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Eat Right: Restaurants Hidden in Neighborhoods

 Shelley Mann Eat Right: Restaurants Hidden in NeighborhoodsThe patio's a hidden gem at Basi Italia — Photo by Mollie Lyman.
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So much of Columbus’ dining scene is centered on High Street, which is neat, but it’s always nice to get off the main drag and stumble upon a spot tucked into an otherwise residential neighborhood. Here are a few favorites around town.

Basi Italia
811 Highland St., Columbus, OH 43215
Basi is the city’s quintessential hidden spot. The building originally served as the carriage house for the home next door and the entrance is off an alley, so you really need to be looking for this place to find it. Eating inside at this convivial Italian restaurant feels like eating in the dining room of a family friend, eating on the patio is like an intimate backyard gathering.

Bono Pizza
1420 Presidential Dr., Columbus, OH 43212
Since moving last year from its longtime space adjacent to a Grandview convenience store, Bono has been turning out its wood-fired pizzas from deep inside an apartment complex. The ambiance has never really been the draw at Bono—wherever the owners move their pizza oven, loyal regulars will follow.

Cravings Carryout Cafe — Photo by Mollie Lyman.

Cravings Carryout Cafe — Photo by Mollie Lyman.

Cravings Carryout Cafe
227 E. 3rd Ave., Columbus, OH 43201
The Fourth Street corridor in Italian Village is developing rapidly, but somehow this sandwich shop’s location less than a half-block off Fourth still feels really tucked away from the fray. When the weather is warm, snag a picnic table out back for a genuine backyard experience.

The Crest
2855 Indianola Ave., Columbus, OH 43202
Other stretches of Indianola are more commercial, but The Crest Gastropub sits smack dab in the middle of a residential area. It’s surrounded by Clintonville homes—and thanks to its rooftop and parking lot gardens, the restaurant fits right in with the neighborhood’s green-leaning ethos.

Dan the Baker — Photo by Walker Evans.

Dan the Baker — Photo by Walker Evans.

Dan the Baker
1028 Ridge St., Columbus, OH 43215
Just when you think you’re totally lost, you’re there. Dan the Baker’s Toast Bar is situated in an odd little confluence of residential housing and industrial warehouses a bit south of Grandview Heights. Once you find the place, Dan’s sublime artisanal toast flights will make you glad you ventured beyond the Grandview Avenue strip.

DK Diner
1715 W. 3rd Ave., Grandview Heights, OH 43212
This tiny Grandview diner sits back off the street, which somehow makes it so well-hidden I literally drive right past it every time I go. DK’s cheap and hearty breakfast platters and ultra-loaded Bloody Mary’s are definitely worth turning around for, though.

1105 Pennsylvania Ave., Columbus, OH 43201
The quirky small building that’s now home to Katalina’s used to be a gas station, not a house, but for residents of Victorian Village and Harrison West the popular brunch and lunch spot feels like a second home. Especially on warm-weather weekends, when the patio is consistently packed.

L’Appat Patisserie & Cafe
1159 Oak St., Columbus, OH 43205
Once upon a time, Olde Towne East’s Yellow Brick Pizza fit this criteria perfectly. Now their block of Oak Street has turned into the neighborhood’s food and drink center, with Angry Baker and The Tavern drawing crowds across the street. But venture several blocks further east on Oak and you’ll find L’Appat, an internationally inspired cafe that feels perfectly comfortable with being an outlier.

Old Mohawk
819 Mohawk St., Columbus, OH 43206
German Village is filled with examples of restaurants and bars tucked into residential side streets—think The Sycamore and even the iconic Schmidt’s. Old Mohawk, at the corner of Mohawk and Kossuth, has been a beloved neighborhood spot since it transitioned from a speakeasy to a legitimate tavern after the repeal of Prohibition.

410 East Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43206
A few blocks west of bustling Parsons Avenue, Skillet feels right at home in the low-key neighborhood of Schumacher Place. The area is often mistakenly referred to as part of German Village, but those who live there appreciate its small-town feel. That’s why Skillet owner Kevin Caskey chose it as the location for both his rustic-urban brunch and lunch spot as well as the home for his family.

Tasi Cafe — photo by Walker Evans.

Tasi Cafe — photo by Walker Evans.

Tasi Cafe
680 N. Pearl St., Columbus, OH 43215
Tasi is proof of just how different life feels less than a block off High Street. The cozy cafe is the perfect casual counterpoint to its more upscale counterpart, Rigsby’s, just across the alley. Stop in for breakfast anytime of day or hearty sandwiches and soups at lunchtime.

dine-originalsDine Originals Columbus celebrates, supports and promotes the culinary diversity that locally owned and operated member restaurants contribute to the identity and culture of our city. The nonprofit group is committed to strengthening the local economy and enriching the community through education and charitable partnerships.

On the first Wednesday of each month, each Dine Originals restaurant offers their own special dining experience, whether it’s a prix-fix dinner, a tasting menu, a retail wine night or a fun promotion. No matter which Dine Originals restaurant you visit tonight, you’ll be treated to a VIP dining experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

For more information, visit www.dineoriginalscolumbus.com.

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