14 Columbus Restaurants Where You Can Step Back in Time… Way Back

When it comes to nostalgia, everyone likes to think about what we can no longer have.

But there are many restaurants in Columbus that families have been going to for years that are still open. Most people have stories like this (you’re probably nodding in recognition by now), the ones about the restaurant where their crazy family used to get together for special occasions.

Fortunately, some of these places are still open. So take a trip down memory lane and then get out and relive the past in one of these places. Let the nostalgia wash over you, take your brothers and sisters with you and remember all the wonderful times you spent together as children!

Cafe Thurman, 81

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What: Thurman’s is a family restaurant in the German Village. Of course, he is known for his legendary The Thurminator burger. Thurman’s Restaurant has been voted one of the best burgers in the country.
When: Opened in 1942
Where: 183 Thurman Avenue, Columbus, OH 43206
Web site: Cafe Thurman

Ringside cafe, 126 years old

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What: Ringside is the oldest restaurant in downtown Columbus. Serving the community for over 120 years, Ringside has perfected so many things, especially their burgers.
When: Opened in 1897
Where: 19 Pearl Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Web site: Cafe Ringside,

Schmidt, 56 years old

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What: What started as a meatpacking plant in the German Village has grown into one of the city’s most iconic restaurants. Schmidt’s may have made sausages in the 1880s, but their first venture into restaurants was in 1914 when they opened a concession at the Ohio State Fair. Although the German village did not open its doors until decades later, Schmidt, in one form or another, has been part of Columbus for more than a century.
When: Opened in 1967
Where: 240 E Kossuth St, Columbus, OH 43206
Web site: Schmidt

Ding Ho, 67 years old

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What: This Cantonese restaurant has been serving families on the west side of Columbus for decades. Generations of families, including many of my friends who grew up on the west side, have been visiting Ding Ho.
When: Opened in 1956
Where: 120 Phillipi Rd, Columbus, OH 43228
Web site: Ding Ho

Johnny’s Tavern, 75

What:I don’t really understand how this city managed to keep something as amazing as Johnny’s Tavern under wraps for over seven decades, but it remains one of the city’s most underrated dive sites. They are famous for their burgers and you can’t say I didn’t warn you they are big. And very tasty.
When: Opened in 1948
Where: 3503 Trabue Rd, Columbus, OH 43204
Web site: Johnny Tavern

York Steakhouse, 48

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What:York Steakhouse was a mega chain in suburban America in the 1970s–1980s. The last remaining location is on West Broad Street and it really is a portal to the past.
When: Opened in 1974
Where: 4220 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43228
Web site: a href=” Steakhouse

Tommy’s Pizza, 71 years old

What:Tommy’s Pizza has been serving authentic delicious pizza since the 1950s. Owner Thomas Iacono grew up in New York City in a first-generation Italian family and was inspired to open his own pizzeria and restaurant when he moved to Columbus.
When: Opened in 1952
Where: 1350 W Lane Ave, Columbus, OH 43221
Web site: Tommy Pizza,

Chef-O-Nette, 67

What: Chef-O-Nette has been popular in Upper Arlington for years. The Chef-O-Nette restaurant offers an all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and is known for its friendly service and delicious food. They also had one of the first drive-thru windows in the country that is still open if you order takeaway!
When: Opened in 1955
Where: 2090 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington, OH 43221
Web site: Chief-O-Nette

Top, 68 years old

What: This mid-century throwback is truly one of a kind. The summit, opened by the owners of the legendary Kahika, will make you feel the extremely realistic atmosphere of the Madmen. In fact, The Top is so authentically old school that the same pianist Sonia Modes has been playing on it since 1965.
When: Opened in 1955
Where: 2891 E Main St, Columbus, OH 43209
Web site: Vertex

Restaurant Refectory, 41 years old

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What: The Refectory has been an iconic Columbus restaurant for years and, let’s be honest, probably the trendiest place we can grab a bite to eat. This old church has been turned into an award-winning French restaurant that has seen many special events over the years.
When: Opened in 1981
Where: 1092 Bethel Rd, Columbus, OH 43220
Web site: Restaurant Refectory,

Dan’s ride, 72

What: The oldest diner in Columbus is still in operation. Times may have changed, but Dan Drive-In is gone. The food is still great, the prices are affordable and the décor is top notch. Unbutton your poodle skirt and saddle shoes because it’s time to go back to the 1950s.
When: Opened in 1951
Where: 1881 S High St, Columbus, OH 43207
Web site: Dan Drive-in,

Diner Tommy, 34

What: Tommy’s Diner is the place to be in this city, and not just for Instagram moments. There is something about stopping at Tommy’s for breakfast that is a bit like coming home and so we hope they will always be open.
When: Opened in 1989
Where: 914 West Broad St, Columbus, OH 43222
Web site: diner Tommy,

TAT Ristorante di Famiglia, 95 years old

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What: For nearly a century now, TAT Ristorante has been serving Colombians with authentic Italian cuisine. We even have to thank TAT for delivering pizza to Columbus. This is the kind of place your family can enjoy for generations.
When: Opened in 1929
Where: 1210 S James Rd, Columbus, OH 43227
Web site: Tat Ristorante di Famiglia,

Windward Passage, 50 years

What: Craving old school seafood and maybe cottage cheese? The 1970s are alive and well at Windward Passage. This restaurant with a long history has a nautical theme and a very fun atmosphere.
When: Opened in 1971
Where: 4739 Reed Road, Columbus, Ohio 43220
Web site: windward passage,

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