The Jury Room is known as the oldest restaurant in Columbus, but this eatery is no outdated hole-in-the-wall: It’s a cozy establishment serving top-notch budget-friendly dishes.
Walking in, the restaurant’s antique aura feels warm and inviting. The walls are bursting with snapshots, newspaper clippings and trinkets that appear to date all the way back to the original opening of The Jury Room in 1831. If this kitschy décor isn’t your style, there is also an outdoor seating area right at the storefront.
My meal began with dessert — that is, a blackberry and brie bruschetta appetizer that was as rich and filling as it was sweet. The crunchy slices of toast provided a great base for the layers of flavor piled on top: a creamy slab of brie cheese smothered in spicy honey, toasted pecans and juicy blackberries. This six-piece dish ran for $9 and was well worth the price.
In order to get a taste of every aspect of the restaurant, I decided to pair such a light and airy appetizer with what appeared to be the heaviest item on the menu: the grilled mac-n-cheese brisket sandwich for $10. I was given the option of replacing the included rosemary-garlic potato chips with truffle fries for only $2.50 more, and I accepted. In less than 10 minutes, the main course arrived, and I dug right in.
The truffle fries were crisped to perfection, and lightly salted for just enough flavor. The spicy aioli dipping sauce the fries came with made them seem like an elite dish rather than an artery-clogging mess and complemented the subtle flavor of the truffle oil nicely.
I have never been a sandwich girl — I’d rather eat dainty wraps or refreshing salads — but this monster of a sandwich will have a place in my heart forever. Served on a pretzel roll, the filling was deliciously oozing out onto the plate. Melted cheddar cheese, springy pasta and the moistest brisket I’ve ever tasted combined to create a dish that made my taste buds scream for more.
If these unorthodox menu offerings aren’t your thing, don’t fret — The Jury Room has plenty of classics for you to choose from as well. I can’t wait to go back to try the veggie melt for $8.50 and the chicken Parmesan listed on the menu, which looked mouthwatering at $8.50 for a half serving or $14 for a full plate.
The Jury Room is located at 22 E. Mound St. in downtown Columbus and is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m.