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Oct 8, 2011 06:23 PM

Best Food Markets in Columbus?

I recently moved to Dublin, OH (a suburb of Columbus, OH) from Ann Arbor, MI. I need help finding a decent grocery store. In Ann Arbor I was used to finding great produce at The Produce Station or Fresh Seasons, meat at Knight's or Sparrow Market and not having problems finding ingredients at grocery stores such as Hiller's ( a chain based in Michigan.)
However, Dublin seems to be the land of Kroger and Giant Eagle, and their selection leaves so much to be desired. For example, I needed dutched cocoa for a cake, and I could not find any except one choice (and not a good one) at Whole Foods.
Where is there a market that has a wide range of products? Or doesn't this exist in Columbus?

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  1. Well, there are the "big box" options... whole Foods on Lane Ave. As well as another one up on Sawmill. Trader Joes is another option for the normal stuff, there is one on Sawmill and one at Easton. For a more local focus, there is the North Market downtown, however, it can be hit and miss on what they. There are a lot of smaller markets where you might be able to find a bit more selction including Weilands, the Hills Market and Andersons. Also, it requires a bit more due diligence, but we have a large immigrant population here, so if you take the time to search them out, there are a lot of ethnic markets scattered around the City.

    Hope this helps!

    North Market
    59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215

    2 Replies
    1. re: dreamers50

      Yes, by all means hit up North Market downtown, although don't go there for something as specific as dutch cocoa. (One or two vendors might have it, but I wouldn't hold my breath.) Your best bet would probably be Andersons General Store, as dreamers50 mentioned. There is one located at Bethel and Sawmill.

      If you haven't been there before, don't be alarmed by their "general store" name and branding; although you can find fertilizer and plumbing parts, you will also find an amazing deli, huge beer and wine selection, an amazing meat counter, fresh produce, and a huge assortment of hard-to-find grocery items. It's not going to be a single spot for everything you need, but it will be a place close enough to find a lot of the things you're looking for in much better quality than Giant Eagle or Kroger.

      1. re: Ditdah

        Thanks - especially for the information on North Market and Andersons. I have been a long time subscriber to magazines such as Cook's Illustrated, and I usually had no problem finding the ingredients in the stores/markets in Ann Arbor. Since the move to Dublin it has been a different story. I have managed to find a few things at Whole Foods, but even there the selection is so much less than the one in Ann Arbor. I realize that Ann Arbor is much smaller than Columbus and so certain customer segments can really drive the product choices there, but who would have thought the food selection in the grocery stores would be so much better? I guess that is what happens when the local stores are driven out of business. I mean, Ann Arbor has Krogers, but they also have Busch's (an Ann Arbor based small grocery chain) and Hiller's (a Detroit area based chain) plus Zingerman's really created a whole new awareness of food in the Ann Arbor area. Shopping at Busch's or Hiller's was always a bit more expensive than Kroger's, but the selection was so much better. Well, no use in crying over what is out-of-reach. I'm sure that eventually I'll find sources for the things I need.

        North Market
        59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215

    2. As a person who lived in Ann Arbor for several years before moving to the Detroit suburbs, I feel your pain. However, my parents live in the Columbus area (Gahanna) and I was amazed by the Giant Eagle Market District store. Very Ann-Arborish. This is more of an upscale/foodie/gourmet market rather than the run of the mill Giant Eagle/Kroger/etc stores. They have an amazing cheese department (website says 400 varieties, and I believe it), bakery, produce, great wine selections, delicious made-to-order food court and prepared foods, and I've heard their meat department is great too (I'm a vegetarian). What sets them apart is their selection and customer service. If you're perusing their cheeses, an employee will come up and ask you if you'd like them to open a cheese for you to sample. If they don't have particular item you're looking for, mention it to an employee and they'll order it for you. I am sure they would have your cocoa, and if they didn't, they would get it in for you. Also, it doesn't hurt that they are open 24 hours. I only wish we had one in my area!

      Market District® Kingsdale
      3061 Kingsdale Center
      Columbus, OH 43221

      2 Replies
      1. re: kyoules

        Thanks! I will give them a try this weekend. It is good to hear from someone who knows what I'm missing!

        1. re: rose1138

          Since you mentioned trying them this weekend, do you like lobster? My brother just posted this on facebook:

          They are selling live or cooked 1.25 lb. Maine lobsters for $10 each on Saturday. You can reserve one with the link I posted.

      2. As a person who grew up in a Detroit suburb, lived in Ann Arbor, and now lives in Dublin, I can tell you that part of your problem is Dublin. Don't judge Columbus harshly for Dublin! It's like comparing all of the richness of Detroit and Ann Arbor to Novi.

        If you go to the North Market on Saturday morning or the Worthington Farmers market, you will find a passionate, vibrant local food community. We have a variety of local cheeses, beef, chicken, lamb, as well as a wide variety of vegetables, good beer, fruit, etc. Neither is a place people go for supplies, though.

        A good specialty market near you is called The Hills in Worthington. It is on 315 north of 270. I have heard there is a good butcher on the east side -- i can't remember the name, maybe someone else will mention it. There is a good little food co-op in Clintonville -- I haven't been there in years, but I always felt it had more of an Ann Arbor feel to it.

        Columbus, Worthington, Clintonville..these are the places where you will find good markets. Good luck and enjoy the bike paths, community center, parks, and Irish festival -- that's what makes Dublin nice!

        North Market
        59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215

        1 Reply
        1. Yeah, A2 has great markets. We love the farmer's market in town.
          Check out the Japanese market in Kenny Center on Kenny Rd and Henderson Ave. the restaurant, Akai Hana, is great, as are the separate market and seperate sundries stores. CAM (Columbus Asian Market) off Bethel Road is THE place for Asian ingredients. Fresh Market on Henderson, further down from Kenny Center is an especially good specialty market (the one in Miami was the market Top Chef Miami used). For Mexican/Latin cuisine try local chain of markets La Michoacana. There are several. Katzinger's in German Village is our Zingerman's. And I concur with recommendations for The Hills Market, up where 315 turns into a road way north, the Anderson's, and Weiland's on Indianola, just south of Cooke Rd.

          Oh, and Carfagna's Italian market on 161 just east of I-70 N has a very good butcher, wines, and prepared foods and breads, on top of many imported Italian staples. And their pasta sauce is worth shipping to out of towners it is so good.

          Rife's Market in Grandview is small and quite old, so the recommendation is really for the butcher and their pie. They are one of the few butchers to carry Prime beef to the public.

          Finally, there are numerous farmers markets and the North Market near downtown.

          Columbus is bigger, so our gems are more scattered, but we have a lot of good finds.

          North Market
          59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215

          Akai Hana
          1173 Kenny Centre Mall, Columbus, OH 43220

          1405 E Dublin Granville Rd, Columbus, OH 43229