Right outside the Fort Benning gates sits one of the best military towns: Columbus, GA. Along with there being tons to do, the town also offers a wide variety of restaurants that would please all types of food fanatics. Having been stationed here for a few months now, I’m comfortable publishing this list of good eats in the local area and some of them may surprise you. Yes, I know there are multiple places to get these kinds of foods in Columbus, but these are my never-fail, go-to spots. Without further ado, here are my favorite restaurants in Columbus to get a bite.
Before you ask…yes, pizza is its own cuisine. Placing 3rd in the International Pizza Competition, Cerrone’s is hands down the best pizza I’ve ever had, and I probably order from here once every two weeks. I just can’t think of a better way to spend my Friday night than with a few of Cerrone’s pies. This place is both a local favorite and hole in the wall located in Northern Columbus. I say hole in the wall purely because of the size of their dining room. Its shotgun style footprint includes a few booths and tables perfect for a casual date. Or better yet, call in and pick up your order to enjoy at home!
Right and Up Tip: Order the Alla Vodka pie, which is my favorite pizza ever. Let’s put it this way, if I was on death row, I would request it for my final meal.
Fine Dining (American)
Why do I love Epic? Let me count the ways. First off, I can actually get dressed up to go here and not feel out of place. Second, I can look at the menu and just say “yes” when the waiter asks me what I’m having. There is nothing on there that I don’t want to eat. Probably my favorite thing about Epic is that they have a Level II Sommelier on staff, and no, this is not like a Level II Warlock from World of Warcraft, you nerd. Having a sommelier means lots of things, but most importantly: wine pairings. Epic is definitely one of the best restaurants in Columbus, GA. Expect to indulge in dishes made from top notch ingredients that are expertly prepared and plated by Chef Keating and his culinary team.
Right and Up Tip: If you can reserve it, do the Chef’s Table. Sit at a table in their kitchen and be served a unique 8-12 course tasting menu made specially for you by the chef. It costs extra, but it’s worth it and is a once in a lifetime experience.
Ok, now this, ladies and gentlemen, is a great place. I have never been to India, but I’ve eaten Indian food all over the Middle East and feel very confident in recognizing when a place is serving legit Indian food. Owned and operated by an adorable Indian-American family, Ria’s is like eating your mom’s cooking, if your mom was from India. The front of the establishment is Ria’s Ethnic Foods market, and nestled unassumingly in the back is the kitchen and a few dining tables. Ann, the owner and head chef, has a menu that changes daily based on whatever she wants to feed her family. Both her mother and mother-in-law fly in from India on a rotational basis for 6 months at a time to help her cook. Ann’s daughters also help run the store and restaurant when they’re not in school.
Right and Up Tip: Not only can you order your food to-go, but this is also one of the only places you can find halal meats!
Another local favorite and hole in the wall, Trevioli’s started in Columbus inside a storage container off Veterans Pkwy in Northern Columbus. Yes, literally a storage container. And when I say literally, I mean literally literally, not figuratively literally. They are currently in the process of transitioning to a 3,500 sq ft. restaurant space in mid-February 2017. However, Trevioli’s could be a table and 2 chairs behind a dumpster and I would still love it. Think handmade pasta and decadent sauces that make you savor every bite. I’ve never been to Italy, but I feel like Trevioli’s is an adequate replacement. You can truly tell the difference in their pasta from anywhere else you’ve eaten in the States.
Right and Up Tip: Since the dining room in their current place is small, you may have yourself a bit of a wait if you show up during peak hours (roughly 7-9 pm).
This place is truly a hidden gem and is conveniently located right outside the Fort Benning gate on Fort Benning Blvd. Normita’s is not your run of the mill Latin restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mexican food, but sometimes it’s hard to find other types of Latin cuisine. Good thing Normita’s specializes in lots of them! Owned by a Peruvian-American family, Normita’s likes to showcase a different region of Latin food every week. Think plantains, mofongo, tamales (like, real tamales) empanadas and much more. It’s served buffet-style, which is normally not my thing, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness of everything. I go here for lunch about once per week with my First Sergeant. He’s a really picky eater but will eat everything at Normita’s if that tells you anything.
Right and Up Tip: This is actually a great place to do a Hail and Farewell. There’s quite a lot of tables and people can choose whatever they want from the buffet. Great Latin music in the background as well! Be sure to call ahead of time to reserve the space!
This Korean BBQ joint is a wonderful oasis in Northern Columbus for those craving dumplings and Korean beer. It’s a great place for a fun date night or to bring your family as you can opt-in for a little DIY dining experience. By this I mean that you can request to cook the food yourself on your tabletop barbeque. If this sounds overwhelming to you, don’t worry, your waitress can do it for you. Enjoy a bowl of hot tofu soup while waiting for your bulgogi to cook and enjoy munching on any of the many side dishes and accoutrements like kimchi, pickled radish or spiced tofu.
Right and Up Tip: Order the dumplings. I repeat. Order the dumplings. These cute and savory bundles of joy will keep me coming back again and again.
Having just come from Fort Riley, KS where I could frequent many of the greatest Kansas City BBQ joints, I was admittedly a bit spoiled with my PCS to Fort Benning. Georgia is another great state for BBQ and Southern BBQ at that. I’ve actually found that Georgia is a great melting pot for many of the different BBQ styles in America. But if I had to choose one BBQ place in all of Columbus, it would be Zombie Pig. Oh boy, it is so good. Their sweet and sticky sauce had me mesmerized. The atmosphere is also fun and trendy, and they’ve got great customer service. A true triple threat.
Right and Up Tip: Definitely order their ribs and if you can load up on their housemade pickles, you can consider your life complete.
Don’t get me wrong, there are loads more amazing restaurants in Columbus and the surrounding area, but if you were to ask me where to eat what, I’d give you this list!