Eating My Way through the Midwest: Columbus, Indiana

450 North Brewing Co Pizza Columbus Indiana IN

Road tripping this summer has become our favorite way to delve into the fine state of Indiana for sure. Not only did we have the pleasure of dining at popular Indiana Foodways Alliance foodie spots, but with each city and town that we’ve called home for a night or two we learned what makes the state appealing for families, couples, and folks that love to travel! Last month was all about Southern Indiana and what it has to offer both its travelers and residents. Our first stop on this leg of our foodie road trips? Columbus, Indiana!

Architecture tour Columbus Indiana IN

Disclosure: I was hosted by all of these amazing restaurants, cities, and CVBs to give you fine folks the scoop on what makes the Southern Indiana foodie scene so incredible. All opinions and photos are my own!

From the moment we drove into the heart of Columbus, IN, I knew there was something special about it. What we thought we’d be getting was a quintessential Midwest town and what we got? A lesson in architecture with fun restaurants and hot spots melded in. And, while I can’t wait to tell you about how the city is sixth in the country for gorgeous architecture, let’s start with a little background. Beginning in the 1940’s, architecture has been a way to show the city’s positive take on its future. Famous architects including  I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Robert Venturi, and Eliel and Eero Saarinen have left their marks on Columbus with modern buildings that meld perfectly with its historical ones. The city is both spotless and comfortable and it was a pleasure to park the car and walk. HIGHLY walkable.

Zaharako's Columbus Indiana

After a quick pit stop in the Visitor’s Center (so many amazing items to buy. If you love books about art and architecture it’s a must do.) we headed down to Washington Street- and to Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor. If you want a blast from the past (and folks definitely do. This place was THE spot to visit on a hot, Saturday afternoon!), drop in for a meal (a popular choice is the GOM Cheese-brr-grr) and save room for dessert. The shop is famous for  its hand dipped ice cream sodas and floats. We took a leisurely walk through the restaurant and spied authentic soda fountains and Tiffany-style lamps that only added it its fun ambiance.

Kids Commons Columbus Indiana IN

Never ones to refuse a trip to a museum, our next stop was to Kids Commons– Columbus’ Community Children’s Museum. Yes, The Kid is a teenager, but she still loves children’s museums (a great excuse to play with bubbles!) and I loved the smile she had on her face for the entire visit. The multi-level museum has a newer area, ExploraHouse, and a giant toilet that kids love to flush themselves down. It was a fun way to learn about what makes our homes run smoothly and what kids can do make a home more efficient.

450 North Brewing Co Columbus Indiana IN

For dinner we headed away from the city proper to 450 North Brewing Co. Known for its Brick Oven Pizza (you saw its deliciousness at the beginning of the article) and craft brew selections, the brewpub offers wine by the glass or bottle as well- and a gorgeous vineyard adjacent to the property.  Always a fan of beer flights, Mr. Locke is still raving about his samples and has put 450 North at the top of his list.

450 North Brewing Co Dessert Columbus Indiana IN

Save room for dessert because you’ll need it! A fun menu filled with seasonal desserts, they’re made from scratch and really are worth saving some space for.

Inn at Irwin Gardens Columbus Indiana IN

Let’s back track for just a sec.

On our Architectural Tour of Columbus The Kid and I spied a gorgeous mansion and, while peeking over the fence, I told her one day I’d loved to actually get inside to walk through it. Compliments of a happy turn of events before dinner we found out we’d be staying the night just there- The Inn at Irwin Gardens. Built in 1864 (Let’s think about that for a second. The Civil War was still in full force!), both the mansion and its English-style gardens have changed both in ownership and appearance and, to our delight, is now a Bed and Breakfast. And while there are many B&Bs that don’t allow children, those over 10 years of age and “well-behaved”  are more than welcome. Beautifully-decorated guest rooms (ours was the Elsie Sweeney Room) and a love of historical homes and mansions made The Kid one happy teen, that’s a definite statement.

Columbus Indiana IN B&B Sundial

Both after dinner and in the morning, we were compelled to stroll through the gardens. Filled with beautiful flowers, greenery, and statues, it’s the hidden nooks and crannies that I loved- as well as the recreated Tea House.

Inn at Irwin Gardens Breakfast Columbus Indiana IN

A full breakfast (no kidding, I was FULL!) was cooked by our innkeeper and the highlight was Zucchini Pancakes. I’m not a fan of zucchini, or at least I wasn’t until I tried them. I loved the meal so much that I asked for the recipe and will be sharing it in a separate post.

Hangar 5 Columbus Indiana IN

As this was a foodie tour, we saved a teeny bit of room that morning for a visit to Hangar 5. This restaurant is just the coolest and sits on the Columbus, Indiana airport runway. Super popular, especially on Sunday mornings, Hangar 5 serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch and watching the small planes taxi in while you’re waiting for food is a highlight.

Hangar 5 Breakfast Columbus Indiana IN

Named after aeronautic vehicles, the breakfast options were delicious- and massive! We filled the table with Biscuits and Gravy, Cinnamon rolls, and dishes with fried potatoes and eggs- and chatted about how we cannot wait to visit again!

Check out what makes the georgeous city of Columbus Indiana worth a visit! From architecture to foodie finds, it's a Midwest city at the top of our list!

Next week is all about Perry County, Indiana so please jump back on and read why we dig it so much!

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7 Thoughts to “Eating My Way through the Midwest: Columbus, Indiana”

  1. Cynical Eater

    170 eateries in Columbus and you picked some strange ones. Not a good representation of what Columbus has to offer at all.

    1. Karyn Locke

      Alright, I’ll bite. These restaurants are on the Indiana Foodways Alliance Member list- and they were all delicious! If I were to return, which restaurants would you suggest I visit?

      1. Cynical Eater

        ZwanzigZ Pizza, Smith’s Row, Tre Bicchieri.
        Homeboyz Fried Chicken and Fish, Ye Olde Fish House. Chick Fil A. 🙂 You’re cute. I’ll go with you. 🙂

        1. Betsy

          I’m a native of Columbus and think you made some great picks! 450 has been one of our favorite spots, along with The Hangar. I would also recommend Zwanzigz. Their beer is awesome, plus they offer recommendations of how to mix some of their brews. The Columbus Bar offers good brews they make themselves along with guest brews. It’s been around forever, so it offers some of Old Columbus. Love their burgers too.

          1. Karyn Locke

            Well, thank you so much! There’s no way I’m staying away from Columbus, so I’ll happily heed your suggestions for my next visit. Thank you so much for stopping by- please feel free to snoop around!

  2. Liz

    Thank you for choosing to review places that possibly aren’t the norm. I live 45 minutes away from Columbus and have been eager to explore it. I’ve asked a few locals what are the best places to try and besides the ice cream parlor and museum, none of these were on the list. I can’t wait to visit the airplane hangar! Thanks again! I’ll now be following to see if you review any other nearby areas.

    1. Karyn Locke

      It’s my pleasure! We love unusual restaurants- especially when they have fabulous food- and these ones definitely make the cut! Please feel free to creep around the site- there’s a ton of Indiana foodie articles!

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