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Cheers to Divine Dining in Columbus, GA

From exquisite cuisine to family favorites, there's a restaurant for everyone here.

By Amy Antonation on January 13, 2023

Stock Market Dueling Kitchens in Columbus, GA
Morgan Duke Photography

Getting a great meal in Columbus has never been easier. While predominantly known as a “barbecue town,” says chef Jamie Keating, co-owner of fine-dining restaurant Epic, Columbus has so much more to offer than its ’cue.

The city’s restaurant scene is jam-packed with local flavor and hospitality, with a restaurant for every taste.

Fine Dining in Columbus

“You don’t fill up a bathtub and jump in,” says Keating of his restaurant’s opening in August 2012.

At that time, Epic was a novel concept in Columbus, and he says people were apprehensive about the spot. Keating has thrived by testing the waters, making changes as needed and embracing Epic’s identity as a destination restaurant where diners can celebrate life’s special occasions.

Locals now flock to spots like Mabella Italian Steakhouse and its sister restaurant, Saltcellar. For quality ingredients from both the stockyard and the fish market, Stock Market Dueling Kitchens combines surf and turf on the same menu.

A sample of offerings at Banks Food Hall in Columbus, GA.
W.C. Bradley

Bank on It

Just off the Chattahoochee RiverWalk in the heart of its Uptown neighborhood, Banks Food Hall brings a curated selection of food vendors to customers looking to enjoy a hip, dog-friendly environment.

Ten food stalls offer fare ranging from Mexican to Filipino. There’s also a central bar serving an adventurous selection of craft beers and a hot dog stand (did we mention dogs of all sorts are welcome here?).

Whatever bites diners opt for, they’ll enjoy lingering in the 1907 building that’s been rehabbed for modern tastes without losing any of its historic charm. The interior retains heavy timber beams, arched doorways and lots of exposed brick, while a wraparound patio and comfy alley seating accented by string lights make for perfect alfresco dining.

Good Food and Deeds

Don’t ignore some of Columbus’ stalwarts that have stood the test of time. Owner Ronzell Buckner founded Skippers Fresh Seafood Market & Deli in 2001. He’d never owned a restaurant before, but he’d traveled along the East Coast extensively.

“I saw a lot of seafood being offered in a lot of states,” he says. “I looked at the food in the Columbus area that was offered in my community and didn’t see seafood.”

So Buckner launched Skippers, a casual spot with both a restaurant and market counter. Skippers’ most popular dine-in dish? It’s “table feast,” a low-country boil for four featuring crab legs, shrimp, sausage, potatoes, eggs and corn on the cob.

Through nonprofit organization Turnaround Columbus (which Buckner founded), the eatery employs many high school students and offers on-the-job training.

The goal, says Bucker, is “developing more entrepreneurs in our city and keeping young people from leaving our city and going somewhere else for employment.” Good food, indeed.

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