Rusty Bucket

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent


It's hard to find a family-friendly patio because we just can't tolerate eating around second-hand smoke, so we were pleased to arrive at the Rusty Bucket near Worthington Hills (in the same plaza as The Hills Market) and find an outdoor patio with no smokers.

We learned that the six tables under the patio roof are always smoke-free, but the three set further away and not under the roof do accommodate smokers. But with all the families we saw that Sunday afternoon, no one was smoking.

It was fun to sit outside and watch the cyclists zip by on their way up or down the Olentangy Greenway Trail. In fact we saw a few families ride in and stop for a meal at the Bucket. Jealous!

The food was standard American pub fare: lots of munchies, sandwiches, burgers, entrees with pasta and chicken, and not a whole lot of desserts. Plenty of intriguing, malt-based beverage choices for the adults, and the Rogue root beer (from a Portland, Oregon, brewery) was delicious enough to suit kids but zippy enough to satisfy adults.

We tried the tamarind BBQ wings (one pound for $8.95) and the deep-fried pickles ($7.50). The wimpy-taste-budded child and I don't really love deep-fried pickles, but my husband, who is a connoisseur of the stuff, said he was impressed by the lightness of the batter. The wings were fine, though I was expecting a little more zing from the tamarind.

I went for the pesto chicken pasta ($12.95) as an entree. Their pesto had some serious zing. I liked it but it got a bit muted with all the cooked tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms piled in there as well. But the accompanying garlic cheese bread was beyond delish! I could have made a meal out of that stuff.

My husband went for the Burger Blues ($9.50), a patty topped with blue cheese, among many other ingredients. Big thumbs up from him, plus his side of fries came with tasty seasoning (unlike the kid's portion).

Our waitress was pleasant, but I wish we had gotten the waiter who is clearly a career server. I love watching and listening to such people work their magic: They really make any meal so much more than just food consumed outside of the home.

The bathroom was fine. It has a diaper-changing station. I appreciated the equal-opportunity-ness of a TV in the women's room, too, but I can't say as that I would cherish watching TV in there.

--Jane Hawes


The restaurant looked nicer than I thought it would, because of the theme of a rusty bucket. I thought they were going to try and make it look a little less nice. But it was completely the opposite. On the inside it was cool and sporty; they had a jersey hanging up on the wall and a few TVs by the bar playing sports.

We sat on the patio. I was happy that there were no smokers at all, and it was a definitely pleasant experience. Normally we don't go out on the patio because of the smoking smell.

I liked the service. They were really nice to the kids at all the tables. They gave me a sample of the Rogue root beer. They wanted to make sure I'd like it because it's not as sweet as normal root beer. At first I liked it, but then there was the aftertaste which felt a little dry, like pomegranate juice. So instead I had it as a root beer float ($1.95) which made it taste much better. I liked it so much I had two of them (but they were kind of small to begin with because I got them from the kids' menu).

For the appetizer, I had the tamarind BBQ wings, and they were awesome. My mom made me have a bite of the deep-fried pickle dipped in ranch dressing, and I didn't really like it.

For the entree ($4.95), I had the hot dog with French fries (they didn't have the ribs I was hoping for; they only have them on Saturdays). I didn't like the bread with the hot dog. It tasted like grilled cheese by itself. Same old, same old taste with the French fries. My dad's fries were spicy (mine were from the kids' menu and that's probably why they weren't spicy).

The bathroom was very clean, but they were hard to find. Two urinals, one stall with a diaper-changing station, and they had a small TV in there that had the World's Strongest Man competition playing on it. Having a TV in the bathroom does feel awkward because you don't see me carrying my portable DVD player into the bathroom at home.

--Colin Hawes

The Rusty Bucket

Restaurant and Tavern

7800 Olentangy River Rd., Worthington


(and five other locations in Central Ohio)