The Story of Us

By Columbus Monthly Staff

Edited by Kristen Schmidt, Photographs by Tessa Berg

We are Russian, Japanese, Burmese, Mexican, Thai, Argentine, Polish, German, Ecuadoran, Peruvian, Iranian, Nepali, Canadian, Turkish, Palestinian, Vietnamese, Somali, Ethiopian, French, Pakistani, Chinese, Eritrean. In all, more than 104,000 of us were born somewhere other than in the U.S. We color and flavor the city with our languages, our culture, our art, our culinary traditions and our clothing. We grow communities of fellowship and faith with our fellow countrymen. We are American.

We are Columbus.


The Story of Us: Park Once, Travel the Globe

By Emily Thompson

To get a sense of just how diverse our city is, look no further than its shopping centers. Home to a smorgasbord of businesses, Bethel Centre is one example of how products, services and fare from around the world come together, drawing both Columbus natives looking to experience different cultures and local immigrants in search of a piece of home. 1446-1540 Bethel Rd., North Side

Philly Steak and Grill

You’ll find Philly cheesesteaks and french fries next to falafel and shawarma wraps on this eclectic, multi-regional menu, served with a smile by one-man band Khaled Casey.
In business: Three years
What you’ll find: Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, gyros, melts, shawarma, falafel, hummus, kebabs
Owner: Khaled Casey
Home country: Palestine


“I sell almost any computer accessory, but mainly I do repairs,” owner Jamil Kahoot says of his business that specializes in hardware and software as well as physical repairs like screen replacements.
In business: Six years
What you’ll find: Computers, computer repairs and accessories, printers
Owner: Jamil Kahoot
Home country: Pakistan

Istanbul Market

Don’t be fooled by the name—items for sale in this corner shop aren’t limited to those from Turkey. Owner Kerem Dirliki also stocks his shelves with food and wares from nearby Persian Gulf countries.
In business: 10 years
What you’ll find: Cheese, cookies, tea, coffee, dry items, deli meats, Turkish teapots
Owner: Kerem Dirlikli
Home country: Turkey

New India Restaurant

For those less familiar with Indian cuisine, New India Restaurant’s daily lunch buffet is a great way to sample different dishes, including vegan and gluten-free options.
In business: 11 years
What you’ll find: Chicken tikka masala, lamb, samosas, korma
Owner: Manjit Kaur
Home country: India

Shish Kebab Mediterranean Grill

“It’s a (Turkish) gyro, but we do homemade,” co-owner Meliha Karahan says of doner, which is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. “It is lemon beef we use.”
In business: Three years under current ownership, 10 years total
What you’ll find: Lamb, kebabs, doner, breads, falafel, seafood, soups, salads
Owners: Murat and Meliha Karahan Home country: Turkey

Arirang Asian Food Market

Tucked in the back of this market is an unassuming little Korean restaurant that’s consistently earned positive reviews for authentic dishes like dumplings and bibimbap.
In business: Six years
What you’ll find: Bulk rice, Japanese cutlery, soy sauce, dry items, meats

Quality Box & Pack

“DHL only does international (shipping),” says Brandon Reichard of the service he uses to ship to countries like Iraq, Lebanon and the Congo. “They’re willing to go into dangerous areas with elevated risk.” DHL is the only service that currently ships to Somalia, Reichard adds.
In business: Seven years under current ownership, 20 years total
What you’ll find: Packaging; shipping services through DHL, FedEx, UPS and USPS
Owner: Barbara McLean
Hometown: Chicago


A look at a few more area shopping centers with global personalities:
Cranston Center

Don’t miss: EuroMarket takes the hassle out of grocery shopping with home delivery of items purchased online, Mondays between 6 and 9 p.m. 5833 Sawmill Rd., Dublin

Olentangy Plaza

Don’t miss: Find a range of less common items—Japanese pumpkins, Chinese cabbage, lemongrass—and everyday veggies in the produce section at CAM International Market. 889 Bethel Rd., North Side

Olentangy Square

Don’t miss: Banana Leaf chef and owner Ami Panchal teaches cooking classes on how to make dishes like vegan curry, dosas and chapati bread. Find schedules on their Facebook page.   816 Bethel Rd., North Side

Sawmill Center

Don’t miss: Bring a group of friends to share dim sum, small plates of dumplings, vegetables, noodles and pastries (served daily) at Sunflower. 7370 Sawmill Rd., Dublin

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