Forbes Travel Guide has named Columbus, Ohio as one of five secret foodie cities. The others are Minneapolis MN, Little Rock AK, Boulder CO, and Ashville NC. Here’s what Forbes said about Columbus.
Known more for its businesses than its food, Columbus is quickly transforming that reputation, particularly in the Short North Arts District near downtown. Last year, restaurateur Cameron Mitchell opened The Pearl, an oyster bar and gastropub serving classic cocktails such as the barrel-aged Manhattan and a stout list of entrées such as ricotta dumplings with acorn squash, toasted walnuts, crispy kale and crimini mushrooms. The nearby, and more established, North Market offers locals and tourists a European-style, indoor food vendor market, where the James Beard Award winner for best baking and desserts book in 2012, Jeni Britton Bauer, got her start churning splendid, full butterfat treats that can be savored today at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. And don’t miss James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2012 Kent Rigsby’s delectable oysters diavalo at Rigsby’s Kitchen. This Italian-American treasure served with Tabasco cream and crispy eggplant will leave you licking the bowl.
Anybody who has been to the Short North knows what a treasure it is. The eclectic shops, art galleries, and eateries make it a joy to get out of your car and just walk. Of course, the gallery hop is one hell of a party on the first Saturday of every month.
While I haven’t been to The Pearl, I’ve been to other Cameron Mitchell’s restaurants and the name means quality, taste, and ambiance in Columbus dining. Other Mitchell eateries include the Cap City Fine Diner & Bar, Marcella’s, M restaurant, Martini Modern Italian, and Cameron’s American Bistro.
Jeni’s Ice Cream is a Columbus favorite. You’ll get some argument from fans of Graeter’s Ice Cream, but many feel Jeni’s is the best in Columbus. This from Jeni’s web site.
Jeni opened Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002 in Columbus, Ohio’s North Market. Her ice creams have been praised by Time (“America’s best”), Cooking Light (“deadly delicious”), and Saveur (“revolutionary”), while Food & Wine stated, “No one makes ice cream like Jeni Britton Bauer.”
Rigsby’s Kitchen has been a Columbus go to destination for over 20 years. Here’s what Zagat had to say.
Synonymous with the resurgence of the Short North, this “cutting-edge” Northern Italian stalwart – a “chic” hangout attracting a “power crowd” – helped “change the Columbus food scene” over two decades ago and remains “remarkable” for its “exciting” cuisine, smartly curated “Italo-centric” wine list and “snazzy” “SoHo” vibe; with “professional” service completing the picture, many say it’s “still the king.”
The North Market is simply a blast to visit. From the numerous merchants, to the smells of fresh food , and the live music playing out front, the North Market has to be seen to be believed. Here is a review from a North Market fan.
This is one of those places that really just needs no explanation. Just go there. If you haven’t been to the North Market, you are missing out on some of Columbus’ finest establishments, all wrapped up inside one building!
It’s great to see Columbus finally get recognition for the outstanding dining experiences one can have. While most of us who live here have known about the great food that is prepared here, it’s nice to let the rest of the country in on the secret. As the restaurant scene in Columbus continues to grow, our status as a “secret foodie” city will no longer be a secret.