Best of Columbus 2020: Editors' Picks for Food & Drink

Columbus Monthly staff
Left to right, Abdilahi and Mohamed Hassan of Hoyo's Kitchen

Any doubt about whether North Market customers would embrace Somali cuisine has been smashed. Hoyo’s Kitchen, a family-run eatery that joined the market last year, has won over new fans and garnered a raft of national media attention for its positively addictive comfort food and hospitality, courtesy of brothers Abdilahi and Mohamed Hassan and their mother, Hayat Dalmar. Pass the goat suqaar and ginger chai.

Rolling with the Times

Back when shelves were bare of toilet paper, savvy shoppers found another way to score the precious commodity: by ordering carryout. With no dine-in customers to use their stock, Barley’s Brewing Co. sent out a roll with each online order; Lindey’s did the same, adding a fancy sticker. Fusian began taking orders for TP rolls along with sushi rolls, while Bexley Premier Restaurant offered a more fragrant enticement: free flowers with brunch on Mother’s Day.

Way to Enhance Your Zoom Happy Hour

When virtual happy hours became one of our social distancing coping mechanisms, North Country Charcuterie began offering charcuterie kits that will make you the envy of your book club. The new kits, which can be ordered online and ship nationwide, include North Country’s own handmade salami as well as Ohio-made artisanal products like fruit preserves from Black Radish Creamery and honey from Latshaw Apiaries.

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Dinners for Adventurous Diners

When Columbus Food Adventures was forced to sideline its restaurant tours because of the pandemic, founders Bethia Woolf (a Columbus Monthly contributor) and her husband, Andy Dehus, launched Trust Fall, a new way for diners to explore our diverse food scene. For $40, a “mystery” dinner for two is delivered to your home, ranging from authentic Chinese noodles to Brazilian-style ribs. The mystery meals will continue for the foreseeable future.

Beer Trend

Hoppy IPAs continue to dominate the Columbus craft beer scene, but lagers and other quaffable German-style brews are gaining traction—beer that Gemüt Biergarten co-owner Kyle Hofmeister fondly calls “something yellow and cold.” Gemüt opened last summer, specializing in beer styles like helles, kolsch and hefeweizen. Joining it this year are two other Bavarian-style breweries: 1487 Brewery in Plain City and Edison Brewing Co. in Gahanna.

Global Cuisines You Need to Try Right Now

Restaurants are struggling amid the pandemic, and many immigrant-owned businesses don’t have the kind of marketing heft that big brands wield, a way of reminding homebound customers that, “Hey, we’re still here.” Now is the perfect time to support some of Central Ohio’s hidden gems, many tucked away in nondescript strip malls. Here are three less-familiar global cuisines that you should order right now.

Some of the most satisfying food in town is being served at Yemeni Restaurant, a North Side spot owned by Najmeddine Gabbar. Chicken, lamb and beef are the primary proteins here. For a traditional starter, try the shafoot, a combination of yogurt, bread, cucumbers and honey. For entrées, go with a lamb dish such as haneeth or mandi, both served with aromatic rice.

The city has a wonderful, family-run Salvadoran restaurant in Ranchero Kitchen on Morse Road, where they serve the national dish of El Salvador, the addictive cheese-filled flatbread known as pupusa. Four miles to the north on East Dublin-Granville Road is a food truck called Pupuseria Villeda where you can also find the delicacy.

Finally, the city’s only Afghan restaurant, Kabob Shack, can be found on Cemetery Road in a Hilliard strip mall. Don’t miss the kebab entrées and especially the traditional Afghan dumplings known as mantu.

Running out of carryout ideas? Let our bingo card (which you can download here)—filled with some of the best to-go and delivery options around town—inspire your next order. If you complete a row, shout “BINGO!” to anyone within earshot and tag us on Instagram @columbusmonthly with the proof.

Best of Columbus 2020

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To-go orders from Lindey's come with a roll of toilet paper