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Popcorn, chips and more: Here’s your guide to local salty snacks

Popcorn, chips and more: Here’s your guide to local salty snacks

Jack McLaughlin

The sweet stuff is great from time to time, but when it comes down to it, would you rather your life in the hands of a Skittle, or a salty, savory chunk of beef jerky or soft pretzel

That’s why we’re kicking off our cover section with a deep-dive into some of the Buckeye State’s best salty snacks, and where to find them.

Potato Chips

The top of the totem pole in the snack world is, for many, the potato chip. Lucky for us that here in Ohio, we have more than a few tried and true options to dig into.

The Cincinnati-based Grippo’s offers a signature BBQ flavor with enough seasoning powder to take down an elephant ( the best way), while Ballerich’s in Tiffin offers just about the coolest, vintage-leaning bag you’ll find, housing their “marcelled” chips (a term the brand invented to described the ridges in their chips, inspired by the starkly wavy hairstyle of the same name). Both brands are over 100 years old, and the prolific Conn’s isn’t too far off.

And don’t count on the Dayton favorite, Mikesell’s, either. While the brand announced its closure following 110 years in early 2023, the aforementioned Conn’s bought the Mikesell’s naming rights and began producing them again a short time later.”


One of the snack world’s most versatile and underrated players is popcorn. Equally delicious whether it’s prepared with salt and butter, cumin and saffron, or drenched in a sugary shell, popcorn is more of a triple threat than Ray Allen in his prime.

There’s plenty of it to go around in Columbus, but the long-standing Al’s Delicious Popcorn is the most established can’t-miss option. While they cater to all the classics flavors like caramel and cheddar, their Columbus Mix (a combination of Vanilla Butternut and White Cheddar that riffs off the ever-popular Chicago Mix) is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. And if you’re feeling salty (get it?) new savory options like Dill Pickle, or spicy variants including their Habanero Mango offer fun ways to mix things up.

For those in the Gahanna area, Pam’s Market Popcorn & windy City Eats is another fantastic option.



For decades, The Peanut Shoppe’s ionic neon signage has served a beacon for downtown diners looking for a salty (or sweet) fix. Self-described as Downtown’s oldest retail business, part of The Peanut Shoppe is experience is, well, the experience. First opened in 1936, the store stays true to its roos, offering visitors an olde-timey candy and nuts store that they pick out by the pound.

Similarly, Lisa Robitaille’s American Nut Co. has been a fixture in the North Market Downtown for years. While they do offer sweet options, one their signature blends, the Rosemary Bar Mix, combines fresh rosemary, garlic and a touch of maple syrup for a treat that’s as complex as it is savory.
Don’t sleep on the long-standing Krema Nut Co., located just south of Grandview, for an assortment of savory, sweet and even chocolate-covered nuts, in addition to an assortment of premium nut butters.


Like popcorn, pretzels often erroneously receive a bad rap for being boring, but you better check the facts on that one. Not only does Ohio serve up a huge variety of bagged pretzel snacks (Conn’s, Grippo’s and more come to mind), but soft pretzels are also widely available in The Arch City.

Stop by the North Market’s Downtown to pay a visit to Brezel, where hand-rolled soft pretzels like Everything, Sriracha Mozzarella, and indulgent sweet pretzels like Carrot Cake and Mixed Berry + Lavender.

If it’s good pretzels you’re after, following the German restaurants is a failsafe tactic. Spots like Hofbräuhaus, and Schmitt’s Sausage Haus serve fantastic soft pretzels, and pairing a soft pretzel at Gëmut Biergarten with one of the traditional German lagers they focus on is hard to beat.

Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new June issue here!


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