Comfort food with a chef's touch is offered at the Whitney House, the latest restaurant to open in Old Worthington.

Comfort food with a chef's touch is offered at the Whitney House, the latest restaurant to open in Old Worthington.

From a homey matzo ball soup to a bone-in pork chop to chicken pot pie topped with a crispy homemade crust, the menu was developed with everyone in mind, owner Ian Brown said.

"It's an American bistro that serves rustic food," Brown said. "It's refined, though."

On the dinner menu, there's "farroto" that uses farro, a hearty grain that's cooked risotto style with mushrooms, asparagus, thyme and drizzled with pomegranate sauce. The burger uses grass-fed Ohio beef that's ground in-house. Linguine with clams gets a kick from spicy chorizo.

A nightly special is featured throughout the week.

The lunch menu is similarly composed with a few variations, such as a pulled chicken sandwich, a Nicoise tuna wrap and an "adult" grilled cheese.

Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant offers a brunch menu from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Among the dishes are challah French toast with Ohio maple syrup, chilaquiles, steak and eggs, and a fried bologna sandwich (with beef bologna from Waldo, home of the G&R Diner) topped with a fried egg.

Most entree prices, whether brunch, lunch or dinner, are in the $8 to $15 range.

The executive chef at Whitney House is Max Avon, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale and worked for several years in Chicago. Avon said he applies classic French techniques to his scratch-made fare.

"I enjoy the bistro casualness of the way I cook," Avon said. "We're ready to serve the community and have them in. It's a great adventure for everyone involved."

Whitney House takes over the former P.K. O'Ryan's storefront, 666 High St.

The 2,700-square-foot space has been completely remodeled, including the pub portion in the back. Now labeled the Tavern, it serves the same menu in a slightly more casual setting, complete with a wood-burning fireplace.

The entire location seats 120.

There are eight beers on tap, with many Ohio beers in constant rotation. The beverage menu also contains an Ohio wine and spirits made in the Buckeye State.

Downtown Worthington is now flush with sit-down restaurants, both new (Dewey's Pizza) and timeworn (Old Bag of Nails).

Some say it's too many, but not Brown.

"I don't think there's such a thing," he said. "I'd love to be a destination restaurant, but I'd much rather have a great dining destination surrounded by great neighbors."

Both Brown and Avon are graduates of Worthington Kilbourne High School, the classes of 1993 and '99, respectively. However, they didn't meet until years later while working at Bon Vie in Easton.

Brown said the restaurant gets its name from a house on Whitney Avenue in Worthington Hills, where his wife, Emilie, spent several years. Brown said it evoked such fond memories, he wanted to model a restaurant after its warmth.

And Old Worthington was the only place for it.

"This is not anything we had any desire to do anywhere, but here," he said.

Whitney House is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday, brunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday, and closed Monday. For more information, call 614-396-7846.