Whitney House opens today in Old Worthington

Nicholas Dekker, Columbus Alive contributor

The Whitney House opens in Old Worthington today. The restaurant is located at 666 High St. - the old P.K. O'Ryan's - and is headed up by Ian F. Brown, who brings years of experience working at Bravo!, Bon Vie, Brio and Lindey's. He's teamed with Chef Max Avon, most recently the executive sous chef of Lindey's.

This is Brown's first venture into owning his own restaurant. Last Christmas, he said, at a big family dinner, someone told him the restaurant space in Old Worthington was open.

"It started to wear away at me," he said. "I started thinking, if I was going to do something like this, it would be in Old Worthington, in my backyard. These are the neighbors I want; these are the people I want to serve."

Brown reached out to Avon, whom he knew from his time at Bon Vie and Lindey's, to help create the menu. Avon, a Worthington native like Brown, came on board without too much arm-twisting.

"When Ian Brown calls, I answer the phone," he joked.

Avon has been cooking since his younger days; he studied at Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale and worked under Chef John Caputo in Chicago before returning to Columbus.

Brown and Avon have crafted an eclectic menu covering American classics like chicken, steak and burgers mixed in with ethnic specialties like ramen and chilaquiles. Brown and Avon draw from Ohio sources whenever possible, describing the food as "rustic yet refined." They see the menu as a representation of the American melting pot, where American foods like meatloaf and fried chicken meet with eats like tostadas and kung pao chicken.

Meals are complemented by a selection of cocktails, craft beers and wines; their wine list was assembled with the help of Donnie Austin of House Wine.