Dustin Brafford leaves Crest, heads to Crafty Pint

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

Chef Dustin Brafford has left The Crest. On Monday, Brafford started his new gig leading the kitchen of gastropub The Crafty Pint, where he plans to spend the next month or so creating a completely new menu.

"What I am going to do is take Southern comfort foods that people are used to and add in local ingredients," Brafford says. "I have a Mediterranean influence in my style, and I want to add that into the Southern comfort foods." The result, he hopes, will be a lighter version of American favorites. The new menu is expected to roll out in late December or early January. The re-launch will coincide with the addition of a wine list at Crafty Pint.

The Columbus-born chef helped open the Clintonville gastropub and has since had a hand in creating menus for other A&R Creative eateries like The Market Italian Village. Brafford, referring to his past employers as family, says it was simply the right time to take on a new challenge. He plans to bring his knowledge of local sourcing-an important part of The Crest's identity-to the Linworth gastropub. "Our biggest thing at The Crest was about educating people with different ingredients-where it's from and how it's raised," he says. "Sourcing is going to be completely overhauled here."

What Brafford promises not to change is the playful tone of The Crafty Pint. "We want to stick within that, but upscale the level of the food," he says.