New restaurant seeks Riverfront liquor license

A new Thai restaurant planned for downtown Columbus has been recommended to receive the city’s last Riverfront liquor permit out of 10 that had been available.

Thai Connection is set to open in a 3,400-square foot space at 527 Washington St. in about two months, said co-owner Greg Luzietti.

Columbus Redevelopment Commission members voted Monday to authorize Mayor Jim Lienhoop to seek approval from the Alcohol Beverage Commission for approval of Thai Connection’s request.

But the approval doesn’t mean that any new restaurant seeking a liquor license in the Columbus Riverfront District will not be able to obtain one, said Columbus Redevelopment Director Heather Pope.

The city will begin the process of seeking approval for five more permits by asking the Columbus City Council to approve seeking the permits from the state Alcohol and Tobacco Commission at the local council’s Oct. 18 meeting, Pope said. The application is then considered by by the state for approval, pending adherence to state law regarding issuing permits, said Heather Lynch, spokesman for the state agency.

Riverfront permits do not fall under the city’s quota limit and must meet certain criteria in order to obtain them, Lynch said. No carry-out is permitted, except for breweries.

The new Thai restaurant will be an offshoot of Thai Spice, an Indianapolis restaurant Luzietti and co-owners Pnhaya Staley and Shanyapuk Lipikaporn also established that has a growing Columbus clientele.

The Columbus restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. seven days a week, starting with a smaller menu from Thai Spice and expanding from there, Luzietti said.

In 2014, Thai Spice in Indianapolis had approximately $900,000 in food sales, of which alcohol sales represented 2.2 percent, the company’s application stated.

The restaurant will seat about 80 people and have eight full-time and 16 part-time employees, Luzietti said. One of the three owners will be on site during operating hours usually, he said.

Work began on renovating the space for the restaurant in September 2015 and was initially projected to be completed in early March, but unforseen repairs and state code revisions caused the project to be delayed, the restaurant owners said in their application.

The site interior has been completely demolished and rebuilt to be a full-service restaurant will all new equipment, furniture and storefront, while retaining the building’s historical façade.

Indiana’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission is tasked with regulating and limiting the manufacturing, sale, possession and use of alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

Indiana communities receive a limited number of permits for businesses to serve alcohol as part of the state’s oversight of alcohol sales.

What's next

The Columbus City Council will consider seeking five more Riverfront liquor license permits from the state at a meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at City Hall.

Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.