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The Whitney House Restaurant Opens in Worthington

Rebecca Wagner Rebecca Wagner The Whitney House Restaurant Opens in WorthingtonPhotos by Rebecca Wagner.
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A new gourmet comfort food restaurant has opened in Downtown Worthington. The Whitney House Restaurant sits in the former location of P.K. O’Ryan’s Irish Pub, at 666 High Street. Reconstruction on the 2,000 square foot building began back in September, transforming the space into an open dining room featuring dark hardwood floors, porthole windows, and an open kitchen. They knocked down a wall to make room for walking space to the back tavern, which opens up to large tables and a spacious bar.

Chef Maxwell Avon started in the restaurant biz at age 16, and grew to love the energy that goes hand in hand with the food scene. Owner Ian Brown, who formerly held the role of manager of Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, secured the space before deciding upon a concept. Brown and Avon, both native Worthington residents, met at age 15. They ended up working together at Bon Vie Bistro at Easton, and have been working together ever since.

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The restaurant’s name is based upon Whitney Avenue, a street in Worthington where Brown’s wife once lived. It was a warm, welcoming place where friends and family would constantly come to hang out. Avon and Brown wanted the restaurant to emulate that warmth, and make it a place where customers could feel at home. They serve American comfort food done well, with a menu that Avon describes as ‘rustic, yet refined.’

“We asked ourselves, ‘What do we like to eat, and how can we make our version the best version of that food you’ve ever eaten?” said Avon.

The menu holds true to their vision. Sweet caramelized onions appear in the Adult Grilled Cheese, and smoked cheddar and aioli add a rich savor to their Ohio Burger. Farrotto, a risotto made with farro, mushrooms, asparagus, and a thyme drizzle, is excellent on the dinner menu, with a poached egg and pomegranate added to the same dish for brunch. The bone-in pork chop is brined for 24 hours and breaded in a crisp crust of panko crumbs and pork rinds, drizzled with an apple-cranberry chutney. The dessert menu includes an array of ‘boozy floats’, including a mix of dark chocolate ice cream, cherry soda, and bourbon.

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Bar offerings are carefully selected, with rotating taps including Jackie O’s, Columbus Brewing Company, and Bell’s Brewery, among others. The cocktails are inventive, most being spins on classics like the Christmas Morning Mary, a bloody mary that includes pepper vodka and a pickled veggie skewer. In addition to the restaurant name, family associations extend throughout the drink menu: Regina, Lorraine, Ruth and Rosemary are all names of Avon’s and Brown’s wives and mothers.

The Whitney House’s price range is $11 – $30, with kids menus available. Free parking is available in their back lot, in addition to Worthington’s several public lots.

For more information, visit www.thewhitneyhouserestaurant.com.

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