Locally owned gem in Ada, Ohio boasts 100 different wines, 10 tap beers, 22 bourbons
Interview and story by Janet Ferguson
“We opened in September of 2014, but it’s been in my mind to do something like this long before that,” said Steve Bates, partner at The Cask Room.
“We wanted to have a place close by so that people wouldn’t drive to Lima or Findlay for a nice place to sit and have a drink.”
He and wife Susan have been in Ada for 20 years and always wanted a place to hang out that was for adults.
“We get a lot of professors and administrators in from the college, but we also have a lot of local 12 month residents of the village as opposed to the associations with the university. Our regulars have seen years of businesses come and go that focus on it being a college town and relying on university business. We strive to market ourselves and be attractive to the full time residents and, once we build that base, then the 9 months school’s in session, that’s just icing on the cake,” he explained.
“The long term goal was to be able to get a nice bottle of wine to give as a gift or take home for dinner, longer term was to offer food service and kitchen was already there when we took it over. Jonah Agner became a new partner last fall, his vision was very similar to what my wife and I had and since he has come on board things have really taken off. We have a larger wine selection, larger bourbon selections and we have a lot of rare bourbons that others don’t have,” he added.
“In June the kitchen opened for lunch and The Cask Room is now open at 11 to serve a lunch crowd and stays open through evening. We’re trying to be a nice destination place in our little village and we do have people coming down from Bluffton/Pandora area and some from south side of Findlay because they’ve heard about what we’ve had to offer. There are people who come because they went to ONU 25 years ago and are back in the area for a visit and want to check it out.”
The Cask Room features a back bar that is a wood mantle salvaged from an 1880’s mansion in the Lima area.
“We want to focus on as much local stuff as we can. We feature craft beers from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, we are constantly rotating what is on tap,” he explained.
“Matt Cole of Fathead Brewery is from Ada so we try to keep at least one of his beers on tap at all times. We did get a picture of him in front of our bar with a pint of his own beer and he likes that he can get his beer in his hometown.”
The kitchen portion of The Cask Room was always a plan, but Bates explained that bringing Jonah Agner as a partner last fall was what brought the plan to fruition. “He’s working to bring in unique items, fresh ingredients. We’re not yet able to do it, but are working to be 100% farm to table using local sources. It’s really incredible and he’s bringing a modern version of bar food,” he added, “The goal is to stay away from the deep fryer as much as possible.”
“It’s been kind of exciting,” he added. “We come up with ideas and throw them out and see what sticks to the wall and what falls off, so far everything is sticking.”
Bates explained that it’s not a college bar; they are serving a high end product to people who want a high end product. It’s a great destination for a business lunch or dinner or entertaining guests without having to clean the house. “Come to our living room where we have 100 different wines or 10 tap beers or 22 bourbons.”
The Cask Room is located at 127 S Main St, Ada, OH 45810.