Check out your neighborhood Rusty Bucket restaurant. It has all your favorites and almost everything is made in house from their sauces to the pizza dough!
If you have never been in Ohio, then you may not know of Rusty Bucket. This restaurant first opened in Dublin, a suburb of Columbus, but is slowly taking over the Midwest and beyond with locations in Michigan, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, and even Colorado! Somehow I had neglected ever visiting this establishment because I honestly didn’t really know anything about it and assumed it was just another American restaurant chain. However, they recently opened a new location right down the street from me in Clintonville (the north side of Columbus) and I finally got to see what they were all about – and man were my assumptions wrong.
A group of my fellow amazing Columbus bloggers and I got to try a huge selection of the menu at Rusty Bucket all while learning about the company and what they are all about. Founder Gary Callicoat wanted to create a local tavern where people could meet up for any occasion. The staff clearly enjoy working there as well and it shows in their passion for the food and hospitality they provide. They even have a joke saying that the only reason they have freezers is for ice cream and French fries because nearly everything is made in house. The bread their own chicken, make their own sauces, create their own pizza dough, heck they even have their own Pilsner thanks to the local brewing company, Four String. With how much they do in house I’m actually surprised they don’t make their own fries too.
Of course, when you bring a bunch of food out in front of bloggers we have to all take a moment and take photos. But not just our phones, some of us brought out the big guns with our DSLRs. When it comes to food, we mean serious business! Above is a shot of Amber from BASIColumbus taking shots of one of the first appetizers that came out, hummus with grilled pita, tomato & cucumber salad, and a side of tzatziki sauce. The other was a spinach con queso dip which obviously is a winner every single time.
Next up were the pork potstickers with sweet chili and ponzu sauces (above), deep-fried pickles with ranch dressing for dipping, and the Rusty Bucket wings served with blue cheese dressing (below). I have a weakness for potstickers and those babies were dreamy. I kind of wished we weren’t all sharing because I could have devoured that entire plate by myself. Thankfully I was able to restrain myself due to all the other eyegasms presented before us. While I am not a fan of pickles, their fried pickle spears did look pretty damn amazing, and who could possibly deny those wings?
With already half full bellies, we took a break and headed over to the bar area where we were impressed to learn that they not only make a lot of their food fresh daily, but also their cocktail ingredients including their simple syrup and fresh squeezed juices. Their Pink Gin Fizz is made with Rogue pink gin, lemon juice, sparkling water, and a Pinot Noir float (pictured below in the background). I’m not normally a huge fan of gin but this drink made me like gin. Then we had the Blueberry Bella made with Smirnoff blueberry vodka, muddled blueberries, and lemon juice (picture below in front). The last cocktail was their Bourbon Raspberry Smash with muddled mint, raspberries, simple syrup, lemon juice, strawberry puree and Rusty Bucket’s very own bourbon, Woodford Reserve Personal Selection Gary’s Blend #9. Oh but wait, they also offer their very own pilser thanks to Four Sting Brewing Company. Seriously, these people do everything, and they do it so well! Interested in their happy hour? It runs Monday – Friday 3:00-6:00pm and includes half priced appetizers and pizzas, and $1 off all beer, wine and cocktails as well.
Cocktails and/or beer in hand we headed back to our table for the main event. Or rather events as we got to sample several oftheir main courses including the Juicy Lucy, fish and chips, and an Asian tuna wrap which can be seen in background of Juicy Lucy picture at the beginning of this post. What is the Juicy Lucy? This burger is actually only available during happy hour and consists of two patties with caramelized onion and American cheese for only$5! I have been on the hunt for my go to inexpensive burger and I may have found it!
Oh but wait, there’s more. We also had their crazy delicious veggie pizza (roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, provolone, mushrooms, bell pepper, red onion, banana peppers, green olives, spinach), mahi mahi tacos (pictured below), and the biggest buffalo chicken sandwich I have ever seen (in background of the mahi mahi taco picture). At this point it was nearly impossible for me to imagine eating anything else…. but then dessert appeared and true to form a magical space in my stomach opened up.
Dessert came in two forms: sticky bun bread pudding with caramel and pecans and a triple chocolate cake. Oh and both were served with ice cream and more caramel sauce. Not being a die-hard chocolate lover, my favorite was the bread pudding. But I warmed up to the cake when I scooped up the leftover caramel sauce from the bread pudding and put it on the cake. Granted there was already caramel sauce on the cake but it was only a drizzle. Pouring all that extra caramel sauce on top was key and I’d totally order that cake with a side of extra sauce next time.
After we were all stuffed to the gills, we decided now was a good time to get a group shot of the whole gang including Executive Chef Greg Roy, who shared his story with Rusty Bucket and how he turned a job as a dishwasher into his dream career. Rusty Bucket sounds like a great company to work for in addition to a great place to make your bellies happy. Where is your Bucket!? If there’s a location near you then you have to enter my giveaway for a $25 Rusty Bucket gift card using the widget located at the end of this post.
Two years ago: Apple Pie Cookies
Three years ago: Pumpkin Spice Brownies
Five years ago: Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate with Oreo Crumbs
Disclosure: I was invited by Inspire PR Group to come and try the menu at Rusty Bucket. While the food and drinks were complimentary, I was not further compensated for this post and also was not required to write it. But the gift card was provided by Rusty Bucket. All thoughts and opinions are my own.