October 2007 Issue
Something old, Something New
Explore three Columbus neighborhoods where the old is as good as the new.
Olde Worthington is a neighborhood that is meant to be walked, and not just because Saturday morning is a bad time to try to drive through the main intersection of High Street and St. Rte. 161. People arrive early at the weekly farmerâ€™s market that lines the west and east sides of High Street to get the choicest selection of produce, flowers and fresh baked goods. By late morning, it can seem like the entire town is here. â€œItâ€™s almost like a little community festival each weekend,â€ says Mindy Mace, the executive director of the Convention and Visitorâ€™s Bureau of Worthington.
Next month, the market holds its first indoor sales at the Griswold Senior Center, part of the newly unveiled year-round schedule for this mini street fair. Beginning in January of 2008, the market will be bi-monthly until it reopens outdoors in May. (For details, call 614/891-6293 or visit www.owba.net/farmers_index.htm
Heading south on High Street, most of the shops and restaurants have held their place here for years, a reflection of this communityâ€™s commitment to itself as well as the efforts of the proprietors. Those who like to hunt for treasure could spend all day at the Curio Cabinet and Christmas Village (679 N. High St., 614/885-1986, www.curiocabinet.com
). The charming gift boutique sells carefully selected collectibles and home decor items including Swarovski jewelry and silver and M.I. Hummel and Goebel figurines. Wren House Gifts (695 N. High St., 614/848-8442, www.wren
housegifts.com) also offers a store full of handmade items, like hand-turned and -painted musical chefs and Santas created by Ohio artists Karl and Linda Harris of nearby Johnstown.
Art takes many forms. Youâ€™ll find edible versions in the form of glistening fruit tarts and decadent filled croissants at the family-owned La Chatelaine French Bakery and Bistro (627 N. High Street, 614/848-6711, www.lachatelaine.com
). The bistro menu features breakfast, lunch and dinner, and this is the spot for rustic French dishes such as coq au vin and cassoulet, not to mention exceptional coffee and outdoor seating. The Worthington Inn (649 N. High St., 614/885-2600, www.worthingtoninn.com
) gives you the option of casual dining in the pub or slightly more formal dining in the dining room. If you opt for the pub, the parmesan truffle fries are as good as they say. The restaurant is a favorite local spot for Sunday brunch, too. But if, after a day of exploring, youâ€™re really looking for a quick bite and a great beer, youâ€™ll want to head to the Old Bag of Nails Pub (663 High St., 614/436-555, www.oldbagofnails.com
). A plate of their fish and chips next to a cold pint is about as good as it gets.
For more information on Worthington, call the Convention and Visitorâ€™s Bureau of Worthington, 800/997-9935, or visit www.worthington.org
South Campus Gateway at The Ohio State University Campus
Gordon Geeâ€™s return as president of The Ohio State University generated more water cooler buzz in the capital city than Britneyâ€™s haircut. And as though in anticipation of the much-loved commander-in-chiefâ€™s homecoming, theyâ€™ve been busy sprucing up the place since he left. Today, South Campus Gateway â€” a multiplex settlement of shops, coffee houses, restaurants and entertainment venues â€” sits where a less-than-savory block of housing and businesses did when his first tenure began 16 years ago. Now the south side of the Big Ten school has a squeaky-clean look and parking â€” two attributes that even recent alumni find hard to believe.
Students here donâ€™t drive, they walk. With home games on Oct. 13 and 20, we suggest following their lead by parking north or south of campus and walking or taking the Number 2 COTA bus along High Street onto campus.
Love it or hate it, Buckeye football fans like their chants, and on game day, expect to hear â€œEddie, Eddie, Eddieâ€ as they pass Eddie Georgeâ€™s Grill 27 (1636 N. High St., 614/421-2727). The 1995 Heisman winner continues to make his mark on this town with this high-energy eatery, where the menu is casual and watching the game is elevated to a professional sport. The theme is â€œ27,â€ Georgeâ€™s college and pro number, which takes the form of touches like 27 different beers with which you can wash down that 27-ounce porterhouse steak. If you couldnâ€™t score tickets, the wall-to-wall high-definition flat screens and patio are the next best thing.
Donâ€™t like trying to hear your dinner companion over the high def? The Happy Greek (614/291-7777 www.happygreek.com
) is a local favorite for lamb gyros, garlicky hummus and other Greek staples, without the game scores in the background. Pair your meal with a hard-to-pronounce but fun-to-drink wine made from native Greek grapes, and in warm weather, get here early for a seat on the patio.
Shopping at South Campus Gateway includes stores youâ€™ve seen, such as Barnes & Noble and Aveda, and shops you might not have, such as Lave (1586 N. High St., 614/340-9820, www.lavebathandbody.com
). Locally owned and operated, this spot for entirely handmade soaps, shower gels and lotions also caters to pampered pets with a line of dog and cat care products. We like their fragrant pet shampoo made from cypress, citronella and lemongrass â€” posh enough for even a trust fund dog like Trouble Helmsley, but priced for those with a little less than $12 million in the bank. Youâ€™ll also find a line for men including shea, cocoa and mango butter moisturizing shave cream, and fun items like flavored lip balms.
For more information about South Campus Gateway, call 614/247-5940 or visit www.southcampusgateway.com
The Red Brick District
Donâ€™t plan on asking for directions â€” this area is old, but the name is so new most people in town shrug when asked if theyâ€™ve heard of it. That wonâ€™t be the case for much longer. When we pounded the pavement along downtownâ€™s Main Street between South High and Fourth streets, we found a neighborhood thatâ€™s clearly on the verge of a comeback.
Â â€œI think theyâ€™ve built about 160 condo units in the past few years,â€ says Terry Daniels, who with his wife Cathy owns the clothing store CJ Daniels, â€œand theyâ€™re pretty much sold out.â€ The condos come with amenities such as 7-foot windows, 18-foot ceilings and 10-year tax abatements, not to mention a skyline of industrial red-brick buildings that give the area its name. Like downtowns across the country, the neighborhood was lost to the suburbs years ago. New residents and a group of businesses are bringing it back, and creating an urban shopping scene thatâ€™s a nice alternative to the mall traffic.
At CJ Daniels (108 E. Main St., 614/222-1033, www.cjdaniels.com
), youâ€™ll find a carefully chosen selection of clothing for men and women that reflects Terry Danielsâ€™ nearly 30 years of retail experience. â€œIâ€™m a tailored clothing guy,â€ confesses Daniels, who most recently spent seven years in Chicago. â€œBut I knew high-end suits werenâ€™t going to work here.â€ Daniels settled on what he calls a fusion of contemporary and easy-to-wear designs to fill his 130-year-old space, using his connections to find smaller independent designers whose prices wouldnâ€™t get him laughed off the block. October is the perfect time to visit, since the transition from fall to winter means serious sales.
Across the street, the annual pumpkin sale at Zettler Hardware (101 E. Main St., 614/224-4749, www.zettlerhardware.com
) spills out onto the sidewalk in front of the three-story red-brick building at the corner of Main and Third streets. The family-owned hardware store has been downtown for 163 years â€” 70 at this location â€” and exudes the practical sensibility of an old-time general store. â€œIt will be nice to see some of the foot traffic come back once people start moving in,â€ says Jeff Zettler, who has worked at his familyâ€™s store for five decades and remembers when this was a neighborhood of blue-collar families. â€œWe want this area to have an identity and be more like a community.â€ In addition to hardware and garden basics, the shop carries 300 varieties of bulk vegetable and flower seeds, stored in glass jars along the walls below shelves of old metal seed canisters.
If youâ€™re considering popping the question or investing in something sparkly, Y Sadiq DiamondÂ (131 E Main St., 614/441-4403, www.ysadiqdiamond.net
) just down the way is a remarkable place for everything from loose diamonds to customized wedding settings. â€œWe specialize in bridals, engagements and anniversary rings,â€ says owner Yusuf Sadiq, whose collection of jewelry is more art than accessory. If youâ€™re having trouble finding the right ring, this might be the solution, since 85 percent of the inventory is exclusive to Ohio.
When itâ€™s time to eat, look no further than Queen Bee restaurant (248 S. Fourth St., 614/221-4710). Started in 1949, the longtime breakfast and lunch locale changed hands several times before falling into those of Jean and Gary Perry, who greet you like theyâ€™ve know you their entire lives. If youâ€™re there on the weekend, plan your visit forÂ â€œSoul Food Sunday,â€ and save room for heaping plates of barbecue chicken, pork or ribs with homemade sweet potato pie.
For more information on the Red Brick District, visit www.redbrickdistrict.com