If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Columbus, GA, especially in the vibrant uptown area, this list of great eats will satisfy the hungriest of appetites. From sophisticated modern eateries to casual, fun, and funky bites, you’ll find it all just outside of Atlanta, in Columbus.
Country’s BBQ (on Broad)
2016 12th Ave. Columbus, GA
Country’s Barbecue has been a Columbus, GA restaurant institution since 1975 and is so popular that there are now three locations, each with a unique vibe. I visited the uptown eatery located inside the old bus station.
The retro diner decor is fun and whimsical, and the dining room extends into an old bus. Kids can climb in the driver’s seat and push buttons to hear distinctive bus sounds, i.e., air brakes.
The menu is chock full of country cooking, BBQ favorites, salads, and sandwiches to which you can add your choice of mild, medium hot, or extra hot Backfire BBQ sauce.
I ordered a salad and skipped regular salad dressing in favor of the fiery Backfire BBQ sauce—perfection!
Make sure you save room after your meal for the mile-high meringue pie—the tallest pie I’ve ever seen!
1039 1st Ave. Columbus, GA
The light and airy ambiance inside Saltcellar gives this fine dining restaurant a comfortable, unfussy feel, automatically scoring extra points with me.
We started our meal with signature cocktails and a basket of fresh bread. The bread was served with tomato honey butter (about which raised eyebrows quickly turned to satisfied mmm’s.)
From appetizers to entrees to dessert, everything was a delight to the eye and tastebuds, and the service was exceptional.
For dessert, do not miss a slice of Mama Kay’s Original Cheesecake—the creamiest, most delectable cheesecake you may ever have in your life. It’s big enough to share too!
Plucked Up Chicken & Biscuits
1208 1st Ave., Columbus, GA
The funky, eclectic decor adds a lively vibe to this wonderful breakfast-thru-lunch eatery where chicken is the menu star.
If you’re craving some delicious fried chicken or a comforting homestyle meal, this is the place to go.
You can count on a darn good southern meal, whether you choose a classic chicken platter or one of the “Plucked Up” twists (gravy-smothered, biscuit sandwiches, pot pie, salad).
Banks Food Hall
1002 Bay Ave Columbus, GA
Food halls are on fire these days, and Bank’s Food Hall is no exception—it’s a Columbus destination on its own.
The diverse collection of mini restaurant kiosks are all under the same roof, and each has a locally-created concept using fresh, from-scratch ingredients.
Order and pay at the individual counters and then relax with your meal at an indoor or outdoor table. I recommend sitting outside if the weather is nice as the food hall is adjacent to the splash pad, the River Walk, and the Chattahoochie River.
1032 Broadway Columbus, GA
A sister restaurant to Saltcellar, The Loft is home to a casual yet sophisticated restaurant on street level and a music and comedy venue upstairs so that guests can make an entire evening of it here.
A big basket of warm, seasoned potato chips and onion dip will keep you happily munching while deciding on an entree from one of the many tasty options.
The unstuffed chicken is a popular favorite here, and they have a terrific selection of salads. In addition, they offer the same incredible cheesecake Saltcellar serves if you have room for dessert.
19 Twelfth St., Columbus, GA
This Latin American fusion restaurant is full of fun and flavor. We stopped in for breakfast, and it did not disappoint. Of course, a traditional egg breakfast is always available, but the tempting Tortilla Española, Bodega Benedict, or the HUGE Breakfast Sandwich on Cuban bread might be just what you need.
You’ll find a delectable selection of sandwiches and entrees if you’re visiting for lunch or dinner, and breakfast options are available all day.
Iron Bank Coffee Company
6 W. 11th St., Columbus, GA
This former bank has been repurposed into a light, airy coffee shop if you’re looking for a cool spot to get your morning java. It’s the kind of place where you want to plug in your devices and stay awhile.
There’s a space upstairs for meetings, and the main floor vault has been converted into a cozy nook for friends to hang out.
Try one of the delicious sandwiches (breakfast and lunch) or a fresh salad with exciting add-ins. Then, grab a table by the window and enjoy some people watching as you enjoy your sips and snacks.
Lavender Tea and Picnics
Why pack your own picnic when you can have the perfect fairy tale picnic brought to you? Lavender Tea and Picnics does all the work (including clean-up), and all you need to do is sit, relax and enjoy a most magical meal.
There are currently four menu options: High Tea, Basic Charcuterie, Brunch Charcuterie, or Pizza Party, and the picnic can be for as few as two people.
Our High Tea experience included tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, raspberry and chocolate chip scones, lavender cookies, and blueberry lavender iced tea.
The setting, the food, the decor—everything was idyllic.
For a travel guide and more information on fun things to do and other restaurants in Columbus, GA, connect with Visit Columbus at https://visitcolumbusga.com/.