On-Campus Dining Options
Located less than one block away from the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, on the corner of 10th Street and 1st Avenue, is one of Columbus State's refreshing dining halls, the Rankin Den. Meals and refreshments may be found here throughout the 2016 Conference without need of a dining plan. A rate of $6.00 for breakfast, $6.50 for lunch, and $7.00 for dinner will be honored for all conference guests. Hours for The Den are: Breakfast 7:00 - 9:00am Lunch 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, Dinner 5:00 - 7:00 pm. For more information and example menus, please click here.
Also located a block from the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is Columbus State's P.O.D. Market on Broadway, a full service convenience store. Get any snacks, cleaning and beauty products here along with enjoying delicious fresh Grab N' Go sandwiches and salads! Fresh produce is available as well as a F'real Milkshake machine and Jamba Juice! For more information, please click here.
Off-Campus Dining Options
Within the blocks surrounding the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is a bustling uptown area thriving with delicious restaurants and eateries. For a full list of nearby dining options, please visit the Uptown Columbus site.
Columbus Dining Host Picks!
Check out the IDRS 2016 hosts' favorite restaurants in downtown Columbus!
The Balarezo Top 5(ish):
1. Probably one of the most southern experiences you will get at IDRS 2016 is the down home southern cuisine at Minnie's Uptown Restaurant. A 5 minute walk from the RiverCenter, Minnie's environment and the flavor exudes southern hospitality! Besides their flagship fried chicken, I really like the sides options which provide a whole different experience from restaurants alike. Be aware that they only open from 10:30 am until 2:30 pm and they are closed on Saturday, therefore is a good place to have a good lunch. Their address is 104 8th St, Columbus, GA 31901.
2. If your taste buds are feeling adventurous, one place to visit is El Flamboyan. Brand new to Columbus, they have brought new culinary experiences from Hispanic America. Their speciality is Puerto Rican food and the best dish to try is their famous "Mofongo" (ask for it with any kind of pronunciation, you will be understood, trust me). You also will want to try their "Alcapurrias" which is not on the menu but they are delicious. For a nice drink, they have got the best mojitos in town.
3. For those who love BBQ, the best place I have found after much searching is Chester's Barbeque. A 3 minute drive from the RiverCenter, this hole-in-the-wall, as many good hidden food places around the world are, will surprise you with the high quality of their final product. I personally love the ribs, but they also have a chicken variation and a small selection of desserts where the Buttermilk Pie is the best. If you like BBQ and want to try something really good, this is the place for you.
4. 11th and Bay is the highest quality restaurant on my personal list. Great service, local organic ingredients and a skilled and creative chef will provide you with another well-rounded southern hospitality culinary experience overall. Their "Shrimp n' Grits n' Belly n' Bits" is their version of an all-timer southern flagship creation and it is stunning. You can also try a nice Peruvian decaf coffee after a yummy lunch to get ready to get back to IDRS 2016 activities. You won't go wrong trying any item on their menu.
The Tomkiewicz Top 5:
1. A vegetarian for over 20 years, Sue loves Chili Thai . They serves delicious Thai food in a warm and inviting atmosphere. They also have a great selection of beer and wine. Her favorite menu items are the Massaman Curry, the Drunken Noodles or the Pineapple Fried Rice with Tofu!
2. Ride On Smoothie & Juice Bar. They have an awesome selection of delicious and nutritious freshly made smoothies and juices. Sue's favorites are the MACArena and Almond Joy smoothies and the Inspiration juice. They also have a few sandwiches on the menu.
3. Mabella's is a delicious Italian Steak-house. Yes, I know, I am a vegetarian! They have a wonderful mixed kale and arugula salad. They will do their wild mushroom ravioli without the petite fillet (they are delicious!) and will make a special pasta and seasonal veggie dish upon request. A very fine wine, beer and craft cocktail selection, as well!
4. For a quick lunch or dinner, Barberitos or Your Pie have some good options. I love the burrito bowl with tofu at Barberitos and The Hippie is my absolute favorite at Your Pie (with tofu, of course!).
5. Uptown Vietnamese Cuisine. I like the Tofu Lemongrass Vermicelli Bowl plus they can prepare many of their dishes without fish sauce!
Tomkiewicz Bonus Pick! Nonic is a new Bar & Kitchen in downtown Columbus! Owned by the same guys that own Maltitude (and if you're a beer fan, you're going to want to visit both of these places!), they offer 30 different craft beers along with some super special craft cocktails. They have a small but interesting menu, not a whole lot for the vegetarians, but my flight of beer kept me full!
The Urbanski Top 5:
1. The Canon is a staple eatery in downtown Columbus. I love all of their home brews but even better, their home brewed Root Beer! You can't go wrong selecting from their menu... everything is so good. Salads, sandwiches, pasta, you name it!
2. If you are looking for artistic sushi displays and delicious japanese cuisine, Samurai is your place. My favorite dishes are the chicken & steak hibachi and for sushi, the super crunch roll. They also have some excellent lunch specials!
3. Want a hip, relaxed coffee house environment in a bright and unique location? Try out the Iron Bank Coffee Co. Located in the historic iron bank building in Uptown Columbus, this place has drinks and eats for individuals of all dining preferences. You can even dine inside an old vault! When you are there, might I suggest you try one of their homemade chocolate chip cookies. They make them with sea salt and it will change your life!
4. You may be thinking, "I could never get a philly cheesesteak in the South." And you would be wrong! PHILLY-osophy is a sweet place to hit up for lunch or dinner when craving a cheesesteak, a hot sandwich, or even one of their amazing loaded spuds. You can customize almost everything they have on their menu!
5. One of our regular go-to spots because of its convenient location and great food, Houlihan's across the street in the Downtown Marriott is a great place to enjoy. With a full service bar and beautiful outdoor dining patio, it's the perfect place to sit out and relax on a breezy night. I suggest the Chicken Asian Chop Chop salad or the Margherita Flatbread. Both are incredibly delicious! Click here for the site.
The Wirt Top 5(ish):
1. Meritage. An efficient lunch menu (paninis, salads) and a creative, eclectic dinner menu with a very knowledgeable sommelier. 1039 1st Avenue between 10th and 11th. Closed Mondays.
2. Country's on Broad. Located in the old Trailways bus depot, this is a downtown original. Daily specials, real milkshakes and malteds at the 50s-era lunch counter, and fresh barbecue that is smoked out back. And you can ask to be seated inside the bus! 1327 Broadway between 13th and 14th. Open every day until 10 p.m.
3. Downstairs at The Loft. The Loft has seating upstairs, downstairs, and outside. Upstairs often has live music, and IDRS will take over the Green Room upstairs on Tues. & Wed. nights for late-night jazz! Menu includes fish of the day, burgers, pasta, steaks and chops, some very good salads and flatbread pizzas. I've had the goat cheese burger, grilled chicken, and roast pork -- all terrific. 1032 Broadway between 10th and 1tth. Closed Mondays.
4. Wood Stone. This one is a 10-minute drive from downtown. Lunch buffet has a combination of Italian and Middle East items: stuffed grape leaves, a feta-garbanzo vegetable salad, hummus, pizza, a pasta dish, and (on my visit) a baked chicken-artichoke dish with basmati rice. Go north of Veterans Parkway to Whitesville Rd., turn left, and it is on your left at 5739 Whitesville Rd. Closed Mondays.
You can read all the restaurants I've reviewed at https://www.tripadvisor.com/members/rwirtga#CITY_TILES.