First Look: The Crafty Pint

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

Lately, chefs and restaurant owners have shied away from the term gastropub, tired of its overuse and, often, misuse. But, the latest eatery opened in Linworth not only embraces the word, it actually fits the definition as a beer-centric bar servings better-than-average pub fare.

The Crafty Pint opened in Linworth (in the former Gallo's BBQ space) in May. It's the latest concept from the owners of Rude Dog, born of a desire to have a platform to showcase dish ideas that wouldn't fit on the menu at the hot dog joint.

The food at Crafty Pint is nothing fancy. And I mean that as a compliment. It's the kind of bold-flavored bar food you want to wash down with a cold beer, selected from the list of 40 crafts given to you on a menu backed by a piece of an old board game. Dishes like soft braided pretzels, handmade meatballs, honey bourbon wings, blackened chicken sandwich and a 14-ounce ribeye. It's not a lengthy menu, but there's bound to be something on it to please everyone in your party, from the salad lovers to salmon eaters to burger snobs.

Hands down, the Coconut Mussel Bowl was one of the best mussel dishes I've had at a restaurant in a long time. The Thai ginger broth was rich and flavorful, like a creamy coconut ginger soup (we asked for a few extra slices of bread to soak up what was left after the mussels were gone). The mussels themselves were huge, and topped with shaved carrot, chives and toasted coconut. So there was no lack of texture.

Paprika Pork Tacos served with a side of chips and guac were well-seasoned and got a kick of sweetness from pineapple mango salsa. The spicy slaw on top could have used a little more heat to balance that out. The Crafty Burger is topped with cherry-wood smoked bacon and a creamy ale cheese on a buttery brioche bun. I appreciated the choice of arugula over lettuce; t gave the burger a great peppery note. The burger comes with a side of nicely fried pickle chips, too.

Atmosphere-wise, I appreciated Crafty Pint's fun attitude, like outdated Trivial Pursuit cards in small glass cup at each table, salt and pepper shakers fabricated from airplane-size liquor bottles, steak served on an Ohio-shaped cutting board and checks delivered in Dr. Seuss books. It's a solid place to head for a bite and a beer (or to catch the game on the large, covered patio).