When it comes to nostalgia, everyone likes to think about what we can’t have anymore.
But there are a lot of restaurants in Columbus that families have been going to for years that are still open. Most people have those stories, you know, the ones about the restaurant where their crazy family would gather for special occasions.
Luckily, some of those places are still open. So take a trip down memory lane, and then go out and eat at one of these places again. Let the nostalgia wash over you and take your siblings with you. You can remember all the loving times you spent together as kids!
The Thurman Cafe, 77 Years
What: Thurman’s is a family-owned restaurant in German Village. Of course, its known for its legendary burger, The Thurminator. Thurman’s has been recognized as having some of the best hamburgers in the country.
When: Opened in 1942
Where: 183 Thurman Ave, Columbus, OH 43206
Ringside Cafe, 122 Years
What: Ringside is the oldest restaurant in Downtown Columbus. Serving the community for 120+ years, Ringside has perfected a lot of things, including their burgers.
When: Opened in 1897
Where: 19 N Pearl St, Columbus, OH 43215
Schmidt’s, 52 Years
What: What started as a meat packing plant in German Village has grown into one of the most iconic restaurants in the city. Schmidt’s may have been making sausages in the 1880s, but their first venture into restaurants was in 1914 when they opened a concession at The Ohio State Fair. Although it wasn’t until decades later when the German Village location opened their doors, Schmidt’s, in one form or another, has been a part of Columbus for over a century.
When: Opened in 1967
Where: 240 E Kossuth St, Columbus, OH 43206
Ding Ho, 63 Years
What: This Cantonese restaurant has been serving families on the west side of Columbus for decades. Generations of families, including many friends of mine growing up on the west side, have been going to Ding Ho.
When: Opened in 1956
Where: 120 Phillipi Rd, Columbus, OH 43228
Johnnie’s Tavern, 71 Years
What: I’m not really sure how this city has been able to keep something as amazing as Johnnie’s Tavern “sort of” secret for over seven decades, but it remains one of the most underrated dives in the city. They are known for their burgers, and just so you can’t say I didn’t warn you, they are big. And very delicious.
When: Opened in 1948
Where: 3503 Trabue Rd, Columbus, OH 43204
York Steakhouse, 45 Years
What: York Steakhouse was a megachain in 1970s-1980s suburban America. The last remaining location is on West Broad Street, and it’s truly a portal back in time.
When: Opened in 1974
Where: 4220 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43228
Tommy’s Pizza, 67 Years
What: Tommy’s Pizza has been providing authentic, delicious pizza since the 1950s. Owner Thomas Iacono grew up in New York City in a first generation Italian family and was inspired to open his own Pizza place and restaurant when he moved to Columbus.
When: Opened in 1952
Where: 1350 W Lane Ave, Columbus, OH 43221
The Top, 64 Years
What: This midcentury throwback is truly one of a kind. The Top, which was opened by the owners of the legendary Kahiki, will have you feeling extremely realistic Mad Men vibes. In fact, The Top is so authentically old school that it has had the same pianist, Sonia Modes, since 1965.
When: Opened in 1955
Where: 2891 E Main St, Columbus, OH 43209
Refectory Restaurant, 38 Years
What: The Refectory has been an iconic restaurant Columbus and is, let’s be honest, the fanciest place we have to grab a bite to eat. This old church turned award winning French restaurant has seen many special occasions throughout the years.
When: Opened in 1981
Where: 1092 Bethel Rd, Columbus, OH 43220
Dan’s Drive-In, 68 Years
What: Columbus’ oldest diner is still going strong. Times may have changed, but Dan’s Drive-In has not. The food is still great, the prices are affordable, and the decor is on point. Break out your poodle skirt and your saddle shoes, it’s time to go back to the 1950s.
When: Opened in 1951
Where: 1881 S High St, Columbus, OH 43207
A daily Columbus email you'll actually love. ❤️
Every morning we compile the best of Columbus news & events and deliver it in a quick 5 minute read that sets you up with everything you need to be a well informed Columbusian. Columbusite. Cbussian? Whatever, give it a try, you'll love it.