The Melting Pot: The Story of Italian Village Residents Through Culinary Destinations
Guide to Restaurants and Eateries in Italian Village, Columbus, Ohio
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Hero image courtesy of Columbus Dispatch.
Are you up to enjoy a “pizza” Columbus? Then, this is the place for you. One of the most inviting neighborhoods and a great place to grab a bite is in Italian Village in Columbus Ohio. This destination is to the north of downtown Columbus and conveniently located at the midpoint of downtown and Short North Arts District. Their homage to the past and innovative approach to the present sets this area apart. It is distinguished from other neighborhoods for its diverse and uniquely Columbus cuisine. There are many places to explore and savor your food cravings.
Imagine that you are Guy Fieri judging Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, a judge on Chopped, or your favorite restaurateur and taste the culinary culture of Italian Village to learn about the culture of Italian Village. In this article, we provide for you a guide to the many places to eat and more:
- The Historical Foundation of Italian Village
- List of Many Restaurants to Enjoy
- Be Initiated to the Columbus Scene by Participating in the Bar Crawl
Storia Del Villaggio Italiano
History of Italian Village
The diverse and close-knit culture of Italian Village is felt today. Joe Pishitelli, a local resident that remembers the community’s hay day said, “It was like an international village, but they got the name because of the Italian church. But you had everybody – Greeks, Irish, Lebanese, German, Polish, Italians – and they were all very compatible.” A diverse group of people were attracted to the auto parts and coal mining equipment industries. Differences and similarities bound everyone together. Religion, family life, and food were all important things that gelled the residents together. A typical Saturday may include a wedding and kids running around to beat everyone to the doors of the St. John the Baptist Church, as Mr. Pishitelli says--it is the same today.
Not only is the strength of this community marked by its resilience through the Great Depression, varying U.S immigration policies, and fluctuating labor markets, the citizens took action in the 1970s, when local residents were determined to preserve the history of this community. During the time of increased community action in historic preservation, Italian Village, as we know it today, was born.
This North High Street location housed many Italian immigrants during the late 1800s to the 1900s. Their legacy lives today through the many Catholic churches in the area, the family history in this neighborhood, and of course, its wide variety of Italian American foods and food of other ethnic communities. The rich history of this place built the foundation of how it functions in its present state.
Best Restaurants to Enjoy
The legacy of the historic village spills into the cups, plops on the plates, lives in the bar culture, and exists in every bite available in the area. In Italian Village, there are many options. These options reflect the harmonious village that once was in this area. The options are as follows: brunch food (Italian-Village-Goers take their brunch seriously!), bars and breweries (super friendly and welcoming to newcomers), American comfort and Southern food, Italian food, there are a slew of pizza places, Greek food, sushi destinations, and vegan options. We hope that when you visit, that you bring your appetites to enjoy these restaurants.
The Market Italian Village
Try some of the famous foods at the Market Italian Village. This place is known as the “quaint little neighborhood place” and an “impressive twist on Italian food.” Some of the favorite dishes that they offer are the Green Eggs and Ham plate, Catalan Poached Eggs, the Market Breakfast, baked feta, and duck pizza. Not only will you get yummy bites here at the restaurant, but this business is a multifaceted space that is “casual, trendy, classy” and great for the whole family to enjoy. It’s everything in a nutshell.
The Market Italian Village serves as a shop, a deli, a liquor store, and a restaurant. That means that the grandparents can buy a few shopping items, the kids can relive their favorite Dr. Seuss book by eating green eggs and ham at the restaurant, the parents can get deli meat for lunch later in the day, and the aunties and uncles can enjoy a nice cocktail. If you want to support local grocery stores and eateries this is a fantastic place to support. Also, this is a great example that you do not need a large budget or silver cutlery for good food.
During their happy hour, you can order from the “Aperitivo” menu which features cocktails and liquor. With every menu item a complimentary snack item will accompany your choice of drink.
Drunch Eatery and Bar
Good food, good mood! Do you want to spend the day with family and friends, welcome in the happy “hollandaise” for a work party, or solve an “eggistential” crisis? This is the place for you! This brunch delight puts you in the mood for breakfast food at any time of the day. Some of the highlights of the menu include: chicken and waffles, banana bread french toast, spudz, shrimp and grits, fruity pebbles cheesecake, avocado fries, and steak and eggs.
Some even say, “Breakfast food can cure all sadness away.” Try this great place for brunch food and evoking an environment that warms you up as much as the food does.
Fox in the Snow Cafè
Another great restaurant to visit is Fox in the Snow Cafè, a staple in Italian Village that has rustic baked goods and handcrafted coffee and tea. Based on the name, you can tell that this is a unique place that is upscale yet casual and most of all, delicious. It is a cross between a bakery and a coffee shop. Start your day at this renovated mason garage environment that blends the delicious dining experience with an unforgettable comfortable ambience.
Have a shot of espresso and an egg sandwich or a hot tea with a sugar plum tart. Enjoy breakfast here before work, have a coffee meeting with a client, or come for a midday snack. There are many ways to indulge in the food and drinks at Fox in the Snow Cafè. Good food and drinks never fail to bring people together.
Bar Crawl Tradizioni
Bar Crawl Traditions in Italian Village
A great way to get plugged into the community and get to know people is through their bar crawl. While this is an informal tradition, many bars in the area are welcoming and in the same general area. This is a great fun activity for a weekend with friends.
St. James Tavern
Enjoy St. James Tavern! This great place is known as the “friendly neighborhood bar.” When you walk in, you can immediately sense that this is a pillar of the community. This establishment is one of the longest lasting restaurants on this list (it existed in this area before the neighborhood preservation project giving Italian Village its namesake). If you are looking for a down home establishment, where you may become a regular and known by name, then this is the place for you! It is not known for food as much as it is revered for its many craft beers, wines, liquors, as well as its jukebox to play the best tunes, and pool games. In the St. James Tavern environment, it is conducive to making friends and having great conversations with people from the Italian Village neighborhood and Columbus area.
Little Rock Bar
Who doesn’t love a rock and roll dive bar? You will exude your inner Sting, Stevie Nicks, Led Zeppelin, and Lenny Kravitz all at once! This venue is filled with live music and discounted beers. It always attracts a lively crowd during its Tuesday-Sunday nightly happy hour. Beers are as low as $3 at Little Rock Bar. This dive bar creates a fun atmosphere with its free jukebox, karaoke nights and live music, personable bartenders, and people gathering on its great rooftop patio and other outdoor patio area. It gives you bang for your buck, quality experience, and great food and drinks according to patrons.
Seventh Sons Brewing
Seventh Sons Brewing brings attention to the Columbus area. According to Forbes, in celebrating the seventh year anniversary they launched the Beer Me Project. In the Beer Me Project, they showcase pictures of the employees who made everything possible on their beer cans. Not only do they appreciate their employees (and one feline employee), but they really cater to their patrons. They produce an extensive list of draft beers and new American ales--classic beers with innovative hop character. Most days the food that goes along with this beer that comes from their famous Tap Room, are their food truck food. They offer everything from naan and curry dishes, tacos, gourmet burgers, and Italian food.
Hoof Hearted Brewery and Kitchen
Hoof Hearted Brewery and Kitchen is known for its ‘eclectic’ and ‘tongue in cheek' style. During the day, this trendy space serves up many coffees, teas, and breakfast food. (Again, here is the brunch theme that is so integral to the Columbus culture!) At night, this place transforms to a lively brewery and bar that people engage in the bar crawl. Some of the menu highlights include breakfast nachos, burgers (there are even vegetarian burgers), pulled pork sandwiches, and fried fish. This American comfort food and beers that will put a “hop” in your step. They even have a pool in the back to keep the party going in the heat, when patrons want to cool off. They have a poolside bar that serves up a variety of frozen cocktails, beers, and food.
This venue has a great artsy vibe, as well! They have original artwork featured throughout the restaurant, as well as cool beer cans designed by staff members and merch available as a souvenir for your unforgettable experience. This bar has everything for hobbyists and enthusiasts that flock here because they are interesting in beer and brewing, experience-seekers that come for the authentic and fun bar experience and want to Instagram everything, facilitators that are there to bring their friends and make sure that they have a great time, and for rechargers that need the lively buzz of people to get through their hard week.
Explore Italian Village
Enjoy New Food Experiences
Let us know about the delectable eats you tried and the history that you learned about this neighborhood in the comments. Tell us what type of restauranteur or bar crawler you are--enthusiast, experience-seeker, facilitator, or recharger. Overall, one of the best ways to get acquainted to the Columbus area as a visitor or transplant is to get plugged into the food scene and culture surrounding it. We sincerely hope that you are motivated to join in the bar crawl or visit some of the different places that we listed for you.