My Neighborhood: What City Council Member Bhuwan Pyakurel Loves About Reynoldsburg

Pyakurel, the country’s first Bhutanese-Nepali elected official, discusses his top picks and why the Columbus suburb is such a diverse destination.

Steve Wartenberg
Reynoldsburg City Council member Bhuwan Pyakurel at the Diwali-Tihar Festival in Reynoldsburg on Oct. 22, 2022

Reynoldsburg flies a bit under the radar. “Many people don’t know about us,” says Bhuwan Pyakurel, a resident, City Council member and the country’s first Bhutanese-Nepali elected official. He’s determined to change perceptions and celebrate his community’s ethnic diversity, fun festivals, scenic parks and tasty Bhutanese-Nepali restaurants.

Flying Tomatoes

“The Tomato Festival is a big thing for us,” Pyakurel says. The city’s tomato history dates to 1870, when Alexander Livingston developed the Paragon, the first tomato for commercial use. The festival began in 1966. “My favorite part is the tomato war,” Pyakurel says. “You get a big bucket of tomatoes and get in the middle and throw tomatoes at each other.”

Secret Park

Pine Quarry Park is “small and located in the heart of Reynoldsburg, and even some people [who live in the city] don’t know about it,” Pyakurel says.

New Festival

The first Diwali-Tihar Festival was held in October. “It’s a Hindu festival of lights that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil,” Pyakurel says. The festival featured fireworks, to represent light.

Hot Stuff

Reynoldsburg has a large Bhutanese-Nepali immigrant population. “We have seven Bhutanese-owned restaurants, all started in the last 10 years,” Pyakurel says, adding two of the more popular are Durbar Indian & Nepali Cuisine and Sargam Restaurant & Bar. Bhutanese-Nepali cuisine is similar to Indian food, but spicier. “They will ask you how hot you want it, from one to five. Some people go for a five, and that’s a mistake. Get a one or a two.”

Dancing in the Streets

The annual Macedonian Festival features live music, food and pastries, and Macedonian beer and wine. “The thing I really like is there are hundreds of people, and everyone dances together,” Pyakurel says. “It’s very energetic music.”

Take a Hike

Blacklick Woods Metro Park features 643 acres of swamps, ponds, prairies and beech-maple forests. During the COVID lockdown, Pyakurel and his wife, Dil, and their children, Aditi and Dev, visited the park daily. “We walked, and my son is really into soccer, so we’d play,” he says. “Now, we mostly go biking there.”

This story is from the January 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.