Bigger doesn’t always mean better.
Whether you think of them as small, charming, cozy, or fun size, Columbus has some amazing tiny restaurants that offer guests the perfect place to hunker down for a meal.
The past couple of years have been tough on the entire service industry, but these tiny spaces had quite the uphill battle. From intimate Italian restaurants to quirky diners, you can find anything you want to eat at these small, but mighty, Columbus spots.
About:This tiny Italian eatery clocks in at just over 1,000 square feet. Basi Italia is the perfect example of “quality over quantity”. The restaurant is relaxed, approachable, and an intimate place to grab a bite with a date or friends.
Location: 811 Highland St, Columbus Ohio 43215
Website: Basi Italia
German Village Coffee Shop
About: German Village Coffee Shop opened in 1981, and it’s been making people happy ever since then. The restaurant is usually pretty crowded in the morning, but it’s always worth the wait. They serve breakfast and lunch daily, offering different specials and the old school diner vibe you didn’t know you were missing. Plus, they have the best bacon in Columbus. Don’t @ me.
Location: 193 Thurman Ave, Columbus, OH 43206
Website: German Village Coffee Shop
About: This little hot dog joint is one of my favs. The space is tight, but that’s what makes the experience, right? I feel like this place just opened, but it’s been “stuffing weiners in faces” for a decade now! The restaurant has both bar and table seating options, which means you can dine solo or with friends.
Location: 248 S. 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215
Website: Dirty Franks
About: Emmett’s Cafe is one of my favorite spots in Columbus. Their original location on S. High Street is cozy and cute, with light and airy decor and a rocking outdoor space. Stop in for some healthy eats, delicious coffee, and chill vibes.
Location: 744 S High St, Columbus, OH 43206
Website: Emmett’s Cafe
The Thurman Cafe
About: The Thurman Cafe is a Columbus staple and has been ever since it opened in 1942. I firmly believe that even if it was just one table in an 8×8 room, people would still line up for hours just to get inside. It’s a popular destination for tourists as well as locals, and there’s a 99% chance you will have to wait. But once you get a bite of the burger, all that standing around will be worth it.
Location: 183 Thurman Ave, Columbus, OH 43206
Website: The Thurman Cafe
About: Cafe Illyria is one of those places that I’m always surprised more people don’t know about. If this is your first time hearing about, I’m sorry. Not only because you’ve missed out on eating there this long, but also because it’s all you’re going to want to eat for a while once you’ve had it. The interior is small, but they do have a nice patio you can take advantage of in warmer weather! They have a large menu, but my go-to is always the Gyro. So. Good.
Location: 214 E State St, Columbus, OH
The Brown Bag Deli
About: Craving a quality deli sandwich? Brown Bag Deli in German Village should definitely be your destination. The dining area is intimate, but it’s also full of light with huge windows, so you won’t feel too squished, I promise. Okay, I lied. Once you finish your giant sandwich (there are half portions available) you may feel a little squished, but it will have been worth it.
Location: 898 Mohawk St, Columbus OH, 43206
Website: The Brown Bag Deli
About: Newfangled Kitchen is the newest tiny restaurant on the list, but don’t let that stop you! They serve a variety of sandwiches and soups, including a fun variety of meatloaf sammies! There isn’t a ton of seating, especially when Capital University is in session, but that’s to be expected when something is small and delicious.
Location: 2258 E Main St, Bexley, OH 43209
Website: Newfangled Kitchen
About: The interior of Katalina’s is cozy, just like their cuisine. Snuggle up in the incredibly colorful restaurant, order some Pancake Balls, and enjoy your day. You deserve it! If you visit during warmer weather, you can take advantage of their patio seating as well!
Location: 1105 Pennsylvania Ave, Columbus, OH 43201