The Neil House
(41 S. High St.)
The hotel across the street from the Ohio Statehouse was a hangout and old-school meat market for the government and business leaders who frequented its restaurants and bars throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
When the third and final incarnation of the Neil House closed in 1980, it would, at least for one customer, be remembered more for what went on inside its doors than atop its plates. "I once saw my fifth grade teacher in the lobby trying to hook up," one patron recalls. How sordid!
Benny Klein's Steak House
(12 N. High St.)
The original locavore, Benny Klein was known for proselytizing pickles he made from northern Ohio produce at his restaurant.
A lobbyist and legislator hangout, his restaurant became a bar association of sorts, with many a legal decision between lawyer and judge being made on its tables-underneath the fake tree that enveloped the walls and ceilings.
Band leader Joe Dunlap recounts a group of lawyers bringing in 100 canaries and letting them loose within the "branches" of the majestic tree. "Of course, you know where the birds went. And you know what they did when they were up there for awhile," Dunlap said. "Benny could have killed those guys."
(137 E. Broad St.)
Mary Love McGuckin, the first owner of Columbus' beloved Maramor, may have paved the way for women restaurateurs today.
Maramor was famed for specialty dishes like vichyssoise and the Floating Island, a dessert of meringue in a bed of light custard. But it was the restaurant's arcade, filled with sweets and chocolates, that gave this place its legacy--Maramor chocolates can still be purchased throughout the country today.
-- Story by Jill Moorhead