Picnic with the Partnership

By Nicholas Dekker

It’s a lovely day for a picnic. Or should I say evening?

One of my favorite Worthington events returns for the third time on Saturday, June 23: the Picnic with the Partnership. The neighborhood block party, which closes down High Street for the evening, is the Partnership’s big fundraiser for the year, but let’s be honest – it’s just a fantastic community event, where we get to experience the neighborhood in a different way, celebrate the area businesses, and connect with one another.


Here’s how it works: you buy a ticket (which you should do soon!), then either bring your dinner or pre-order a meal from The Whitney House, the Worthington Inn, Everest Cuisine, or the new Half Pint. (Pro-tip: the Whitney House also offers a kid’s option.) You get to grab a seat at the tables lining High Street and have dinner with your neighbors.


Beer, wine, and cocktails will be available at the event (you can’t bring your own alcohol, sorry). But there are games to play, and you can stroll the district and visit the shops, which will be open that evening. There’s also live music and an old-fashioned cakewalk. You can even sign up to donate a cake to it!


The Picnic sold out last year, so get your tickets soon! Learn more about the Old Worthington Partnership and what they do here.

Nicholas Dekker
The Half Pint will be Pouring Soon in Old Worthington

By Nicholas Dekker

The space at 671 High Street won’t be staying empty for long! Old Worthington will soon get to enjoy a night out at The Half Pint. The restaurant group behind The Half Pint owns The Pint Room in Dublin, as well as Half Pints in Marysville and the Arena District. We caught up with them to learn more about Old Worthington’s newest stop for food and drink!

Can you tell us a bit about who's behind the restaurant?
Keith Moreland is the owner, but the managers and staff are the biggest component of who is behind making the restaurants a success. We couldn't do anything without each and every one of them!


Why did he start The Half Pint and The Pint Room?
We had a passion for a chef-driven concept with a casual environment and wanted to incorporate the craft beer 'boom' as well. The Half Pint derived from The Pint Room's concept, which is essentially half of a Pint Room with half as much to offer, still providing the casual environment and a chef-driven menu.

What other locations do you have?
We have Pint Rooms located in Dublin; Carmel, Indiana; and Littleton, Colorado. We also have The Half Pints in Marysville, the Arena District, and soon to be Worthington! 


How do you generally describe The Half Pint to newcomers?
We are a little sister of The Pint Room. We have a focus on local craft beer and a chef-driven menu. We are a place where you can hang out with your friends, enjoy a date night, or bring your family, too. We strive to give great service, awesome food, and an even better dining/drinking experience.

What are some of the signature dishes and drinks of The Half Pint?
A few of our signatures are the PBBJ which is a burger with fresh strawberries, strawberry preserves, candied bacon, jack cheese, and peanut butter, of course! Another signature item is our Topless Salad, which is a salad with a burger patty on it. We complement the salad with four wedge-cut fries as well. Cheese Curds – I can't forget the curds! They are hand-battered and paired with our house-made sriracha ranch. We have a fresh cocktail menu that rotates seasonally – we always have a few Mules on the menu, but not just your basic Moscow Mule – Bourbon Mules, Blueberry Mules, etc. The beer speaks for itself when it comes to our 'features' in that aspect!


How many beers do you typically have on tap?
At this location we will carry 40 beers on tap. The other locations vary from 40 up to 175 (yes, you read that right!).

What’s unique about the Old Worthington location?
There isn't anything within walking distance that offers what we will be offering. Old Worthington is very similar to the type of community we as a company thrive on. I'd like everyone to know that we are ecstatic to come to such a welcoming area. We have already been welcomed with open arms and we haven't even opened our doors yet!

What's your target opening date?
We are shooting for the first full week of June.

Nicholas Dekker
Visit the Market, Go Green, Test Drive an Electric Car – All This Saturday!

By Nicholas Dekker

Old Worthington is the place to be this Saturday, May 5! From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. there are no less than three big events happening along High Street and on the Village Green. Gather up the whole family for a memorable morning of fun for the first Farmers Market of the season, the annual Green on the Green, and a special visit from Smart Columbus for the Ride & Drive Roadshow!


What’s New at the Farmers Market?
One of Worthington’s favorite seasonal events, the Worthington Farmers Market, kicks off this Saturday. This season is especially exciting as the market unveils new adjustments to enhance the experience for residents, visitors, and vendors.

Here are some of the changes you’ll see this season:

  • An expanded market footprint: Market vendors will extend farther down the east side of High Street in front of the United Methodist Church.
  • Extended hours: In June, July, and August the market is piloting extended hours until 1 p.m. The extra hour is being tested as part of careful analysis of national farmers market trends, with the goal of better serving market customers and encouraging guests to spend more time in the neighborhood!
  • Improved handicapped parking: The Dewey’s parking lot will now be reserved for handicapped customers. Current tags must be visible in each vehicle.

The market is also partnering with the City of Worthington to present Market Fit. Held every first and third Saturday of the month from 8-9 a.m., Market Fit is a rotating series of classes on the Village Green. They’re open to everyone; guests with a Worthington Community Center Group Fitness Card can attend by using their card or signing in with the instructor; guests without cards can join any class for just $8! Keep up with the class schedule through the Facebook event.

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Go Green on the Green
Started in 2010, Green on the Green is an annual celebration of going green. The free and family friendly event promotes sustainable practices, environmental stewardship, and healthy living. More than 60 vendors will be on hand selling handcrafted items (can we say Mother’s Day gifts?) and offering interactive activities for the kiddos. You can enjoy snacks and live music while you play and browse through everything from candles to tea, pottery to essential oils.

Learn about better living habits, discover health and wellness techniques, and learn how to make your home more environmentally sustainable. See the exhibitors and festival map here, and check out the Big Green Guide to learn more about the vendors.


Ride & Drive
Green on the Green will be made even more memorable this year with a visit from Smart Columbus’ Ride & Drive Roadshow. Dedicated to exploring electric vehicles and other transportation alternatives, Smart Columbus was formed in 2016 after the City of Columbus won a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

They’re visiting the Northwest Village Green outside the Griswold Center (777 High St.). to demonstrate how electric vehicles are both exciting to drive and affordable. Registered guests will get to test drive one of the electric cars on the market today. This includes a guided, interactive experience about the Smart Columbus initiative and the benefits of electric vehicles.

Guests who want to take an electric car for spin need to be 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license. Register ahead of time here: smartcbus.com/oldworthington

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

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?
I’m from Worthington and gradated from Thomas Worthington in 2008.

Nick: How did you start your culinary career?
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.


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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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

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

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.


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.


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.


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