Welcome to Columbus Classics, where we visit Central Ohio’s most celebrated eating institutions. These are the type of places your sweet neighbor lady swears by, that your annoying coworkers love, and that you drive by every day, but maybe have never been to. Today we are going to go to Rubino’s Pizza, a Central Ohio fixture that has been slinging pizza, pasta, and subs (in the same location no less) since 1954.
Located on the east side of Bexley, Rubino’s Pizza is the kind of place where children are taken when growing up, congregate with neighborhood friends on college breaks, and eventually take their own children. The décor blends well with this narrative, as photos of employees are adorned on the walls, soda is only available in cans, and kids can play pinball or Ms. Pacman until the cows come home.
The star of the show is, of course, the pizza, which comes on a thin and crispy cracker-like crust that makes other Columbus-style pizza crusts seem thick by comparison. In true Columbus style, that crust is then covered in a robust red sauce, topped with cheese, piled high with toppings, and cut into square pieces.
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When I go, I ALWAYS get the onion, sausage (made in house), and pickle trio, which was recommended by a member of the wait staff. The pickles provide a salty contrast with the sauce, and compliment the crust with their crispy texture; just try it.
Of course, more traditional options are available, but they are on a build-your-own basis and come only in small (10 inch) or large (14 inch) options. If you are on lunch, the small is certainly a doable option and you won’t feel shame for eating it all or fall prisoner of the post-lunch food coma.
If you are taking dinner home for the family, it is recommended by the kitchen staff that they bake your pie until the halfway point and then it is up to you to finish off in the oven at home; just make sure your oven at home is ready to go when you arrive so that no time, flavor, or texture is lost.
If you aren’t in the mood for pizza, try the deliciously simple spaghetti options: mushroom, meatball, meat sauce, no meat, and extra meatballs, or mushrooms. The sauce is hearty and chunky, comes out piping hot, and unlike the pizza, this entrée IS guaranteed to put you to sleep after completion.
From 11am- 2pm, Rubino’s Pizza also has meatball, sausage, or veggie subs. These no frills subs are always overflowing with taste and toppings and make the perfect lunch time guilty pleasure.
Once you try Rubino’s Pizza, odds are you will be back. The rustic atmosphere and straightforward menu has something for everyone and if you leave hungry, it is no one’s fault but yours. Oh yeah, Rubino’s Pizza is cash only, so bring your wallet for the food, and quarters for the soda vending machine, pinball, and Ms Pacman.
Rubino’s Pizza is located at 2643 E. Main Street, closed on Mondays, and does not serve alcohol.