Find out where in-the-know locals go for their favorite cheap ($10), rich ($100) or sweet eats in the capital city
Filmmaker, Hands Off Productions
Cheap: :Only one place to go with a Hamilton in your pocket: the Gateway Film Center’s Torpedo Room. On a weekday during lunch with that non-presidential bill, GFC practically signs over the keys to the joint. For $10, first you can pull down delicious Liz Lessner vittles (I love the fried pickles and stone-ground mustard). Then, after you’ve stuffed your face, you can go fill your brain with a movie from the film center’s world-renowned programming – indies and blockbusters, all under one roof, and brought to you by some of the best folks in town.
Rich: The other non-president bill! I see what you did there, Stock & Barrel. Anyway, if I have a C-note to burn, I think my friends would tell you we’re all piling into Little Palace – and it’s on me. Palace has the trifecta: great food, the beer you actually drink, and probably the sweetest servers in town. We grab that booth in the back, order up thick bacon by the boat and Palace’s signature fried chicken sandwiches, drink from bottles and talk about that movie we saw at Gateway over lunch. And that $100 covers the bill and plenty for the tip – which you should be generous with; those folks are working hard and smiling along the way.
Sweet: I’m no stranger to confections. But if we’re taking sides and picking favorites, I go to the Red Door Tavern in Grandview. The coffee gets poured in chipped, worn mugs, and the Der Dutchman pies are stacked in the fridge. Pound some coconut crème, and have them make you a Thing sandwich to go. You’re welcome.
Greater Columbus Arts Council
Cheap: Tensuke Market. Cheap sushi sounds like it should be a bad idea, but the food here is tasty, and I actually prefer it to some sushi places in town.
Rich: Alana’s has excellent food; their degustation menu is a fun and unique way to sample what the kitchen can do. I’ve also been meaning to get to one of their Historical Dinner Club events, hosted in partnership with the Columbus Historical Society.
Sweet: Back to the grocery store! I really like Indian sweets. Whenever I’m in Dublin, I have to stop by India Grocers to get a couple of pounds of moti ladoo and khoya jamun. Yes, a couple of pounds. And yes, that’s all for me.
Founder, Columbus Idea Foundry
Cheap: Cravings Carryout Café for Breakfast Roll – bacon, fried egg, rosemary aioli, and local cheddar on a brioche roll. This is a true hidden gem in Columbus – and they have cookies too! Tucked back in Italian Village off Fourth Street, you can recognize their street by their sandwich board. A short walk from my house, their friendly and have outdoor picnic tables on a grassy lawn. You can easily reach them from the Short North too.
Rich: Columbus Fish Market. Bombay Sapphire dirty martini with bleu cheese stuffed olives, oysters appetizer (two East coast, two West coast, two Northwest, shared with my favorite gal, and any two entrees, mix of seafood and steak). For special occasions, this place never disappoints. Just fancy enough to feel special but not so much that I feel awkward, and the wood decor and maritime theme makes me feel like my boat is tied up outside.
Sweet: La Chocoholique. Nothing caps an evening out like dessert at Chocoholique. When the weather is nice, the front wall is open to the street and the sidewalk life that entails; their creative truffle desserts and a strong coffee go well with anything you had for dinner that night.
Adventurer, Breaking Trail
Cheap: Without hesitation, Club 185. Not only is the location historic, but it also has a great vibe and the people who work there are always fantastic to talk to. It’s hard to believe that food coming from a menu where the numbers 2 and 3 are actually to the left of the decimal point is also amazingly delicious, not to mention consistent…which is why I always return. With a good old Alex Hamilton, I always go for the 185 burger with cheese, a double order of their killer French fries and a happy hour beer.
Rich: It’s a toss-up between any of Cameron Mitchell’s restaurants, but I’m going to say The Pearl because it has all the class of Cameron’s other choices, unbelievably creative and delicious food options and the prices are beyond affordable. I can get a snack (old-fashioned deviled eggs), oysters for an appetizer, pretty much pick any dinner entree (the Southern fried chicken is my jam) and lastly indulge in slice of the daily dessert pie! If I could live in their kitchen, surviving only off of oysters and have it be socially acceptable, I would never leave.
Sweet: I don’t have a very active sweet tooth but my inner Homer Simpson loves me some doughnuts. I have to say Destination Doughnuts in the North Market is possibly the greatest treat in town. Experimenting with doughnuts the way they have is nothing short of pure brilliance. The Apricot Pistachio or the Pumpkin Creme are my personal favorites and when in the North Market its a set-in-stone fact that they will be getting money from me.
General Manager, Freshbox Catering
Cheap: I’m completely obsessed with Hot Chicken Takeover. For just a wee bit over 10 bucks (you could probably dig the extra change out of your couch), you get AWESOME Nashville-style spicy fried chicken and killer mac and cheese. Grab extra homemade ranch. It’s awesome.
Rich: I’m dying to try Angry Bear Kitchen! If someone gave me $100 right now, I’d run over there and order at least half of the menu. They had me at “beef tongue poutine.” I swooned.
Sweet: I’m not much for sweets. Dessert usually = another beer. So, I’d head to Growl! in Clintonville for a growler of the ridiculously delicious Sprecher Hard Root Beer they have on tap, and I’d then pop on over to Lucky’s Market for a pint of Jeni’s and whip up a few boozy floats.