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 locations of Country’s Barbeque, 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 pick 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. 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.
The Black Cow
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) and “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.
Flipside Burgers and Tacos
The scene: It’s burgers, and tacos and Mexican…and it’s great at Flipside Burgers & Tacos! There is a clear “musical history” theme with vinyl on the walls and old black and whites of celebrity musicians above the booths. It’s a small joint and the locals know it well, so head to lunch early or late, but don’t miss the tacos here!
The menu: The food selection have the best names to match the theme; for example, burger options include the Hank Williams Jr, Gangham Style or the Red Hot Chili Peppers Burger! As great as they sounded, we went straight for the tacos. Hubby picked grilled fish, and I picked lobster. And the pineapple kimchi side?? Amaze-balls!! Two tacos and a side made the perfect lunch. As I write this, I’m wondering if I can make it back down to Columbus for lunch soon. Swooning over this place.
The kids could pick a taco or burger, but they opted for the hotdog with sweet potato fries. Two thumbs up from both boys!
“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
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. Locally sourced peach jam from Georgia Jams, 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.
Planet Pops has a location off the downtown strip, or you can find them at carts along the RiverWalk. We tried Blueberries & Cream, Pineapple Habanero, Raspberry Lemonade and Banana Pudding. Every bite was delicious. Can’t wait to go back for the S’mores, Sweet Tea and Honey Lavender.
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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!
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.