Last week it was announced that Milestone 229 would be the name of the new restaurant opening this July in Bicentennial Park as a part of the Scioto Mile project. We recently spoke with Executive Chef Christian Hattemer for a quick Q&A about the new restaurant and what we can expect from this new concept.
Q: Christian, can you tell us first a little bit about your personal and professional background as it relates to the food industry?
A: My first day as a Culinarian was Red, White and Boom at Spinnaker’s in the City Center. I am happy to have outlasted that one. After graduating from OSU I went to work at Tapatio for Bruce Hildreth. He was a great early mentor and convinced me to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York, where I met amazingly talented cooks and chefs and began to understand the path set before me.
My internship from the Culinary was spent at the Refectory. Richard Blondin and Kamal Boulos have both in their own way had enduring impacts on my approach to food and the people I work with. From there I moved to Rigsby’s as Chef du Cuisine. Kent and Tasi Rigsby helped me find my way and gave me my first real taste of creativity and control of the creative process.
I felt that one of the big pieces I was missing in my career at that point was an understanding of the business side of running a restaurant. I reached out to Chuck Kline a fellow Refectory alum who was Corporate Chef for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. He placed me at M and eventually I moved to become Executive Chef at Martini in the Short North. While my intention was to learn the business side of things, what I ended up with was so much more. The emphasis on corporate culture, the systems for ordering and inventory, and the professionalism have continued to color how I approach my current position and have significantly impacted each of the restaurants I have lead since.
I spent a year leading the Bexley Monk, achieving Four Stars from John Christensen and Best Reopening from Columbus Monthly. My goal was to open a family business with my Brother. So after a year at the Monk I left things in the capable hands of Regina Adkins and moved to Cincinnati to open Jimmy’s BBQ. We received some great reviews, but unfortunately the business was not financially viable. This sent me far afield to Georgia and a fine dining restaurant named Halyards, where I spent three years.
Q: So what led you back to Columbus?
A: I longed for Ohio and my family so I left the beach and the wild shrimp behind in Georgia and headed back to Columbus. Through the help of Kamal Boulos at the Refectory, I got in touch with Doug Griggs, a former Cameron Mitchell General Manager who had purchased the Columbus Brewing Company from Cameron a few years before. We hit it off and he brought me on board to be the Executive Chef at Milestone 229.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the development of the concept for Milestone 229 and what the name of the restaurant means?
A: We heard from the city about the opportunity for a restaurant at The Scioto Mile Park. The concept in many ways has been driven by the location in the park and the dynamic building the restaurant will be residing in.
The name “Milestone” incorporates the Scioto “Mile” and the 229 comes from the address of the restaurant, 229 Civic Center Drive
Q: So what will the menu at Milestone be like?
A: The menu concept is very similar to the approach we have at The Columbus Brewing Company restaurant: Chef driven, scratch kitchen with very approachable comfort food and that little extra “chef’s” fun touch. Our goal is to have the menu appeal to the wide audience we expect at the restaurant.
Q: What type of audience do you expect?
A: Diverse. Families enjoying the fountain and the park, Downtown residents who live nearby, people who work downtown looking for a great place to have lunch and many who will want to enjoy a drink and the great view from the patio.
Q: Is there any formal relationship between Milestone and The Columbus Brewing Company?
A: Same ownership. Milestone 229 will feature some of the Columbus Brewing Company brews. Some of the manager and chef team will come directly from CBC.
Q: What role do you think Milestone play in some of the signature riverfront events?
A: We plan to be involved as much as we can. This first year will be a learning experience. One thing we are considering is to have a special menu during these events that reflects the nature of the event.
Q: What will be the hours of operation once Milestone is open?
A: Initial plans are to be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with a magnificent Sunday brunch beginning at 10 AM on Sunday. We’ll be opening on July 7th, after the dedication of the new park.