[ed note: I promised I would front page food selections if actual Ohio/Columbus food options were listed. Trasch rightfully called me out on knowing nothing about Ohio. Also, I'm really hungry now. - JC]
That's what I said when I opened up my laptop this morning and cruised to the OTE homepage.
"You shouldn't expect so much, these guys don't even watch football games."
"But they stuck us with pizza yesterday and not even good, hometown pizza like Adriatico's or Late Night Slice."
"Papa John's. Jesse stuck us with a place that is associated with a joint that is only tolerated with copious amounts of garlic butter."
Well have no fear because Uncle Traschy is gonna drop some knowledge on you about the food and drink scene in Old Columbus Town with hopefully minimal football talk. So nuzzle on up to the teet of Ohio and nurse on the milk of our state capital.
Appetizer: Bakersfield's Queso
"Drink it in. It always goes down smooth."
There is no better meal-starter in the city than chips and queso at Bakersfield in the Short North. Always add the chorizo, black beans, and hot peppers. Always. This is the first and probably only time that I'll tell you to pass on guacamole but the queso is worth it. In fact, get one for everyone at your table because once you start eating it, you won't be able to stop. Wash it down with one of their house-made margaritas served in a Mason jar and follow it up with a pastor or short rib taco (probs both), and you'll soon be covered in a blanket of the Columbus food scene.
We're just getting started.
Second Stop: Schmidt's Sausage Haus Buffet
Some will rave about the Bahama Mama while others tell you the cream puff is the best food item Schmidt's offers. My take: get it all, get the buffet. Try the Bahama Mama, all the various types of schnitzel, brats, and other sausages, german potato salad, corned beef and cabbage, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and the jumbo cream puff. Belly up to a table, unbuckle your belt, order a CBC Summer Teeth or an Elevator Heferweizen. and talk over the accordions of the live polka bands (unless you don't have friends*).
Third stop: Thurmanator, The Thurman Cafe
The Thurman Cafe is a German Village staple, a Columbus must-see. It's not a very big place and you will absolutely wait a while to get seated but bah gawd are the burgers good. Wash them down with a Four String Brass Knuckle or a CBC Breakfast Bodhi.
"What is the Thurmanator? Is it a burger or is it some sort of killing machine?"
The Thurmanator is two of the very best burgers, the Thurman burger and the bacon burger, stacked on top of one another:
The scene: Bottom bun, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, banana peppers, 12 ounce burger, bacon, cheddar, another 12 ounce burger, sautéed mushrooms & onions, ham, mozzarella & American cheese, top bun served with fries and a pickle spear.
Put your pants back on, this is only the third stop on our tour.
Fourth Stop: Cap City Diner- Meatloaf
"This guy has lost his mind. Meatloaf? My mom makes meatloaf."
Your mom's meatloaf sucks. You suck.
Cap City Diner is a place to go for well-made, stick to your ribs comfort food and there is nothing better on the menu than the meatloaf. A thick slice of wonderful baked ground beef on top of buttermilk-chive mashed potatoes and topped with chili french fried onions. This meatloaf is the Carlos Hyde of food: it doesn't look flashy and it's something you've seen 100 times but got dang is it good once you really get into it. While you're searching for Cap City on the interwebz, look up all of Cameron Mitchell's restaurants; The Pearl (if you like seafood, oysters especially) and Marcella's (if you like Italian**) will never let you down.
Celeb Shot Fifth Stop via Viceroy Fizzlebottom: Basi Italia
It has an intimate, softly-lit ambiance, not to mention excellent food. They specialize in "Italian and Mediterranean-inspired entrees," and have a genial staff and excellent wine selection. There’s also outdoor patio dining out back, if that’s your preference. The menu is constantly changing to reflect whatever produce is in-season, and the food is locally-sourced wherever possible. Here’s the menu they’re currently serving. The best meal I’ve ever had there was probably a bison strip steak on a bed of grilled asparagus. It’s simple food: great ingredients, cooked properly, and always delicious.
Celeb Shot Sixth Stop presented by B1G & Buckeye Pride: Milestone 229
Situated right on the Scioto Mile and on the Scioto River, next to the fountains, this beautiful restaurant offers a river front view to everyone who eats here. Also right next to outdoor fountains you’ll experience a very relaxing atmosphere when visit this gem of Columbus. The view though is only half of what makes this restaurant great, there’s of course the exquisite food to be devoured. Delicious beef brisket or my favorite, the Three Little Pigs( pulled pork, double-smoked bacon, caramelized pork belly, slaw and pickles on a brioche bun with Carolina style BBQ sauce). Did I mention that you’re right on the Scioto Mile? Need to walk off dinner? Take a walk on the Mile after you eat at Milestone 229 and enjoy the riverfront of Columbus, there are numerous swinging benches and regular seats for you to just sit and enjoy the scenery and weather(If you visit soon enough).
Celeb Shot Final Stop brought to you by BBP: Matt the Millers
An excellent tavern nestled in the suburbs of Dublin. Great beer selection paired with good tavern eats. Starting with Bavarian pretzel bites and then moving up to the my two favorite entrees, the Chicken Avocado flatbread(Tender honey-lime marinated chicken breast, fresh jalapeños and white cheddar with a creamy avocado puree topped with watermelon salsa) and the can’t-go-wrong Cuban sandwich(Roasted pork with ham, Swiss cheese, pickle, honey-horseradish mustard and slaw on a ciabatta roll.). The Cuban is my favorite of the menu items as the roasted pork is so tender and full of flavor. If you’ve skipped lunch for this meal then you have to order desert. My favorite desert there is a twist on a classic of banana bread pudding. Matt’s version is Cinnamon rolls, croissants and brioche bread baked in a creamy banana custard. Served with whiskey-caramel sauce, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. Bschim went here and can vouch for their burgers, which are also delicious.
Bonus Gameday Stop: Chumley's
I know Chumley's isn't an OSU or Columbus original but $3 Ohio pints every Saturday are
tough impossible to beat. Whether you're in the mood for a Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, an Elevator Bleeding Buckeye, or a Mount Carmel 3rd Shift Imperial Coffee Stout, Chumley's will have it on draught. Nestled between E. 16th and E. 17th on High Street, Chumley's is a great stop on your way to or from watching your team lose in the Horseshoe or a great place to watch any sort of sporting event (Monday and Thursday Schooner nights are a huge plus too).
There are so many other excellent places to eat and drink in our wonderful city that this list alone won't do it justice but do to circumstances, this is all you're getting. Columbus also has an incredible food truck scene, fest culture, gay community, and overall amazing vibe. If you're ever in town, contact me and I'll stand you up for drinks.
*you don't have friends, you're not fooling anyone
**everyone loves Italian food