Actually, bricks are everywhere in German Village. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a building not made out of brick… It’s kind of the community’s “thing,” you could say.
I’ve been in and out of German Village since I was a child and can even remember when it wasn’t the best place to wonder around. Whether we lived 30 minutes away, 1.5 hours away, or 18 hours away, my family has always made time to visit when we’re in Columbus. The charm of this small community (and amazing food) just south of downtown Columbus has always delighted us. Now that I’m married, I like to share this with my husband – who did not grow up with German Village in his life. I know, so sad, so very sad…
Last week, we were in the great state of Ohio for a wedding, but we decided to extend our time and visit with family and friends. Naturally, we spent a day in German Village. This is how it went.
We ate lunch at a classic deli on the corner of 3rd Street and Livingston Ave. It’s officially called Katzinger’s Delicatessen, but everyone just calls it Katzinger’s. This joint has been a staple eatery in the community since 1984 – that means 32 years of amazingness. When I tell you to check it out, I definitely mean it! As a kid, I just had no idea how to pronounce the business. Trying to say Katzinger’s as a 7 year just doesn’t roll off the tongue, so it became known by me as the really-good-sandwich-place-in-German-Village, until I graduated into pronouncing 3-syllable words, haha. They have a million different sandwich combos to choose from. If you don’t believe me, go check out the menu on their website. Be prepared to be overwhelmed! This visit I opted for a classic: Combo #34, Neal’s Let’s Make a Meal. I can almost taste it again as I write this… “Rosemary and garlic roast beef, hot slow cooked brisket, Vermont white cheddar, creamy coleslaw, Russian dressing, grilled on rye.” Please and thank you! It’s pictured above, along with the iconic and dill and garlic pickles, with a side of macaroni salad, and a cheese blintz with berry preserves. What a perfect meal, all the food groups, but nothing healthy. #murica
Being a bit comatose after lunch, we checked out the Book Loft, which is just down the street from Katzinger’s. Another fine and classic establishment of German Village, the Book Loft is a multi-level, magical labyrinth of a book store. There are 32 rooms of books. Seriously, this place is bigger than some public libraries I’ve been in. The rooms are all kinds of crazy shapes and sizes, with tons of random staircases giving you the option of going up, down, or continuing on your current level, and some of the halls you have to shimmy through if another person is passing through. It’s a crazy cool book store – just the way any book store should be: fun! It’s hard to just stop in quickly. Mostly because you run the risk of getting lost, but also because you just get sucked in to looking at all kinds of books at rock bottom prices. It’s pretty close to heaven in my opinion : )
So, what does German Village look like? I’ll give you quick glimpse:
Yes, there really are brick roads and brick buildings everywhere. Homes, churches, schools, government buildings – all posses this same quaint earthy charm in the middle of the city. It’s easy to forget that the state capitol is just a few blocks north of the area. It’s beyond normal to watch people walking and biking to and from work, out to eat, visiting friends, or just taking a neighborhood stroll. The community has also become a magnet for photography shoots. Just in the space of an afternoon we witnessed 2 engagement photo shoots.
What if you’re hankering for some dessert? There are lots of great choices, but our favorite is Schmidt’s, off of E. Kossuth Street. This restaurant deserves a post by itself, but a few sentences will have to do for today. Schmidt’s has been open since 1886 and across 5 generations. It’s a true landmark. The authentic German food is just delicious and stick-to-your-ribs good. We visit EVERY time we’re in Columbus (please don’t judge). But what makes Schmidt’s a legend in our family are the Jumbo Cream Puffs. You read that right: jumbo. Year round flavors are Chocolate, Vanilla, and Peanut Butter, but they do seasonal flavors as well. The summer blueberry is light and refreshing. I’m still trying to sample the limited Pistachio flavor. My favorite is the chocolate. If you’re a chocolate fanatic like I am, do yourself a favor and try it. There’s no going back.
If you like boutique shopping, German Village is a cute place to do this. We recently discovered a new boutique right across from Schmidt’s called The Red Stable. It has a plethora of quality artisan wares – jewelry, decor, mugs, handbags, etc, – but also a cute side garden where you can buy potted plants and garden decorations. Because Ohioans love anything to do with Ohio, a big theme in the store is the state itself and supporting local artisans. We found a really beautiful hardwood scroll-work design cutout in the shape of Ohio.
All in all, we had a lovely day in German Village. There is so much more to do in the area too, and of course, I’ll share it all with you as we get to it : )