What are the best Columbus food experiences?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Erin Norris

There are some unique and celebrated food experiences that are quintessentially Columbus. Here are the places and dishes that best represent the city:
1. German food. The early 19th century marked a period of mass German immigration to Columbus. Today, you can visit the well-preserved area to dine at authentic German restaurants like Juergen’s Traditional Bavarian Bakery and Restaurant and Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, which serves knockwurst and jumbo cream puffs.
2. Taco trucks. Taco trucks started popping up around Columbus a few years ago, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. While food critics and regulars often have different opinions about their favorite truck, Junior’s Tacos is frequently cited as the best. Parked by Dairy Family, a convenience store in the University District, Junior’s features an inexpensive and flavorful selection of authentic Mexican food. A favorite of regulars is the lengua, or beef tongue.
3. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Founder and flavor genius Jeni Britton Bauer uses fresh, seasonal ingredients and local dairy to create wholly unique flavors such as wildberry lavender, riesling poached pear and salty caramel. She is gaining national recognition for her creativity, and cities across the country are now stocking her products.
4. Local farmers’ markets. Columbus started off as an agricultural town, and although it is now the largest city in Ohio, the culture is still deeply rooted in farming. During the spring and summer, farmers flock to the city to sell their goods. The freshest and best herbs, produce, dairy and baked goods can always be found at one of the many open-air markets, the largest of which is the Clintonville Farmers’ Market. Visiting in the winter? The indoor North Market is open year-round.
5. Tailgating. The only thing that people in Columbus love as much as college football is pre-game tailgating. During football season, lots, alleys and otherwise public spaces transform into tailgating parties. In the hours before a big game at Ohio Stadium, the smoky scent of a thousand grills wafts through the city. Even visitors who don’t care about football can enjoy this tradition, which is so ubiquitous that it’s almost impossible not to.

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