It was approaching dinnertime on a warm, overcast Saturday, and as I sat working on my laptop, I was struggling to ignore the overbearing messages of hunger racing from my stomach to my brain.
As my mind drifted to thoughts of edible bliss, I thought about a conversation with my brother the night before that yielded the name of a Columbus deli named Katzinger’s.
Without second thought, I knew exactly where to appease my weeping gut.
When I arrived at the corner of Third Street and Livingston Avenue in Columbus’ German Village, I admittedly found the exterior a bit drab and the parking situation horrendous. There is no lot or any designated spots — it’s all on the street — and the exterior of the restaurant was “plain” to say the least.
Upon entering the deli, however, the dreary outlook I’d had from outside the venue completely vanished.
The interior of Katzinger’s is colorful and incredibly enticing, unlike its exterior. Immediately upon entering, there are bright colors, big fonts and samples of different breads complete with butter, jam and olive oil — as if the bread itself wasn’t enough.
The inside is also stocked with a vast array of food items for sale, but at that moment, I was focused only on the expansive menu on the back wall.
While colorful and cheeky with original names for each item, the menu at Katzinger’s is, to put it plainly, big. They have just about any sandwich you can think of on any type of bread imaginable, all of which made for one of the toughest decisions of my day.
A bit overwhelmed at first, I perused the menu before honing in on a certain “Be’s Bustling Birdwich” — the turkey version of a classic Reuben, stacked with roasted turkey breast, swiss cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing on rye bread for the price of $10.95.
Happy with my decision, I then took a gander at the massive display cases below and was overwhelmed once again as a seemingly endless setup of side dishes stocked the shelves. With everything from potato knishes to macaroni salad, the side dishes rival the entree options in their diversity and made my decision to go with a simple fruit salad a difficult choice.
Ultimately, the sandwich, the fruit salad and a fountain drink came to $18 — a price I found a bit high for a deli — so the pressure for excellence was definitely mounting.
As my order was being put together, I came across one of Katzinger’s most distinctive adornments — the pickle barrels. That’s right, at Katzinger’s, pickles are complimentary and come in two massive barrels. In one of the barrels were the conventional dill pickles, while the other housed a garlic variety and almost needless to say, I devoured both types. They were decent but I guess everything — even pickles — taste better when free.
Finally, my food arrived and it was aesthetically pleasing. The bright, crisp colors of the fruit, the golden glow of the sandwich and even the greenish-yellow mixture of the pickle all made the meal look as beautiful as any meal from a deli I could have imagined.
I first dove into the fruit salad and it tasted just as good as it looked. Everything was crisp and chilled to perfection, bringing out the sweetness of the berries and melon perfectly.
It was actually tough to turn away from the beautiful side dish to begin the main course, but as I took a bite of my sandwich, it was easy to see why Katzinger’s has gained popularity in the Columbus area. The turkey was incredibly tasty, the Russian dressing paired with the coleslaw added the perfect complement and the toasted bread provided a soft-yet-crunchy placeholder for all that was inside.
And before I knew it, my meal was gone.
The delicious food coupled with my abounding hunger gave the meal no chance, as I scarfed down every last bite with a smile on my face.
Overall, Katzinger’s on the inside — the ambience, the food and the color — makes up for Katzinger’s on the outside — the terrible parking and bland exterior. The prices are somewhat steep, but not all that bad considering the terrific meal you’ll receive for the money you spend.