Rigsby, a Columbus food pioneer, will join the club after closing his restaurant, Rigsby’s Kitchen, which has been open for 29 years.
Gary Seman of This Week Community News in New Albany, Ohio recently reported that after 29 years in business, Kent Rigsby abruptly closed Rigsby’s Kitchen on November 8 and announced he would be joining the New Albany Country Club as Executive Chef.
Rigsby was long considered a pioneer in the Columbus area food industry, helping build the Short North in Columbus from a hardscrabble urban neighborhood into one of central Ohio’s premier destinations for food, art and real estate. He said he was looking at signing another lease for Rigsby’s Kitchen, but instead decided to pull the plug on his fine-dining restaurant. “It just couldn’t last forever,” he told the News.
It just so happened that Tony Shill, general manager of the New Albany Country Club, was looking for an executive chef. Shill said he was a frequent customer of Rigsby’s Kitchen, a place he’d often take friends and guests. “So I have become very familiar with Kent’s talent and Kent over the years,” Shill said.
Their food philosophies—including using organic, sustainable and local ingredients as much as possible—match up nicely. “We’re going to stay true to that,” Shill explained to the News.
Rigsby said he’s up for change and a new challenge. “They have a great menu here,” Rigsby said. “It’s a larger menu than what I’m used to.”
Rigsby raised eyebrows when he wrote on Rigsby’s Kitchen’s Facebook page after closing: “I look forward with energy and excitement to my next professional challenge. There will soon be a new curtain rising on my next act. I’ll keep you posted.” He said that wording was used to assure patrons.
Rigsby is still a partner with his wife, Tasi, with the Tasi and Eleni-Christina Bakery eateries in the Short North. Rigsby told the News that he has no plans to open another independent, fine-dining restaurant in central Ohio.
“I wouldn’t commit to them and their needs if I wasn’t serious about a long-term relationship,” he said of his new position at New Albany Country Club.