Inside: What Food Is Columbus, Ohio Known For? I’m so glad you asked! Check out these 6 iconic dishes from my hometown!
I’m a proud Buckeye, through and through. There’s no doubt that the blood in these veins bleed scarlet (and gray). I was born at THE Ohio State University hospital, graduated from THE Ohio State University, and my little one knew how to spell “O-H-I-O” before she could spell her own name.
I love so much about Columbus, and I especially love our people.
I grew up reading spooky R.L. Stein books, and delighting in the short stories of James Thurber. (And now I love reading books like this one, by another local!) I love watching Guy Fieri, and listening to O.A.R.
And even though I was born and raised here in good ‘ol Columbus town, for a few brief years after college, my husband and I left the city to go east. And that’s when I learned that some of the foodie staples of my youth were actually specific to Columbus and not easily found elsewhere.
Food can be iconic.
Deep dish pizza screams Chicago. If you mention a good crab cake, I start thinking of Baltimore. Gumbo just isn’t gumbo outside of Louisiana. And you can’t even say “cheese steak” without mentioning Philly.
But Columbus? What food is Columbus, Ohio known for?
I wanted to share 6 iconic dishes that seem totally normal to me, but illicit a major side-eye outside of the state. Ready to find out what food Columbus, Ohio is known for?
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Columbus-style pizza.”
Ok, so growing up, I just thought of it as “pizza.” But the stuff they serve outside of Columbus just doesn’t do it for me. Not sure what I’m talking about? My buddy Nick, wrote this great piece describing Columbus-style pizza!
Me, trying to order pizza outside of Columbus:
“So, um, I’ll take a large pepperoni pizza. And can you press it extra thin? Like thinner than your normal thin crust? And skip the outer crust, I want cheese and sauce to go all the way to the edge. Oh, and can you give me like 3x the amount of pepperoni? I don’t want to be able to see any cheese (or crust) at all. Just COVER it with pepperoni, please. Also, can you pretend like you’re my mom, and I’m 3 years old and cut it into tiny squares for me? K, thanks!!!!”
Known around these parts simply as “buckeyes”, buckeye candy is freaking amazing. It’s peanut butter and powdered sugar, mixed up and formed into little balls, and dipped in chocolate. Chocolate and peanut butter is a flavor match made in heaven, if you ask me, but the rest of the country thinks chocolate should be mixed with cherries, nuts, or caramel. Weirdos.
Fries Dipped In A Frosty
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Ok, seriously, how is this not a thing everywhere? I’ve literally been dipping fries in my Frosty since birth. I taught my daughter the proper way to eat her french fries when she was a wee thing. This is how it was, and this is how it shall always be. There is something so addictive about the sweet and salty, piping hot and ice cold combo. I mean, really, how is this a Columbus thing?
Ohio Nachos – Blue Cheese Potato Chips
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One of our amazing supervisors Jonathan is here tonight and is always excited to make our famous Blue Cheese Potato Chips. We call them “the appetizer that built the empire”. Crispy kettle chips, smothered in creamy Alfredo Sauce, and topped off with melty blue cheese and chives. Stop in on the foggy Columbus night and warm up with a plate, Jonathan can’t wait for you to try them! @capcitygahanna @cmrcolumbus @cityofgahanna @newalbanyohio @cbusfoodbloggers @cbusfoodfanatics @cbusconnect @cbusadventures #greatpeople #chips #bluecheese
Ok, so this is another thing that totally astounded me. You know those Alfredo sauce + blue cheese covered plain potato chips that you can get just about anywhere, even though everyone knows the best ones come from Cap City Fine Diner?
It’s a Columbus thing. And the rest of the country calls them “Ohio nachos.” I kid you not. Google it. What in the world?
Bahama mama sausages from Schmidt’s are freaking amazing. My German husband swears they’re not actually German, but who cares? I guess technically he’s right because Grover and George Schmidt came up with the recipe after being inspired by the flavors they sampled while in the Bahamas. Authentic or not, they are hands-down the most delicious sausage out there. Hickory smoked and with a nice kick.
But want to know what you get when you order a Bahama Mama outside of Columbus? A cocktail!
Johnny Marzetti is the food of my youth. I think every elementary school in the state served this dish, and it’s one of the first dishes I attempted cooking by myself. Apparently no one outside of Columbus has ever heard of Johnny Marzetti. Or they call it by some other funny name like goulash or American chop suey. Goulash, to me, is a Hungarian beef stew with chunks of carrot and piles of paprika. Because I’m from #Columbus.
Johnny Marzetti is classic comfort food around here. Macaroni noodles, tomatoes, ground beef topped with cheddar cheese and baked to perfection.
For an amazing recipe – check out this recipe from Neighborfood (another Cbus local!)
So to recap – what food is Columbus, Ohio known for? Amazing pizza, delicious chocolate-peanut butter candy, tangy blue cheese chips, spicy smoked sausage, fries dipped in a milkshake, and the best casserole around!
Thanks for reading! And let me know – did I miss any Columbus classics?
Related: The Foodie Buckeye’s Guide to Visiting Ann Arbor
5 thoughts on “What Food Is Columbus, Ohio Known For? The Dishes That Defined Us.”
Fries in a frosty is definitely not just here. A bunch of my friends growing up did t (in Rochester, NY).
I enjoy this list! We did fries in Frosties up in Michigan, too.
I love the Ohio nachos on the list. Didn’t realize they had a specific name! Tip Top has a great version, too.
Tip Top has been on my list forever and we just haven’t made it out. Can’t wait!
I had no idea blue cheese nachos were our thing, but I’m happy to claim it!
When we moved to Philly, I saw “Ohio nachos” on a menu once and I was like….”huh?!” So I did some digging and realized it was a Cbus thing.