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overhead view of plates of food and coffee with cookies on tabletop at joyas cafe in worthington ohio

Jumpin' for Joya's

After "Top Chef," chef Avishar Barua opens Joya's Café in Old Worthington.

Joya's Cafe in Worthington

Jumpin' for Joya's

By Nick Dekker

Posted On: Dec 22, 2022

Even before he appeared on season 18 of Bravo's Top Chef in 2021, chef Avishar Barua was a fixture of the central Ohio dining scene. He had worked in kitchens like Veritas in Delaware (which since moved to downtown Columbus) before settling in as head chef at Middle West Spirits' restaurant, Service Bar.

chef Avishar Barua standing next to his mom inside joyas cafe in worthington ohio

In the fall of 2022 he finally opened his first restaurant, described as a "seriously fun Bengali American daytime café." Taking over a former bakery in charming Old Worthington, Joya's is named for Barua's mother. She can sometimes be seen back in the kitchen or shuttling food to tables.

family of four with mom pushing stroller walking in front of joyas cafe in worthington ohio

Joya's is a long, narrow space with a deep counter overlooking an espresso machine. Another thin counter lines the opposite wall, while a collection of tables near the front and outside on the sidewalk offer places to sit. The café is currently open for breakfast and lunch hours, although Barua hosts private dinners in the space some evenings.

cup of coffee with latte art in light green ceramic cup on saucer with two cookies on side on wooden table at joyas cafe in worthington ohio

Leading off the focused menu is a roster of tea and coffee. Drip coffee, cold brew (available on nitro, too!), and espresso drinks are all made using locally roasted Thunderkiss Coffee, while creamy Woodruff Farms milk goes into the cortados, cappuccinos, mochas, and lattes.

Even as a coffee fan, I'm regularly reminded not to skip the tea. The nitro chai tea incorporates maple, malted milk, and a house-made masala, but the real winner is Joya's milk chai made from her signature recipe using lightly sweetened Ceylon tea and evaporated milk.

When you're ordering at the counter, don't miss the daily selection of snacks and sweets. They'll range from savory samosas and egg chops (similar to Scotch eggs) to cookies and soft, glazed donuts.

breakfast egg sandwich at joyas cafe in worthington ohio

Joya's menu covers a half dozen items, and each one is a winner. Barua is known for his playful cooking, often drawing on his heritage while riffing on Midwestern favorites. These include his elegantly composed breakfast sandwich to the crispy chicken Manchurian sandwich, a kati roll with lamb, and an all-inclusive Joya's Toast in a Box.

two Cheesy Double Crunch tacos on plate on table at joyas cafe in worthington ohio

Other favorites include his take on fried rice and pad Thai as well, but one of his signatures, popularized back at Service Bar, is the Cheesy Double Crunch. It’s his take on a fast food favorite, but he amps it up by wrapping a choice of braised beef, grilled chicken, or crispy potatoes with black beans along with queso, cheddar, lettuce, salsa, and a sesame salsa macha in both a paratha and crispy corn tortilla.

overhead view of plates of food from joyas cafe in worthington ohio

On top of all these hits, Barua has started introducing "secret" menu items. You'll have to spy them out on Joya's Instagram page and plan a visit around them (I've heard the burger is amazing!).

different plates of food on table at joyas cafe in worthington ohio

Central Ohio is certainly proud of Barua's showing on Top Chef – on one of the first episodes he wowed the judges with his take on a buckeye ice cream! And we're excited to taste more of his work. Joya's has stayed busy since it opened in the fall, and Barua is currently working on his second restaurant, a live-fire cooking spot in Columbus' Brewery District called Agni. Look for it to open in early 2023, and keep up with the chef on Instagram at @avishar.

Joya's Café is located on 657 High St. in Worthington (43085). Look over the menu and learn more about these delicious dishes at eatatjoyas.com

For more restaurants and dining, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org

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