For our most recent travel adventure, we hopped a short flight to Columbus, Ohio where Tom went to college. The occasion? A second matchup between our respective college football teams. After watching Ohio State cream Oklahoma last year with my brother, we all three decided to make the voyage to Buckeye land for part two.
This year turned out more favorably for me and my brother, and we had a blast watching the Sooners take home the win. The Ohio State stadium is huge and the campus quite lovely. Fans on both sides more or less remained friendly throughout game day. All in all, the trip was a success.
While the game was the reason for our visit, we had a lot more on the agenda than just football. I had no idea how much this small city has to offer, but left with a big appreciation for Columbus, Ohio.
Exploring the Columbus Food Scene
Obviously, our number one priority was checking out the Columbus Food Scene, which was surprisingly varied and delicious. We didn’t even come close to ticking off all the places we wanted to try, but what we did eat was pretty fantastic.
Kicking Things Off at Buckeye Donuts
Our first order of business was checking out one of Tom’s favorite haunts from his college days. I wasn’t sure how I felt about dining in “enemy” territory, but the sugary aroma wafting out the door was too good to pass up. Buckeye Donuts is the best place to grab a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast on High Street. We enjoyed donuts and egg sandwiches before heading out to explore the campus.
Nashville Hot Chicken at Standard
Don’t sleep on the Nashville hot chicken in Columbus. The delicacy from Tennessee is fully represented in Ohio. While Hot Chicken Takeover is the most popular spot to score the fiery sandwich, we found Standard Hall’s version perfectly delicious.
Healthy Fast Casual at Brassica
We attempted to balance our indulgences with delicious Mediterranean bowls at Brassica in the Short North area. Lori at Been There Eaten That recommended this place, and I’m so glad she did. Brassica serves up healthy pitas and bowls stacked with fresh veggies and tons of flavor. I opted to load up on the house pickled veggies, and Tom loved his choice of falafel.
Epic Breakfast at Katalina’s
Katalina’s makes pretty much every list of must visit restaurants in Columbus, and it’s easy to see why. This adorable spot was hopping on Sunday morning. We were warned there would be a long wait, but being from DC we’re not afraid of a queue. The line moved pretty quick, giving us just enough time to decide what to order.
Katalina’s is famous for their stuffed pancake balls and award-winning breakfast tacos, so we tried both. The pancake balls were stuffed with warm nutella and served with a side of sweet and spicy bacon. This was hands down the best thing we ate the entire trip.
The tacos weren’t quite as captivating, but still very solid. In an attempt to make the meal slightly less gluttonous I asked for no chorizo, which Tom is convinced brought the flavor levels down a notch. Still, the local white corn tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, tomatillo, avocado, queso fresco, Snowville crema and pico de gallo were pretty satisfying. The Cuban elote cob corn on the side was great as well.
Foodie Heaven at North Market
A visit to North Market is a requisite for any foodie while in Columbus. We’ve actually visited this glorious food hall in the past while in town for a friend’s wedding and had to return for a visit.
Unfortunately, we were still stuffed from Katalina’s, so we simply wandered through the market looking at all the pretty things. Sometimes it sucks only having one stomach.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is famous across the country, but it all started in Columbus. Tom couldn’t resist grabbing a cone before heading to the airport.
The drinking culture can sometimes be a bit… we’ll say sloppy… in a college town. But Columbus classes things up with several top-notch craft breweries. The Columbus Ale Trail boasts dozens of breweries with something for everyone.
North High Brewing
Our first stop on the trail was to North High Brewing, located in an old Ford dealership. They have a lot of really interesting beers from a cucumber wheat lager to a Russian Imperial stout dubbed Filthy McNasty. My brother and Tom loaded up on IPAs while I enjoyed sipping on the seasonal Oktoberfest brew.
Seventh Son Brewing Co.
Up next, we walked over to Seventh Son Brewing Co., which had a super hip vibe and a great outdoor space. It’s worth noting that both of these breweries also had full bars, featuring local spirits. Beer doesn’t always set well with my stomach, so I had a lovely glass of rosè while the guys tasted more IPAs and pale ales.
Dive Into Oddfellow Liquor Bar
Of course, being in a college town it would be wrong not to do what the locals do and hit up a “dive” bar. Oddfellows is a bustling local hangout with island-inspired cocktails and an impressive beer list. I was also thrilled to find that dogs were allowed inside the bar. Let’s just say that we honored the spirit of that sign (above) to the best of our ability.
Healthier Sips at Native Cold Pressed
Not into booze (or need to recover from the night before)? Native Cold Pressed has a healing selection of fresh juices, smoothies and smoothie bowls. My liver thanked me for visiting.
Walk It Off in the Short North Arts District
We spent a lot of time in the Short North Arts District during our stay. The area features tons of bars and restaurants, cute shops and art galleries plus a great collection of street art.
We also went for a stroll through Goodale Park, the oldest park in Columbus and among the oldest in the United States. The park is located near North Market, making it a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic.
Goodbye For Now, Columbus
We had such a great time over three short days in Columbus. The food and the beer alone were worth the trip, and a Sooner win only served to sweeten the experience. I definitely hope to return some day to work our way through more of the tempting restaurants and breweries.
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