Top Spots: 10 best locally owned coffee shops in central Ohio


Is there any better way to start the day than with a piping hot cup of your favorite coffee?

International Coffee Day is on Saturday, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a tasty cup ‘o Joe. Whether you’re a minimalist who takes their coffee black, a connoisseur who demands the bone-dry cappuccino with an extra espresso shot or just someone who likes a little coffee with your creamer, the Columbus area has plenty of locally owned shops that can give you exactly what you want.

Fresh Start Café & Bakery

Where: 24 N. Sandusky St., Delaware

Coming in at No. 1 among NBC4 viewers is Fresh Café & Bakery in Delaware. Fresh Start first opened its doors in 2016 and quickly became a local favorite. The coffee shop offers a wide selection of caffeinated (and caffeine-free) beverages, almond and soy milk, flavor shots and much more. Their entire food menu is made from scratch daily (you HAVE to try their famous cinnamon rolls). The shop also has a packed calendar, hosting events like Yoga + Java, a community art gallery, painting nights, an open mic reading series and even cake decorating workshops.


Where: 43 N. Sandusky St., Delaware

If you’re looking for a coffee shop that is as unique as your drink order, Coffeeology is the place for you. The shop packs a lot of bang into a small space: from delicious coffee (try the vanilla latte) to the comfy and unique seating arrangements to the knowledgeable and friendly staff, it has everything you could want in a place to sit and catch up with a friend over a cup of Joe. There’s always a certified master barista behind the counter and they serve central Ohio’s own One Line Coffee.

Third Way Café

Where: 3058 W. Broad St., Columbus

At just a little more than a year old, Third Way Café is changing the concept of coffee shops. It’s not just a café: It’s also a bookstore and a community center and a conference room. You pay just $2 per visit and can get unlimited coffee while you read, work, play a board game or just hang out. They also offer a $20 monthly pass with unlimited visits for the month and a $200 year pass with unlimited visits for the first year and all cover charges for special events are waived.

Crimson Cup **

Where: 4541 N. High St., Columbus

             2468 Northwest Blvd., Upper Arlington

With two locations in Clintonville and Upper Arlington, this local coffee chain has been serving up delicious brews since 1991. They travel the world to find the best coffee out there and bring it straight to you. Plus, their Friend2Farmer program allows small coffee farmers to earn more money than they could on the open market.

Highline Coffee Co.

Where: 691 N. High St., Worthington

If you’re looking for a coffee shop without all the thrills of one of those super-hipster places, look no further than Highline Coffee in Worthington. It’s a small shop with a smaller menu than some places, but what they do have is excellent. Try the mocha. It’s one of the best I’ve had in a while.

5 Bean Coffee **

Where: 2087 Baltimore-Reynoldsburg Road Ste. A, Reynoldsburg

Want all the convenience of a chain coffee shop (Wi-Fi, a drive through, TVs, patio) without the chain store? Stop by 5 Bean Coffee in Reynoldsburg! They have a huge drink selection and baked goods, plus they cater.

Ciao Café

Where: 2 N. Sandusky St., Delaware

If there’s any culture that does coffee best, it’s the Italians, and Delaware’s Ciao Café serves up authentic Italian coffee, gelato, paninis and more. If you’re looking to abandon Starbucks while you’re getting your espresso fix, this is the place to go to.

Coffee Connections*

Where: 4004 Main St., Hilliard

Located in Hilliard, Coffee Connections began with one goal: to connect people through a quality coffee experience. Since opening their doors in 2013, Coffee Connections has won customer after customer over with their amazing coffee and intimate atmosphere.

The Coffee Mess

Where: 4543 Scioto Darby Road, Hilliard

You can always tell when someone is passionate about their product, and coffee is no different. The owner of The Coffee Mess has been pouring his heart into every pour since he was 14 years old and has been working in the coffee industry for 18 years. The Coffee Mess is not only a great place to stop for your morning pick-me-up, but it’s also a roaster specializing in single-origin coffees. Their coffees are also sold at the Lil Donut Factory in Hilliard, which is one of Columbus’ best doughnut shops.



  • 1277 Grandview Ave., Columbus
  • 627 S. Third St., Columbus
  • 59 Spruce St., Columbus
  • 421 W. State St., Columbus
  • 350 Mt. Vernon Ave., Columbus

Stauf’s is a Columbus staple. The micro-roaster serves wholesale, retail and mail-order customers throughout the US. They start with the highest-quality Arabica beans from more than 20 countries across the world. The coffees are roasted by had to order, so they will always be at peak flavor and freshness. Stauf’s has three locations throughout the Columbus area: in Grandview, the North Market and German Village.


* – on the 2017 Top Spots list

** – on the 2016 and 2017 Top Spots lists

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