Two Service Industry Insiders Recommend Their Favorite Bethel Road Spots
Two service industry insiders—and Bethel Road devotees—share what they love about the area.
Owner of Bonifacio and Boni: Filipino Street Food
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I could spend all my money on Bethel Road.
I’ve been going to the area since I was a kid, when CAM international market was over there. In college, I worked at Buckeye Pho as a server. The pho dac biet, which is the combination pho, is always a good choice.
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Jiu Thai is a good place for lunch. There was a point in my life when I would go to Jiu Thai every week to get biang biang noodles and the pork sandwich. The noodles are hand-pulled and the perfect texture.
For dinner I like going to Panini Opa. They have awesome salads. For ramen, Meshikou, of course. I usually get one of their spicy miso ramens. Bamboo Thai Kitchen is also really great. It’s one of my go-tos for Southeast Asian food.
There’s Arirang, which is a Korean market. They have the stone pot bibimbap, and that’s usually my go-to. It’s served in a hot stone bowl, so you get that crispy rice on the bottom. I like to let it sit for a couple minutes so it can get properly crispy.
Golden Delight Bakery is where I think every Asian person gets birthday cakes. I literally just got my mom a fruit cake for her birthday a couple of weeks ago. It’s a layered chiffon cake. In between the layers is fruit cocktail. They also make one with fresh strawberries and kiwi. That’s always a good choice.
At Bonifacio and Boni, we do Filipino food a little bit more modern. But the mom-and-pops that have been on Bethel Road for decades paved the way for us to be able to do what we do.
Top Chef alum and owner of the forthcoming Joya’s Café
When I started working in restaurants, I would often take some of the staff home, and 95 percent of the time they lived somewhere on Bethel. That’s actually how I found out about Los Guachos. That was well before anyone was really talking about it.
Coco Hot Pot is a great place to go if you want to get some authentic hot pot. The menu’s enormous, so you can pick and choose exactly what you want. The food outside of their hot pot is very good, too. I would recommend getting the four-flavor hot pot so you can choose different broths. You can have one or two that are spicy and one or two that are not, and mix and match whatever ingredients you want. It’s very similar to the hot pot I had when I was in Sichuan.
If you’re going later at night and you want to have a fun time, I would recommend Gogi Korean BBQ. The vibe is very nice, and you can share a different style of meal with your friends.
Every time you go to a different corner [of Bethel], you can find something amazing. I think it defines Columbus pretty well. We talk about, ‘What is Columbus food?’ All these restaurants are—in strip malls on Bethel.
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I’d like to take a field trip down Bethel and try to [eat my way] to the other side. That would be a sick challenge.
This story is from the May 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.