The Johnston Building in Downtown Woodstock has been demolished and rebuilt as a restaurant destination by owner and chef Justin Balmes. You may have seen the logo banners if you have visited Woodstock lately, but here is the Scoop on the restaurants and the interior.
In an interview at The Lunch Circuit meeting featuring Bunker Design – I had a chance to sit with Balmes and discuss his new restaurants. Balmes has been in the industry for 23 years and has lived in Cherokee for 12. His last project was Two Birds House Taproom in Marietta and you may also remember him from The Next Food Network Star. Balmes said:
I am excited about opening these restaurants this summer and bringing two different concepts to OTP. Public will be a family-friendly restaurant with quality food and Rambler’s vibe will be more hip and cool with your food not only tasting delicious but presented beautifully with an artsy element without the white tablecloth setting!
On the bottom floor will be the family friendly Main & Mill Public. This fast casual restaurant will offer seasonally rotating locally and regionally sourced products. He will offer wood fire smoke meats, veggies, and starches. The meals will be good quality thoughtful food at a reasonable price. There isn’t a designated bar, but you can purchase alcohol.
On the top floor will be Rambler (formerly named lucky cat) – adults only, new-american* with global influence. Zach Meloy of Better Half and Instagram That_Rambling_Cook is running the culinary cuisine and bringing his dirt church ceramics as the place settings. There will be a separate bar area and the restaurant can hold up to 110 people. Meloy said that he may present some familiar foods in an unfamiliar way and vice-versa. He continued with:
As my guests are eating, my hope is that they’ll feel equally a sense of home and adventure all tossed together.
And, in the basement will be a 21 and older social club that may require membership. Balmes is keeping that under wraps for now as that section of the building isn’t slated until 2021.
Rambler will help elevate OTP dining and nightlife. My team is excited to deliver chef-driven food and a fun nightlife environment. We look forward to being a destination and giving back to the community of Woodstock.
He is excited about the 16 X 16 skylight and huge windows that provide open air and natural light. You are either looking at the railroad or the Woodstock Mural as the restaurant is located at the intersection of Main and Mill Street. They were impressive in person!
*Note: If you’re mixing and matching elements of several different cuisines, bringing ingredients together in a way you can’t just call Italian or French or Spanish or XYZ country, it’s new (or modern) American.