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Rooks Tavern – Sunday Brunch

Posted by CMH Gourmand on February 22, 2017


Rooks closed July 2017.

Let us first set the stage for a culinary adventure you may choose to pursue. Mention Chittenden Avenue to Ohio State graduates and different memories will materialize based on what era they traveled the area: parties, PARTIES, the demarcation line between safe and very unsafe, questionable housing, etc.

The Chittenden Avenue of today is different, well mostly, I did see some nice kids roaming the street cleaning up some post Saturday trash. Anyway, I don’t often get out of the house and when I do, it is not typically during prime time which is why when I spied that Rooks Tavern has a Sunday Brunch I knew I had an opportunity to pursue. As I have mentioned too many times to count I have virtually no interest in breakfast and brunch is not much more appealing but add in some BBQ and problem solved.

My first impression had nothing to do with Rooks food, I was happy to see that parking was easy and for times when it may be more competitive, Rooks has a sign pointing guests to a nearby lot. Walking in, I liked the look of the place, took a gander at the very impressive equipment on site for the art of BBQ and sauntered up to the bar. I immediately felt at home with one of my favorite food truck friends showing up to serve me.

First as a public service I should mention while this place celebrates BBQ there is a lot in the menu that would please any palate even vegetarians and vegans. But that is not my thing (although I was a 17 meal a week vegetarian for a couple years). I had one meal on my mind before I got in my car that morning, I wanted the Texas BBQ Plate (also billed as the Austin Hangover). Diners have the option of a 1/2 pound or full pound of either pulled pork or brisket both smoked eighteen hours piled on the plate. It also comes with with potato salad, house made pickles and peasant bread. I’m a fan of Austin but I have not danced with a hangover for almost a decade but I thought I was ready for this dish.

Rooks BBQ

As you can see, I opted for the brisket, they nailed it. It was perfectly tender, had fat where it needed it for flavor and was expertly dry rubbed. The potato salad was OK but it was way too fancy for my tastes, I wanted something more peasant style, like the bread: simple, starchy and filling.

For the sake of balance, I also opted to try the composed salad. The combination of ingredients change every week. The salad features a base of either pasta or grains (mine was grains) with seasonal vegetables (check out those carrots!) and a splash of smoked onion vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this salad noting a zen like sense of peace after finishing it.

composed salad

A few other notes. The cocktails and local beer selections are a big upgrade from anything else you would find neat the OSU campus. The two house BBQ sauces – Texas and Carolina style are true to their origins. The guys in the kitchen are hardcore about what they do. I spoke with chef at length and he is on the right track with Rooks


Rooks is open for Sunday Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm. Feel free to go there any other times you choose and let me know what you think.

Rooks Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One Response to “Rooks Tavern – Sunday Brunch”

  1. Lisa Craig Morton said

    I had read about Rooks Tavern a couple times and when I learned it finally opened, we went to try it. Love your comments about Chittenden and had similar thoughts. We went for a walk on Thanksgiving Day to scope out where it was, then went back a few weeks later for dinner. I had looked at the menu online and my husband and I had some ideas about what we wanted to try. I noted when I read the menu that several items were prepared with either coconut milk or oil (the latest fad in the foodie world). I have a very severe allergy to coconut (and all other tree nuts and fish and shellfish) so this was a concern, but there appeared to be many other items on the menu that would work. Much to my disappointment, when we got there, we learned that almost everything had been sloshed with coconut milk or oil. When we eliminated all those items, eliminated the items with fish/seafood, eliminated the two items that were printed on the menu that they had decided they no longer were making – the only thing left for me to get was the hamburger with fries. I got it and it tasted great but was not something I would ever choose to eat. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. feeling so sick from eating it that I would not ever choose it again. It’s just not part of my diet. My husband started out with his first two picks – one had been eliminated from the menu but was still on the menu and one they were sold out of – so he ended up with his third choice. Our neighbor, who knows Mr. Havens the owner, did successfully order and receive his first choice. I so wanted to love this place – I loved everything about it – the young guys who have started it, the location, the killer renovation of the building, BBQ – but I don’t know if we’ll go back. It was too difficult for me to find something I could eat. Maybe things have changed now that they’ve been open a while and I should give it another chance. They definitely are serious about what they are doing. We could tell that much. Glad to know you liked it and had a good experience. That gives me the nudge to go back for one more try.

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