After a temporary hiatus since late May, Rockmill is back in the Brewery District.

The outfit has dropped the Tavern moniker and is now operating as Bandit: Pizzas and Pairings by Rockmill.

As the name indicates, pizza is the focus of the menu at 503 S. Front St.

“With the pandemic, we realized that our menu wasn’t necessarily a strong carryout format,” says Matthew Barbee, owner of Bandit and Rockmill Brewery.

With looming uncertainty in the industry, Barbee focused on how they could take pressure away from the Tavern dining room. The answer was at Rockmill’s brewery in Lancaster.

The brewery had added a wood-fired oven at the farm and started offering a menu of house-made pizzas and other eats. After all the time spent perfecting their pizza dough and developing recipes to great success, “It made sense to try to bring that up to the tavern space,” Barbee says.

With the Tavern’s success since its opening in 2016, Barbee says that without the pandemic, they likely wouldn’t have thought of pivoting the Tavern space, but the situation caused them to reassess and start thinking about what would be more sustainable down the road. During the pandemic, more diners had gotten used to ordering carryout to enjoy at home – which is how Bandit will operate to start.

Bandit is carryout-only for now, but there are some opportunities for on-site imbibing. The pizza joint will offer happy hour specials for guests to grab a drink while they’re waiting for their pies.

Barbee says there’s a lot of crossover between the Brewery’s menu and Bandit’s, but the latter will feature more offerings. The are some classics – Old Lace features san marzano sauce, fresh basil, burrata and garlic oil, while Priceless Heirloom will satisfy pepperoni fans with san marzano sauce, mozzarella, provolone and Ezzo pepperoni. However, the culinary team also got to flex its creativity.

There’s a Thai Peanut Chicken inspired creation, a Greek spin on pizza and even a decadent Lobster Pie, plus many more.

Additional pies will be added to the menu, including a spicy chicken pizza that’s a riff on the Tavern’s best-selling spicy chicken sandwich, giving the new joint a nod to its former life.

There’s another tradition that will carry on, too.

“Pairing food with beer and wine has always been a passion of Rockmill, and the pairings we have selected for our pizza menu are dynamic and delectable,” Barbee says.

There’s dine-in in Bandit’s future, giving the place a more casual, fun atmosphere, but that will depend on hiring, with Rockmill also hit by the industry-wide labor shortage.

Bandit: Pizzas and Pairings by Rockmill is open Wednesday through Sunday from 4 – 9 p.m.

For more information, visit rockmillbandit.com.

Bandit has announced its arrival in the Brewery District – Photo by Susan Post
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Susan Post

Susan is the editor of TheMetropreneur.com and associate editor of ColumbusUnderground.com, and also covers small business and entrepreneurial news and the food scene in Central Ohio. Susan holds a degree in Communication with a minor in Professional Writing from The Ohio State University. She sits on the board of the Central Ohio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and loves coffee, whiskey, cooking and spending time with friends and family.





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