Kitsch is the art of being over the top with gaud but doing so in a charming way. Columbus has championed kitsch over the years and while many classic haunts—we’re looking at you Kahiki— have bitten the dust, there’s still plenty of lovingly tacky dining still speckling this fine city.
4739 Reed Rd.
Sure, the place is riddled with tack, but that is what gives the place its thoughtful charm—a furtive gem nestled away in a strip mall in Upper Arlington, a neighborhood icon that is nearly as old as its clientele. And best of all, the seafood is pretty damn cheap, all things considered. Most likely because you can tell they haven’t changed their deteriorating laminate menus since their inception.
397 W. Broad St.
And although the menus and a few other small things were recently updated, the place remains mostly the same. The food? It’s solid. The lasagna is piping hot, the Caesar salad is ice cold, and… okay, back to all the cool sh*t inside. If the trolley isn’t your thing, you can sit in a 100-year-old elevator for your meal.
94th Aero Squadron
5030 Sawyer Rd.
This is real Ramsay territory with the paper doilies and vinyl placemats having nothing to do with bombers and Band of Brothers, but always a staple in the kitsch kit. As for the meal(s)? Plenty of stuff designed to stick to your ribs. Even if you’re not preparing to jump out of a B-22, these are the meals that you feel like the paratroopers would yearn for back home.