Chamber dishes up debut Taste of Columbus

So many restaurants, so little time. Unless you put them all under one roof, at least for a day. Columbus residents who want to experience local cuisine will have the chance to sample food from 26 local restaurants at the city’s first Taste of Columbus event.

The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce will host A Taste of Columbus on Oct. 29 at The Commons. The event is modeled after similar programs in other cities around the state.

“We went to the Taste of Greenwood, and we thought Columbus would respond well to this,” said Cindy Frey, president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. “This allows us to showcase our membership and create a really special networking event for all of our members.”

Local restaurants, bars, bakeries and other eateries that are Chamber members were invited to participate in the Taste, Frey said.

“I love doing stuff like this,” said Aubrey Smith, owner of Ashlynn Leigh cakes on 16th Street. “I like being with the other foodies in Columbus, and it’s a good way to showcase our products.”

The event was timed to occur just before the beginning of the holiday season, giving vendors a chance to display any specialty holiday products they plan to begin selling late this year.

“A lot of restaurants are booking holiday parties and trying to promote gift boxes, so the timing is really good,” Frey said.

While Smith said she will use the tasting as a way to promote her business for the winter holidays, her end-of-fall treats also will be up for grabs.

“We’ll have Halloween treats, cookies on sticks, decorated cookies (and) pumpkin cheesecake,” Smith said.

“I absolutely love our chamber of commerce,” said Lisa Abendroth, owner of The Savory Swine on Washington Street, which will participate in Taste of Columbus with its various meats and cheeses. “They’re always trying to promote local businesses, and I want to support that.”

Guests also will have the chance to sample alcoholic beverages, which limits the event to people 21 and older.

Attendees will be asked to vote on their favorite local restaurants by making donations to those restaurants at the event, Frey said. Those funds will be used to decide the winner of the People’s Choice Awards, with award proceeds going toward the Chamber’s Maverick Challenge.

That program aims to teach high school students about the benefits of entrepreneurship and walk them through the process of developing an idea into a product.

Ticket proceeds for A Taste of Columbus will benefit the Chamber itself, Frey said.

And while the Chamber frequently hosts networking events for its members and members of the community, Frey said A Taste of Columbus will be one to remember.

“It will be an After Hours on steroids,” Frey said. “We have a lot of After Hours events that allow business people to get together, and we’re going to take it to the next level.”

Taste of Columbus participants
  • 4th Street Bar and Grill
  • 240 Sweet Artisan Foodworks
  • Addison Bakehouse
  • Ashlynn Leigh Cakes
  • Blackerby’s Hangar 5 and First Class Catering
  • Clarion Hotel and Conference Center
  • Culver’s
  • The Garage Pub & Grill
  • Gramz Bakery and Cafe
  • Free to be Naturalee
  • Hotel Indigo/Phi Bar
  • Indiana Smokehouse
  • Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
  • Johnny Carino’s
  • Natural Choices for Healthy Living
  • Noodles and Company
  • Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
  • Papa’s Deli
  • Popportunity
  • Power House Brewing Co.
  • Sam’s Club
  • The Savory Swine
  • Simmons Winery/450 North Brewery Subway Sandwiches & Salads
  • Tre Bicchieri
  • Yats
  • Yo MaMa Frozen Yogurt and More Co.

If you go

Taste of Columbus

  • When: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29
  • Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St.
  • Who: 26 Columbus Chamber member restaurants serving food and drink, members of the public (ticket availability is limited, must be at least 21 years old)
  • Cost: $20 in advance, $25 after Oct. 25
  • To purchase tickets: Visit, the Chamber’s office, 500 Franklin St., Columbus Area Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St., or Viewpoint Books, 548 Washington St.
  • Information: 812-379-4457.
Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at or 812-379-5712.