Columbus Travel Guide
In a new weekly Friday column, we'll explore street food and other culinary specialties from around the world. Last week, it was a taste of turtle in Grand Cayman. This week, we head to Columbus, Ohio, to see what's cooking.
Last time we were in Columbus, we set out to investigate what we were told was a budding food scene. We quickly became familiar with areas such as German Village, a historic neighborhood packed with colonial feel and farm-to-fork restaurants.
We drank local gin from the Watershed Distillery (best gin this contributor has ever had... really), and when we started asking around for some local grub, people kept pointing us in the direction of the taco trucks. We thought it was a joke, until we learned that there are approximately 40 of them circling the city.
Become an informed consumer while still on vacation! Check out Jaunted's newest series of the best factory tours the world over.
In this year's surprise horror comedy hit "Zombieland," a college student attempts to find out if his parents in Columbus, Ohio are alive. If you find yourself in the position of having to flee from a zombie invasion, you may want to hide in these Columbus-area factoriesso take the tours now, just in case.
Ballparks / Baseball / Sports / Sports Travel / Columbus / → All Tags
If time and tickets are too tight to make it around all of Ohio’s major league ballparks, then we recommend zeroing in on a trip to the new home of the Columbus Clippers. After teaming up with 360 Architecture and shelling out about $55 million, the new Huntington Park recently opened for all to enjoy in the Arena District of downtown Columbus.
The stadium is huge with three different levels to explore, plenty space for the 10,000 fans in attendance to spread out and order hot dogs without hitting someone in the face. Of course the most rowdy fans will likely be getting down to business in one of the park’s three bars. Our pick is the Roof Top Bar on the left field building; unfortunately for you may have to slightly sacrifice your view of the high-def scoreboard for some beers here.
Skybus / Airlines / LCCs / Airline Bankruptcy / → All Tags
You know we love Skybus, and even though it’s long gone, every once in a while a little tidbit trickles out from its former base in Columbus, Ohio. Nearly a year after its demise, it looks like the airline is finally settling things up with its former workers. They’ve agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that was filed by employees who were less than thrilled when they found out that their jobs were abruptly terminated.
The lawsuit alleged that Skybus violated the Workers’ Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act by not giving employees advance notice of at least 60 days. If the employees are anything like us—we found out by watching the Today show and throwing the remote across the room—they didn't get any warning.
The details are still being worked out in bankruptcy court—sounds exciting—so no specific settlement figure has been announced yet. The Columbus Regional Airport is trying to get some $5 million in change as well, and it looks like when everything is finalized, Skybus will be able to pay about 76 cents on the dollar to those who it left high and dry—guess that’s better than getting nothing.
The Boeing 717-600 was bound for Orlando, but ice overnight had frozen it to the runway, and gallons of de-icer were defeated when continuing rain refroze the bird. (Those aboard were reportedly none too pleased when informed of how much the de-icer was costing the airline.)
The passengers, who boarded at 7:20AM, were allowed to deplane in order to get lunch, but were stuck without water or air until 4:30, when AirTran gave up on that plane and the passengers reboarded one that came in from warmer Atlanta. (A spokesperson said the fact that the passengers weren't offered food at any time was "clearly a mistake.")
The airline has offered free round-trip tickets to 373 survivors. Since we do keep score, this is AirTran's second gaffe of 2009; on New Year's Day, they pulled a family off the plane whose safety chatter was making other passengers uncomfortable, and then refused to rebook them. As if De-Icegate wasn't bad enough, AirTran reported a $273 million loss for 2008 in a press conference yesterday, a margin largely due to fuel hedges which came back to bite them when oil prices dropped. Again -- too dumb to be evil?
· Orlando-bound passengers trapped in frozen plane [WESH via Tripso]
· AirTran passengers' flight to Orlando delayed for 9 hours [Orlando Sentinel]
· TK [Jaunted]
· AirTran posts $273M loss for 2008 [Triangle Business Journal]
· AirTran: Too Dumb To Be Evil? [Jaunted]
We won't rehash the old cliche about making money in the airline biz, but 2008's most spectacular flame out was surely a sign of things to come: After taking home the 2007 Jaunty for Best Travel Newcomer--and even writing us a letter of thanks for the honor!--the ultra-ambitious, ultra-low cost Skybus folded in April, a little more than a month shy of its first birthday.
Meant to mimic the success of European LCCs, Skybus had the aggressive on-board sales, in-your-face advertising and out-of-the-way airports that have made Ryanair, EasyJet and legions of imitators successful. But a home base in Columbus, ever-rising fuel prices, poor public relations--particularly during a Christmas '07 storm--and the general difficulty of starting an airline from scratch killed the carrier before many had a chance to try it.
But spirit of the bygone airline still lurks. Beyond the Skybus Flickr pool, there's the potential new airline from LCC champion John Weikle and a new gig for former Skybus COO Ken Gile at Flydubai, a low-cost airline set to take off in 2009.
Architecture / Architecture Travel / Eero Saarinen / Eero-Saarinen-Travel-Map / Churches / → All Tags
As we continue to explore the works of Eero Saarinen and his architectural adventures, we move to Indiana. Like his father, Eliel Saarinen, who created the First Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana, the younger Saarinen designed the North Christian Church there as well. Completed in 1964, the church was the last building he designed before his death.
After its catastrophic implosion, it's hard to imagine Skybus actually returning to the skies. But industry watcher Nawal Taneja tells the Columbus Dispatch there's a chance it could happen:
I know there are people interested in the certificate. They just think the management team and the business model weren't right.
He's talking about the "air carrier operating certificate," a document issued by the FAA that lets airlines fly. That, among a bunch of other Skybus assets, are up for grabs now that the company has shut down.
Among those shopping is likely the carrier's founder, John Weikle. (He left the company shortly after it started flying.) Because of a bunch of federal rules, Weikle wouldn't be able to snatch up the certificate and launch Jet America with it, but he could try to revive Skybus, keeping its base of operations in Columbus.
It's too early to say whether any of this will actually happen, of course. But maybe those $10 tickets will be back sooner than we imagine.
Skybus / Airlines / Low Cost Carriers / LCCs / Bill Diffenderffer / Breaking News / Airline Bankruptcy / → All Tags
Turns out that selling $10 tickets can't make you money. Skybus, which would've celebrated a year of service on May 22, has ceased operations. While the carrier's website is still up and running, a source tells us--and the Columbus Dispatch confirms--that the ultra LCC is finished as of tonight.
That makes it the fourth airline to shutter this week, another victim of high costs and a brutal industry. Skybus isn't offering any sort of alternate arrangements, so wherever you're stranded, you'll have to find your own way home.
One has to wonder if ex-CEO Bill Diffenderffer saw the writing on the wall and made an early exit. One hopes not, as that's not exactly a samuri move.
· Skybus coverage [Jaunted]
It's too soon for us to get over our sugar hangover and think about looking for love again. (That's what too many Crumbs cupcakes do for you.) But some brave souls are soldiering forth, and we endeavor to support that.
Hope triumphs over experience in Columbus, Ohio, where people have mixed drinks, but not mixed feelings. We'll just be lying on the couch with a cold compress while you check out these hot spots:
El Arepazo Latin Grill -- Order up some arepas or grilled corn cakes and some horchata to drink at this Venezuelan restaurant, and you might get connected. Ay, mi amor! 47 N. Pearl St.
Brew-Stirs -- This multi-themed pub may have a Website banner that makes our eyes hurt, but who doesn't want to meet someone with whom he can have chemistry that's incredible... undeniable? 6118 Busch Blvd.
Dick's Den -- An Ohio State fixture, the crowd at this jazz bar and tavern might skew a bit younger than you're used to, but you don't have to be a college student to kick it on the patio. 2417 N. High St.
[Photo of Columbus' High-Beck Tavern: picturepocket]
Speaking of Skybus, the Columbus-based carrier is capitalizing on Ohio State's recent nomination to the BCS National Championship Game against LSU in New Orleans on January 7. You can normally find advance tickets on Skybus for under $100, but on January 4 and 5, one-way flights from Columbus to Gulfport-Biloxi International--which is 76 miles from the Superdome--are selling for $300. The return trip will cost you much less.
Other airlines can fly you from Port Columbus International to the actual New Orleans airport--just 14 miles from the Superdome--for a bit less, but you'll have to endure a stop or two. Then again, you won't have to drive back to Biloxi through Tiger country while distraught over a Buckeye loss.
Brazilians who move to Ireland, foreign cartoons and a behind the scenes breakdown of opera. Where else could such randomness roost but the wild and crazy capital of the film world, Columbus, Ohio? That's right--at least for eight days of the Columbus International Film and Video Festival. The Columbus College of Art and Design hosts the showcase every year, and with admission charges ranging between five bucks and free, you'll have a little scratch left over to treat yourself to some local indulgences.