Unofficial Guide: Oktoberfest in May in Columbus, Ohio
By Matthew Rudy
Columbus loves its college and professional sports--Ohio State University, the NHL's Blue Jackets and this week's Memorial (hosted by native Jack Nicklaus) are all automatic conversation starters in Ohio's capital 12 months a year.
It loves comfort food almost as much, and if you go, you should, too. Just south of downtown (and 20 miles from the golf in Muirfield Village) is the historic neighborhood of German Village, where you can enjoy the best of Munich in the American Midwest. Schmidt's Sausage Haus has been in business since 1886, and the sausages on the $12 Old World combo platter are made with Fred Schmidt's original recipe from the Grover Cleveland administration. The headliner is the hickory smoked pork and beef Bahama Mama, but you won't lose if you order the bratwurst or knockwurst.
Schmidt's serves drafts from the local Elevator Brewery, but for a more quintessential 50's Midwestern tavern experience, go around the corner to the Old Mohawk for your nightcap. Opened (legally) the day after Prohibition ended in 1933, the Mohawk is a townie favorite without all the waves of fans in scarlet-and-gray officially-licensed gear. The horseshoe-shaped bar is original, but the turtles in the soup on the menu are trucked in these days unlike the 30's, when the original proprietor raised them in the basement.
If your golf travels keep you north of the city, near Muirfield, you can get a little taste of Oktober--and childhood--at the G&R Tavern in Waldo. The place isn't much, just standard-issue storefront, but the bologna sandwiches are unlike anything you've ever tasted.
The inch-thick patties are fried on the grill, topped with melted cheese, raw onions and pickles and served on a hamburger bun. It'll cost you more in gas money to get up there than the sandwich itself--and you'll never go back to Oscar Mayer again.