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Columbus-based restaurants that shaped the city’s culture

Local business comes in many different sizes in Columbus, Ohio, and these are some of the businesses that set the standard for Columbus culture.


This Ritzy’s location in Clintonville offers a vegetarian-friendly burger as well. | Photo via Google Maps

Local business comes in many different sizes in Columbus. While some are Fortune 500 companies that have expanded their reach, others are family-owned establishments with deep roots. So, today we are sizing up our landscape to show our city is full of power houses.

Flipping burgers

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Do you remember when Wendy’s had solariums? | Photo via Wiki Commons

Fast food restaurants have to start somewhere, and Columbus is home to one of the most popular burger chains in America in Wendy’s. The operation started here in 1969, and has since expanded to 51 states and 2,600+ cities.

On the other hand, those who have been in the city since 1981 knows there’s no other spot in CBUS for hamburgers like Ritzy’s (formerly known as “G.D. Ritzy’s.) It’s gone the way of the dodo in nearly all other states, but the location in Clintonville is thriving with smash patties, shoe string fries, and milkshakes.

Grabbing a pizza slice

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Massey’s is credited as one of the first Columbus-style pizza spots in CBUS. | Photo by @masseyspizza

Let’s not forget Columbus has its own standard for slices. And no other chain represents this better than Donatos, the CBUS-born shop that now has 460+ locations in 29 states. It started in 1963, and the original downtown shop is still one of the most busiest locations across the country.

Conversely, CBUS style pizza can be found all throughout the city at popular shops like Rubino’s, Tommy’s Pizza, and Massey’s Pizza. Each of these are historic in their own right, with Rubino’s opening in 1954; Tommy’s in 1952; and Massey’s in 1949.

Scooping ice cream

Jeni Britton stays highly involved in her business traveling to the different Jeni's locations. | Photo via @jenisicecreams

Jeni Britton stays highly involved in her business traveling to the different Jeni’s locations. | Photo via @jenisicecreams

The queen of ice cream hails from Columbus, and her name is Jeni Britton Bauer, owner of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. This artisan creamery flashed onto the scene in 2002, and has since exploded in popularity with 80 scoop shops around the country.

Others, like Johnson’s Ice Cream, started in Bexley in 1950. This family-owned operation is still in business today with multiple locations around Columbus, offering real hard ice cream.