The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek | Gahanna, OH

December 10, 2014

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The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek (Facebook / @CMRColumbus / instagram: @CMRColumbus)
1370 E. Johnstown Rd. (map it!)
Gahanna, OH 43230
(614) 855-9840
Open Mon-Thurs, 5-10p; Fri & Sat, 5-11p; Sun brunch 10a-2:30p, dinner 5-9p (bourbon lounge opens daily at 4p)
Accepts cash and debit/credit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? N/N/Y
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 12:30pm

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The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek is the newest addition to Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. They’ve taken over, well, the landmark barn in Gahanna that used to house Hoggy’s BBQ.

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The sprawling building has been renovated into a posh but comfortably rustic series of dining rooms, bar spaces, and patios.

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While lunch and dinner are offered through the week, Sunday they feature the Farmstead Brunch Buffet. The buffet manages to avoid the major pitfalls of buffets, namely dried out food or long waits. And like you’d expect from a brunch buffet, the dishes run the gamut from simple breakfast foods (bacon, eggs, potatoes) to seafood, meats, and sweets.

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Like many brunch buffets, too, a server is on hand to carve prime rib for you.

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And even some fancier dishes like eggs benedict get the buffet treatment.

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We made a couple runs through the buffet line to sample smoked salmon, prime rib, eggs benedict, and more.

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Of course, brunch means cocktails, right? The Barn has an extensive wine and bourbon list, although the brunch menu features six cocktails, running from the standard mimosa and bellini to a hot toddy, Bloody Mary or Bourbon Mary, and the Breakfast Flip. We enjoyed the Bourbon Mary and the Flip. The Bourbon Mary was certainly good, although our preference is still for the clean flavor of vodka in the traditional Bloody Mary. The Breakfast Flip was sweet and tasty, like breakfast in a glass. It’s built from bourbon (they used Bulleit), spiced apple bitters, maple syrup, egg, and a bacon garnish. The egg in a cocktail sounds off-putting to some, but it’s usually whipped, so you get a frothy creaminess, much like you would with a light eggnog.

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Our second explorations of the buffet had us trying the roasted and fried chicken (which was particularly good), plus mashed potatoes and ravioli.

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For fun we tried the Orchard Hot Toddy, made with cider, apple brandy, lemon juice, and black walnut bitters. For a special treat, our server took us to the bar to watch him zest the lemon onto the flaming drink. We managed to catch a shot of it!

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Then it was back to the buffet to try some peel-and-eat shrimp and smoked salmon. The capers seemed like they were fried, which intensifies their flavor and gives them a crunchy texture.

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It’s common to see made-to-order omelets at breakfast buffets, and The Barn fills this niche by letting you order at your table. The server runs you through the list of available meats, cheeses, and veggies, then the omelet is made in the kitchen and brought tableside.

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The Barn makes its name by being a steakhouse, bakery, and bourbon bar. The in-house bakery produces all of their goods, while they age meat on premises for the steakhouse menu.

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It only takes a second to see that the bar is focused on bourbon. Hanging all around the four-sided bar is a solid collection of bourbons from all over the country. There’s a pretty diverse selection, and it’s good to see local bourbons from Watershed and Middle West distilleries represented.

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Following recent trends, the bar also barrel-ages three Manhattans.

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The Barn offers three barrel-aged Manhattans: the Tennessee (Jack Daniels, vermouth, orange bitters), the Kentucky (Bulleit, vermouth, cherry bitters), and the Rye (George Dickel, vermouth, bitters). You can order them individually or as a flight.

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We also got a peak at the back room, where the Manhattans are aging.

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Fans of Woodford Reserve in particular may want to visit to try two exclusive reserves made just for The Barn. One is a double-oaked, while the other is called the Barn Blend.

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In addition to the dining rooms – public and private – The Barn has an enclosed patio.

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And a series of outdoor patios and firepits. Our server told us there are regulars who come for dinner and sit out by the fire afterwards. Long-time Hoggy’s customers will recognize the red tractor that used to hang inside the building. It now keeps watch over the patios out back.

There’s much to like about the brunch buffet at The Barn. You have to like buffets, of course, but it offers enough quality dishes and fun cocktails to appeal to everyone.

This meal was hosted and provided for by Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. Opinions are my own.

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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