Step Back In Time: The Oldest Bars and Restaurants in Central Ohio

Eat & Drink, Food & Drink Guides

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Written by Step Out Columbus

Published on June 12, 2024
Photo courtesy of Schmidt’s Sausage Haus on Facebook

If you’ve lived here long enough, you’ve probably heard on countless occasions that Columbus is “a young and growing city.”

But just because we’re young and growing doesn’t mean that we don’t have historic spots sprinkled throughout Columbus, its suburbs, and Central Ohio in general.

A lot of these places are famous enough that you’ve probably heard of them, but many are also what we would like to call hidden gems (though how hidden could they actually be if they’ve been around for nearly a century, sometimes even two centuries)!

So, if you’re looking step back and experience what life was like in Central Ohio centuries ago, these spots are for you.

Ye Olde Trail Tavern | Opened 1827

228 Xenia Ave, Yellow Springs, OH 45387

Starting as the only building in Yellow Springs on Route 68 at the time of its inaugural year, Ye Olde Trail Tavern has seen nearly two centuries of change around her walls. Heck, even the town of Yellow Springs wasn’t registered until nearly two decades after the Tavern was opened. Here you can enjoy local craft, imported, or domestic beers and wines, as well as a list of specialty cocktails. Some even say it’s haunted, so if you’ve been having trouble making human friends, maybe the spiritual realm will give you better luck!

Photo courtesy of Ye Olde Trail Tavern on Facebook

Schmidt’s | Opened 1886

240 E Kossuth St, Columbus, OH 43206

One of the most famous restaurants in all of Columbus, Schmidt’s history goes back father than most Central Ohioans think. Schmidt’s first started as a meat processing and packaging business that eventually turned into a concession stand at the Ohio State Fair in 1914, and then a full-service restaurant in 1967. Since then, both the concession stand and restaurant became some of the most consistently popular eateries in Central Ohio. If you haven’t experienced Schmidt’s yet, it’s about time you change that.

Photo courtesy of Sandy Schmidt-Karram via Schmidt’s Sausage Haus on Facebook

Ringside Café | Opened 1897

19 N Pearl St, Columbus, OH 43215

You don’t become a downtown Columbus institution by offering a bland atmosphere with bland food and bland drinks. That said, you just know that when you walk into Ringside Café, you’re in for a memorable experience. This cozy space has stained glass windows, authentic artwork and paintings, and a vibe that will leave you craving a burger and a brew. Luckily, they have one of the best burgers in the city, and each comes with house-made Kettle Chips and a pickle.

Photo courtesy of Ringside Cafe on Facebook

The Buxton Inn | Opened 1812

313 E Broadway, Granville, OH 43023

The oldest spot on our list, this historic inn opened its doors in 1812 and they have been open ever since. Initially known as “The Tavern,” the Buxton Inn had a ballroom, stagecoach court, and a dining room, which is everything one could’ve asked for back in the early 19th century. This spot is renowned for serving as a watering hole for numerous U.S. Presidents, including William Henry Harrison, who was a close friend of founder Orrin Granger. This is the ultimate spot if you’re looking for the closest thing to time travel.

Photo courtesy of The Buxton Inn on Facebook

Bun’s Restaurant | Opened 1864

14 W Winter St, Delaware, OH 43015

This Delaware institution is prepared to celebrate their 160th anniversary this year, and we couldn’t think of a better time to highlight such a time-tested spot. Featuring a rustic wooden and brick interior, Bun’s firmly believes in taking time to appreciate the small things in life like a great meal and delicious drinks with friends and family. After all, their slogan is reminder how fleeting life is (and is also a precursor to YOLO), “We Live But Once.” Cherish every moment just as all of Bun’s patrons have done over the past 160 years.

Photo courtesy of Bun’s Restaurant on Facebook

Resch’s Bakery | Opened 1912

4061 E Livingston Ave, Columbus, OH 43227

Family owned for over a century, Resch’s is the go-to spot for the special occasion cake, baked goods, or just a delicious donut to start your day. Personally, Resch’s is firmly planted in my top 2 favorite donut spots of all time (and here’s a hint: it’s not number 2…)! Resch’s is truly a family affair. Even if it’s your first time visiting, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the Resch family. Their kindness combined with the cozy smells and delicious baked goods is sure to remind you of home.

Photo courtesy of Armin Fernando on Google Reviews

The Old Mohawk | Opened 1933

819 Mohawk St, Columbus, OH 43206

Casual, cozy, and quaint, The Old Mohawk is another German Village institution that has survived the test of time and then some. Featuring an eclectic interior and delicious bites, as soon as you walk in the door, it’s quickly evident why this spot has been around for so long. The brick walls, subtle lighting, and old-fashioned interior design is all it takes for you to buy in. And if that doesn’t seal the deal (which it will), the food will certainly convert you.

Photo courtesy of The Old Mohawk on Facebook

Plank’s Cafe & Pizzeria | Opened 1939

743 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH 43206

Rising out of the Prohibition Era, Plank’s has been family owned ever since its opening nearly 9 decades ago, and much like you can tell how old a tree is by counting its rings, a trip to Plank’s is like experiencing every single year since 1939. There are photographs of Ohio legends of yore and yesterday and so much memorabilia on the walls that you’ll be amazed they’ve even found enough room for it all. Plus, pizza doesn’t get more “Classic Columbus” than at Plank’s.

Photo courtesy of Bob Roehm on Google Reviews

TAT Ristorante di Famiglia | Opened 1929

1210 S James Rd, Columbus, OH 43227

It’s not often that you see a business that opened the same year as Black Tuesday and, therefore, the first year of the Great Depression, still kicking and successful. That’s a true testament to TAT’s commitment to serving authentic Italian cuisine all these years. They even claim to have brought the first pizza to Columbus, so this spot is truly a historic landmark!

Photo courtesy of TAT Ristorante di Famiglia on Facebook

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