A Food Truck transforms into a public house



Tatoheads public house is the latest bar to open up on the South Side of Columbus. It's located east of Hungarian village at 1297 Parsons Ave. The bar was previously known as Hal and Al's, but has adopted the Tatoheads moniker after it was purchased by Dan McCarthy, owner of the popular Tatoheads food truck. Tatoheads public house takes the style of a restaurant pub, going a different direction from Hal and Al's, which boasted a huge selection of draft beers and entirely vegan food.


I managed to stop by during the premier of their new dining menu for a quick afternoon meal with my family. Tatoheads is in the process of transforming itself into the vision of its new owner but at this point still has a dimly lit indy rock bar. The music playing was a nice selection of alternative rock from the 90s on. They have a half-off draft happy hour from 4-8pm. We tasted the Bodhi brew from Columbus Brewing Company and a Dragon Milk for under $10.


The food was good but more expensive than your typical bar kitchen. The new menu appeals less to vegans as they have added a significant amount of meat items from Talapia to Steak and a variety of chicken dishes. Being a vegetarian, there wasn't anything that popped out at me, so we went with the standard alternative, the Veggie burger. We tried to order a vegan burger with a pretzel bun and a veggie burger with a Brioche bun we ended up with veggie burgers that had no apparent difference. Neither of us were vegan so the mixup wasn't very important but it did show the challenges in trying to convert a standard bar kitchen into something more akin to a restaurant.


When the food arrived the Chef's brought it out dressed in standard white chef attire, the first hint that the vision is aiming at something beyond your standard bar kitchen. The burgers were tasty and rich for a vegetarian selection but it was hard to swallow the $9 price tag. The tater tots with the Chicago style seasoning and curry dipping sauce were good. The kid in our group said the cheese curds were great. The food was pretty tasty with fresh ingredients on the burger. When we asked for ketchup and Sriracha they brought it out promptly in nice ceramic cups.


When I first met up with owner Dan McCarthy to discuss his foray into the restaurant/bar business he had shared with me his plans and intentions of creating a vegan kitchenette area and even adding a separate fryer that would cater exclusively to vegans. I have to wonder if that is still on the drawing board as the new menu is much more likely to appeal to omnivores than the vegetarian or vegan. An example of this was the majority of the salads included meat as toppings.


The process of transforming a hip dive bar with vegan food into a classy restaurant is underway but not complete. According to an instagram post on the Tatoheads account, this current menu isn't their end vision and they welcome feedback. Tatoheads still offers the same great happy hour with dozens of craft beers on tap. They are starting up live music again on Friday nights with Jimmy Razor and the exceptions playing Rockabilly on August 8th and they have Karaoke on Saturday nights. So if you are looking to try some gourmet food while you drink Tatoheads public house is worth checking out.


Tatoheads Public House is open from 4pm to Midnight Monday thru Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Noon to 2:30AM and Sunday from Noon to Midnight. You can find them on the web at facebook.com/tatoheads or tatoheads.com or just stop by 1297 Parsons Ave.