Alternative Dining in CHicago
    
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#1
Posted April 20th 2007, 2:12pm
I'll be in Columbus over a long weekend and would love some restaurant suggestions. My boyfriend's vegetarian, but I'm not picky at all, so vegetarian-friendly (but not exclusively vegetarian) options would be ideal. If there are places I could try some quality local beers, all the better!

Any ideas? Or if this question has come up before, please direct me to the appropriate posting (didn't have much luck with the search on this).

Thanks!
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#2
Posted April 20th 2007, 3:21pm
Here's everything I know about dining in Columbus:

http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=785#785

It's a great place to go, if you like to eat at Bob Evans. At least Katzinger's is well worth a trip. There must be something else, though, and I look forward to hearing what it is, since I'll probably be there again soon.
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#3
Posted April 20th 2007, 4:11pm
The sole vegan/veg spot in the early 90's went by the prosaic name of The Diner(or somesuch). It was a "cool" place to hangout pre-downtown club crawl. I'm not sure if that's the name or if it still exists...but, it had a large following. Ask around. I'm sure if it's around it won't be that hard to run down. They had a memorable spicy peanut sauce tofu and noodles thing that I remember specifically because it packed in the chile heat.

Good luck.
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#4
Posted April 22nd 2007, 10:36am
I decided to un-lazy myself(and also out of curiosity to see if the place I mention above still exists) and found this:

http://www.happycow.net/north_america/u ... /columbus/

I remembered that the vegetarian joint was on King Avenue and might further have been named King Avenue Diner, but I can't find any web mention. It was a long time ago.
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#5
Posted April 22nd 2007, 7:11pm
Probably not the best place for a vegetarian, but Schmidt's Sausage haus has excellent German food and a great bier menu.
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#6
Posted April 22nd 2007, 7:33pm
I think the King Avenue Coffeehouse may be the place Christopher is thinking of. My poor dimming memory is left with little of the place but black bean chili. I googled it to see what became of it and found this article from the Short North Gazette: http://www.shortnorth.com/DragonflyNeoV.html. It's gone, but there's a vegetarian place in its old space.

Indeed, Schmidt's is not very vegetarian-friendly, but their cream puffs are worth a trip. I have to recommend Katzinger's as well, and also Graeter's (several locations) for ice cream. Oh, and Donato's for pizza. Or maybe I just like them for nostalgic reasons. Honestly I can't say for sure.
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#7
Posted April 22nd 2007, 9:05pm
I took my cousin to a vegetarian place in Columbus when she was in the PhD program at Ohio State. If my feeble memory serves me right, I would probably look in the University area on Broad St for a wide variety of ethnic options.
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#8
Posted April 23rd 2007, 8:23am
Any of cameron mitchells restaurants are great.
I don't know what part of town you are going to be in but he has a few.
http://www.cameronmitchell.com

An old favorite of mine in German Village

Old Mohawk Restaurant
819 Mohawk Street
Columbus, OH 43206

Italian inspired

Rigsby's Kitchen
698 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43215


also an old favorite for carribean and latin

Tapatio Restaurant
491 North Park Street
Columbus, OH 43215

http://www.spagio.com/spagio/index.html also good, in Grandview.

exotic vegetarian
Dragonfly
247 King Avenue
Columbus, OH 43201

For pizza don't miss tommy's 174 W Lane Ave
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#9
Posted April 23rd 2007, 8:43am
I'm going to be in the vicinity of I-71 and Morse Road, a couple of miles south of where 71 and 270 cross (the north side point where they cross, that is). Anything around there? It seemed pretty dire, all fast food, last time I was there.
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#10
Posted April 23rd 2007, 9:11am
Hate to say it but your best bet is to go to Easton mall on Morse Rd, there is nothing in the area you are going to be in, but the good news is that there is a Mitchell's Ocean Club at the mall with the focus on Seafood.
http://www.eastontowncenter.com/tenants/oceanclub.cfm
Also, Cafe Istanbul for mediterrean food.
http://www.eastontowncenter.com/tenants ... tanbul.cfm
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#11
Posted April 23rd 2007, 10:43am
Holly of Uptown wrote:I think the King Avenue Coffeehouse may be the place Christopher is thinking of. My poor dimming memory is left with little of the place but black bean chili. I googled it to see what became of it and found this article from the Short North Gazette: http://www.shortnorth.com/DragonflyNeoV.html. It's gone, but there's a vegetarian place in its old space.

Indeed, Schmidt's is not very vegetarian-friendly, but their cream puffs are worth a trip. I have to recommend Katzinger's as well, and also Graeter's (several locations) for ice cream. Oh, and Donato's for pizza. Or maybe I just like them for nostalgic reasons. Honestly I can't say for sure.


Not that it matters(your recollections are as good as mine), but the King Avenue Coffeehouse(was?...wow...that's surprising that it's gone...it was an institution)...the KACH was definitely a coffehouse first and a pastry/muffin yadda yadda yadda second. It was a glasswalled place with horribly overdesigned accoutrement(think Mad Max Cheesecake Factory) and sometimes decent local art. It also went by several amusing nicknames...most not fit for print. It was kinda a see-and-be-seen for the queer community...well...virtually every eatery in The Short North catered similarly...especially for the pre-club crowd.

KACH was known as the "fishbowl" for this type of display.

so...to recap the "King Avenue Diner"(vegetarian/vegan) wasn't actually in The Short North whereas King Avenue Coffeehouse was(!)...in the heart of the district. Unless I'm terribly confused in my dotage and have everything reversed.

Sad to hear it's gone. It was an early-90's omphalos of sorts.

oh...and Graeter's ice cream...so good. A show at the Drexel and a cinnamon scoop afterwards.
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#12
Posted April 23rd 2007, 11:20pm
Well - To clear a few things up -

Broad St. is not really near the university district, unless you are talking about a different University than Ohio St. (i.e. Capitol or Columbus St. or the West Side Beauty School) - And depending on which side (east or west) Broad st. might not be an area you want to be driving around -

North High Street is the place to be - It goes from downtown, to the trendy short north, to the campus district, up to lesbian friendly Clintonville, then on to Old Worthington and finally out through the suburbs up to Detroit. N. High Street, in the Clintonville area, is also home to my favorite vegetarian hole in the wall from childhood - Whole World Bakery -

Whole World Bakery - Although the very small wait staff can be a bit rude sometimes, and you can only fit about 15 people in the place before you start tripping, you will undoubtedly love the atmosphere and food. Especially the breads (at least that's what I remember liking the most). Beware, though, if you order the whole wheat pizza, be prepared to wait 45 minutes for it =/ --- Oh, its strictly vegetarian too - but good and homey -

http://search.cityguide.aol.com/columbus/restaurants/whole-world-natural-restaurant-and-bakery/v-105237242

Also, just off N. High Street in the short north is Benevolence. People seem to enjoy this one more than most -
http://www.benevolencecafe.com/

Again on N. High St - The Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant - This is not strictly vegetarian, but as you might be aware, Ethiopians don't have meat at the top of their food preferences. Good restaurant - a bit close to the U District though.

Another one, just up the street from Blue Nile - Alana's - check out the menu - very vegetarian friendly - don't worry, when you look at the menu it looks like it's a lot of meat - But believe me, just ask, and you can get great veg food.
http://www.iwaynet.net/~birdseed/menus.html

Check out the North Market near Benevolence - North Market will offer everything for vegetarians or carnivores. In fact, the whole Short North region will cater to vegetarians without blinking an eye. They'll get you what you need =)

As far as I-71 area - not too great - unless you want to check out the nation's second largest population of Somali immigrants - They still haven't built too many restaurants, but if you hang out at the Tim Horton's in the morning, you can chat =)

Easton - ugh - yeah its big and there is food - But seriously you could get down to the short north in as much time as it would take to go to easton and park and crap like that - And its a very unfulfilled feeling- Don't think you have to take the freeway, just take morse rd over to high street and drive down. Takes about 20 minutes total if it isn't rush hour -

Anyway - Search the internet a bit - People tend to overlook Columbus, but one of its really nice attributes is the quality and diversity of food you can find there. You will have to look though! It's not always apparent.

And cameron mitchell restaurants dot the city, but don't really offer anything but decent food - I think you can probably find that elsewhere and also get some "flavor" =)
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#13
Posted April 24th 2007, 4:15pm
I'd like to put in a word for La Chatelaine (two locations -- one is on North High Street in Worthington and the other on Lane Avenue across from the Lane Avenue shopping center in Upper Arlington). These are cafeteria style French places, run by the same French family. They have an on site bakery with excellent croissants. In fact, in my 8 years in Chicago I have not found better ... (although I can never seem to make it to Vanille Pastisserie). They have a very simple menu with two types of soups one of which is always French Onion, Ceasar Salads, Croque Monsieurs and usually one or two classic french entrees. Inexpensive and tasty.

As for Morse Road, yes it is a hell-hole and nobody from Columbus would tell you differently. However, there used to be a very good Italian restaurant called Trattoria Roma in a strip mall near I-71. They made their own pasta. It is tickling my brain that they may have moved somewhere else, though. I'll try to update later.
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#14
Posted April 25th 2007, 10:26am
Some clarifications:

First, La Chatelaine also has a sit-down dinner service at the Worthington location, at least. I always go there for breakfast or lunch so I don't know whether the table service version of the restaurant is as good as the cafeteria style.

Trattoria Roma: A quick search on google tells me that this restaurant has moved to Grandview heights, which is not especially near the Morse Road area.
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#15
Posted April 25th 2007, 6:41pm
Having grown up in the Columbus-area, I'm surprised at myself for not being able to spout off a dozen and a half recommendations for you...I guess I never realized what a restaurant-wasteland it could be. "Columbus: Land of hope, dreams and Applebees"

But, here are a few good places. You'll notice that most are Chinese, but they're all legit as these are the places that my parents would take us for a taste of home as most have "real" Chinese-food menus available...

    Fortune Chinese Restaurant Dim sum!

    Sunflower Chinese Restaurant A trusty stand-by...

    Lee Garden Order the beef with thick rice noodles & chinese broccoli...so good

    King's Garden Perhaps some of the most authentic Chinese in town. Not many places offer simple bowls of hot sweetened or salty soy milk with you-tiao for dipping...

    Here's a random one: If you're feeling adventurous and want to try somewhere beyond Columbus and have a thing for Amish cooking, try Der Dutchman in Plain City. The Amish may not dig electricity, but they bake a mean pie.

    ...And the best thing going for Columbus in terms of satisfying a foodie, the beauty that is The North Market. Three words: You. Must. Go. I recommend Barry's if you like Reuben's the size of a small child...
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#16
Posted April 25th 2007, 9:36pm
The North Market is an institution. Why Columbus, Ohio can cultivate a year-round, indoor gourmet/farmer's market(going on, what?, 15-20 years?) and Chicago *can't* is mindboggling...actually...taking chicago politics in mind...no it isn't...
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#17
Posted April 26th 2007, 3:25pm
North Market is great, couldn't agree with you more Christopher. Philly, Seattle, Columbus, why not Chicago.
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#18
Posted April 26th 2007, 4:00pm
Skybus has recently launched flights to and from Columbus. It does fly to KC, though not to Chicago. It's sort of an air travel answer to Megabus, with tickets starting at $10 one-way from Columbus to KC, LA, Boston, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, etc.

You can probably Megabus to Columbus for $5 roundtrip if you get lucky. If you've got plenty of time on your hands, and you get a little lucky, you could get around the country rather cheaply.
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#19
Posted April 27th 2007, 10:06am
My daughter moved to Columbus after living in Chicago for many years after college. She is very impressed with the diversity of restaurants and so am I. She is walking distance from the North Market and yes, I can't understand how they can sustain the gorgeous market and Chicago can't! I can't remember the names of the restaurants we've gone to with them other than Handke's (which was wonderful) but all along High Street, there are lots of great, little places. I live in Naperville and I'm constantly struggling to find a nice neighbor type restaurant.
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#20
Posted April 27th 2007, 10:30am
nicinchic wrote:Any of cameron mitchells restaurants are great.
I don't know what part of town you are going to be in but he has a few.
http://www.cameronmitchell.com


i can't speak for the ones in cleveland, but i've been to both cameron mitchell's steakhouse and mitchell's fish market in birmingham MI (detroit)

... the steakhouse was one of the best steakhouses i've ever been to, it was fantastic. the fish market was very sub-par, and reminded me of denny's. i've since read some pretty bad reviews of the fishmarket, if only i had done so prior to going!
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#21
Posted May 22nd 2007, 10:14am
Undeniably the highlight of my short trip to Columbus was North Market. It should be a required destination for all visitors who like food. In fact we loved it so much we went back the next day. With limited budgets we couldn’t buy much, but just wandering around ogling the fresh bread and handmade pasta and local meats and imported fancy vinegars, etc., was more than enough fun. We did buy some ice cream – both days – at Jeni’s Ice Creams. Mindblowingly good stuff. The salty caramel and Thai chili (peanut butter, coconut milk, cayenne) are 2 of the regular flavors not to be missed. Of the seasonal flavors I sampled, the crème de violet and the pear Riesling sorbet were the best, perfect in their simplicity.

The breakfast at Northstar Café was quite good (sweet potato and smoked turkey hash for me, wild mushroom frittata for the bf), but what shocked us was when, after no more than 10 minutes of waiting, a server brought our food to us with coupons for two free meals. Apparently 10 minutes was just longer than they felt it should have been, despite the fact I regularly wait 10 minutes for my food nearly anywhere else. And the biscuits were ideal: light, fluffy, and tasting (appropriately) of flour.

Blue Nile was tasty, but not as much as my beloved Ethiopian Diamond back home. The chickpeas were stellar; the lentils, collard, and potatoes all very good; the cabbage a bit too sweet for me.

Betty’s Food and Spirits was a great place to have a drink, with a nice selection of domestic (and a couple import) brews on tap. The food – pasta and sandwiches mostly – was good, but not worth returning for on its own. Nice staff and nice atmosphere, with pretty pinups on the wall.

The seemingly ubiquitous Donato’s Pizza wasn’t my favorite – too much salt and cheese and the crust too soft for my liking.

North Market
59 Spruce Street
614.463.9664
http://www.northmarket.com

Jeni’s Ice Creams
Two locations: one, in North Market (see above)
614.228.9960
and 1281 Grandview Ave.
614.488.2680
http://www.jenisicecreams.com

Northstar Café
951 N. High Street
614.298.9999
http://www.theshortnorth.com/Restaurants.htm

Blue Nile
2361 N. High Street
614.421.2323
http://www.ethiopiancuisine.com

Betty’s Food and Spirits
680 N. High Street
614.228.6191
http://www.bettysfoodandspirits.com

Donato’s Pizza
Many, many locations
http://www.donatos.com
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#22
Posted May 22nd 2007, 11:08am
Glad you made it to the market! It's been there so long and still going strong by your report. I'd forgotten about Donato's: ick...quintessential Ohio pizza.
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#23
Posted June 3rd 2007, 9:33pm
Well, I went to Columbus last weekend for an old movie convention and although food is usually a secondary thought I did manage to do a little better than last time I went there (in '04) and mainly ate at Bob Evans. A few quick notes:

Katzinger's-- my one must-visit, this deli was a pleasant point to return to and I got new T-shirts for the kids. Had a good sandwich of pastrami and roast beef with cole slaw on (slightly dryish) black rye. Quality stuff, highly recommended though, like Shapiro's in Indianapolis, it's not cheap.

Katzinger's Deli
475 South Third Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 228-3354
http://www.katzingers.com/

North Market-- drove by, no parking and besides, it's not like I could cook anything in my hotel room, so I decided I didn't need to go to great lengths to wander aimlessly through it buying nothing.

Cafe Istanbul-- Located in a mall so big it has street names for its parking lot streets, this is a handsome, reasonably good but a bit bland Turkish place. Baba ghanouj was excellent and smoky and I had hopes, but my doner kebab (chosen off what turns out to be a surprisingly brief and unadventuresome menu of middle eastern classics dotted with dull tilapia and chicken breast dishes) was on the dry, bland side. Others in my party seemed to like their entrees better; anyway, judging by the other choices in the mall, you could do worse.

Cafe Istanbul
Easton Town Centre Place Malle Square
3983 Worth Avenue
Columbus, OH 43219
http://www.eastontowncenter.com/tenants ... tanbul.cfm

Taj Mahal-- Columbus' oldest Indian restaurant (as you could have guessed from the name), which I would not normally consider a recommendation but I was very favorably surprised by the freshly complex spices of a table full of Indian classics. A Brit in the party was also surprised, and a little bit unamused, to see Chicken Tikka Masala described on the menu as "Britain's national dish"...

Taj Mahal
2321 N High St
Columbus, OH 43202
(614) 299-7990
http://www.tajmahalcolumbus.com/

Waffle House-- I'd never been to a Waffle House before so this time I picked it over a return to Bob Evans for breakfast one morning. I dug on the white trash atmosphere (at one point, honest to god, the staff was discussing whether or not you were supposed to put lotion on a freshly needled tattoo) but everything was kind of rubbery-- the "real" hasbrowns, the giant, but thinly dimpled, waffles, the sausage on the side. I think once will do me.

Waffle House
1050 E Dublin Granville Rd
Columbus, OH
(614) 885-8210
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#24
Posted June 28th 2007, 9:03pm
Alas, I hail from Columbus and often find myself disappointed with its restaurants. Columbusites seem to be pretty satisfied with chain food, and being home to Wendy's, White Castle, and other smaller chains, Columbus is unofficially the fast food capital of the world. But again, Columbus may disappoint you if you wanted to go to the nation's first Wendy's, as it closed not too long ago. Columbus is home to a good size Latino and Somali population, but there is a dearth of outstanding restaurants. The North Market is the shining beacon of hope for Columbus. It's about the one thing that Columbus can brag about, and it really is a wonderful place close to the heart of the city. You can't go wrong in your choices, but notable vendors are Lac Viet (Vietnamese), and Jeni's Ice Cream. Jeni's has been featured on the Food Channel once or twice, and her interesting flavors elevate her to a gourmet status. The most popular flavor is the Salty Caramel, but the flavors are always changing with the season. Columbus has quite a few great ice cream places including Denise's (which ranks up there with Jeni's), and Graeter's. Mike G, it sounds like you were under the impression that the North Market only sold produce, but practically all the vendors sell lunch and dinner. However if you are looking for produce, the farmer’s market outside the North Market Saturday morning has a very good selection.

One has to make a sincere effort to hunt out restaurants if they want good food in Columbus. As far as the original intent of the post, I can provide a few suggestions for vegetarian restaurants. As previously mentioned, Northstar Café is a very popular option, with two locations on High St. (one in the Short North, the other in Clintonville). It is vegetarian friendly, but not a vegetarian restaurant. They promote the use of organic and local ingredients, but a typical meal will set you back around ten or eleven dollars. Dragonfly is another option near the Short North, and they are active in using locally grown foods. This hip vegan restaurant is not cheap either, with the average meal around or just over twenty dollars. Benevolence is very near the North Market and can provide a cheaper vegetarian/vegan option (most of their menu is vegan).

Personal favorite restaurants of mine include El Arepazo (a block away from the Statehouse), which serves up cheap but delicious South American food, including my personal favorite, patacon. Indochine Café is a little of the beaten path, but makes tremendous Vietnamese and Laotian food. Lindo Mexico and Cambodia brings together two unlikely nations’ cuisine, and it surprisingly works (it isn’t fusion, but you can eat chips with some sour Cambodian soup). There are about eight or nine little Mexican restaurants on the city’s west side that can fill a taco fix. For having one of the nation’s biggest university populations, OSU doesn’t have a lot to offer. Morse Rd. and Cleveland Ave are good streets to explore for various Vietnamese and African restaurants. As far as restaurants to stray away from, I’m not a big fan of Donatos, a locally grown thin crust pizza chain. Cameron Mitchell has created quite a few different restaurants under his name, including a Mitchell’s Fish Market in Glenview. These are nothing special at all, but people in Columbus love them. Most of the “gourmet” expensive options in Columbus are hardly worth it, but I can suggest a higher end bakery located in the Short North called Pistachio. They use all kinds of exotic ingredients, but will be moving into a German Village location in a short time. That’s a very brief summary of what Columbus has to offer- If anyone is more curious about something more specific about Columbus, feel free to post.

El Arepazo
47 North Pearl Alley (between Broad and Gay St.)
Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 228-4830

Indochine Café
885 S Hamilton Rd
Columbus, OH 43213
(614) 231-7357

Lindo Mexico and Cambodia
3203 Sullivant Ave
Columbus, OH 43204
614-272-0561

Pistachio
680 North Pearl Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
614-220-9070
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#25
Posted June 28th 2007, 11:17pm
T Kent,

Welcome to LTHforum.

I hope you will consider offering us your opinions on the Columbus food scene whenever something appeals to you. A few years ago, a poster commented about a taco joint in Kentucky. Less than a week later someone based in Chicago commented they were on going to be there.

Thanks again for your kind information.

Regards,
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"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#26
Posted June 29th 2007, 8:02am
TKent- Is Hyde Park Grill still there? I guess that would be considered Upper Arlington, but worth the drive for a traveler. I used to love that place. Really fantastic wine list. And there used to be a good mexican place in Clintonville on High St whose name escapes me.
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#27
Posted June 29th 2007, 10:05am
Hyde Park Grille is still in Upper Arlington...and another location opened up on "the cap" which is a group of storefronts on top of the I-670 highway in between the short north and downtown. There's also a location in Dublin (an outlying suburb), but I'd stray away from that one. Although I have never been to Hyde Park, I've heard good things. The "cap" location might be more convienient if you stay at a hotel in downtown, but the Upper Arlington location has a little more history behind it. As for the Mexican restaurant in Clintonville, it's probably Talita's, which is considered more of a Tex-Mex/Brownsville restaurant. I've been there once or twice, and the menu is pretty standard; any combination of tortillas, beef, chicken, cheese, beans, and spinach. Talita's has been in Columbus for a while, so I bet they get regular patronage. For more of a taqueria experience in Columbus, you have to travel west on Broad st., or go to Cuco's, which isn't too far from Hyde Park Grille in Upper Arlington. The menu has a little more to offer, and the atmosphere is generally friendly. OSU has a pretty extensive list of Latin American restaurants, with some reviews as well. The two restaurants you list are sort of Columbus standbys, so I will make another suggestion. Nancy's Home Cooking, just a few blocks north of Talita's, is a very cozy restaurant with a wind around counter. There are often long waits and the place is packed for a reason. It's becoming harder to find a true down home American restaurant, but Nancy's has survived. Prices are pretty cheap, and the menu is generally the homemade special of the day- it could be meatloaf, or chicken and noodles. It's the sort of road food/dinerlike restaurant that you'd be surprised to find in the middle of Clintonville. Nancy's is also generally considered one of the best breakfast places in Columbus.

http://quepasa.osu.edu/culture.html (OSU's list of Latin American restaurants)

Hyde Park Grille
1615 Old Henderson Rd
Columbus, OH 43220
(614) 442-3310

Talita's
2977 N High St
Columbus, OH 43202
(614) 262-6000

Cuco's
2162 Henderson Rd.
Columbus, OH 43220
(614) 538-8701

Nancy's Home Cooking
3133 N High St.
Columbus, OH 43202
(614) 265-9012
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#28
Posted July 2nd 2007, 2:19pm
T Kent, thanks for bringing back all the memories.
It was indeed Talita's. I remember a fantastic enchillada sauce.
Nancy's home cooking is so good. Half garbage for me with gravy. I really can't believe it's still there, used to be an OSU football player hangout. Never had a menu, and the guy cooking would just tell you the amount to pay. People on this fourm would love that place.
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#29
Posted July 5th 2007, 7:29am
A decade ago I attended OSU as an undergrad and the good people at Nancy's fed me several times a week for about two and a half years. The food was hearty and very buttery. The cost of dinner was about $3.25.

I'm thrilled to learn that Nancy's is still open for business. Thanks.
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#30
Posted July 6th 2007, 4:07pm
Wow! What a blast from the past. I remember going to Talita's when I was still in high school. It was extremely cheap.
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