Watershed Adding Restaurant to Distillery
Watershed Distillery tour-goers will soon be able to sit down for a cocktail and a meal. The business is looking to open a kitchen and bar by February 1.
It’s been somewhat of a dream for owner Greg Lehman. They’ve been talking about it since they opened the distillery six years ago. He explained that during tours, it would be nice to be able to serve a cocktail and a snack, and that they would hold a lot more private events if they could.
“I think that was a big disconnect for the consumer and for us,” Lehman said.
Repairing that disconnect means giving his customers the perfect perspective of the distilling process. An extra 3,000 square feet were added to the distillery’s space in August, which is where the offices will go. Front and center of the distillery is where the kitchen and bar will reside, within sight of the tanks and stills.
The dining room will seat 70, with 30 seats available on the patio. They’re going for upscale casual. Guests will have the option of sitting down for a full-service dinner or brunch, or heading to the bar for a cocktail and a snack.
Lehman has never operated a restaurant before, which is why he wrangled some help from cocktail creator Alex Chien and chef Jack Moore. While menus are far from being completed, Moore said the focus of the food is going to be on the ingredients, not necessarily the technique of cooking. His goal is approachable midwestern food with unexpected ingredients.
“I kind of really dig those tongue-in-cheek things like pork and beans for instance,” Moore said. “That could mean so many things to someone. Some of your classics that you can recognize but really find a way to put some flare on that and give something that’s new to them.”
He knows they’ll be sourcing from Jorgensen Farms in Westerville, but other than that, he’s still searching. Moore drops by any farmers’ market he can to meet with local farmers to see if they’re farming through winter. As the number of days to the grand opening get smaller, he’ll have a better idea of what ingredients will be available to him and what dishes he’ll be able to plan.
“As opposed to making it fit into a certain style of food or a certain technique of food, it’s more about finding this awesome product and then doing whatever we have to do with it to make it fit on the plate,” Moore said.
Watershed’s kitchen and bar, 1145 Chesapeake Ave, STE D, will be open for private parties in December. After that, they’ll fill out their staff before the grand opening in February.
For more information, visit www.watersheddistillery.com.