Friday, January 14, 2011

Road Trip: Columbus, OH: Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill

Once again we found ourselves in Columbus for the holidays and we checked out something new for lunch.  My in-laws are pretty much all big time Ohio State fans, so that is another reason we ended up at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill.  I was dubious, as I often am of bar-foody kind of places because so often everything seems to come frozen and is then fried and served, but was assured this place was actually pretty good.  So naturally, I had to see for myself.
Another reason we ended up here is because it was the day after Christmas and because this place has just opened, it is not very crowded yet.  In fact, there were only a couple of other tables full when we got there at 12:15 or so.  But it is exceptionally clean (maybe even a tad bit cold feeling, but that may have been the fact that there was hardly anyone in there) and there are various mementoes of Ohio State around.  Even a Heisman Trophy.  Okay, that is about the extent of the knowledge I have about football, so I can’t really go into much more detail about what else was in there.
Anyhow, we started with the “Brutus Bites” ($7).  I have to say, they were a unique and maybe more sophisticated take on what is essentially a simplified potato skin.  They were little whole roasted potatoes that had a little cut across the top with some cheddar cheese inside and a slice of bacon sticking out of the top.  They were sitting on top of a chili lime sour cream.  I liked the flavor of the sour cream with them a lot, however because they had done a sort of artistic design on the plate, I felt like they didn’t really give you enough of it—I would order a little extra on the side next time.  I liked that they were fresh potatoes, pretty clearly not just something that came previously frozen from a bag.  For bar food, I was fairly impressed.
For my lunch, I had the club salad ($9), which was essentially a Cobb salad, not really sure what the difference would be—this was mixed lettuces topped with blue cheese, bacon, egg, sliced cherry tomatoes, avocado and your choice of either fried chicken pieces or rotisserie chicken.  Our server told me how good the rotisserie chicken was, so I went with it (roasted in house).  She was right—the chicken was really good. Both the dark and white meat was quite tender and flavorful—nicely seasoned and had a wood roasted flavor.  Te rest of the salad was just average, the avocado was pleasingly ripe, the leaves were actually tossed with the dressing (house made garlic buttermilk ranch).  The chicken is what made it special (and I liked the pretzel roll breadstick).  But the ingredients were fairly fresh (although I could have used more blue cheese and a little fresher, crisper bacon).
Hubby had the Carnitas sandwich ($10) which was slow braised pork with hickory sauce, cilantro, jack cheese, pickled onion, avocado and mayo.  This is a sandwich that has a couple of my favorite things (pickled onion and avocado) and I actually thought about ordering it myself.  It was really good as well.  It was an interesting mix of flavors, but they actually went together well.  The pork was tender but had some nice crispy edges and the textures of all the things—the softness of avocado and the tangy crunch of the onions.  A good choice as well.  You had your choice of sides; hubby went with the onion strings.  They were good and looked like they were actually made with freshly cut onions.  A tad greasy maybe, but tasty.  Anyway, for a sports bar kind of joint, the food was pretty creative and tasted pretty good.  So if you are looking for a sports bar in Columbus with decent food, give it a try.
And hey, as a side note, we also stopped in and had some Jeni’s ice cream which is made in Columbus.  They specialize in hand crafted ice creams in more exotic flavors (one I tried was goat cheese and Cognac fig sauce) and made with local milk and products.  We bought several pints, and I have to say, this stuff is not cheap (I should have known when hubby’s uncle told us to bring some gold bars with us).  It was around $10 a pint.  But it was really tasty.  We had the salty caramel, the Askinosie dark milk chocolate, and the Meyer lemon yogurt.  I got the yogurt to combine with the salty caramel based on a recommendation from a suggestion of Jeni’s on twitter. I have to say, it was a really interesting combo.  The chocolate was milk chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate flakes mixed in.  Think of a really good double chocolate chip ice cream.  They were all really good, but next time I think I would just go in for a scoop and not buy quite so much due to the cost.  And they will give you a free sample of any of them while you are in there.
Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill
900 Goodale Blvd
Columbus, OH 43212

Jeni’s Ice Cream
1281 Grandview Ave (and various locations in Columbus area)
Columbus, OH  43212


  1. I love Jeni's ice cream. Every time we go to Columbus (hubby is from there too) I take a cooler to bring a few pints back home. I'm an ice cream fanatic so the price is worth it to me. Next time you are there for lunch, check out Surly Girl's. It's a bar but the food is not bar food at all and the atmosphere is fun.

  2. That ice cream sounds great! I'll be sure to add this to my list... a year or two ago the Worth Your Attenton blog (which I miss, btw) did a great write-up of a trip to Columbus. Merits a quick glance:


  3. Next time you are in Columbus you should try the Northstar Cafe. Its at the Easton mall (may be another one-not sure). I went there over Thanksgiving based on the recommendation of my cousin who lives there. You order at the counter and then they bring the food to your table. Its an all organic cafe, which is not something that usually excites me, but it was some of the best food I've ever had! I would recommend breakfast. I had poached eggs with proscuitto, parmesan, and focaccia bread. My husband had the cowboy breakfast. Both were simply amazing! I hope you get a chance to check it out!

  4. I'm so glad you made it to Jeni's! I agree about Surly Girl's and there is also Tip Top Tavern which is downtown tucked away. We enjoyed the food so much that we skipped dinner on campus for a second night there. Craft beer list is decent but the standard selection you'd see most anywhere.