Best of Food & Dining
Devour one of the irregularly shaped, impossibly dense sour cream doughnuts at this Grandview greasy spoon, and you’ll never look at those perfect-circle “donuts”
the same way again.
Best New Outdoor Space:
It doesn’t get much better than sipping a mojito while watching children frolic in a majestic fountain array along the scenic Scioto Mile.
Best Four-Star Patio:
The abbreviated menu of small plates served on the patio overlooking the bustling Short North is more accessible than the classic French menu inside—but just as impeccable.
Best New Suburban Outpost
Arepazo Tapas & Wine
A spacious new Gahanna location complete with dinner hours and a full bar is introducing a popular Downtown lunch spot’s Venezuelan delights (patacon!) to the masses.
Best Restaurant Host:
Z Cucina owner Rick Ziliak
Nobody understands the value of good first impressions and loyal regulars better than Ziliak, who gives the same VIP treatment to everyone who walks through the door at his chic Italian bistro in Grandview.
Best Corned Beef
Lexi’s on Third
Corned beef is the king of all deli meat, and Danny Georges is the king of Columbus corned beef. The Danny’s Deli owner is piling it high on sandwiches at his bustling new Downtown spot, Lexi’s on Third. And don’t miss the killer corned beef hash for breakfast.
Best Picnic Spot
Just south of Delaware on Rt. 23, the grounds around Perkins Observatory have an oasis of isolated greenery, plus a cool historic building to peek into even when the summer sky isn’t dark enough for stargazing.
Best Shrimp Burger:
The new Easton burger joint is already beloved by meat-lovers (and adult-milkshake-lovers), but seafood fans should rejoice, too. The spicy, Cajun-kicked Louisiana “Laughing Bird” Shrimp Burger is a proper salute to crustaceans on a bun.
Best use of a Pineapple
You probably won’t notice the chunk of tropical fruit sitting atop the Bethel Road taqueria’s rotatating meat spit, but taste the unbelievably tender pineapple-infused pork and you’ll understand all the fuss.
Best New Restaurant Decor
Jeb Loy Nichols prints at Explorers Club
Ricky Barnes’ stripped-down, Latin-flavored Merion Village restaurant spotlights striking woodblock portraits of iconic visionaries created by Nichols, Barnes’ longtime friend and musical collaborator.
Best Custard Takeover Plan
Since its debut less than a decade ago in Granville, Whit’s Frozen Custard has expanded to a dozen locations around Central Ohio and beyond. And in June, the family-run company opened its most ambitious one yet: right in the heart of the Short North in the Dakota building.
Best Way to Drink Coffee Like a Mad Scientist
Drip is done. Pour-over’s passé. To many after artisanal joe, this is the year of the coffee siphon, a brew method disguised as a science experiment. Also known as vacuum pots, these devices use heat, pressure, gravity and complex glass apparatus to produce smells and tastes you never thought possible in coffee. See a siphon in action at Impero Coffee Roasters in the Short North, one of the Columbus coffeehouses that roasts its own beans.
Best Literary Allusions on a Coffee Menu:
Befitting a place beloved by bibliophiles, the java concoctions at this nerdalicious Campus spot are named after literary giants. Example: The Anne Rice, a chocolate and raspberry latte.
Best Sunday Dinners
Tucked away in the northeast corner of Franklin County is a Hollywood-ready farm where lambs graze on organic pastures and rows of sunflowers stand tall and bright. It’s one of the city’s best hidden treasures, and on the third Sunday of every month farmer Val Jorgensen extends an invitation to join her for an intimate farm-to-table feast. Each menu is prepared by professional chefs, incorporating whatever happens to be ready to harvest that week.
Best Proof that the Chicken Came First (Or Was It the Egg?)
What sets The Coop at the top of the heap of street food in Columbus is its chef, Angie Theado. After putting in a few years in the kitchen at Alana’s, Theado branched out on her own with a chicken-and-eggs concept that’s far loftier than typical food-truck fare. Her confit chicken legs, French omelet sandwiches and yak burgers topped with fried eggs are served through the window of a converted carnival truck, but they’d be right at home in any upscale restaurant.
Best Neighborhood Revitalization
Olde Towne East
For a time, Black Creek Bistro held court at the corner of Parsons and Oak as a fine-dining oasis in an otherwise struggling part of town. From that foothold has sprung a vibrant neighborhood, a shining example of urban redevelopment. On Oak Street, Yellow Brick Pizza serves up artisan pies across the street from the indie-minded Angry Baker bakery, and three young entrepreneurs hope their Tavern will develop into a beloved watering hole. An eclectic stretch of retail has popped up along Parsons, like Opal Stackhouse, specializing in reclaimed and handmade items. Here’s hoping that success keeps spreading down Parsons following the massive expansion of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.