Best of Columbus 2022: Tiki Botanicals, Prologue Bookshop and Other Shopping Standouts
A spot for unplugged gamers, a craver collaboration, a place to shoot monsters and more
Best Craver Collaboration
Fast-food fashion hit a high-water mark this year, thanks to a collaboration between White Castle and Puma. The shoe company released a sneaker inspired by the Columbus burger chain’s cheese sliders. The limited edition shoe features a heritage White Castle logo, a grilled-onions pattern on the footbed and an orange, tan and brown color palette that only looks good when you’re drunk.
Best Gift Shop for Bath Lovers
Tiki Botanicals began with a misunderstanding: Co-founder Jim Thieken’s girlfriend, Candyce, left the ingredients for her soapmaking hobby in his German Village home and returned to find he’d used them up, experimenting. His curiosity became an Etsy business for the now-married couple, which quickly expanded to brick-and-mortar locations in German Village, Powell and Upper Arlington. The company offers heavenly smelling candles in unique, refillable containers, plus soaps, sugar scrubs, bath bombs and other personal care products. It also hosts private candle-pouring parties.
Best Spot for Unplugged Gamers
Don’t head to The Guardtower if you’re looking for Monopoly, Life or some other pedestrian board game. The self-described “next-generation game store,” with 4,000-square-foot locations on the west and east sides, is the go-to spot for more unique fare: Dungeons & Dragons, Settlers of Catan, Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering, miniatures, historical war games, plushies, dice, modeling supplies and more. You can find products inspired by TV and movies (Star Wars, Star Trek, even a Queen’s Gambit board game, which, believe it or not, isn’t just a chess board), plus a robust internet presence (online sales, YouTube reviews). It’s the oldest and largest game store in the region, as well as the first in the state to have its own community room.
Best Place to Shoot Monsters
Nightmare Combat is perhaps the best place in Columbus to pretend to be an action movie hero. The horror laser tag game offers an immersive, post-apocalyptic setting in a 40,000-square-foot space in Northland Plaza that includes overturned cars, a haunted asylum, an abandoned diner, animatronic creatures and some 50 actors portraying the kind of nightmarish monsters you might see in Stranger Things. The concept has proven popular since owners Nick and Jess Francis launched it last year, with many events selling out within hours of tickets going on sale.
Best Hometown Artistic Spirit
Every book purchase at Prologue Bookshop comes with a bit of local art—bookmarks featuring the work of Columbus artists. For its second installment of the bookmark series, the Short North shop commissioned an original poster that honored 11 Black Columbus artists, including Aminah Robinson, Bryan Moss, April Sunami, Richard Duarte Brown and Queen Brooks. The piece, created by Raeghan Buchanan (@peppermint_raygun on Instagram), was divided into four bookmarks that the store distributes to customers. You also can buy a print of the poster for $20 at the store.
This story is from the July 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.