I will admit I drove right on by the Crest a couple times before finally mustering the courage to stop in. The crowds have been insane since the former dive bar reopened in its new gastropub incarnation at the end of April, with lines waiting outside just about any time of day.

I will admit I drove right on by the Crest a couple times before finally mustering the courage to stop in. The crowds have been insane since the former dive bar reopened in its new gastropub incarnation at the end of April, with lines waiting outside just about any time of day. I still had to wait about 20 minutes on a Monday night--not to mention having to park on up the street on Indianola.

Yes, this is the buzziest restaurant of the moment, thanks in part to a long-running promotional ad campaign and also to its highly visible location. Residents in that heavy residential area of Clintonville have watched eagerly as the former eyesore of a building was rebuilt from the ground up as part of an ambitious reno that included adding walls of windows and installing a rooftop garden.

While there are still a few kinks to work out, and the full menu has yet to be rolled out, I can certainly see the appeal. This place is destined to be a bright and cheery neighborhood gathering spot for a long time.

I enjoyed everything I tried during my first visit, including: rosemary-flecked, truffle-oiled potato chips; honey-glazed cheese crisps (I'd say they're more accurately described as goat-cheese fritters), and a deconstructed salad with nice salmon, planks of grilled zucchini and asparagus, and leafy greens topped with menu-described thyme-lemon-dijon dressing that seemed to be missing the thyme and dijon.

And my Smoke and Syrup cocktail (which my server kept insisting "tastes just like barbecue") was an intriguing blend of applewood smoke-infused Oyo Whiskey with maple syrup and Campari. Definitely more of a fall drink, but it still has me excited to see what drinks will be mixed up next.