While Columbus often gets eclipsed by nearby Cincinnati or is written off as the place where Ohio State University is located, Ohio’s largest city and state capital has a lot more to offer. We trekked around and discovered all sorts of cool, new things about the Midwestern metropolis.
You probably already know fast-food establishments like Wendy’s are headquartered in the Columbus area. What isn’t as widely known is that The Hills Market, a nationally respected specialty grocer, also calls the city home. We like the market’s new Surf and Truck Tuesdays, where you can buy a silver pail of peel-and-eat shrimp as an appetizer (a steal at $8 for a half pound), then peruse the parked food trucks for an entrée. And then there’s the vibrant restaurant scene. El Arepazo, a Columbus haven for Latin cuisine, just opened Arepazo Tapas & Wine, and the heavenly aroma of empanadas still has locals in a tizzy. Element Pizza, which recently unrolled a new dinner menu, is having the same effect on people who crave its salami-topped pies.
The biggest new thing in the city, Hollywood Casino, is also its loudest and most controversial. The lavish, 475,000-square-foot attraction finally opens on Columbus’ West Side today — much to the chagrin of people who’ve been protesting the building since 2009. Of course, those who love slot machines, poker rooms, restaurants and Old Tinseltown motifs will feel like they’ve just hit the jackpot.
If you want to visit Columbus, stay at The Blackwell. Don’t be fooled by its location on OSU’s campus; the hotel’s Bistro 2110 is a fine dining graduate with just-right-for-fall dishes like a cassoulet studded with seared sea scallops, Prince Edward Island mussels, braised Peruvian beans and bacon. For something new, check out the plush, modern accommodations of the LEED-certified Hilton Columbus Downtown, which officially welcomes its first guests on October 26.
Photo Courtesy of David LiuTags: Arepazo, Columbus, Element Pizza, Hilton Columbus Downtown, Hollywood Casino, Ohio, The Blackwell