When it comes to restaurants, Columbus, Ohio may not be first of mind as a hot spot. But one investment banker thinks that perception should change. Here’s why.

“Ohio happens to be home to emerging great concepts,” says KeyBanc Capital Markets director Ryan Hartzell. Charley’s Philly Steaks and White Castle are among some restaurant chains that are headquartered in Columbus.

Hartzell points out that restaurants can achieve better margins in the region, because for starters, rent is cheaper compared to places like New York, and this attracts more brands to Ohio.

Another factor is growth. There are not a lot of places in the U.S. that look like Manhattan, says Hartzell, but there are a lot of markets that look like Columbus. And this means restaurant operators starting out in Columbus can replicate and grow their concepts more easily across the country.

Private equity firms are starting to notice the Columbus restaurant scene because it’s more cost effective in terms of real estate and there are less labor issues, according to Hartzell. This could start attracting buyers.

“I think the industry is healthy,” he adds. “We expect to see more businesses come to market later this year.”

Demitri Diakantonis