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Culinary Columbus crammed into tours

Columbus offers many food choices to its residents and visitors. Restaurant blogger and owner of Columbus Food Adventures Bethia Woolf wants people to try them all.

Columbus Food Adventures is a set of tours through the city designed to give participants a sampling of Columbus cuisine.

The tours take participants to both renowned and underrated restaurants the city has to offer. Each stop along the tour offers samples of the restaurants’ specialties. Woolf uses her knowledge of the area’s eateries to provide a collection of what she says are some of the tastiest spots around Columbus.

“It gives people a chance to explore,” Woolf said. “Instead of going to a restaurant for two hours with the same people, you get to sample a lot of different food at a lot of different places.”

Some tours are public, giving participants a chance to meet new people, but patrons can arrange private tours as well. Tours start at $45 per person.

The 10 to 15 people on a tour have access to the owners and kitchen staff, who will answer questions and talk about their passion for food. Woolf tries to choose businesses that focus on using local-grown ingredients.

“We have a lot of really great food here and people who are really passionate about it,” Woolf said. “It’s a chance to show off Columbus.”

A food enthusiast, Woolf had been blogging about her food endeavors around Columbus for more than two years before she started Columbus Food Adventures. She said after a friend went on a similar food tour in New York City, the gears started turning.

Each tour explores areas and interests in Columbus. The “All Dessert Tour” ($55) travels by van to five pastry and ice cream shops, from Sugardaddy’s downtown to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ new location in Clintonville. The tour also stops at a vegan bakery, Pattycake.

During the “Short North Tour” ($45), participants stroll through the arts district, stopping at six of the area’s hot spots, including North Market and Rigsby’s Kitchen.

The “Alt Eats Tour” ($60) showcases ethnic cuisines, from Vietnamese to Somali, in the Cleveland Ave. area.

Mexican food lovers might enjoy “The Taco Truck Tour” ($55), which takes participants to street food vendors throughout the city during the summer months. Taco trucks are a prime interest of Woolf, who has a separate website dedicated to them.

Creating an open and fun atmosphere that is full of variety is an important element to Woolf.

“It gives people a different sense of Columbus,” Woolf said, “getting people off campus to places they wouldn’t normally have gone.”

With this focus on exposing another side of the city, Columbus Food Adventures is not just for tourists. Jennifer Evans-Cowley, an associate professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State, chose the “Alt Eats Tour” because she enjoys trying unique foods and visiting new restaurants, she said.

“Having lived in Columbus for a decade, I thought I had seen a lot,” she said. “(Woolf) opened my eyes to some new places.”

Though Woolf has guided nearly 100 tours, she still finds herself learning new things, trying new foods and meeting new people.

“Experiencing a city through food is a great way to get to know a city,” Woolf said.



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