Restaurant industry insiders share where they like to eat and drink in Columbus.

Carmen Owens has been in the food industry since she was 14. The owner of the Discovery District’s Grass Skirt Tiki Room (and onetime Columbus Food League partner) lives in the Ohio State campus area, and when asked if she has any plans to open another restaurant—and possibly bring back Surly Girl Saloon—she says that one is the perfect number of restaurants to own. Her girlfriend is also in the food industry, so they make a point of seeing what the Columbus scene has to offer. Here are some of Owens’ favorite spots.

Special Occasion: Wings Restaurant. “That’s where I go every year for my birthday. I get the shrimp with lobster sauce every single time. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything else.” 

Chinese: NE Chinese Restaurant. “I order the fern root noodles. They come with this amazing pepper and vinegar sauce. It’s like potsticker sauce but on cold noodles.”

Breakfast: SuperChef’s Breakfast & More. “It’s a happening place. They put a lot of care in their food. And it’s a fun menu.”

Carryout: Exotic Latino Grill [food truck]. “The arepa con chorizo is outstanding. I wander over and take my food to the Glen Echo Ravine to eat.” 

Cocktails: The Light of Seven Matchsticks. “I drink whatever [cocktail director] P.J. [Ford] wants to make. It’s nice to have a rum cocktail that I don’t have to make myself. They have a little tapas menu that they change pretty often.”