I never considered myself a “foodie” until I moved to Columbus (about 4 years ago), but now I thoroughly enjoy going to local restaurants, watching Top Chef to watch up and coming chefs compete, and even reading some of my dad’s Wine Spectator magazines. In my search for the new “unique” groceries and restaurants I found myself at North Market (located technically in the Short North) right across from many of the Arena District bars.
From the outside, it looks like an old industrial warehouse. The brick and huge sign posted in front look like they’ve been around for at least 100 years and when I went last week it looked really quiet. However, inside is a different story. Everywhere you turn there is a different vendor. It is set up so that each vendor has an open space where they have a counter and you can see their products. There is a vendor that has bubble tea, smoothies, and loose tea for sale. In fact, I found tea there that I can never find anywhere else. The other great thing about North Market is that vendors who also have stores in Short North are in North Market. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream has a space at North Market and in Short North. Nida’s has fresh sushi (made as you like upon request) and she also has her restaurant in Short North.
There are two unique vendors there that include one that sells just spices and one that has all organic, natural groceries. Having been to Europe, it reminds me of some of the little grocery shops that line the main streets in many European cities. There are also freezers and refrigerators full of food imported from outside the U.S.
The market also has events from time to time, such as cooking classes, chef series with local chefs, and there is an upcoming holiday open house (check their website for details). And, all of the vendors seem to be active participants in the city of Columbus.
But enough about the food, one of the things that makes North Market great is the fact that you feel as though you are shopping in a little community. As you enter, there is a huge board hanging from the ceiling with information about each of the vendors (what spaces they own, their philosophy on the food they sell, and their history). At North Market, you know exactly who your money is going to when you take a few minutes to read about the vendors.
When to Go: Believe it or not, the end of the work day is the time that I’ve found is best (during the week, of course).
Where to Stop: I LOVE Bubbles, the Tea & Juice Company. They have great smoothies (which you can add bubbles too if you like) and so much loose tea, it’s a little overwhelming. I also LOVE Curds & Whey (they carry an Ohio/Lake Erie goat cheese that is out of this world).