Has your favorite restaurant gone out of business? If it has, how would you feel if it came back?
Fans of G.D. Ritzy's – and there's quite a few of them in central Ohio, if one were to judge by the social-media response to Gary Seman Jr.'s story May 23 – know that feeling. The restaurant, once known for its burgers, shoestring fries, chili dogs and premium ice cream, has made an application with the city of Columbus to take over a former used-car lot at 4615 N. High St. in Clintonville.
Now that Ritzy's is on the comeback trail, ThisWeek staff members got to thinking: What central Ohio restaurants would we want to see resurrected?
Our list of staff favorites follows, but join the fun by letting us know your choices in the comments or on social media.
• Lee Cochran, managing editor – Oh, my goodness. There's only one choice: Ponderosa! (Editor's note: Yes, Lee is aware of the Ponderosa Steakhouse at 3875 S. High St. But a diminished presence still counts for this list. Plus, he's the boss.)
• More from Lee Cochran, managing editor – Ryan's and TCBY!
• Kevin Corvo, news reporter – When I attended Hilliard High School (Memorial Middle School today), I walked to Dexter's. It was on Main Street, immediately south of the Dairy Queen. It made mini hamburgers like White Castle (but without the holes in the patty) and had awesome shoestring french fries.
Runner-up: Damon's Grill. I have to mention it, too. I played trivia most Friday nights, watched the Indians lose in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the '97 World Series, and, oh yeah, met my wife there.
• Frank DiRenna, sports reporter – Sumeno's Italian Restaurant on Sawmill Road. Great Italian food.
• Thomas Gallick, news reporter – Still miss Fuddruckers. Great hamburgers and toppings, usually with a selection of halfway decent arcade games.
• Scott Hennen, sports reporter – Moore's Ice Cream was an old cement-block one-room building at the corner of Hall and Norton roads. It was a Columbus staple. On weekends, people would stand in line for more than an hour with the line way outside the building just to get a scoop of the homemade ice cream. The building was razed in the late 1990s or early 2000s to put up a strip building filled with a place for cheap cigarettes and a checking-cashing joint.
Also, the Jai Lai Cafe on Olentangy River Road. Woody Hayes had his own table on reserve there daily.
• Scott Hummel, assistant managing editor, digital – I miss Girves Brown Derby at Eastland and Northland. I tore up the endless salad bar as a kid and enjoyed the Mini Grog. I watched couples share a real Grog and couldn't believe they would drive anywhere afterward.
• Tim Krumlauf, community editor – I never really ate out much in the past 10 or 15 years, so I'll just say I really, REALLY, I mean REALLY REALLY miss Patrick J's.
• Marla Kuhlman, news reporter – Flakey Jakes that used to be on state Route 161 was a great burger bar. It had a suspended toy train that ran on a track around the dining area.
Chi-Chi's was a good one. Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor also is a great memory for me. It celebrated birthdays with drums and sirens.
• Dennis Laycock, community editor – These are all chains, but I really miss Schlotzsky's deli, Pei Wei Asian Diner and Damon's (and the room with four giant-screen TVs and volume control on the tables). As for local restaurants, there used to be a conveyor-belt sushi place downtown called Zen. That concept would work now well, I think. There was Bento Go-Go next to the Newport, Knead downtown. and the beautiful original Da Vinci's location.
But let's be honest: We're living in the best of times for the Columbus food scene.
• More from Dennis Laycock, community editor – Oh! I forgot Merlion in Clintonville – it was the only Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant in town, and I don't think any other ones have sprung up to replace it.
Also: Babushka's Kitchen in Clintonville and all the Tom and Chee locations.
• Kevin Parks, news reporter – I have especially fond memories of the old Boulevard Restaurant in the Columbus City Center mall.
• Lisa Proctor, community editor – I am so missing the Florentine that was on West Broad. I loved the fettuccine Alfredo, the spaghetti, the garlic bread. My family started going there when I was around 5 and it was just so nice because it wasn't a chain. It hasn't been closed as long as some, but it's the one I can say I miss.
• Dave Purpura, sports reporter – Damon's! Great food, sports and trivia.
• Andy Resnik, sports copy editor – There was a place in Powell called Mike's Ribs and BBQ that was absolutely outstanding. Terrific barbecue and potato salad that was so good it made your knees buckle. He closed his restaurant probably seven or eight years ago.
• Sarah Sole, news reporter – Betty's Fine Food & Spirits and Surly Girl Saloon. They both had great vegetarian options and unique atmospheres.
• Gary Stevens, page designer – Rax (Editor's note: Though Rax has restaurants in Circleville and Lancaster, this still counts for central Ohio.)
• Neil Thompson, assignment editor – I miss Graffiti Burger. Especially its milkshakes.
• Sandy Wallace, assistant managing editor, news – Going way back, the Brown Derby and the Wine Celler (I think both were on Morse Road). And the Kahiki – I'm not sure the food was 5-star, but the Kahiki heads outside the front door were far more interesting than the brick-block drugstore that replaced the restaurant.
• Pamela Willis, news reporter – OK, I just remembered Street Scene on the Ohio State University campus. Best subs I ever had ... or maybe I was just a starving student!
What central Ohio restaurant would you want to see resurrected?
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