Commentary: Columbus’ Short North arts district offers visitors taste of Turkey, Italy, spicy salsa
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Updated: Friday, April 12, 2013 14:04
Columbus is brimming with interesting neighborhoods beyond the borders of Ohio State. Each week, The Lantern will spotlight an area in or around Columbus.
Most students have at least heard about the Short North before — that chic, eclectic arts district nestled between campus and downtown. The progressive, youthful area is filled with restaurants, shops and entertainment options, and it’s just a straight shot down High Street on the No. 2 Central Ohio Transit Authority bus line.
While the area is popular among college students for summer events such as ComFest and the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival, Short North is an enticing place to visit all year long. There’s generally always an event going on or a new place to discover. And while it’s known as an arts district, Short North should equally be known as an area to find a multitude of cultural influences from around the world.
A promoter of Fair Trade products, Global Gallery at 682 N. High St. sells a variety of handcrafted items. Jewelry, clothing, body products, dishes and small pieces of artwork can usually be found in the store. Though some items can be a bit expensive, the store is an ideal shopping destination for those wishing to directly support artisans around the globe.
Karavan: Treasures from Turkey, located at 771 N. High St., is another store with items from abroad. There’s loads of jewelry to be found inside, almost filling up the entirety of the store’s first of two rooms. Perhaps the most intriguing items sold in the store, however, are the beautiful Turkish lanterns. The mosaic glass pieces are all handmade and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
No matter what kind of food you’re in the mood for, you’re almost guaranteed to find it at North Market. Located at 59 Spruce St., the indoor market houses more than 30 independent merchants under one roof. From Thai and Indian to Polish and Italian, each vendor doles out something different. Diners can also get some grocery shopping done as they browse the aisles, with vendors selling a variety of meats, cheeses, spices and other specialty foods to take home.
For a bit of a splurge, Marcella’s at 615 N. High St. is an excellent place to get a taste of fine Italian cuisine. As one of Columbus restaurateur Cameron Mitchell’s establishments, the price is well worth the payoff, with tasteful yet simplistic dishes like the fettucine and meatball for $13 or the chicken Parmesan for $15.95. The trendy restaurant also cooks up some intriguing appetizers, including the melted pecorino cheese with toasted bread, apple slices and truffle honey for $10.
There’s never a shortage of entertainment in the Short North, especially on the weekends. One of the most popular events by far is the Short North Gallery Hop, which takes place on the first Saturday of every month. It’s when more than 40 arts spaces, including galleries, boutiques and restaurants, open their doors and show off a range of works by local, national and international artists.
For an evening with a spicier note, La Fogata Grill at 790 N. High St. offers salsa dancing every Friday night. The dance floor, located above the Mexican restaurant in the Upper Lounge, opens at 8 p.m. for a two-hour dance lesson or 10 p.m. for regularly scheduled dancing. There is a cover charge, which is $10 with a lesson and $7 without, and the lively Latin dancing lasts until 2 a.m.