On Friday the HJ lunch group hoofed it down to the far southern reaches of downtown Columbus, past the Columbus Commons, past the High Street construction sites, and past the Great Southern Hotel, searching for another stop on the continuing random restaurant tour of the downtown area of Ohio’s capital city.
Our destination was Dempsey’s Food and Spirits. Located at the corner of High and Mound Streets, catty-corner to the old Franklin County courthouse complex, Dempsey’s is housed in one of the oldest surviving buildings in downtown Columbus. It’s been operating for about six years, but of course none of us had tried it. More’s the pity! Once you get past all of the Notre Dame paraphernalia — it is an Irish pub, after all — Dempsey’s is a fine lunch option, and looks like it would be a good place to stop for a cold one after work, too.
I asked our waiter Molly (another crucial indicator of a legit Irish pub setting) whether Dempsey’s had a specialty, and she recommended the meat loaf melt sandwich. She strongly encouraged getting it with pickles, but being gherkin-adverse I opted for the pickle-free version. The Bus-Riding Conservative, being pickle-friendly, went all in for the sandwich in its original format. We agreed that, with or without pickles, the meat loaf melt is spectacular — melty and gooey, with excellent and subtly flavored beef and sausage meat loaf, served on crunchy, buttery Texas toast that will leave you licking your fingers and hoping for more. I noticed that the BRC was being unusually quiet during our lunch and glanced over to see that he was hoovering down the sandwich, pickles and all, with remorseless efficiency and had cleaned his plate while I was only about halfway done. JV reported that his Big R reuben was quite good. The Unkempt Guy. however, sniffed that his fried bologna sandwich was only of average quality, apparently lacking the Flintstone-like dimensions that he’s used to up in Delaware County. Since I don’t like bologna, this did not trouble me.
We’ll be adding Dempsey’s, and the succulent meat loaf melt, to our lunch hour rotation. And the hike down south and back will just help to burn off a few of the carbs we’ll be consuming on our next visit.