ice cream, injera, international groceries, Italian markets
Perhaps you’ve heard of an artisanal ice cream company called Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams that started in the North Market? Founder Jeni Britton Bauer continues to innovate, launching Jeni’s first line of non-dairy (vegan) ice creams last year. For classic ice creams, Central Ohio has a trio of standouts in Graeter’s, Johnson’s and Velvet. Gelato fan? Stop what you’re doing and drive directly to Ciao Café in historic downtown Delaware, where co-owner Etleva Baku makes a variety of gelatos fresh daily. For ice cream with an international spin, Mardi Gras Homemade Ice Cream, near Dublin, fits the bill. There, you can find chocolate, blue moon and strawberry, but also ginger, guava and pista kulfi. Meanwhile, CRMD in the Short North is an Instagram star, with wildly hued colors and egg waffle cones.
For excellent Ethiopian platters of tibs, wat, kitfo and colorful veggies on spongy injera, head to a pair of restaurants on the East Side. Lalibela Restaurant is a longtime favorite on Hamilton Road that sports a billiards room. Also recommended is the tiny, friendly spot on Cleveland Avenue called Addis Restaurant, named for Ethiopia’s capital. Both restaurants offer traditional coffee ceremonies in which green coffee beans are roasted, brewed and poured from a jebena right in front of you. In the Victorian Village vicinity, Nile Vegan is an affordable plant-based option that opened in 2019, adding a second location this year in Grandview.
Saraga International Grocery on Morse Road is the gold standard in Columbus for ethnic markets, offering a truly global selection of meats, produce, groceries and foods from vendors like Momo Ghar. It’s so popular that owner John Sung, a Korean immigrant, opened a second location last year on Cleveland Avenue; a third is in the works. On the West Side, Sunrise International Market and CAM International Market cater to a primarily Asian clientele. Markets that specialize in Mexican and Latin American products include La Michoacana on Morse Road or La Plaza Tapatia in the Hilltop. Both supermarkets have bakeries and restaurants. For African and Middle Eastern products, head to Yasmin International Market. The well-organized Cleveland Avenue market features a halal butcher, breads like pita, injera and chapati, spices, rice, frozen foods, produce and much more.
The city has several resources to help you create top-notch Italian meals at home. Carfagna’s Market is a Columbus landmark, family-owned and -operated since 1937. The old-school Dublin-Granville Road grocery offers a butcher shop, produce, cheeses, pastas, wines, Italian sweets and dry goods. [After publication, Carfagna’s Market announced that it is relocating to Polaris in spring 2021.] At Vincenzo’s Convenient Elegance in Dublin, customers will find wines, dry and homemade pastas, marinaras, cured meats and to-go dinners like lasagna. Meanwhile, gourmands will want to visit Quinci Emporium in the Short North, which owner Deborah Quinci stocks with house-made baked goods like focaccia, grissini and biscotti as well as interesting pasta meals for reheating, desserts, imported oils and vinegars, cookware and kitchen accessories. Keep an eye out for the shop’s cooking classes and wine tastings to return.