Asterisk Supper Club: The Cutest Book-Themed Restaurant You Need to Try
Years ago when I'd visit NYC, I wanted to go to all the literary-themed restaurants. There's a bar with touches of Poe. There's Alice's Tea Room, inspired by Alice's tumble down the rabbit hole. I'd go to all these places and think, I wish we had something like this back home.
Well, friends, wishes really do come true.
I recently discovered Asterisk Supper Club, a literary-inspired restaurant in Westerville, Ohio, just outside of Columbus. I knew I'd love it the minute I walked in. I mean, how can you not when this is the view?
And most of those books aren't just for decoration. Aside from the vintage medical books and encyclopedia sets, the books on the lower four shelves are part of an honor system lending library. Take a book, leave a book. Essentially, the restaurant is one big Little Free Library. I picked up a copy of Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín.
I talked to the general manager who said the owner's father was a surgeon, so many of the older books used for decoration are old medical books that belonged to him. The books up for grabs were donated by the community as a way to bring friends and neighbors together.
As if the ambiance wasn't perfection enough, it's matched only by the food. Over a couple of visits I've tried the chicken pot pie, deviled eggs, masala chai tea, chai latte, beet salad, grilled asparagus, truffle fries, and a pork sandwich. I recommend ALL of it.
One especially interesting thing about Asterisk is that in the afternoons, they have full tea service every day from noon to four. You can snack like the Brits with pots of various green and black teas, as well as tea sandwiches and scones.
My favorite is the masala chai with a spot of cream and a cube of brown sugar. I've also been known to pop a couple of the sugar cubes into my mouth and eat them plain. Don't judge, you'd do it too if your sugar came to you on a literal silver platter.
There are also several nice touches that didn't escape my notice. Like the old Trivial Pursuit cards on the shelves so you can quiz your friends.
And there's the library checkout cards that come on the tray with your bill.
Though this specific library checkout card isn't real, the last time I came I got one that was. I know this because as we read the names, my partner recognized the name of an old family friend who had clearly checked out the associated book several years ago.
The cute, thoughtful details make all the difference. Asterisk feels like the kind of place that, outside the dinner rush, you could come, sit by yourself, and enjoy a nice dinner and tea with a book in your hand and be totally left alone with your book.
This sounds like such a simple pleasure, but if you're like me and you've ever tried going out alone to read at a restaurant or bar, you know it's not always easy when folks feel like they need to entertain you because you look "lonely." (*insert eye-rolling emoji here*)
All that to say, if you're in the Columbus area, definitely go to Asterisk. You'll thank me later. And if you're not around Columbus, add it to your list of literary tourism spots next time you're passing through. You'll be glad you did.
Asterisk at is 14 N. State St. Westerville, OH 43081.