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Posted by on May 3, 2015 | 1 comment

North Market in Columbus, Ohio

North Market in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio is an easy two-hour drive from Canton/Akron/Cleveland, and it’s one of my family’s favorites for an overnight getaway.

A few weeks ago, with his birthday fast approaching, my son informed us he was “too old” for a traditional kids’ birthday party. No Skymax, no roller rink. Nope, he wanted to sight see in Columbus, stay at a cool hotel {with a pool, please} and eat some good food. Smelly roller rink or weekend in C-bus? I’ll pack the suitcases.

Did I luck out in the cool-kid department or what?


For his 24-hour birthday stay, our first stop was lunch at North Market in the Arena District.

With a rich history dating back to 1876 as Columbus’ only public market, it should definitely be on your weekend agenda. If the history part doesn’t intrigue you, it’s an absolute foodie wonderland. Come hungry.

My first impression of North Market, which is loaded with 35 merchants selling prepared foods, fresh meats and seafood, baked goods, kitchenware, wine and more, was a shinier, hipper version of the West Side Market in Cleveland. But after some reflection, I’d say the two markets simply excel at different things.

North Market wins in the prepared foods category, and maybe that’s why it was such a hit for lunch. {Getting lunch at West Side Market, on the other hand, can be challenging – limited prepared foods, limited seating.}  The options at North Market are plentiful and wide-ranging, from sushi to sausages, BBQ to Belgian waffles. And with a family o’ five, options are always a good thing.

We did a decent job of spreading out to cover several prepared foods merchants:

-Futureman and I both went with Lan Viet Market. We feasted on fresh spring rolls and bowls of grilled beef atop rice, vermicelli noodles, veggies, cilantro and basil.



-My oldest is incapable of passing up a deli sandwich, so as soon as he spotted Katzinger’s Little Deli {an outpost of Katzinger’s ‘big’ deli in German Village} it was game over. He had Karl’s Killer Club, one of about a dozen options on the menu.


-The two young’ns went for smoked wings and mac and cheese from Holy Smoke BBQ. And holy smokes did they devour it. The smoked wings were a major improvement over Canton’s 35-cent deep-fried wing joints. This ‘craft barbeque’ stand smokes their own meats and offers southern-inspired sides like collard greens and cheddar-smoked sausage grits.


-We didn’t save room for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream but had to treat ourselves anyway. It was my son’s birthday, after all. We can only get Jeni’s by the pint in Canton {at Buehler’s}, so it was a splurge to get it by the scoop. And doesn’t ice cream taste so much better by the scoop? My favorite flavor is Brambleberry Crisp: oat struedel and brambleberry jam layered throughout vanilla ice cream.

-We definitely didn’t save room for Pistachia Vera, but when you’re in the same building as their Parisian macarons, you stock up for later. Try the passion fruit & guava – trust me. Like Katzinger’s, you can visit Pistachia Vera’s ‘flagship’ store a couple miles south in German Village, but we loved the convenience of North Market.

Yep, you can find all that goodness – Vietnamese noodles, Southern BBQ, Jewish sammies, Parisian macarons, artisan ice cream – under one roof. AND we were able to take our feast up a flight of stairs to an enormous ‘ring’ of tables overlooking the market below. I imagine on some Saturdays getting a table during peak hours is tricky; we were lucky to grab one of the last available.



Besides the prepared foods, you can grab fresh flowers, artisan bread, grassfed beef, sustainable fish, a bottle of wine, and gourmet spices for home. During the growing season, there’s a farmers’ market outside each Saturday. And June through October, there’s a Market Flea on Sundays. There’s even Downtown Drive-In movies on select summer nights. Be still my heart.

If you’re lucky enough to arrive before they sell out {we were not}, Hot Chicken Takeover is one of North Market’s newest residents, and their spicy fried chicken and sweet tea is all the foodie rage. Next time, C-bus.

North Market
Open Seven Days a Week
59 Spruce St.
Columbus, OH 43215


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1 Comment

  1. Love this! You’re right, the two markets are definitely different but wonderful. Great pics, so glad you had a great trip. Nice birthday choice, Big Will!

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