Meet The Whitney House’s New Chef: Chris Caslow
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By Nicholas Dekker

In case you missed it, the Whitney House has a new chef! At the beginning of 2018, chef Max Avon moved on to Lindey’s in German Village. Let’s get to know the new executive chef, Chris Caslow!

Nick: Are you from Worthington originally?
Chris:
I’m from Worthington and gradated from Thomas Worthington in 2008.

Nick: How did you start your culinary career?
Chris:
My first job was at Bon Vie at Easton through the externship program at Linworth. When I had started I was all of 18 years old and the chef there wasn’t exactly happy to have some kid there, free labor or not. For six months I worked my way through the entire restaurant – at the end of the six months they hired me on. Pantry, oven, prep – by the time I left I was supervisor. It was a four-and-a-half year process of working my way up to supervisor and a leader.

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I spent four-and-a-half years there, the left to go to the Refectory. I spent two years there; when I heard Ian Brown was opening the Whitney House I reached out. It was through the externship program at Linworth where I had first met Ian. I’ve been here since day one. I was sous chef for first three years, and when Max went back to Lindey’s, I climbed up the ladder.

Going to the Refectory was more of a culinary school of sorts – learning how to cook from someone who was amazing. It’s something I will never get back. That’s my philosophy – working your way up the ladder. It’s more rewarding to work your way up. It’s 12 years and I got the title I wanted. We’ve put a lot of work into the Whitney House and we’re working on our fourth year now and not slowing down.

Nick: Is there anything new coming on the menu?
Chris:
We have tinkered with a few things on the menu. We’re going to be working on a spring menu for the end of this month. It’s still in progress. We are messing with some of the dishes that have not changed. Our chilaquiles are getting a nice facelift. Our ramen is getting an overhaul as well. It’ll be a nice of change of pace.

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Nick: What’s your favorite dish to cook at the restaurant?
Chris:
It would be toss up between one of our two weekly specials – the Tuesday Mom’s Stroganoff and the Saturday short rib. Both of those I can get down on any time.

Nick: Do you cook at home?
Chris:
I try, but I do so much here. We just bought a condo on Hard Road and finally got the kitchen unpacked. I just made a simple egg sandwich at home. It was fun to cook and take my time and enjoy it.

Nick: What’s your go-to drink?
Chris:
I’ve never really been a fan of cocktails – they’re too sweet to my liking. Usually my go-to is a Bud Light or an IPA of sorts.

Nick: Any other favorite spots around the city?
Chris:
As much as I don’t like cooking breakfast, I love eating it if someone else is making it for me. It’s my favorite type of food to eat. I like either First Watch or Sunny Street Cafe for breakfast. I love Northstar Cafe, too. And we do 101 Beer Kitchen every once in a while. We went to G. Michael’s for Valentine’s Day. A chef doesn’t get out much!

Nick: What’s in store for the Whitney House next?
Chris:
When the new Han Solo movie comes out [May 25], there will be some kind of late-night dinner going on that night, some type of ramen or three-course dinner.

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Meet Chef Chris and the whole culinary team for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch at the Whitney House!

666 High St.
Worthington, OH 43085
(614) 396-7846
thewhitneyhouserestaurant.com

Nicholas Dekker
Meet the Brew Crew: Worthington’s Own Zaftig Brewing
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By Nicholas Dekker

Every neighborhood in central Ohio has a brewery (or two!) to call their own, and Worthington’s local brew house is Zaftig Brewing. Zaftig is coming up on four years in the brewing business. Taking their name from the Yiddish term for “full-bodied,” they’re known for brewing big beers like IPAs, stouts, wee heavies, strong ales, and barrel-aged versions of them. Zaftig started in a small industrial space off Schrock Road, but nearly two years ago upgraded to a bigger space a few blocks away on Huntley. They added a full-sized taproom, increased their production capacity, built a patio, and even added room for food trucks. To learn more about Zaftig, we checked in with Jim Gokenbach, co-owner of the brewery with Jason Blevins.

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How did Zaftig get started?
We started out as homebrewers. We brewed a small batch, and that became a bigger batch. Soon we were brewing 3-4 batches of homebrew a month and then would have a party at our house, just for fun. We had friends come, and then friends of friends, and then co-workers. The last party we had 200 people come through our house, and that’s how we met Jason. He got the ball rolling on opening a brewery.

How did you carve out a niche producing such big beers?
We want to put central Ohio on the map for big, crazy beers. From the get-go, the reason we got into this business is that we like big full-bodied beers. I went to Purdue and I’m a country boy. I realized if more people made beers that had big, bold flavors, I’d drink more of that.

Where did the name come from?
One of our original owners played on an ultimate frisbee team named Zaftig. We looked up the definition. My degree’s in marketing, so we played off that theme with beers like Juicy Lucy, Shadowed Mistress, and Two Cans.

And you’re known for a lot of barrel-aged beers?
I’m a big bourbon and scotch snob. We like the bigger flavors – it’s something we hang our hat on. Last year we won a gold medal at the biggest barrel-aged fest in the country, the Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers in Chicago, for our bourbon barrel-aged wee heavy.

And you started out small?
We first opened on Schrock Road. We tested it out to make sure it wasn’t just friends and friends of friends that thought the beer was good. Two-and-a-half years ago we figured we’d have to close it down or go bigger. All of us still had full-time jobs. We went big.

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And then you moved to your space on Huntley Road?
We’ll celebrate two years in our new space in May. We’re currently brewing on a custom 15-barrel brewhouse from Portland Kettleworks, with five 20-barrel fermenters, two 30-barrel fermenters, and a 30-barrel brite tank.

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People can find food trucks at the taproom, too?
We have food trucks and carts every night of the week, with two on Saturday.

What’s coming up next?
We’re celebrating our four-year anniversary party on May 12. We’ll be releasing a barrel-aged version of our Ol’ Rugger Russian imperial stout that’s at 17% ABV, plus three variants of it.

Meet Jim, Jason, and the whole Zaftig crew at their taproom and production space:
7020A Huntley Rd.
Worthington, OH 43229
(614) 636-2537

They’re open:
Tuesday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m.
Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight
Saturday, noon to midnight
Sunday, 1-6 p.m.

Visit their website at drinkzaftig.com; and find them on Facebook, on Twitter at @zaftigbeer and Instagram at @zaftigbeer. (If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot the house cat, Hops! He has his own Instagram feed, @zaftighops.)

Nicholas Dekker
Get To Know: Sandeep Singh and the Dishes of Everest Cuisine
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In late 2017, Old Worthington welcomed a new dining hotspot: Everest Cuisine! The restaurant is run by Sandeep Singh, and features dishes from Nepal, India, and Tibet. Singh hails originally from Nepal, having come to the U.S. a couple years ago and eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. Everest is a family-owned venture, and he’s using the restaurant to introduce local diners to Nepali dishes.

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The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, with a buffet offered daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Let’s take a look at some of Singh’s popular dishes!

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Chaat is originally a street food found around India, Nepal, and the surrounding regions. The savory appetizer is usually a mixture of fried bread, potatoes, and other spices and veggies. The samosa chaat on Everest’s menu takes one of their samosas (crispy pastry filled with potatoes and spices – excellent all on their own) and dices it up with mint, tamarind, yogurt, and cilantro.

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Singh recommends their Kathmandu Platter, a combo plate of spicy chicken (chicken choila), soft seasoned potatoes (aaloo), marinated soybeans (bhatamas), and chiura, a rice that’s pounded flat and toasted. The dish is a wonderful combination of textures, flavors, and tempatures.

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Momos are Nepali dumplings stuffed with veggies or chicken and a combination of spices. ‘Jhol’ means a spicy broth, so jhol momo are dumplings served in a bowl of the sauce.

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Another popular dish is the Everest Thali. A thali is a platter that combines a series of smaller tastes, from vegetables and spicy pickles to side salads, meat and vegetable curries, a yogurt-based dish called raita, papads (crispy, wafer-like bread), and more. It’s an easy way to sample several different tastes all at once.

Singh also says you shouldn’t miss out on their freshly baked naan. Naan is a type of bread that’s cooked in a tandoor, a deep, clay oven where the bread is slapped onto the sides. The dough bakes quickly, resulting in a crispy, bubbly flatbread. (The same oven is used to grill chicken, goat, and lamb for other dishes on the menu.) Different naans are stuffed with garlic, onions, cheeses, fruits and nuts, and other ingredients.

Take a trip to Nepal, Tibet, and India without leaving Worthington! Visit Everest for lunch or dinner seven days a week.

Everest Cuisine
652 High St.
Worthington, OH 43085
(614) 601-6004
everestcuisinecolumbus.com
Find them on Facebook, too!

Nicholas Dekker
Get Your Piece of the Pie at Slice of Worthington
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We all know that Worthington is a pizza mecca, right? I mean, here’s what you’ll find just along High Street, and that doesn’t even include all the hidden gems scattered off the main paths.

Sometimes you wish you could taste it all, and now you can do just that, while also supporting a good cause. How? You snag tickets to the inaugural Slice of Worthington!

Slice of Worthington is a community- and pizza-centric fundraiser happening on Thursday, March 15 at The Shops at Worthington Place. Thirteen pizza shops from around Worthington will be on hand sampling some of their signature pies. You get to stroll around, eat pizza from all over the neighborhood, sip beers from Zaftig Brewing, listen to live music from Matt Steidle, taste sweets from the bake sale, and enjoy activities for the kiddos.

Here’s the pizza line-up so far:

  • Dewey's Pizza
  • Donatos
  • East Coast Pizzeria
  • Jet's Pizza
  • JT's Pizza and Pub
  • Leone's Pizza
  • Marco's Pizza
  • Massey’s Pizza
  • Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza
  • Pizza House
  • Sbarro
  • VillaNova Ristorante
  • Worthington Pizza Primo

And everyone likes to brag on their favorite pizza, right? You’ll get your say! After you eat your fill of pizza, you can cast a vote for the People’s Choice award. A trio of esteemed judges will also award one pizza shop with a Judges’ Choice prize.

The pizza is great, but truly the best part of the event is that you’re helping feed hungry kids. The Old Worthington Partnership and Sacred Space Church are collaborating on Slice of Worthington, and the proceeds benefit FeedWorthingtonKids.org, a program through the Family Mentor Foundation. They supply weekend meals to kids in need from Colonial Hills and Wilson Hill elementary schools. A lot of kids depend on school breakfast and lunch, but they don’t get that on weekends, and Family Mentor helps fill the gap.

To recap:

  • Pizza
  • Music
  • More pizza
  • Beer
  • Even more pizza
  • Kid's activities
  • Pizza, if you're still hungry
  • Bake sale
  • Feed hungry kids
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The Important Details:
Slice of Worthington
Thursday, March 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The Shops at Worthington Place

Tickets (get them soon!)

Oh, and come hungry!

The Sunday After Thanksgiving Means....It's Time for Holiday Open House!
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As we round the bend toward the end of November, it can only mean two things...turkey day and Holiday Open House (ok, and Buckeye fans would argue it's 3 things if you count the upcoming game against the team from up North). The annual Worthington tradition will take place from noon until 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 26. The City of Worthington tree illumination ceremony will take place on the SE Village Green at 5:30 p.m.

Back by popular demand is the “Iceless Ice Rink” made of a synthetic plastic polymer that resembles the same experience of skating on ice. The rink will occupy the parking lot at the corner of High Street and New England Avenue. It will be open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is free with a donation to the Partnership or with any donation of a non-perishable item for the Worthington Resource Pantry.

You can also look forward to these special activities:

  • Live music...we have more music than previous years.
  • Write your letter to Santa...and he will write you back! 
  • Special commercial debut. We made a commercial for Old Worthington. It will debut at COhatch during the event...don't miss this special 30 second tribute to our town!
  • “It’s a Wonderful Window” showcase pairing 20 storefronts with 22 charities competing for the best holiday window display decorations. Shoppers may vote for their favorite displays via monetary donations (minimum of $1) made at each participating store. The contest will run through December 26. All donations will go directly to the corresponding charity. Last year the contest raised more than $4,000 for local charities.
  • Two horse-drawn carriages for attendees to enjoy a free ride through Old Worthington.
  • Many, many crafts and activities in the merchant shops; some activities may require payment.
  • Treats, hot chocolate, and more treats...welcome to the holidays! 

Pictures with Santa Claus will take place in front of the Worthington Inn from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Don't miss the perfect picture with the Big Guy.

Each year, we continue to build on the tradition of this event. Last year was the biggest event yet, and with many new merchants and lots of great energy in Old Worthington, we look forward to hosting our community again this year. We’re grateful to the businesses that graciously participate to make this event possible, and we’re looking forward to the new experiences this year’s Holiday Open House will provide to residents and visitors.

We are also grateful to the many sponsors we have of these special activities this year.. Thank you to our friends at FC Bank, NAI Equities Ohio, Dr. Lordo, DDS, Colonial Hills Lawncare, Park National Bank, CyMacK Group, Michelle Groff, Great American Title, Remax Revealty, Home Savings Bank and Sarah Winland Mullen. We couldn't continue these activities without their financial support. Please support these community partners and continue to SHOP LOCAL!

See you on November 26!


 

Annina Parini