If you’re visiting south of the city, you can’t go wrong with a stop in Columbus. These seven restaurants in Columbus, Ga. are great for foodies, with delicious eats — from southern comfort food to farm-to-table sophisticated dining. Whatever your style, we’ve got you covered.
The scene: There are multiple Country’s Barbeque locations, but we’re talking the Broadway location today. The restaurant is set in an old Trailways bus station. There’s even a bus attached! My boys adored sitting in the driver’s seat, pushing buttons and listening to (what sounds like) an authentic recording of a bus driver from the past.
The menu: Of course there is BBQ, but that’s just the beginning. There are fresh southern veggies, salads, sandwiches and more. I picked the Pork Platter — with a tons of different BBQ sauces to choose from — with field peas, collards and cornbread.
I feel pretty confident saying this was the VERY BEST meal of our entire visit; it was spectacular.
Hubs had a salad with pulled pork. The boys shared a grilled cheese and homemade potato chips. Other kiddo selections include PB&J, hamburgers or the Columbus famous Country Scrambled Dog.
And just when you think you can’t eat another bite, along come blackberry cobbler with ice cream. Heavenly! Other southern desserts? Chocolate Chess Pie, Buttermilk Pie, Root Beer Floats, Goober Sundaes and more. Even my Grandma would be impressed.
115 12th Street
The scene: The Black Cow is a rustic steakhouse with incredible southern charm and cuisine. Garden & Gun readers voted it “The Best Burgers in the South.” The kids will love the high-top tables, Coca Cola mural and, right outside the front door — “Lil Rafter” — the bull that kids can ride. Mom and Dad will love the cocktails!
The menu: We were head over heels for the hushpuppies appetizer, and you have to love a place with fried bacon on the menu (served with honey tabasco). Enjoy oysters, po’ boys, salads, sandwiches, burgers and dinner entrees. I enjoyed the Hamburger Steak covered in onions and gravy, with an incredible pineapple casserole and collards. Hubs went for the Bacon Pimento Cheeseburger with jalapeno jelly. Wow!
The Black Cow Calf Menu (for kiddos) offered burgers, chicken, shrimp, waffles and pasta — all with fries and a drink for $4-5 each. Plus it came with a cute cow coloring page for the kids to work on while noshing on those hushpuppies.
104 8th Street
The scene: Looking for a classic meat-and-three or a family-friendly option sure to satisfy the palates of the pickiest eaters? Check out Minnie’s, a Columbus tradition for over 24 years. But be prepared to wait in line for this delicious authentic Southern cuisine — it’s a popular place for a good reason!
The menu: Open for lunch Sunday-Friday, you’ll find made-from-scratch delicacies such as hoe cakes, mac and cheese, fried chicken, homemade desserts and (of course!) sweet tea!
“Ain’t no place like this place anywhere near this place, so this must be the place. So pull up a chair and stay awhile, and enjoy a southern caprese appetizer – grilled green tomatoes, house made fried pimento cheese, basil peach jam, crème fraiche and sriracha. You won’t be disappointed.” –11th and Bay
1050 Bay Avenue
They had us at the biscuits.
My 17-year-old has an issue with yeast, so when our waiter brought out biscuits instead of bread, he was very excited. Then he tried the ‘peach stuff’ that goes on top. This “stuff” is locally sourced peach jam from Georgia Jams, and he was scraping the bowl to get the very last ounce. His 15 year-old brother looked on, eyes down, mumbling longingly, “I just want to lick the knife.” So started a fantastic foodie dinner at 11th and Bay along Columbus’ RiverWalk, for five non-foodie eaters.
Unlikely Combinations, Unbelievable Goodness
My brother calls it the Rodman #6. It’s our usually Friday night dinner of burgers on the grill with oven-cooked french fries (no, I do not cut them from potatoes, I buy them from the freezer section) and corn. Sometimes it’s fresh corn on the cob, but mostly it’s just the freezer variety.
Looking at the menu at 11th and Bay, there is a lot a non-foodie would love. But it’s the preparation, the unlikely combinations that elevate the dishes and awaken your palette to something beyond a #6.
The Gouda Mac, or the White Truffle Parmesan Fries. I don’t even know what Shallot-Ponzo Reduction with Richland Rum “Almost Rum” Cane Syrup and Orange-Ginger Gremolata is, but I know it has so many flavors you just want to savor each bite for a few minutes.
Everyone at our table was swapping plates, tasting everything, each dish better than the last. I didn’t think I was a green tomato fan, but don’t linger too long over the Southern Caprese salad mentioned above or you might get a fork in your hand.
Finish it off with olive oil basil ice cream, an unlikely balance of flavors that is slap yo momma good. And forget about the chocolate paired with ubiquitous caramel sea salt. The chocolate dish here has a hot sauce drizzled on the plate.
Passion and History
Mike Hutton, the manager at 11th and Bay approaches his job like a politician up for election. He works the room effortlessly greeting guests, selling his chef’s latest creations and telling stories about the décor.
The bar footrest is a rail tie from the street outside; the back wall original to the building, the painting behind him, a local folk artist.
His passion is evident. So is that of our waiter, who followed Mike to 11th and Bay. He knows the menu well. He’s tried everything and even when my 11-year-old asks about creating a kid-friendly version of the fried chicken, he’s quick to offer suggestions. It’s a family kind of feel. When we ask about the unusual ice cream flavor he responded, “They gave the chef an ice cream maker and he’s been experimenting ever since. I think each time he comes up with something good, he gets a new toy.” He must have a lot of toys.
Five Star Review
As we sat at the table, digesting more food than we thought we could eat, my middle son ponders, “I wonder how many stars this place has?” to which my oldest, without skipping a beat as he finishes the last bit of my steak, says in between bites, “Not enough.”
Additional Places To Consider
Ruth Ann’s Restaurant was an excellent choice for breakfast on our last day. The boys loved Captain Crunch French Toast and Red Velvet Pancakes. It’s dinner-style eating for breakfast and lunch, with quick service and friendly smiles. Cool fact: The building has been there since the 50s, and was built on the site of the original Temple Israel from the 1800s.
Iron Bank Coffee Co was another breakfast favorite. The coffee choices were excellent, and we also picked up a great parfait and quiche. It’s housed in an old bank building with a beautiful interior. The huge vault door is open in the back corner. It’s prime seating and fun for the kiddos.
Dinglewood Pharmacy. Established in 1918, this iconic pharmacy in Midtown has served Columbus families for almost 100 years. The last pharmacy with its original soda fountain, it is the oldest eating establishment in town. Be sure to try the Scrambled Dog, a wiener and bun sliced and covered with delicious chili. Topped with oyster crackers and pickles, it’s a local favorite and Dinglewood’s specialty!
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Disclosure: Thank you to the Columbus CVB for hosting us at a few of these places. It did not impact our opinions. Our tummies were honestly delighted!