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Five Essential Food And Drink Experiences For First-Time Visitors To Columbus

January 3rd, 2022

Ohio may not be the nation’s most esteemed state when it comes to the world of food and drink, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any culinary gems found across the Buckeye State. With roughly 900,000 people living within Columbus city limits, Ohio’s sprawling capital has developed a surprisingly complex dining scene that represents a massive array of cultures and nations—and that’s before getting into the incredible breweries and distilleries to be discovered along the way. If you’re planning a trip to Columbus some time in 2022, don’t miss out on these incredible food and drink-focused experiences.

Top-quality craft distilleries have been popping up all throughout North America over the past few years, and Ohio is no exception. Case in point—Middle West Spirits, a polished venue that prides itself on crafting products that reflect the rich history and culture of the Buckeye State. Over the past few years, Middle West has mastered the craft of barrel-aged spirits, offering a diverse portfolio of bourbons and whiskies made from Ohio-grown wheat, with the Dark Pumpernickel Rye Whiskey and Bourbon Cream being two particularly flavorful selections. Not a huge fan of dark spirits? No worries—the OYO Stone Fruit Vodka and Vim & Petal Dry Gin are two unaged options that perform perfectly in a cocktail or served on their own.

Drinking and dining is a great way to spend your time in Columbus, but if you’re looking to brush up on your culinary skills, look no further than The Seasoned Farmhouse. Founded by French Culinary Institute alum Chef Tricia Wheeler, this esteemed operation offers a wealth of cooking classes highlighting cuisines and cooking styles from across the globe—and to sweeten the deal, many of the ingredients used are sourced right there from the lush on-property garden. Whether you choose to enroll in a course dedicated to Balkan cuisine, spring for a class on the art of pho making, or dive headfirst into the world of crafting decadent comfort food, you’re sure to come away with a new knowledge set to bring back home to your friends and family.

If you’re hoping to familiarize yourself with Columbus and maybe meet a few locals along the way, a cross-city brewery crawl just might be the perfect activity. To kick things off, head west of the Scioto to find Land-Grant Brewing, a charming venue housed within a refurbished 1920s-era elevator factory. This local favorite comes equipped with a diverse array of brews ranging from the refreshing House Beer premium lager to the Confection salted caramel stout, as well as an outdoor patio that serves as the perfect hangout spot during the warmer months. After a pint at Land-Grant, hop aficionados can grab a delicious Ales for ALS hazy IPA at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, then head further north to Seventh Son Brewing Co for a Hop Lover’s Flight.

There’s no shortage of incredible food experiences to be found all across Ohio, but few offer as beautiful a setting as LeVeque Tower. Constructed in 1927, this 47-story Art Deco skyscraper is home to upscale apartments, a 149-room boutique hotel, and The Keep, a cozy restaurant specializing in classic American fare crafted at the behest of Chef Courtney Nielsen. Visitors are welcome to enjoy flavorful favorites like mushroom dumplings, Korean BBQ chicken, and vegetarian shepherd’s pie from the comfort of the dining room, but for cocktail enthusiasts, a trip to the bar is certainly in order. Equipped with a refined Art Deco flair and a wealth of house-made syrups on hand, this space is perfect for enjoying a barrel-aged Manhattan or seasonal mule.

Feeling a little confused about where to begin with the city’s food scene? There’s no need to worry—local tour company Columbus Food Adventures is perfectly equipped to introduce you to the world of Ohio dining. First launched in 2010, this operation currently offers more than ten curated tours of Columbus highlighting a wide array of topics ranging from particular neighborhoods to only desserts. For newcomers to the city, one of the most informative tours is certainly the Alt Eats Food Tour. This five-stop journey focuses on the rich international heritage found throughout Columbus, with stops at local Yemeni, Brazilian, and Kenyan restaurant.

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