“It’s a lovely casserole, but it’s not a pizza,” quipped an equally opinionated eater as we disputed the defining design of a true Chicago pie.
The Gold Coast isn’t alone in its claim of a signature style.
Foldable New York slices are well known, with regional variations from New Jersey to New Haven. California has its quirky toppings and St. Louis a unique blend of provolone, Swiss, and white cheddar.
Detroit deep-dish gets its square shape and crunchy corners from blue steel parts pans pinched from auto assembly lines. Milwaukee might be the closest to our own familiar fare, with square slices and curled nickel pepperoni on a flaky thin crust.
Perhaps the reason no one claims “Columbus Pizza” as its own distinct style is because we’re not pizza purists averse to new ideas or unexpected twists on a classic dish.
We’re a working-class town with working-class tastes and no patience for petty pizza punditry. We don’t forego thumping our chests because we’re mediocre—we’re just magnanimous.
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To understand the curious appeal of Chicago’s claim to pizza fame, you have to understand what it is—and what it isn’t.
“Deep Dish” and “Chicago Style” are not synonymous.
They’re certainly farther removed than their hand-tossed and hand-stretched cousins. Commonly called “Sicilian”, deep dish is all about the crust, and not just the edge. Its thick, airy, and chewy throughout with a base of sauce covered in cheese and toppings.
Chicago-style crust is high on the sides, but only thick enough in the middle to contain layers of filling with the order often reversed — cheese on the bottom, toppings, then sauce.
That’s why a deep-dish pizza takes a little longer than a more traditional one, but a Chicago-style pizza takes closer to an hour.
Columbus boasts a trio of worthy rivals to Giordano’s recent entry into the city’s established Chicago-style pizza scene.
1168 Chambers Rd.
Columbus bar fare is often far better than most restaurants. Even our dive bars defy expectations.
Between King and Kinnear is the home of one of the best pizzas in the city. (Really, I’m pretty sure the place used to be a house.) Craft beer is on tap, but if you’re looking for two-buck PBRs or dollar cans, the daily beer specials are budget-friendly.
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Yes, it’s a sports bar of sorts, but it’s worth the sometimes-tight seating just for the pizza.
The golden crust is a little thicker in the middle than some Chicago-style pies, but the high sides and sauce sequence place it well within spec.
If you’re a local, you can likely order when they open at 4pm and have it out of the oven in less time than it takes to get to Polaris at rush hour.
The proximity to OSU also means they’re open late. Just don’t be the putz who shows up ten minutes before closing for a carry-over order that takes an easy 45 minutes before it hits the box.
Yellow Brick Pizza
892 Oak St.
How do you get instant street cred for your Chicago-style pizza? You bring in a master to teach your staff how it’s done.
When Lou Tristano decided to close his Grove City restaurant last year, Yellow Brick stepped in to ensure his pizza proficiency didn’t disappear as well.
Though Olde Towne East is far from the suburb Tristano’s called home, the pizza is pretty damned close, right down to the braided edge on the crust that makes it easy to spot in your friends’ Instagram feeds.
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Sure, there was a little hushed fuss about Yellow Brick serving the already famous pie, but pay that no mind. No one poached a pizza here, and Yellow Brick’s menu was already as unexpected and outside-the-box as a pizza place could get. (Hell, Hounddog’s is still serving Smokin’ Joe’s crust more than a decade later.)
Lou’s legacy lives on in his pizza, and working with him to preserve it earns high marks for Yellow Brick and a city that collaborates as enthusiastically as it competes and eats. Columbus is a big pie, there’s plenty for everyone.
2137 Polaris Pkwy
Giordono’s blew in from the Windy City about two years ago and has been loved and devoured by Cbuses ever since. And since it’s from Chicago, you know it’s legit.
The Wisconsin mozzarella cheese is made specifically for Giordano’s, the heavy-handed sauce smooshes all the way up your nose when you take a bite, and the flakey crust provides a perfectly crispy finish…that is, if you choose to start your deep dish adventure at the tip of the cheesy triangle.
Each Giordano’s stuffed pie is made by six skilled pizza artisans committed to bringing your the Chi-town delicacy right here in Columbus each and every time.
“I grew up on Giordanos and was thrilled when they opened last summer!” wrote eat614.com user @Columbus.twentysomething. “The price may seem a little much for pizza but it is worth every cent! There’s no shortage of cheese and flavor!”
Originally appeared in (614) Magazine November 2017
All The Way Up: My experience at Lincoln Social rooftop
It was 3:35 p.m. on a Tuesday when people began lining up beside the velvet rope at 711 N High Street. A smartly-dressed concierge escorted me to the elevator and hailed me a ride with a swift wave of his hand over a small screen. I rode the elevator up nine stories and was welcomed into Columbus’ newest rooftop bar by a floral wall with neon cursive writing that read, “Lincoln Social.”
Cameron Mitchell really outdid himself with this one, I thought as the fresh air swept me into the lounge. Where walls would normally be found, huge open windows revealed stunning views of the Short North and beyond. Foliage hung from beams of the translucent retractable ceiling that allowed sun to spill onto the ornamental rugs below. The room is anchored by a bright, white bar in the middle.
Beyond the bar are several half-circle booths covered in white fabric and textured pillows. An ivy wall runs the length of the booth area, giving guests an opportunity to “grab the perfect Instagram picture,” according to the Lincoln Social website. It’s in these booths where customers really bring Lincoln Social’s upscale lounge experience to life. Parties have been booking these booths since the bar’s opening and patronizing the sections of Lincoln’s menu meant for parties: bottle service and shareable cocktails. Booth guests are often frequent flyers to another portion of the menu entitled “All the Way Up,” which is a hat tip to the bar’s lofty location, and also the prices—these specific bottles of bubbly and wine start at $160 and end at an
And past the booths is the true al fresco experience. The completely roof-less terrace is home to a fire pit, wrap-around flower beds, plenty of comfortable seating, and, most importantly, one of the most spectacular views of downtown Columbus.
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At this point in my exploration, the clock had struck 4 p.m. and the downstairs floodgates opened. A steady stream of people excitedly poured through the doorway. Some went straight to the bar for a cocktail, others took seats at the long community table or at high tops, but most rushed to the terrace to take in the vista. I sat at the bar and watched the iPhones pan, tilt, and flash at every nook and cranny of the bar. Cameron Mitchell was going for Instagrammable and social media, and I’d be damned if he didn’t nail it. But, the photogenic nature doesn’t stop with the aesthetic.
Nearly every one of Lincoln Social’s cocktails come in their own uniquely beautiful glass. “When Mary Met Arnold,” Lincoln’s take on a boozy Arnold Palmer tea, is served in a dainty blue and white teapot and poured into a matching teacup over dry ice (say hello to the perfect smokey Boomerang). “You Had Me At Hello” is made from Lillet Blanc, aloe, peach-chile, citrus, and served in stemware with a red lipstick kiss on the side, which is actually a scented stamp bartenders press on the glass—a play on the classic service industry faux pas. And “Luke Skywalker,” my personal favorite, is sipped out of a fancy etched rocks glass and garnished with colorful flowers (shoutout to Chloe Emmons at Potion Matcha Bar for hooking up the tea in this tasty drink!). “Tokyo Drift” gets an honorable mention because of its fresh and spicy taste, and its patronization of Watershed’s award-winning Guild Series Gin.
You’re probably feeling pretty hungry after all that booze talk, huh? Lincoln Social kept their menu short, swimming, and even a little bit sweet. I highly recommend Lincoln Social’s Wagyu Beef Sliders. At only $4 a pop, these tasty little beefy buns are worth their weight in gold. But, there are also some standout seafood options, too, like the Lobster Corn Dogs, Shrimp Ceviche, Tuna Poke, and Peeky Toe Crab—all under $15! You just have to promise me you’ll end your Lincoln dining experience with the Birthday Cake Cone, okay? It’s the cutest thing this side of Fiona.
I could spend a few hundred more words describing the knowledgeable and well-groomed staff, the attractive lighting, or how the two modestly-sized TVs above the bar satisfy sporto customers, yet do not distract from the overall ambiance, but I think seven little words will do the trick: people of Columbus absolutely adore Lincoln Social. It’s fresh. It’s unique. It’s the high-end, crowd-pleasing Short North experience you can only get when a rooftop concept and Cameron Mitchell collide. So, get in line Columbus—you’re going to want to see this for yourself.
Lincoln Social is located on 711 N High St.
For more information on the menu and offerings,
Coming Soon: New High St restaurant to focus on tapas, cocktails, wine
There will soon be a new place to nosh on High Street. Nosh on High, a chef-driven restaurant focused on American tapas and shareables, craft cocktails, and wine will open at 149 S. High St. this summer.
The restaurant, opening in the space previously occupied by Cup O Joe across from the Columbus Commons, is brought to you by Mike Campbell and Kevin Jones, formerly of Milestone 229.
“We really want to appeal to the businesses around us for lunch meetings and private events, and also the people that live and visit downtown who want a fun night out,” stated Jones. “Nosh on High is a place where you can enjoy really good food and drinks and even better conversations together.”
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The restaurant will focus largely on lunch and dinner service with most menu items under $25. Guest can book the private dining room for parties of up to 30 people.
“We spent a lot of time traveling around the midwest to different restaurants and we found that more and more people were sharing plates and enjoying smaller bites together, ” stated Rusty Scarberry, General Manager of Nosh on High. “We have created a special menu that emphasizes American tapas, and our chef, Benjamin Kershaw, has really used his experience and expertise to create an exceptional menu.”
Nosh on High will be open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner service beginning at 11am, and for dinner on Saturdays. For more information, please visit www.noshonhigh.com.
8 local seafood dishes to send your palate on a vacation
“You can’t get good seafood in this town…”
Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. But, these eight dishes prove that Columbus is trying to buck the trend with inventive dishes that prove that theory all wet.
Make the most of no-coast Columbus with these seafood standouts.
Paella Mariscos | Barcelona, 263 E Whittier St, Columbus
The menu of Barcelona has stood the test of time and weathered Columbus’s ever-shifting palettes. If you’re craving a bounty of seafood, there’s no better refuge than the German Village mainstay. Especially considering their Paella Mariscos as the be-all, end-all feast. Their take on the Spanish rice tradition features fried soft shell crabs, lobster, shrimp, squid, clams, mussels, and plenty of spice. If you’re in search of seafood, this should have all of your bases covered.
Mussel Escabeche | Lupo on Arlington, 2124 Arlington Ave, Columbus
Lupo has quickly become a new gem in Columbus’s dining scene, and fans of seafood and Spanish-inspired tapas should take particular note. In addition to frequently having a variety of oysters on the half-shell, their menu is packed with fresh, delicate, seafood dishes. The mussel escabeche is relatively foreign to Columbus menus, but here it’s done to perfection. Served cold, the mussels are first cooked in a citrus and vinegar marinade, before being presented with saffron, white wine, and garlic. It’s a perfect summer delicacy, best enjoyed on Lupo’s scenic patio.
Grumpy’s Gumbo | Frank’s Seafood, 5249 Trabue Rd, Columbus
We’ve spotlighted this Hilliard fish market and their subsequent restaurant in the magazine before, but we wanted to highlight them once again. Beyond the fresh fish and shellfish you can order to-go, or their expert boils, Wil Mendez’s award-winning gumbo—chocked full of shrimp, crab, and andouille sausage—is a genuine crowd-pleaser and the only gumbo you should order outside of New Orleans. Frank’s has a definite seaside vibe, even within is confines among a west side industrial park.
Lobster Bisque | Lindey’s, 169 E Beck St, Columbus
Lindey’s and lobster bisque are basically synonymous. This menu mainstay is a creamy concoction of sherry chantilly, chives, and diced shrimp. It would be irresponsible to start your meal any other way. And speaking of your meal, Lindey’s is a sanctuary for seafood. Market fresh fish, crab cakes, trout, Australian sea bass, sixty south salmon and more swim through the menu daily.
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Coquilles St. Jacques | Windward Passage, 4739 Reed Rd, Columbus
For the ultimate seafood dining experience, there’s no better place to visit than the timespun Windward Passage. Eating in the windowless, scrimshaw filled Henderson Road fixture is akin to eating on the stern of a pirate ship. Among their staples is the Coquilles St. Jacques, served in a colossal shell, it’s a French-inspired recipe that bakes scallops into a decadent casserole of mushrooms, breadcrumbs, and cheese. Save room for all the oyster crackers between courses.
Charred Octopus | Cosecha Cocina, 987 N 4th St, Columbus
Perhaps seafood’s trendiest dish, octopus has been spotted on menus all over town as of late. But the charred octopus starter at Cosecha is a simple dish accenting the texture and bubblegum-of-the-sea flavors of the centerpiece. Over a bed of tomatoes, pepitas, olives, and potatoes, the charred octopus is a must-order on your next visit to the Cocina.
Oysters | The Guild House, 624 N High St, Columbus
We know that Cameron Mitchell gets most of his oyster press from The Pearl across the street, but you’d be wise not to overlook the Guild House’s version, served with champagne mignonette, grape granita, black pepper, and shaved grapes. It’s somehow simple and decadent at once, and tastes twice as good as it looks—which is crazy, because it’s one of the best-looking dishes you’ll see.
Gouda Grits and Shrimp | Momma Can Cook
Try to track down Momma Can Cook and you’ll get hip to their most popular menu item with a couple rudimentary scans of their reviews. While the culinary crowd is lighter in the seafood sea, there are food trucks everywhere, so when people are dropping lines like “one of the best meals I’ve ever gotten from a food truck,” we’re lining up to taste that gouda, tomatoes, bacon, scallions, and of course … shrimp!