Columbus Monthly’s Best New Restaurants 2023: Subourbon Southern Kitchen & Spirits

At Subourbon in Linworth, restaurateurs Jacob Hough and Patrick Marker are delivering the kind of comforting food they like to eat.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Chicken-fried chicken, served with peppercorn gravy, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts at Subourbon Southern Kitchen & Spirits

At the start of the pandemic in spring 2020, restaurateurs Jacob Hough and Patrick Marker began stockpiling bourbon.

At the time, their popular King Avenue restaurant, Alqueria, wasn’t moving through its stock of brown liquors, and Ohio’s liquor agency had switched to an online ordering system, making it easier for the former Barcelona chefs to get their hands on highly sought-after bourbons like Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. and Blanton’s. The natural thing to do was to open a restaurant, located in the former Crafty Pint in Linworth, with a bourbon focus and a Southern drawl. “We like to cook the kind of food we like to eat,” says Marker, who spent 10 years living in South Carolina.

Subourbon’s roughly 2,500-square-foot space offers a casual tavern vibe with a small bar and dining room that seats about 90 indoors and another 60 on the all-season patio. With a punny name like Subourbon, you better bring an A-game to your cooking. Luckily, this laid-back neighborhood restaurant, led by executive chef Odine Hong, delivers.

From left, executive chef Odine Hong with owners Patrick Marker and Jacob Hough at Subourbon Southern Kitchen & Spirits in Linworth

Dinner begins by making friends with the bartender, perhaps requesting a neat bourbon or the Our Old Pal cocktail, featuring house-infused dried plum Old Forester 86, Lillet Blanc and Averna amaro. You can then seek out two of the Linworth restaurant’s standout starters: a cast-iron cornbread with lavender honey from Hershberger’s Farm and the melt-in-your-mouth, bourbon-glazed pork belly.

Hough and Marker say the restaurant’s most popular dish is the chicken-fried chicken with a crackly crust that holds up to delicious peppercorn gravy. But don’t overlook Subourbon’s shrimp and grits, possibly the best in town since G. Michael’s Bistro & Bar shuttered.

Subourbon Southern Kitchen & Spirits

2234 W. Dublin-Granville Road, Linworth, 614-505-0773,

Espresso martini at Subourbon Southern Kitchen & Spirits

Side Dishes

Chef-Driven: Chef Odine Hong most recently worked at Hen Quarter, a now-shuttered Southern restaurant in Bridge Park, but she had worked as a line cook for Hough and Marker back in their Barcelona days and helped them open Alqueria on King Avenue. Hong doesn’t shoebox her food at Subourbon into just American Southern; she also makes room for dishes like a braised short rib and mushroom ragu with Ohio City Pasta and a vegetarian lasagna using plant-based meat. And last year, the chef, whose family is Vietnamese, served a special Sunday Supper themed “childhood memories.” The dinner paid homage to Hong’s youth, with dishes like congee (rice porridge) and banh cuon (rolled Vietnamese rice cakes).

Homecoming: Subourbon is a return to Patrick Marker’s Worthington roots. “That building was kind of a Dairy Queen-type place. Coney dogs and soft serve. And we would go there after sporting events when I was a little kid. I’ve been around that building my whole life,” says Marker, who grew up nearby and attended Worthington Kilbourne High School.

Worthy of Your Time: Located just across the tracks from Worthington, little old Linworth is having a moment thanks to the opening of several food-and-drink businesses in recent years, joining stalwart Cameron’s American Bistro. Subourbon’s neighbors include the Hungarian Butcher, Borgata Pizza Café, George’s Linworth Diner, Random Precision Brewing Co. and JT’s Pizza, Pub & Patio. Be sure to watch out for collaborative wine dinners between Subourbon and its new wine shop neighbor, Aardvark, from owner Donnie Austin.

This story is from the 2023 Best New Restaurants package in the March 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.