2018 has been quite the year for Top Spots. We’ve ranked your favorite taco joints, record stores, french fries, bakeries and more.
This week, we’re starting to take a look back at your favorite spots in central Ohio. Here’s everything you voted, from best spaghetti to best brewery, during the first half of 2018.
Any list of best restaurants for spaghetti would be remiss if they didn’t mention Spaghetti Warehouse. This Italian-American food chain has been serving up amazing dishes since 1971, and it certainly lives up to its name. The noodles and sauce – like the entire menu – are made from scratch, and their hand-rolled meatballs are amazing
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Winner: Just Pies
Like the name says, Just Pies is a central Ohio-born family bakery that focuses strictly on – you guessed it – pies. With locations in the Worthington-Clintonville area, Westerville and Gahanna, you’re never far from the best pies in the Columbus area. The bakery features more than 30 pies on their menu, including four no-sugar-added pies. Viewers rave about the banana cream pie and the peanut butter silk pie.
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Best Hot Chocolate
This hidden gem nestled in downtown Columbus takes the cake for the best hot chocolate in the city, according to NBC4 viewers. Their hot chocolate is made from real, hand-whipped melted chocolate and steamed milk. The café offers five different varieties: Chocolat au Lait (milk chocolate), Chocolat Noir (dark chocolate), Chocolate Blanc (white chocolate), Choco Nutella (your choice of chocolate blended with Nutella) and Choco Peanut Butter (your choice of chocolate blended with peanut butter).
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Block’s has been serving up traditional New York-style bagels for central Ohio since 1967. The shop boasts the best bagels this side of Brooklyn and has Kosher certification by the Vaad Hoir of Columbus. With 25 varieties of bagels and 11 flavors of cream cheese, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your taste. Block’s has two locations in the Columbus area: one just east of Interstate 270 off Main Street in the McNaughten Center and one at 3012 E. Broad St. Block’s also offers nationwide delivery.
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Best Fish Fry
Winner: Marino’s Seafood Fish & Chips
Located at 1216 W. Fifth Ave., Marino’s is famous in central Ohio for their award-winning fish and chips. You can get a 2-piece fish and chips combo, served with two hush puppies for just $6.80.
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Best Bowling Alleys
Winner: Holiday Lanes
Holiday Lanes has been serving the eastside since 1959. This family owned establishment hosts the most sanctioned leagues in the Greater Columbus Bowling Congress, but don’t let that intimidate you if you’re just a recreational bowler. It’s a great place to take the entire family or a group of friends and features an arcade, snack bar and full service bar. Games start at $5 per game per adult with $2.50 for shoe rental per person.
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Winner: Akai Hanna Japanese Restaurant
Akai Hana is the overwhelming favorite among NBC4 viewers when it comes to sushi. The restaurant has been in business since 1986 and is definitely the place to go if you’re looking for fresh, authentic Japanese cuisine. They import fish directly from Japan and the lunch and dinner boxes are served with several traditional sides. They offer both classic sushi and sashimi and more Americanized rolls.
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Winner: The Top Steak House
The Top has been a Columbus fine-dining institution since it opened its doors in 1955. The supper club-style restaurant features a classic steakhouse menu, seasonal specials made from local ingredients, live music every night and an interior that will take you straight back to the mid-50s. Chef and co-owner Denver Adkins says one of the best-selling steaks isn’t actually on the menu: a 24-ounce USDA Prime bone-in rib-eye that’s dry-aged for 35 days. Other favorites include the 20-ounce dry-aged USDA Kansas City strip steak and the bone-in rib-eye.
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Best Irish Pub
Winner: Hey Hey Bar & Grill
If you’re looking for an Irish-American bar that doesn’t lure patrons in with cliche, chain-restaurant gimmicks, Hey Hey Bar & Grill is the place for you. A favorite among NBC4 viewers, this dive bar was once a speakeasy during Prohibition. Customers rave about the service, pricing and beer selection.
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Winner: SuperChef’s Breakfast & More
SuperChef’s is the brainchild of two Columbus natives. The pair opened the first SuperChef’s in Louisville, Kentucky in 2012, and came back to Central Ohio to open up not one, but two locations: one in downtown Columbus and one in Gahanna. SuperChef’s strives to bring intense flavors, vibrant palettes and creative presentations to your plate and put excitement back into breakfast. Viewers love the Wings & Waffles: five naked wings on top of a waffle drizzled with maple syrup and powdered sugar.
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Best French Fries
Winner: Freddy’s Street Food
When it comes to french fries, Mediterranean street food restaurant Freddy’s takes the top prize with NBC4 viewers. The fries are hand-cut fresh and fried to perfection. The restaurant will even refund your money if you’re not satisfied with your fries. For a perfect meal, order a gyro with a side of fries. You — and your wallet — won’t be disappointed.
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Best Hiking Trails
Conkle’s Hollow is considered one of the deepest gorges in Ohio. The Lower Trail is about a mile long and has some amazing scenery, including enormous hemlocks, rock formations and cliffs and a gorgeous stream. If you’re looking for a challenge, try the Upper Trail: It’s 2.5 miles long and offers spectacular views as you hike around the gorge’s rim.
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Best Grilled Cheese
Winner: Melt Bar and Grilled
Ohio-based Melt Bar and Grilled is the big cheese when it comes to grilled cheese. Chef Matt Fish describes the menu offerings as comfort food, all dressed up,” and that’s exactly what you get. They offer six different gourmet takes on the grilled cheese sandwich, ranging from the simple Kindergarten (freshly baked bread with your choice of cheese), to the elaborate Cowabunga TMNT (deep-fried real cheese pizza rolls, rich basil marinara, basil pesto, herb cream cheese, and provolone and Romano cheeses).
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Best Record Store
Winner: Spoonful Records
Spoonful Records is the top dog for record stores among NBC4 viewers. The selection, pricing and customer service are three standout points for fans. Spoonful has even received the honor of “Best Record Store in Ohio” from Vinyl Me, Please, a record of the month club.
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Best Greenhouse/Garden Center
Winner: Strader’s Garden Centers
Strader’s Garden Centers got its start more than 60 years ago at the King Avenue location. Now, they have six retail locations and two wholesale divisions throughout central Ohio. Their greenhouse offers thousands of annuals and perennials, as well as a large selection of organic and non-organic garden and lawn care products.
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It’s no surprise Los Guachos took the number one spot for NBC4 viewers. Their signature Taco Al Pastor (two corn tortillas topped with pork, sliced pineapple, onions and cilantro) has been recognized nationally by the Food Network and Rachael Ray Every Day magazine. Plus, one order will only set you back $2 (but trust us, you’ll be coming back for more!).
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Winner: Combustion Brewery & Taproom
Combustion Brewery & Taproom has built a dedicated following here in the Columbus area. The employees make every effort to make sure you’re enjoying your beer and are willing to provide samples if you don’t know where to start. They usually have about 20 beers on tap and have a ton of great events lined up for Columbus Craft Beer Week Be sure to check out their schedule here.
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