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As co-owners of Columbus, Ohio-based creative studio The Wonder Jam, Allie Lehman and her husband, Adam, host podcasts and classes, as well as work with clients in branding, coaching, photography, consulting and more. When considering what makes her hometown special, Lehman credits the friendliness of its people, the affordability of starting a business and, most importantly, a strong sense of community pride.
“We aren’t New York or Los Angeles, and we know why we live here,” she said. “We have invested in the city and our neighborhoods, and we support the small businesses that make Columbus unique.”
Here are her tips for visiting Ohio’s capital.
An ideal food day consists of: Espresso at One Line Coffee; the folks there are extremely inclusive and knowledgeable. Skillet is our go-to brunch spot, but check out The Angry Baker for vegan options and Cherbourg Bakery for gluten-free donuts and jalapeno cheese biscuits. For lunch, Sweet Carrot somehow combines everything I want in a single order: brisket, artichoke, slaw, corn cakes and mac ’n’ cheese. Our studio neighbor Watershed Kitchen & Bar is fantastic for dinner; it’s tucked away in a sleepy part of town, and the cocktails are amazing.
A top hotel option is: Hilton Columbus Downtown. Dine at its on-property restaurant, Gallerie Bistro.
The hottest new neighborhood is:German Village, where some of our favorite small-business owners are opening shops, including Native Cold Pressed, Stump, Balanced Yoga and The W Nail Bar.
To support small businesses, go to:Wholly Craft for gifts for someone you love; Kingmakers Board Game Parlour to sip beverages and play board games; The Sunroom for handmade apparel and home goods; and Replenish Spa for a facial.
What is Columbus’ best-kept secret? Gretel and Steve of Sunny Meadows Flower Stand have their own flower farm within city limits; drive out and make a bouquet.
Where do you find inspiration in town?First and foremost, from my team. Then I look to our clients; they’re ambitious, kind people who are passionate enough about something to start their own companies. I also like to visit places in Columbus that are unfamiliar. Since we work so closely with small businesses in the area, it’s nice to feel like a tourist in your own city.