai nachos.

Liu’s crew freshened the restaurant with new paint last year, and further remodeling will begin once all the permits are in place.

“When I saw the Island House building, I loved it. It was neglected and needed a lot of attention,” Liu said. “I looked at the original building and saw the potential. I’m trying to restore its charm for Port Clinton.”

The 19th century Island House Hotel has a long, colorful history. Among its clients were Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, the Ringling Brothers and President James Garfield. Now, Liu has what it takes to bring the building into a new era of casual glamour in Port Clinton.

“I want to restore the glory, piece by piece,” he said.

Liu is hoping to begin serving customers this spring.

“We’re planning to open mid-April or early May. I’m trying to be open before Mother’s Day,” Liu said.

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