The Story of Us: Park Once, Travel the Globe

Emily Thompson

To get a sense of just how diverse our city is, look no further than its shopping centers. Home to a smorgasbord of businesses, Bethel Centre is one example of how products, services and fare from around the world come together, drawing both Columbus natives looking to experience different cultures and local immigrants in search of a piece of home.1446-1540 Bethel Rd., North Side

You'll find Philly cheesesteaks and french fries next to falafel and shawarma wraps on this eclectic, multi-regional menu, served with a smile by one-man band Khaled Casey.

In business:Three years

What you'll find:Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, gyros, melts, shawarma, falafel, hummus, kebabs

Owner:Khaled Casey

Home country:Palestine

"I sell almost any computer accessory, but mainly I do repairs," owner Jamil Kahoot says of his business that specializes in hardware and software as well as physical repairs like screen replacements.

In business:Six years

What you'll find:Computers, computer repairs and accessories, printers

Owner:Jamil Kahoot

Home country:Pakistan

Don't be fooled by the name-items for sale in this corner shop aren't limited to those from Turkey. Owner Kerem Dirliki also stocks his shelves with food and wares from nearby Persian Gulf countries.

In business: 10 years

What you'll find:Cheese, cookies, tea, coffee, dry items, deli meats, Turkish teapots

Owner:Kerem Dirlikli

Home country:Turkey

For those less familiar with Indian cuisine, New India Restaurant's daily lunch buffet is a great way to sample different dishes, including vegan and gluten-free options.

In business:11 years

What you'll find:Chicken tikka masala, lamb, samosas, korma

Owner:Manjit Kaur

Home country:India

"It's a (Turkish) gyro, but we do homemade," co-owner Meliha Karahan says of doner, which is one of the restaurant's most popular dishes. "It is lemon beef we use."

In business:Three years under current ownership, 10 years total

What you'll find:Lamb, kebabs, doner, breads, falafel, seafood, soups, salads

Owners:Murat and Meliha Karahan Home country: Turkey

Tucked in the back of this market is an unassuming little Korean restaurant that's consistently earned positive reviews for authentic dishes like dumplings and bibimbap.

In business:Six years

What you'll find:Bulk rice, Japanese cutlery, soy sauce, dry items, meats

"DHL only does international (shipping)," says Brandon Reichard of the service he uses to ship to countries like Iraq, Lebanon and the Congo. "They're willing to go into dangerous areas with elevated risk." DHL is the only service that currently ships to Somalia, Reichard adds.

In business:Seven years under current ownership, 20 years total

What you'll find: Packaging; shipping services through DHL, FedEx, UPS and USPS

Owner:Barbara McLean


Don't miss:EuroMarket takes the hassle out of grocery shopping with home delivery of items purchased online, Mondays between 6 and 9 p.m. 5833 Sawmill Rd., Dublin

Don't miss:Find a range of less common items-Japanese pumpkins, Chinese cabbage, lemongrass-and everyday veggies in the produce section at CAM International Market. 889 Bethel Rd., North Side

Don't miss:Banana Leaf chef and owner Ami Panchal teaches cooking classes on how to make dishes like vegan curry, dosas and chapati bread. Find schedules on their Facebook page. 816 Bethel Rd., North Side

Don't miss:Bring a group of friends to share dim sum, small plates of dumplings, vegetables, noodles and pastries (served daily) at Sunflower.7370 Sawmill Rd., Dublin