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The Six: Pizza

Tangy sauce, gooey cheese and a thick, chewy crust. If this doesn’t have you drooling and craving a slice of pizza, I don’t know what will. Growing up a picky eater, pizza was always a top go-to. I’m constantly searching for the best pizza in Columbus to share with my instagram followers, and now, with all of you!

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We selected local influencers to create their Top 6 lists of well, everything! Keep a close eye as you can expect their lists to reflect changes in the local culinary universe. View this influencer’s Bio below.

Pizza

Tangy sauce, gooey cheese and a thick, chewy crust. If this doesn’t have you drooling and craving a slice of pizza, I don’t know what will. Growing up a picky eater, pizza was always a top go-to. I’m constantly searching for the best pizza in Columbus to share with my instagram followers, and now, with all of you! Hopefully a few pizza joints on this list will inspire you to step outside your ‘za comfort zone!

 #6  Yellow Brick

If you’re looking for a local, delicious take on a Chicago deep dish, head to Yellow Brick. Located in Olde Towne East, this funky pizza shop is full of interesting pizzas with crazy toppings. However, their iconic deep dish cheese pizza is complete with chunky red sauce and cheese that will give you that mouthwatering cheese pull. They also get extra marks for making a twisted crust topped with butter and delicious herbs. This joint is super popular, and the deep dish can take 40 minutes, so I suggest showing up early, heading over on a weeknight, or ordering pick-up. But don’t worry. This pizza is totally worth the wait!

Yellow Brick

892 Oak St

(614) 725-5482

 #5  Harvest Pizzeria

Harvest Pizzeria is for those farm to table foodies. Harvest Pizzeria makes it on my list for a few reasons. Number one is obviously that their pizza is delicious. The second reason is that they work really hard to partner with local farmers to provide their meats, cheeses, and vegetables. They believe that “local tastes better”, which I couldn’t agree with more. Their dough is made fresh in-house and they cook their pizzas in a stone oven, which gives them a perfectly crunchy crust.

I’m a sucker for a classic Margherita pizza, but if you’re feeling fancy, their pizza menu has many interesting choices. You can try the Goat Cheese with Salame Toscano and cherry tomatoes, The Geary Street with clams and mozzarella, or the Spicy Yuma with chorizo, jalapeno, and chipotle-spiked tomato sauce. If you’re at the German Village location, be sure to check out Curio, their cocktail bar! You can check out their other locations in Dublin and Clintonville as well.

Harvest Pizzeria

German Village, Dublin, Clintonville

 #4  Bono Pizza

Bono Pizza is the classic hole in the wall pizza joint. If you’ve never heard of Bono (which I hadn’t until recently), it’s located in an apartment complex in southern Upper Arlington (not so easy to spot). If you can find your way in, they have some really interesting combinations of toppings like anchovies and olives, kielbasa and sauerkraut, and pineapple, onions, ham, and gorgonzola all cooked using their wood fire oven.

When I first looked at their menu, I was a little nervous. I used to be a really picky eater, and sometimes I revert back to my old ways. I had heard such rave reviews about their pizza, so I decided to be brave and try the Zingaro pizza (pictured). HOLY COW, was I glad I didn’t ask for a substitution (chef props)! This pizza comes with caramelized Smithfield ham and bacon, gorgonzola cheese, garlic, fresh basil, green onions, fresh mozzarella, brie, swiss, fresh juicy pineapple and a sprinkle of pixie dust. It was the perfect combination of salty and sweet. I can’t wait to try out more of their delectable pizzas!

Bono Pizza

1412 Presidential Dr
(614) 906-8646

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 #3  Mikey’s Late Night

Mikey’s is great for all levels of sobriety.  Just as the name indicates, Mikey’s has been a late night staple in my life since I moved back to Columbus after college. I would be walking down High Street late at night literally praying that they would be at the food truck spot near Pint House. I also may or may not have walked all the way to Odd Fellows some nights just for that magical cheesy slice. Thank goodness, you can get your fix all over the city!

Mikey’s is well known for their edgy style, with menu items like “spicy-ass pepperoni”, “unicorn (or slut) sauce”, and “the baby cheezus”. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating a slice (or 2) of Mikey’s, I suggest you change that ASAP!

Mikey's

Short North, Downtown, Clintonville

 #2  Paulie Gee’s

Being a food blogger has quite a few perks, and one of them is getting the chance to meet the people behind this restaurant. When I visited Paulie Gee’s for the first time last year, I had the pleasure of meeting TJ Gibbs, the owner of Paulie Gee’s. He shared his amazing story about how as an OSU grad, he moved to Brooklyn and shadowed the actual Paulie of Paulie Gee’s. After spending a year learning the tricks of the trade, TJ came back to Columbus and opened up his own version of Paulie Gee’s in the Short North.

At Paulie Gee’s, the pizza is baked in a wood-fired Napoli oven, imported from Italy. This creates a perfectly crispy and bubbly crust. If you go during happy hour, you can order PIZZA FLIGHTS (pictured). Three mini pizzas that are perfect for those indecisive moments that we all get looking at a pizza menu. You really can’t go wrong, but if you’re looking for a super interesting pizza, I suggest the Cherry Jones. It has gorgonzola, prosciutto, cherries, and orange blossom honey, YUM! 

Paulie Gee's

1195 N High St
(614) 808-0112

 #1  Pizza Cucinova

Pizza Cucinova has been my favorite pizza place for some time now. They seriously know what they are doing in the pizza oven. One of the best things about Cucinova is all of their pizzas are made totally from scratch. They use fresh ingredients and hand make and stretch their dough. That’s pretty unusual for a fast casual pizza restaurant! They spend all day roasting the veggies, hand rolling the meatballs, and prepping the other delicious ingredients that grace your yummy pizza.

The best part about all of these amazing ingredients and another reason they are #1? For only $8, you can add AS MANY TOPPINGS AS YOU WANT. After you pick your toppings, your pizza goes into an extremely hot wood fired oven to cook for 2-3 minutes. The crust gets golden delicious and the cheese gets bubbly and you have the perfect pizza. Don’t forget to add my personal favorite finishing touch, balsamic glaze once it’s out of the oven!

Pizza Cucinova

Dublin, Easton, Polaris, Grandview, Westerville

Jordan Ankerman, of @midwest_foodfest, is a creative teacher and foodie who enjoys sharing her enthusiastic demeanor and passion for yummy food with all of her Instagram followers. You can find her eating pizza and snapping photos of her meals wherever she goes!

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Downtown deli merger means more meats on the menu

614now Staff

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Who says all good things must come to an end? While Danny’s Deli will be closing its brick-and-mortar location at 37 W Broad St., all of your favorites from the Columbus institution are now available at Lexi’s on Third at 100 E Broad St.

Customers can be sure they’re still getting the true Danny’s staples because the owner of Lexi’s on Third, Dan Georges, is the not only the namesake—he’s the same man behind the original Danny’s Deli on Broad and Front Street.

When Dan was offered an opportunity to build his own dream kitchen in 2011, he sold Danny’s Deli to his uncle and opened Lexi’s on Third, named after his daughter, Alexiana. When his uncle retired earlier this year, Dan closed the Columbus location of Danny’s Deli and brought all of the most-loved items to Lexi’s on Third.

“I am honored to continue the family legacy of a quality dining experience. Thank you for your loyalty and patronage,” said Dan Georges in a statement.

The Danny’s Deli originals now offered at Lexi’s on Third include breakfast specials, omelettes, sandwiches and wraps, salads, burgers, melts, and more. To see the whole menu, visit lexisonthird.com.

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VASO Arctic Adventure: Win an igloo dining experience

Regina Fox

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You know that first warm-ish day in March or April when a sliver of sun breaks through the grey winter sky, warming the dry, pasty faces of overzealous people packing every patio known to man? The General Manager of the AC Hotel by Marriott Columbus Dublin Orcun Turkay wanted to give those people an outdoor dining experience they didn’t have to wait until spring to enjoy.

Scroll down to win $200 towards an arctic adventure of your own!

On a windy, rainy day in mid-winter, my trusty (614) confidants and I crowded into the elevator at the AC Hotel Columbus Dublin and selected the top floor. It was the first time visiting for many of us and we were excited to finally experience it. When the elevator finally stopped, the doors glided open to reveal an inviting hostess. She welcomed us to VASO. 

The rooftop bar and tapas restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. All its features are round—orb lights, half circle bench seating, circular rugs, curved bar—and the natural lighting made the happy faces of happy hour-goers at the bar look even happier. The panoramic view of the Scioto River and downtown Dublin is one of the best in Central Ohio. But, for the next few months, the view will be slightly obscured for folks dining in. 

The hostess led us out onto the patio where three geometric-looking igloos sat, poised for hospitality. Made of plastic and PVC pipes anchored by sandbags, these see-through huts are simple and wildly attractive. They’re unique, cozy, and, most importantly, warm. I couldn’t wait to get inside out of the cold and actually have an enjoyable patio experience in the dead of Ohio winter.

The hostess unzipped the doorway and we filed in across the oriental rug. The inside was surprisingly spacious, even with six chairs, a few side tables, and one communal table in the middle. I took a seat in one of the faux fur-covered chairs (which I later found out cost $1,200 each), covered my legs with a soft blanket, and switched on the heater. I was perfectly comfortable without the extra accommodations, but I was in an upscale igloo and, dammit, I was going to act like it.

We were all quick to draw our phones to begin snapping photos. We could see rush hour traffic inching down Riverside Drive, but being in the igloo felt like we were our own little Instagrammable world. 

After putting in orders of hot chocolate and the Ohio spiked cider from the exclusive VASO Igloo shareable menu and the popcorn and Halibut Ceviche (which landed itself on the [web]pages of Esquire Magazine), Turkay humbly explained how his establishment became one of the first in the Midwest to introduce igloo dining as a light rain pinged the top of the plastic igloo.

He told us about how strongly central Ohioans have embraced the new eating and drinking adventure. Turkay knew he’d have to hire more people this winter to staff the igloos, but what he didn’t count on was the manpower it would require to simply manage the influx of calls.

“They answer the phone, take a reservation, hang up, answer the phone, take a reservation, hang up,” Turkay said of the three hostesses he brings in at 10 a.m. every day just to man the phones. I laughed in disbelief, choking a bit on my popcorn ceviche (delicious, by the way). I washed away the kernels with a swig of boozy hot chocolate (also delicious). 

Suffice it to say, the VASO igloos are a raging success, so much so that you won’t be getting in on a weekend this winter. The tiny ecosystems are booked up through March, which is when they’ll be retired for the season. Turkay promises to have them back up in November.

After everything from cheese-filled churros to seafood paella (which were ordered by hailing our server with a remote that buzzed her wrist piece), the sun set and was replaced by LED light beams illuminating our cozy clubhouse; it was our time to go. I took one last look around and felt thankful to be on the inside looking out, even just for the evening. •

VASO is located at 6540 Riverside Dr, Dublin. The igloos can be reserved for a minimum of $100 per hour Sundays-Wednesdays and $200 per hour Thursdays-Saturdays. Visit vasodublin.com for more information. 

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Neighborhood Nostalgia: Ringside Cafe, one of Columbus’ oldest bars

Regina Fox

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In 1897, the Ohio State Buckeyes were in their seventh year of existence, the Lazarus department store in Downtown was entering its heyday, Samuel Luccock Black was the newly-minted mayor of the city, and the establishment at 19 North Pearl Street served its first glass of hooch.

Today, the Buckeyes are powering through their 129th season, shopping is reserved mostly for suburban malls, Mayor Ginther is at the top of Columbus’ political masthead, and the establishment at 19 North Pearl Street continues to sling spirits.

Photos: Rebecca Tien

Recognized as one of the oldest eating and drinking joints in the city, Ringside Cafe is a steadfast pillar of history in a city where development and progress often rise to the top of the agenda. The burgers are juicy, the beers are cold, the lights are low, and the nostalgia runs deep.

It all started in 1897 as the hangout for Columbus’ political powerhouses or, as Doreen Uhas Sauer, Education Outreach Coordinator of Columbus Landmarks and coauthor of Historic Columbus Taverns: The Capital City’s Most Storied Saloons describes it, a boys club. With it being located in such close proximity to the Statehouse, the watering hole attracted Democrats and Republicans alike, looking to talk shop over a pint or two. Whether it was the heated discussions that took place inside, faulty wiring, or another cause, the original building caught fire and burned beyond salvage.

At the time—around the turn of the century—property values along High Street were skyrocketing, squashing any hopes of the owner relocating. And so, it was decided to rebuild on the same site and this time, with a bit more intention. Two famed local architects, Carl Howell and J. William Thomas, took on the task of developing 19 North Pearl Street. At the time, the pair was also building the annex for the Trinity Episcopal Church at the corner of Third and Broad Streets, East High School, residences in Bexley, and several projects in Cleveland’s Shaker Heights.

“It’s unusual to see a bar designed by architects, much less ones that had such a varied career,” said Uhas Sauer.

Howell and Thomas adhered to the then-popular Arts and Crafts style during the rebuild—a trend out of England that celebrated the handmade aesthetic rather than machine-built. Several relicts of this design era can still be found today in Ringside including the dark wood features and carvings, the storybook-style Belgian stained glass windows, and intricate floor tiling.

For several years thereafter, 19 North Pearl Street was known as the Board of Trade Saloon and the Chamber of Commerce Cafe. The upstairs bar and downstairs Rathskeller remained the unofficial after-work clubhouse for local lobbyists and legislators. But, with the temperance movement beginning to take shape, the Chamber of Commerce starkly objected to having their brand associated with a pub. Instead of calling it quits, the decision was made to rebrand to The Jolly Gargoyle and remain open as a tea house and antique shop during Prohibition. According to Uhas Sauer, Columbus didn’t take the ban on alcohol very seriously with many of the city’s residence relying on the industry to make a living. Adrian Rosu, current owner of Ringside, even heard that the “tea” served at The Jolly Gargoyle “smelled a little funny.” But, if you were a lush living in the city during the 1920s and 1930s, there were options.

“If you wanted to get a swig of a cheap alcoholic beverage, all you had to go was do down Front Street where there were theatres and pick it up from some wino who left it under a bush,” Uhas Sauer said. “If you wanted the expensive stuff, you’d go over to the Statehouse bushes where legislators ditched their bottles.”

The Jolly Gargoyle had a successful run through Prohibition, but the 1960s called for change. Clem Ambrose took ownership of 19 North Pearl Street and put a lasting stamp on the establishment. Being the “jovial, genial host” he was, Ambrose was attracted to the bar’s atmosphere because it reminded him of a bustling little New York deli. Also a New York City enthusiast, famed Columbus artist George Bellows had an affinity for painting scenes from NYC’s gritty boxing matches. Ambrose acquired a recreation of one of these scenes, specifically one that Bellows had painted himself into as if he was watching the contest of strength and toughness unfold—a ringside view, if you will. Naturally, Ambrose deemed the space Ringside Cafe.

Fast forward to 2019 and you can still find the very namesake painting hanging above the entrance of the quaint bar. And sometimes, you can still find Ambrose, too.

“Clem is supposed to be at the end of the bar,” said Uhas Sauer. “It’s the seat he always sat in. That’s the kind of thing he liked to do; he liked to be part of it all.”

While Rosu can’t corroborate Uhas Sauer’s paranormal tale exactly, he admits he believes his bar is haunted. From being in the basement and hearing commotion upstairs when the place is empty, to security footage capturing strange lights moving through walls, to restroom doors opening at will, Rosu and several members of his staff have had experiences they can’t explain. But after calling Ringside his own for 11 years, Rosu doesn’t get too shook up about such oddities anymore. What Rosu feels more strongly about is holding the key, literally, to an important piece of Columbus’ history.

“Columbus is definitely an up-and-coming city, but they’re really good about keeping a lot of the architecture intact. It’s good to see.”

Ringside Cafe is located on 19 North Pearl St. For more information on the restaurant, or for hours and operations, visit ringsidecolumbus.com.

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