The original Max & Erma’s restaurant was located only a few blocks from our place in German Village. It closed more than a year ago, and now the space has been “repurposed.” By day, it hosts a co-working venture, and as the cocktail hour approaches the space transitions to a place called Wonderbar that features food from Pierogi Mountain. The other day, Kish and I dropped by with the Columbus Featured Artist to check out the new spot.
The bar itself will seem familiar to anyone who went to the old M&E, because they’ve kept many of the fixtures and oddities that made the old M&E bar memorable. And yet, there is a decidedly different vibe. Whereas the M&E bar was a place where regulars camped out for the night, Wonderbar seems to attract a much younger, more diverse crowd, and the bar area itself seems a lot more energetic and more fast-paced. Many of its patrons appears to see it as a good place to stop for a beer or cocktail on their way to somewhere else, so there’s lots of movement and coming and going.
If you’re interested in pierogis or other food from Pierogi Mountain, you order from a window to and take a marker to your table to be served when the food is ready. The three of us decided to share a sampler of every kind of pierogi, and I also got a dish of shredded chicken, dumplings and gravy. Pierogi Mountain says its pierogis are great drinking food, and it’s not hard to see why: if you want to establish a solid consumed-food “base” before going all in on a few drinks, you’re not going to do much better than doughy morsels stuffed with potatoes, cheese, and other goodies and topped with sour cream. The chicken dish I got was in the same belly bombing vein. It was substantial stuff that all went down pretty well with a Wonderbar brown ale.
I have no idea how the co-working venture is going, but I’m glad to see the old M&E spot open again and contributing to our neighborhood nighttime options.