A downtown Columbus restaurant that operated for nearly 20 years has shut its doors.

Smith’s Row Food and Spirits, 418 Fourth St., owned by Stephen Provenza and his wife, Jennifer Cook-Provenza, closed Saturday — three years to the date after they purchased it.

“After much thought, Steve and I have made the very tough decision to close Smith’s Row. Since we do own the building, we are looking into future development but are still in early stages of planning,” Cook-Provenza said in an email Sunday.

The couple purchased Smith’s Row on Dec. 17, 2013, from Mary Dietz Arnholt. She had opened the two-story bistro on Dec. 31, 1998, with her then-husband Jim Dietz.

Story continues below gallery

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

Arnholt and Dietz purchased the former Left Bank restaurant in 1998 and spent about $500,000 to create a New Orleans-style ambiance. Smith’s Row was named after the tinsmiths and blacksmiths who occupied that section of Fourth Street in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The restaurant was considered to have an upscale reputation in the Columbus market.

Arnholt sold Smith’s Row after reaching retirement age, expressing a desire to spend more time with her grandchildren.

At the time of the sale, Arnholt said she was excited about the Provenzas as the new owners.

“They are both very energetic and youthful, and I think they’ll do a great job,” Arnholt said in 2013.

The Provenzas kept Arnholt’s management team when they assumed ownership to aid with continuity. However, they made some initial changes, such as keeping the restaurant open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, instead of a two-hour closure in the afternoon.

Additionally, the Provenzas added live music on Fridays, express lunch and bar menus and a Sunday brunch after purchasing Smith’s Row.

In the spring of 2014, the Provenzas moved the restaurant to all-fresh protein, with Columbus-based Savory Swine providing non-seafood meats. Vegetarian options also were added to the menu.

Before purchasing Smith’s Row, Stephen Provenza’s primary background had been providing medical and dental services to the military. However, he and his wife had also invested in the Story Hilltop Lodge, a bed-and-breakfast in Brown County.

Cook-Provenza said in the email that they plan to refund money to people who have unused, unexpired gift certificates, or who paid any room fees.

Attempts to reach the Provenzas for additional comments were unsuccessful.

Refund information

Smith’s Row Food and Spirits closed Saturday, but its owners said they plan to refund gift certificates and room fees.

Holders of unused, in-date gift certificates can mail them to Smith’s Row’s address, 418 Fourth St., Columbus, IN 47201, for a full refund within the next 30 days. People should include a mailing address and contact information.

Any room fees that have been collected will be credited back to guests next week.

Author photo
Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.