With dozens of bars around campus, finding a spot that serves good beer isn’t hard. Finding one that also serves above-average food, instead of the typical “bar food,” can be a challenging task. While bars like Buffalo Wild Wings serve good food, this list stays away from corporate and chain bars and instead looks at locally owned and operated hotspots.
College campuses have been known to hold everything from smaller and more rustic bars to high-end and fancy ones, as well as everything in between. This list will feature one from each: small, medium and large bars that also offer good food.
Mama’s Pasta & Brew
For those looking for a more home-cooked, hole-in-the-wall type of place, Mama’s Pasta & Brew serves up homestyle and authentic Italian cuisine. Mama’s offers up options such as subs, pizza and pasta. The bar, located in an alley at 23 Campus Place, was founded in 1977. But the building was home to other local favorites since the 1940s.
Gene Szaronas, an OSU graduate, took over the property and gave it the name it still holds today in 1977, according to the bar’s website. The menu he helped create features many popular Italian dishes including homemade spaghetti and meatballs, more than 10 hot and cold subs, and the regulars’ favorite, lasagna.
Terry Fahy, the current owner of Mama’s, says that it is one of campus’s hidden gems. Fahy said that people feel right at home when they visit and that’s why it’s a favorite among its many regulars. Fahy said that Mama’s is a place where guests make friends for life. He also said that customers get what they pay for while eating there.
“My favorite is the lasagna dinner or the Italian sub … the lasagna is a really good value for students, it gets a salad and bread,” he said. “The Italian sub is probably one of the best subs in the city.”
Eddie George’s Grille
While college students might tend to favor the smaller and older bars, those going out for a nice and more formal night can be found at Eddie George’s Grille, owned by the former OSU running back..
Opened in 2006, the bar and restaurant has been a hotspot for those looking to enjoy a good drink, good meal and good game.
The menu features everything from burgers, seafood, pork chops and even a prime steak. It also holds appetizers, smaller plates and desserts.
Matt Zerebniak, the restaurant supervisor, said that the reason the menu is great is because it is chef-driven and took time developing in order to fit the market.
When asked what was his favorite, though, Zerebniak went with a bar favorite, nachos — towering nachos with chili, queso, lettuce, olives, pico de gallo, sour cream and jalapeños to be exact.
“It’s always filling, it’s always fun … people get amazed and gasp at it,” he said.
Zerebniak mentioned that those who stop in have a good chance at spotting popular OSU athletes — including the man himself, Eddie George.
Ethyl & Tank
While the small bars and big-name spots can be very attractive, the middleman is sometimes the place to be. To those who prefer a good bar with great food that doesn’t sit in the middle of an alley or cost a shiny penny, Ethyl & Tank could be the place you are looking for.
The bar, which sits behind the popular Midway on High, has a full kitchen, a cafe serving coffee and bistro items and a happy hour popular among OSU students. Assistant manager Ralph Cantore said the bar’s staff is focused on not just making their food look and taste good, but also making it different than others.
“We like to think of our food more as art… we serve a lot of things that not a lot of other places in Columbus have on their menu,” Cantore said.
The menu showcases quality appetizers, various selections of tacos and burgers, even chicken and waffles. One of the favorite items, according to Cantore, is the nachos as well. While nachos might be considered a typical bar food to some, these places are serving it better than others, making bar food more than just bar food.
Food is a necessary thing to remember when spending a night drinking. While a tasty drink can make a good night, a tasty meal can turn it into a great one.