The Refectory’s relaxed and quiet pace presents an evening of elegant dining. At the heart of the dining experience are the culinary creations directed by Chef Richard Blondin, a native of Lyon, France, who studied under chefs Pierre Orsi and Paul Bocuse.
The exceptional contemporary American cuisine and classic French cuisine is complemented by a world-class wine cellar encompassing over 700 selections. An experienced and knowledgeable staff and the personal touch of owner Kamal Boulos, complete the gracious yet unpretentious service that enhances a memorable evening.
The Refectory is also the only central Ohio restaurant to be Animal Welfare Approved, supporting family farmers and caring for the environment. We work directly with our local farmers to bring our guests the finest in fresh produce, cheeses, eggs, meats and seafoods.
Our commitment to excellence in presenting each guest with the finest cuisine and service possible makes The Refectory the perfect setting for an important business dinner, a special celebration, or simply to treat yourself to an elegant dining experience.
A Historic Landmark
The Refectory has a long and distinguished history. The building was first used as a church built in the mid 1800s, and later assumed its role as Columbus’ premier French restaurant in the 1980s.
The Refectory, to some a landmark of dining greats in this city: to others, a link to yesterday where, beneath its old majestic ceiling, the spirit of its past and the presence for which it was set apart can still be felt.
As a result, the church siding was made mostly of beautiful walnut! That year the church was completed and a Sunday school was started. The building was surrounded by a board fence with two entrances. There were hitching posts located all along the fence where the people hitched their horses.
During the worship at Bethel United Methodist Church, men sat on one side of the church and women on the other. No musical instruments were used as the founders did not approve. After a new generation took over, an organ was purchased.
Charles Hibbs, a building contractor, drew up the plans to move the church building to the school ground and join it with the frame school building. The building was jacked up and placed on large timbers. Rollers were placed under the timber, then ropes were attached to the timbers and to two large windlasses anchored to the ground 50-75 feet in front of the building. Then horses were hitched to the ropes; they walked around and around the windlasses, slowly moving the building forward inch by inch. The drums had to be moved several times as the church was pulled across the field.
Meanwhile, a basement was dug and a foundation built. The gravel used was donated and hauled in by horse and wagon from what is now Antrim Lake. The church building, in the front, was attached to the school building in the back.
The schoolhouse was used as the restaurant; the causeway to the sanctuary was the kitchen; and the church itself lay bare and deserted for the most part. As the restaurant settled into routine operation, the new owners had grand ideas for the use of this vast open space.
Plans were made and final drawings were approved. Sketches, complete with fabric swatches and carpet samples, of a proposed disco were framed and hung. Yet nothing more materialized. It should cause one to wonder it were not more than simple coincidence that the noise would diminish only one stop from turning the old church sanctuary into a twentieth-century dance hall. The Old Church-House Restaurant, however, was more in line with the reserve stature which characterized its origins. With a setting of stained glass windows, high-beamed ceilings and candlelight, the serenity of the building could still be felt.
More than just the setting, the philosophies and sense of purpose of the people working in those buildings seem to characterize, too those surroundings and beginnings. It is the attitude of heart, this desire of honest, hard work that has been the thread woven from the past up through the present.
The building still welcomes its old congregation—for dinner. Most are delighted with the changes. Choir members and Sunday Schoolers of old happily reminisce as they stroll through the hallways once more. One former pastor has celebrated many wedding anniversaries dining in the very room where he once addressed his congregation.
The unique architecture and majesty of the original construction create a relaxed intimate candle lit ambiance. The Refectory presents an unparalleled dining experience that is well-known to wonderfully complement this elegant setting.