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Pedal to the Kettle

It’s mid-afternoon in Grandview. A grey food truck dozes outside a brewery, its generator putt-putting gently above the rear bumper. A grill sizzles and the air is punctuated by bright, intermittent singing. Inside the truck, Brian Thornton is doing what he does best: jammin’, creating great food, and being his own boss. Oh, and making [...]
Jeni Ruisch

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It’s mid-afternoon in Grandview. A grey food truck dozes outside a brewery, its generator putt-putting gently above the rear bumper. A grill sizzles and the air is punctuated by bright, intermittent singing. Inside the truck, Brian Thornton is doing what he does best: jammin’, creating great food, and being his own boss.

Oh, and making the best damn potato chips in the land.

A Hilliard native, Thornton attended the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, before returning to his native city to serve some time in the restaurant trenches. After honing his craft in Columbus brick-and-mortars like Hyde Park and The Refectory, Thornton struck out on his own to create the Oh! Burgers food truck, where he sells a multitude of creatively-topped mini burgers. Years behind a line in a kitchen have their way of grizzling most people, and turning their bright, starry eyes into coal in their sockets. Not Thornton. He keeps his cool under heat and pressure, and he’s taking his positive attitude into the big leagues when he opens a potato chip factory this fall in the heart of downtown.

From the start, he made his own chips from scratch to accompany the burgers he was serving, but pretty soon, the crunchy side dish stole the spotlight.

“I was selling out,” he said. “I couldn’t keep up with demand, so I purchased a larger fryer and talked Food Fort into letting me run it in their kitchen. Laura Lee (owner of Korean street food truck Ajumama) really pushed me to start making kettle chips. That’s where my first specialty chips came from…they were Korean barbeque.”

Thornton’s strengths lie in his creative recipes and his tie-ins with other local businesses: spent grain chips from North High Brewing, taking grains from the brewing process and grinding them up in a coffee grinder to use for seasoning; tomato basil chips from Blue Olive food truck; and barbeque chips for Kenny’s Meat Wagon.

Thornton tries to stay crisp by doing specialty chips for himself, like garlic parmesan and cinnamon sweet potato chips. Once the plant fires up this fall, there are plans for “Black Bag” chips, seasonal flavors produced for a few month run, akin to seasonal beers from craft brewers.

The OH! Chips facility will be a full-scale manufacturing and distribution center for his crunchy creations, and will initially employ about four people, but that may change quickly.

As for distribution, the aim is small retail markets like Hills and Weiland’s, or co-ops like those in Clintonville and Bexley. The cost of shelf space at the chain supermarkets coupled with the local-centric attitude of the clientele at the small shops made it an easy decision, Thornton said.
“We want to stay out of the big grocery stores. The competition is fierce in potato chips. I’m not going into an easy market. I figure if I can get people to try them at restaurants first, and off the food truck, that’s how we’re going to build a solid brand.”

Thornton is poised at the beginning of a project that could eventually evolve into a big facility. Oaks from tiny acorns grow, and soon, Columbus will have its very own potato chip factory.

For more, visit www.facebook.com/OHChips, or follow @OH_Chips on Twitter.

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Food & Drink

Rye In July

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Rye in July featuring the Algonquin! We teamed up with Brown-Forman, Woodford Reserve, and local bartender Ben Griest from Giuseppe’s Ritrovo for this tasty Rye, perfect for July! Today's Rye is featuring the Algonquin, with notes of spice, tobacco, and fruit balanced throughout this cocktail - it's sure to please!

The Algonquin

**SPONSORED**

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Milestone 229 overcomes 2020 challenges, to reopen soon

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Every industry has taken a hit this year. It’s cliche to generalize it. With that being said, some businesses have taken more damage than others.

Milestone 229, located on the river’s Scioto Mile, was forced to closed in March along with all the other restaurants across Ohio, as the restaurant industry took a hit despite the uptick in carryout orders.

Just as things seemed to be coming back to normal, as restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen, the protests demanding change during the Black Lives Matter movement brought an unexpected rioting component that had devastating effects for Milestone 229.

The downtown, upscale eatery with the playful fountain for kids and adults alike, took an extra hit when rioting, looting, and vandalism broke down the windows of the restaurant on Thursday, May 29. Milestone 229 was supposed to reopen the upcoming Monday.

Photo by Julian Foglietti.

Griggs has tried his best to stay positive through it all, finding some valuable and much-needed help along the way.

“A good friend of the restaurant, Cathy King, executive vice president of Wasserstrom, started a GoFundMe page for Milestone 229. We are using that money to help relaunch the restaurant.  We also had many friends and family come down the morning after the riots to help clean up the broken glass.”

Doug Griggs, co-owner of Milestone 229


Now, recovering once again, Milestone 229 is set to open back up on Wednesday, July 8. The fine-dining establishment will offer patio and dining room seating, as well as a new curbside pickup. Co-owner Doug Griggs said in an email that the restaurant was able to keep the majority of its patio seating and over half of its dining room seating. 

Milestone 229 has a new venue revamped for the summer as well. You can view it here.

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And the winner of the (614) National Ice Cream Month poll is…

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Columbus has been a culinary hotspot for pretty much the entire 21st century. But what if we told you that you, Columbus, were just as obsessed with fine dining as you are with devouring ice cream?

Jeni’s. Whit’s. Greater’s. The list goes on. But out of the everlasting, Willy Wonka-esque fountain of ice cream stores that exist in Columbus, which one is the favorite of (614) readers?

In reverse order, here are the top seven ice cream choices in Columbus!

7. Cream & Sugar – 2185 Sullivant Ave.

6. Velvet Ice Cream – Your favorite grocer

5. United Dairy Farmers – EVERYWHERE

4. Johnson’s Real Ice Cream – 2728 E. Main St.; 55 W. Bridge St., Dublin; 160 W. Main St., New Albany

3. Whit’s Frozen Custard – Find Ohio locations here

2. Jeni’s Ice Cream – Find Columbus locations here

And after 12 rounds, the winner of the (614) ice cream championship belt is…

1. Graeter’s Ice Cream – Find Ohio locations here.

Photo by Julian Foglietti.

And it just so happens that Graeter’s is celebrating its 150th birthday this month! Celebrate in style with them by buying this specialty birthday cake ice cream. In addition to selling the ice cream online and at a Graeter’s near you, you’ll also be able to pick some up at Kroger, Giant Eagle, The Fresh Market, Dorothy Lane Market, or Jungle Jim’s.

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