When it starts to scorch here in Columbus, nothing sounds more refreshing than a popsicle or a frozen lemonade—especially if it’s been spiked with booze.
You get to cool off and work up a buzz!
What’s not to love?
From boozed out milkshakes to iconic orange creamsicles, here’s how Columbus stays cool with frozen boozy concoctions.
These treats will have you sent back to your childhood of chasing down the ice cream truck man, and they’ll have you a little tipsy, too.
Milkshakes are such a classic summer staple. Our grandparents’ parents drank ‘em on special occasions. Our grandparents shared them over burgers at a diner. And our parents have continued the tradition. Now it’s time for a new tradition, and that’s milkshakes with liquor.
Hadley’s is growing as a brunch spot, but let’s not forget about their boozed up milkshakes for $10 a pop. The flavors rotate throughout the year—the Oreo bonanza will have you thinking you’ve been doing milkshakes wrong you’re entire life—and the shakes are huuuuuge so bring your best drinking buddy and ask for two straws.
Moving to the Short North and into Standard Hall, the little brother milkshake cocktail is perfect for you coffee lovers out there. It’s got vodka, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and Thunderkiss coffee for $9 a drink.
Need we say more?
Popsicles are one of the summertime treat essentials. Sure, to some it’s just a mixture of sugar, water, and food coloring that has been frozen.
But at Pint House and Standard Hall, they know it’s more than that.
Pint House truly channels your nostalgia with its orange creamsicle push pop, and knows how to hit on your love for Ohio State with the buckeye push pop, both at $6 a piece.
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The buckeye push pop is great for die-hard fans, but the orange creamsicle is a must try.
And while Pint House keeps it old school with hints of new flair, Standard Hall is really flipping the frozen cocktail idea on its head.
Everyone loves strawberry daiquiris and who doesn’t love pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain!)? Standard took those iconic flavors and made popsicles out of them. They are dangerously delicious, and a buck cheaper ($5) than their counterparts at Pint House.
The alcohol flavor is almost completely masked by the strong flavors of mixers and juices so don’t be surprised if you find yourself eating one after another…or if you walk away a little too tipsy.
In a time where slushies are common and can be found at any gas station on any corner, Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace dares to be different.
Frank’s has two different kinds of slushies on tap and he’ll let you throw in your choice of whiskey, rum, gin, vodka or tequila in any of their signature flavors.
The safe betters will probably go with the Cowboy Curtis—RC cola mixed with a cherry slushie—and add rum, but the true adventurers will try the Hot Rod Slush—Monin habanero-lime syrup swirled into a lime slush—with some tequila.
But if you really want your spiked slushies to pack a punch, head over to Oddfellows. They’ve got three flavors spinning in the old-school slushie machines, but you’ve gotta try the wildberry mule.
A little (ok, a lot) of Kettle One Vodka with wildberry puree, fresh ginger, lime juice, and simple syrup. You don’t have know what half that means, just know to order it.
Though you won’t catch a buzz off this, Jeni’s Frosé Sorbet can at least give you the facade of trying some liquor. It’s everything you love about Jeni’s frozen treats—smooth, creamy, tasty—combined with everything you haven’t legally enjoyed yet—liquor!
It’s $12 to scoop a pint (this is a double entendre to anyone woke), so grab a friend to half the pint and the price.
Classy Trashy: Fast-food classics inspire upscale creations
For better or worse, fast food is something of a Midwestern tradition (and who are we kidding—it’s probably for the worse). While often viewed as a guilty pleasure in today’s increasingly health- and fitness-minded society, fast food chains still dominate much of our landscape—not to mention our diets.
In many households, it’s the simple and easy option for busy working parents. For others, it’s the best you can do for the price. Unpretentious, easily-accessible, ready when you are—fast food remains a familiar touchstone for millions.
When he opened Service Bar, Chef Avishar Barua wanted to bring that same approachability to the food on his menu. “We were trying to make dishes that I had a lot of experience with, but it’s hard to translate some of that experience into a dining room,” Barua remembers. “I grew up in the Midwest, and I know how hard it is to get my family to eat stuff.”
This is where tinkering at Taco Bell some years before came in.
“When I found out about the Cheesy Gordita Crunch I thought that was the coolest thing in the world,” Barua explains. “That’s everything—every contrast you want, every flavor. I thought it would be really cool if you put it in a Doritos Locos shell.”
The Dorito-infused gordita he conceived of that day became Baura’s go-to order when visiting the ostensibly-Mexican-themed fast-food chain. Later, it served as the inspiration for one of Service Bar’s most iconic menu items—the Cheesy Brisket Crunch.
“At face value, it seems like an upgraded version of the Taco Bell taco,” says Barua of Service Bar’s take on the fast-food standard.
Featuring house-smoked brisket, Barua’s creation mimics its fast-food counterpart with a South American-inspired sauce of serano and nora chiles, smoked cheddar from Middlefield Original Cheese co-op, and shredded iceberg lettuce—all in a hard shell made with Columbus’ own Koki’s Tortillas. To reproduce the Gordita’s signature outer shell, Barua looked to the traditional Bengali frybread of his youth—a staple in his mother’s cooking.
“We’re trying to recreate that memory of biting into that super-crunchy taco, with all these things encapsulated from all these experiences into one very identifiable dish.”
Barua’s approach to cooking centers on creating points of entry through familiar presentations. In his kitchen, there is no clear distinction between high-end cuisine and lowbrow junk food. There is only good, and not good.
“People will always bring up ‘modern cooking’ or ‘fusion cooking’ —it’s just cooking, man,” says Barua. “You can just say, ‘I think this is food that I’d like to eat, and I want to make it and try to translate it.’ ”
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This view is shared by A&R Creative Group head chef Tyler Minnis, who incorporates upscale twists on fast-food favorites on the menu at The Market Italian Village.
Chef Minnis has found that fast-food presentations can serve as useful points of access for patrons when it comes to some of the market’s more formidable offerings.
“I think it’s an easier way to introduce certain ingredients to people that they might not normally be adventurous enough to try,” Minnis explains. “You might see something and say, ‘Oh, I know what that is, and I like it, so why not try the rest of it?’ ”
It was this approach that led to the creation of one of the standout items on the Market’s brunch menu. With a thick-cut slice of mortadella in place of the Canadian bacon and the funky goodness of taleggio replacing the usual slice of processed American, The Market McMuffin improves dramatically on its counterpart from the golden arches.
In addition to making upscale ingredients accessible to the masses, Chef Minnis finds that fast-food twists help to keep the tone of the menu light.
“Myself and my staff take this stuff very seriously, but at the same time, we try to have fun with it,” Minnis explains. “If not, there’s not really any reason to be cooking. You might as well do something else.”
For these chefs, dishes such as these constitute more than just a cheeky highbrow take on supposedly lowbrow food options. They are a valuable resource in encouraging diners to test the limits of their palates through forms they are already comfortable with. What’s more, these dishes represent an expression of one of the Midwest’s most authentic food traditions.
“We were once classified by Anthony Bourdain, R-I-P, as a place that was a bunch of strip malls separated by Applebees,” chef Barua says. “That’s what he said about Columbus, Ohio. And you know what, maybe we are, but it’s cool. We can all identify with things here. We can all have memories, and we’re not pretentious assholes.”
New supper club opens in the Short North
Short North now has galleries, bars, restaurants, apartments, businesses, and a supper club, literally. Ampersand Asian Supper Club is officially open in the Brunner Building at 936 N. High St.
The fast-casual restaurant offers Japanese dishes like Donburi rice bowls, nori fries, miso soup, pork chashu, and teriyaki chicken. Ampersand hangs its aprons on Ramen, though. At $18 a bowl, the ramen options range from Smokey Shoyu, to Miso, to Fungus Among Us.
See the full menu below:
The bar program offers Japanese spirits, whiskey, and vodka among others.
Ampersand is owned by Megan Ada, who is also behind Asterisk Supper Club and Sunny Street Café in Westerville.
Ampersand is open 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM Monday through Thursday, 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM Saturday and Sunday, and 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM Sunday. For more information, visit their Facebook page.