7 questions for Shiloh Todorov, German Village Society Executive Director

Erin Edwards

The German Village Society's biggest fundraiser, the Haus und Garten Tour,takes place this Sunday.In our June issue, we spoke with one of the tour hosts about preparing his home for a barrage of tour visitors. Here, we spoke with the Society'sexecutive director, Shiloh Todorov, about what's up next for German Village,her favorite neighborhoods outside of Columbus and the dangers of working across the street from Pistacia Vera.

You worked as a TV journalist for about 15 years. What drew you to journalism?

I love asking people about their lives, and I love writing. TV gave me a reason to do both - and when you add in the fact that I was my high school's theater and speech-team queen, well, that's why TV and not print.

How did you first develop an interest in historic neighborhoods?

Until I took the job at German Village Society, I didn't have the vocabulary to say exactly why I have always been drawn to old neighborhoods, but if I look back over 20 years of traveling with my husband and my family - we always stay in the old, quaint, walkable places. Now I know that there's an actual science about the way the rhythm of the architecture and the setback and the fabric that rewards people and draws us in. That's why preservation makes people passionate about their neighborhood.

Do you have any favorite historic neighborhoods outside of Columbus?

I lived in Washington, D.C., and just outside it for five years around grad school and I spent A LOT of time in Georgetown and 3.5 of those years living in Old Town Alexandria. I still have dear friends there, so it gives me an excuse to still be a regular in those places.

What's something people don't usually know about German Village?

I think the stunner is that 50% of the residential properties are rentals, and that means there is just a whole lot more diversity of age and income than the impression people have - or the expectation folks carry - about German Village. But the uniting factor is that passion for the preserved environment that they don't necessarily have the words for either - but it allows the kind community and teamwork that we have. The bricks draw people in and the community makes them want to stay forever.

The German Village Meeting Haus is dangerously close to Pistacia Vera. So, what's your go-to order?

I live and die for their coffee and I have a VERY hard time not ordering either the bacon quiche or the ham-and-cheese croissant. But seriously - I am within a very short walk of some of Ohio's top restaurant destinations. This is NOT a job for a dieter!

If you're picking somewhere to eat outside of German Village, where do you go and why?

My husband, Dimiter, and I keep meaning to establish our Cheers equivalent, but we're always drawn to variety. If I have to pick one, I'll say Kihachi in Dublin. Dimiter stumbled on it a few days after he got to Columbus seven years ago and we felt like we'd invented Japanese food. Then Anthony Bourdain visited there and our sense of knowing what's good got REALLY out of hand.

What do you see in the neighborhood's future?

Built-environment-wise, I think we're on the cusp of a revitalized Third Street thanks to our partners and champions at the City; AND we have a rock star group working on a plan to help neighbors flatten out their brick sidewalks. But German Village is always going to be about the people and the mix of folks who've been championing it forever are teaching the next generation of us how it's done, and we put our spin on it and so it goes - on and on!