Apparently it is National Sandwich Day, which we absolutely did not know was a thing until this morning. But now that we know, we have lots of opinions on the matter. Here’s our roundup of outstanding sandwiches, or “outstandwiches” if you will, in Columbus.
Challah Crispy Chicken There is no conversation about sandwiches in Columbus that doesn’t start (and sometimes just end right there) with Catie Randazzo’s chicken perfection. Chicken, onions, house made pickles, Challah bun, no bullshit.
Deli Boys Chicken Philly The bread makes these bad boys top notch, chicken is a nice twist on a traditional philly, plus there’s jalapeños for a little kick. Nothing to not like.
Rockmill Tavern’s Chicken Sandwich This is a spicy chicken chicken sandwich made with Gerber chicken and topped with some sort of bewitching spicy honey butter. It ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it.
Tip Top’s Blue Ribbon Pot Roast Sandwich A Columbus classic. This one follows the “keep it simple, stupid” rule. Pretzel bun, savory slow-cooked pot roast, Swiss cheese.
The Sycamore’s Ohio Beef Cheeks This is barely a sandwich. But holy lord… It’s like if the classic blueplate diner special open-faced roast beef and some fancy poutine had a baby. Bread, fries, beef cheeks, gravy, cheese curds. Overwhelming.
Little Palace Slider This is a delicious little unpretentious slider. It is greasy, there are pickles. Do you need more information? (Look, this isn’t a contest about the best burger in the city. This is a nice beef sandwich.)
Cafe Brioso’s Veggie Delight (with modifications) Since we’re talking about opinions, I’m gonna stick some of mine in here. Get this bad boy with 2 modifications: 1. ask for foccacia instead of wheat. 2. make mozz your cheese. You will have to unhinge your jaw to take a bite, but it will be worth it.
Philco Breakfast Biscuit There’s something about the chorizo on this bad boy that makes it unforgettable. Plus it has “shallot preserves.” Fancy.
Press Grill Salmon Sandwich This is a simple go-to. Great grill flavor on yer salmon filet, mixed greens, buttery toasted bread. If you’re big league, then get it with the balsamic, blue cheese and strawberry salad as the side and then put some of that right on top.
When you think about your Christmas list, odds are it has just one or two tech or fashion items that are a little too extravagant to justify buying for yourself. There may be some useful things that you get each year, like underwear or socks, or maybe gift cards to pamper yourself… But when Besa’s Adopt-A-Senior holiday list came out on Wednesday, the items requested told a larger story about Columbus’ needy senior community.
Besa’s Executive Director Matthew Goldstein said “without these Secret Santas, many seniors would not receive holiday gifts. Their requests are humbling and beautiful—as is this entire program.”
Sondra is requesting a phone charger. She lives in an apartment by herself and enjoys talking with friends/family over her cell phone. Her charger is short and doesn’t reach her chair. Would be helpful to have a long charger so she can sit and talk more freely.
Phyllis has a dog named Conrad and he is her pride and joy. Phyllis and Conrad support each other everyday. She would like Conrad to have enough food and a dog bed to sleep on. Phyllis would also like a fuzzy blanket to cozy up next to Conrad.
Mary’s husband of 62 years passed away earlier this year and she has been looking for a hobby to keep her busy during the day. She likes to watch Bob Ross and is looking forward to painting along with him. She’s requesting a beginner’s paint set.
Opal would like a Bible and a cake pan to bake a cake for her grandson. But the Bible is first priority.
Wyoma loves doing puzzles and prefers them to be over 1000 pieces. She doesn’t have a preference for what the picture is, but she loves a challenge!
Many seniors on the list need help purchasing very basic items like toilet paper and dish soap, which most of us would never consider a holiday gift so much as a daily necessity.
It took all of 24 hours for every single senior on the list to be adopted and the local participants will spend more than $60,000 fulfilling the wishes of the seniors this year. But there is still time to be involved by purchasing some of the “stocking stuffer” essentials. Check out the Amazon Wish List here or get involved at givebesa.org/adopt
Vancouver is a city that spent a lot of time, thought, and money to make their downtown livable and appealing to diverse array of residents. David Roberts, a reporter for Vox, extensively interviewed Brent Toderian about the city’s progress to its current “urbanist” success (I encourage to read all of these pieces they’re really intriguing). “Toderian was the Vancouver’s Chief Planner from 2006 to 2012, a time of furious change for the city that saw the 2010 Olympics along with a broad range of programs to increase density, non-auto mobility, and livability. He’s now a consultant to cities that want to move in the same direction.”
Generally speaking, urbanism is defined the same way as city planning: forward thinking about the things (structures, infrastructure, resources, luxuries) people need to live in a certain city. This is all sounds like long term and high-level thought, right? Not always. As Toderian’s interview revealed, part of Vancouver’s success has come as much from the individual, small decisions as it does from the larger planning initiatives.
So what can Columbus learn from Vancouver as we get ready to level-up into “big city” status?
Here are 5 lessons:
A few ground rules go a long way
Why is Ohio so ugly? This isn’t the punchline of a coast-dweller’s joke… this is a sincere question. And I believe the answer is because we allow the free market to run wild without any unifying vision for how things fit together. Viola: strip malls as far as the eye can see. Unlike here, “in Vancouver, like few other North American cities, nothing is simply left to chance, or developers, or the market. There is a deliberative regulatory framework in place, and every decision within it is made consciously, working backward from a clear vision of the city residents want.”
“No Blank Walls”
Toderian talks about the importance of there always being something interesting at the eye-level as you walk through the city. Right now, in Columbus that means “mixed-use retail” on the ground level and then a high rise condo plopped on top. But what about street-level housing? Vancouver uses a street by street approach to this: some streets are primarily residential at eye-level and some are primarily commercial at eye-level. This mix is a key to functional neighborhoods, especially since there is only so much retail that an area can successfully support. But what about privacy?
Toderian talks about smart ways that designers keep privacy for street-level urban residential properties. One common mistake is to put front doors and windows right on the sidewalks. But then “you can see into the windows. So people don’t use the amenities space and they close the blinds on the windows. And what you get is a de facto blank
wall. Whereas, if you elevate [entrances], just a few steps — three or four steps — and design a semi-private amenities space, people will use it. They’ll keep their windows open.
Take the brownstones on Gay St. as a nice example of this design principle (minus the submerged units). Those tall staircases allow people to live with direct street access, but have a significant privacy barrier between their front doors and passing traffic.
Stop talking about the cost of houses, talk about the cost of cities
This is a great point that we might be a little guarded from in Central Ohio at the current moment. The affordability of city is too often determined by the cost of purchasing a single-family home. As cities scale up in size and density, that quickly becomes an inaccurate measurement of the cost of living there. We’d never think about cost of living in Manhattan by how much a freestanding home costs there… Toderian says we should “look beyond the price of buying a home, to the price of having a home.” This means everything that comes along with living in the area– rent, transportation, etc.– as a measure of whether an area is affordable or not.
Deliberate Integration Instead of Displacement
This is one of the biggest problems that fast-developing cities face and is best stated in Toderian’s own words:
“For decades, we’ve been requiring that 20 percent of space in all major housing projects be set aside for social housing [what Americans call “public housing”]. That requirement has been a powerful tool — finding and acquiring land or airspace can be the toughest part of a social housing project. Part of the success of the program is that social housing is now built into all major projects around the city, in an integrated and often almost invisible way, with management programs to help that integration succeed.”
Stop Suburban Flee
How many people do you know that used to live in Short North, Vic Village, GV or downtown and then bought a house in UA, Bexley, or New Albany “for the school district.” This is the San Fransisco problem and we’re going to see lots and lots more of it. Why can’t families with kids live downtown? They can in Vancouver.
Here are Toderian’s basic steps for making a family-friendly downtown
I am a lover of some controversial candy. Sign me right up for all things black licorice flavored– Good N’ Plenty, black jelly beans…I’ll take them all. I love me a Bit O Honey and I’ll gladly accept those Smarties if you’re not down. But there are some candies that just don’t deserve the title and have no place in the sacred ritual of beggar’s night.
Here they are, along with photos that accurately display the sadness they induce:
You just don’t want teeth anymore if you eat these.
Here’s a photo of someone who is ready to get rid of all their teeth tonight:
4. Tootsie Pops
What. A. Pain. In. The. Ass.
Look at this sad lineup:
3. Anything from the Brach’s Bulk Section
You know those gummies that aren’t gummy bears or gummy worms, and they’re not sour…? They are often covered in visible sugar, they have a color but are lacking any discernible flavor.
Oh god they call them “fruit jellies”
2. Raisins and/or Raisinets
C’mon man. You clearly hate Halloween, just turn the porch light off and shut the door for the night. There’s a whole new season of stranger things you could be watching.
1. Boston Baked Beans
Several questions: Couldn’t you have at least picked a name that made them sound remotely appealing? How are they still in business? Why are they so hard? Is it because the factory has actually closed and they’re just selling up what’s left?
The parking garage at Resource/Ammirati says IBM iX now. It’s official. You’ll see a stream of “so and so got a new job, congratulate them” notifications on LinkedIn as some of the 10,000 or so employees start to update and adjust to their new group identity.
And then there’s the party.
You know an organization is huge when they have to rent out the entire Columbus Commons to host a party for their current and former employees, as Resource did earlier this month.
In order to cast our predictions, we must first understand what the basic ingredients are for an agency to have that breakout potential. The ingredients that make an agency successful, edgy, and irresistible to a much larger organization.
Alaina:“Right time. Right place. And a hell of a lot of work until that moment to make sure you’re prepared to seize the opportunity. It’s not as sexy as you would think because behind the scenes of any amazing start up or agency is a pile of failures and losses that teach you lessons on how to make yourself better and ultimately more prepared for the moment when that huge account shows up.”
Robert: “I think the landscape is changing. The factors that made agencies successful in the past have much less relevance today. Simply put, it comes down to results. Brilliant thinking that clearly understands and motivates its audience. Actual and measurable business metrics. Smart is the new Creative.”
Does size really matter?
I think of some really small operations, even one-woman shows, that have a groundbreaking approach and put out world-class work… But it feels unlikely that they’ll be scooped up any time soon, mainly because they are so small. So, what about scale? Is there an ideal size for an agency to be acquired?
Alaina: “My understanding, without expertise or formal training, is that a successful acquisition depends not on an agency’s size or even revenue, but on the agency’s health. Those acquiring agencies are looking to ultimately buy the agency’s processes, its book of clients, past case studies and its top senior level talent.”
Robert: “It’s really about the numbers and how the acquisition enables the acquirer. Roughly speaking, I think critical mass starts at 5 or 10 million.”
The times, they are a changin’
I worked for an agency only a few years ago and even since then it seems that the landscape has changed quite a bit for those “full service” shops. If you’re not hyper specialized at this point it seems nearly impossible to differentiate and the business is changing almost too fast to keep up with. What about the landscape of agency world in general? What do you think the future of agencies looks like?
Alaina: “This is an excellent question and one we discuss a lot internally at Cement and within the Women in Digital organization. It appears that clients will continue building in-house agencies for years to come. However, these in-house teams are better suited for production of larger creative and strategic visions laid forth by outside agencies. Ultimately, the in-house agency is here to stay, but that means agencies will be hired far less for production services. Ultimately, that’s a huge blow to larger agencies but a huge win for smaller more strategic agencies like Cement.”
Robert: “I think it looks very different, so much so that we may want to revisit what the term “agency” means and whether that is even relevant in this transforming business climate. The firms having the largest impact are those that are focused on substantive results, evaluated purely on the customer’s terms, not the creative director’s clever late night vision.”
Fortune telling: part of the business
So the Mad Men era of brilliant, tear-jerking campaigns delivered by whiskey-breathed dudes is officially closing. Brands across the spectrum are pulling their heavy creative lifting in-house. Can agencies still play the role of advisor? Where are your clients most often seeking your counsel and thought leadership? (Well, lets be realistic here, the really smart clients might be actively seeking it… the others just need to be convinced that they need it!)
Alaina: “Not much has changed since our founding in 2009. The clients have grown, of course, but it’s funny because no matter what the size of the company their number one question for Cement is always, ‘how can we make a mark with our digital presence?’. Ultimately, they’re trying to authentically deliver their brand message within the digital space. The challenge for us as an agency is to sort out their existing presence and then reorganize the content, how their audience sees it, how it should be seen and then build and execute upon a strategy and plan to make it happen.
Robert: “They are seeking Experience Strategy and Design. They need help sorting through the myriad complexities of their business stakeholders, audiences, channels, data, etc.. They want help figuring out how all of it fits together and adds up to differentiating outcomes.”
There are some great buzzwords in those answers that I have been speculating on: audience and experience being the two main ones that pop out to me. I guess we’ll just have to see where the perfect convergence of data-driven, audience-targeted, and experiential shows up next. Our contributors were far too modest to reveal their top contenders for local agencies that fit the “recipe” (😉). … But we want to know if you’ve got any local agencies that come to mind? Place your bet in the comments.
I’m having a baby. So now there are all these new questions popping up that I have to answer. Or at least pretend to have answers for… or just try to calm myself down enough to sleep at night. I figured since I’ve got this new local publication, I might as well use it as a platform for asking those questions to people who might really have some answers. So here we go, welcome to New to This: A Parenting Series
Must Have Baby Registry Items
Because you don’t know what you don’t know… I asked all the recent parents I know what their number one baby registry item was. Here are the results:
1. Waterproof your nights with mattress covers.
“Multiple waterproof crib mattress covers- they get soaked through in middle of the night and much easier to put Humpty Dumpty back together again when you have a backup.”
2. Protect ya neck… (from spit up) with burp cloths and bibs.
“Silicone bibs!! Super easy to clean once they start solid foods.”
“Burp cloths, so so many”
3. Avoid crawling on the floor by investing in a white noise machine.
“Also white noise machine so you don’t have to creep through your house when your baby sleeps. I recommend Dohm’s. Works great.”
“I second Molly. I’d recommend a white noise machine. Our Dohms one is great.”
*An alternative pro-tip I got from several parents was to just download a white noise app and play it on an iPad in the room.
4. Everyone. Said. Boppy Pillow.
“Boppy infant lounger pillow. A life saver!”
“The Boppy pillow is amazing!”
Boppy Pillow with a few covers! Best thing ever!!
Boppy pillow with two covers
5. And some more things to hold your baby for you.
“Baby K’tan was the easiest to use for Baby carrying!”
“Ergo baby carrier”
6. And some things to put your baby to sleep…or at least try.
“We didn’t use a bassinet; subbed for the Rock-N-Play.”
“A Rock and play. Liam slept in one for the first 3 months.”
“Swaddles, sleep sacks, sound machine…everything associated with good sleeping.”
7. Sweet outfits.
“Baby pjs is something I could never get enough of!”
“Ask for clothes beyond 6 months…everyone will get newborn outfits.”
8. Various tools for keeping noses cleared out
“Cool mist humidifier. Stuffed baby noses are the devil”
“Speaking in stuffy noses, the nose freida is amazing!”
All photos from Awkward Family Photos. Header image by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash.
I chug podcasts. I’ve listened to more than 30 in their entirety. I also have a bit of a tendency to delight in the macabre. Luckily, I’m not alone as America seems to be having a true crime renaissance. So here are some of the true crime, supernatural, and just downright weird podcasts that I have vetted and deemed appropriate for getting you in the Halloween spirit. And 5 more that I just couldn’t get into.
WARNING:Almost all of these podcasts contain adult themes, language, and lots of potential triggers (violence, sexual violence, etc.). These are really not for kids and not for anyone squeamish.
In this exceptional piece of investigative journalism, a skilled reporter digs deep into the infamous Jacob Wetterling case.
For 27 years, the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. Reporter Madeleine Baran reveals how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, led to the nation’s sex-offender registries and raise questions about crime-solving effectiveness and accountability.
It is not for everyone. But the fans are diehard and the hosts have traveled the globe taking this show live on stage after it made a rocket rise to the top of the podcast charts last year. If you love true crime but also get really bummed out by crappy reenactments and/or get emotionally bogged down in the sadness of the human condition… this might be the show for you.
Based on the overwhelming response to our Flooded Again documentary feature, and in line with our continued quest to uncover the stories of Franklinton, we decided to set up a community listening project at Independents’ Day Festival over this past weekend. We called it The Franklinton Wishing Tree. The results are in: 476 people wrote their hopes, dreams, fears and wishes onto tags and tied them to our tree.
Our prompt asked for thoughts on the development of Fraklinton, and while we got lots of general wishes (like the child who wanted a puppy dispenser), we also got some really great feedback about the neighborhood and its trajectory. Here’s a taste of the sentiment we collected.
Residents are hopeful that Franklinton will maintain its urban, artistic, eclectic feel. Here’s a look at some of the tags that addressed hopes for neighborhood atmosphere.
They want more natural spaces and green initiatives, like urban farming and gardening.
Some tags addressed the deep history of the neighborhood or specific communities with an interest in building or preserving their footprint in the area.
KTC is a Columbus Buddhist organization, several tags on the tree mentioned this organization by name. Station 67 is a historical building on Broad St. (we’ve written about it before).
In general we found both enthusiasm and reticence for the development. There is definitely some excitement for the growth….
But overwhelmingly the worry was that the current residents would be displaced by this development because of rising cost of living. Gentrification was another big one… we’ve written about that topic too.
Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Across the country you’ll see the iconic black and white National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag flying. The Pentagon will host a ceremony featuring all of the branches of the US military… but most of us will go along with our regular September Friday having very little awareness of how many men and women have been or are currently held prisoner. This got us wondering about how many American soldiers have been captured or gone missing throughout our country’s modern military history.
Here’s a quick rundown by conflict:
Revolutionary War: estimated 20,000 Americans were held as POWs and 8,500 died in captivity
Civil War: estimated 194,000 Union soldiers and 214,000 Confederate soldiers became POWs. Approximately 30,000 Union soldiers died in Confederate prisons and approximately 26,000 Confederate soldiers died in Union POW camps.
World War I: approximately 4,120 Americans were held and there were 147 confirmed deaths.
World War II: In Europe, nearly 94,000 Americans were interned as POWs. Nearly 30,000 Americans were interned by the Japanese.
Korean War: More than 7,100 Americans were captured and interned and just over 2,700 are known to have died while interned.
Vietnam War: 766 Americans are known to have been prisoners of war. Of this number, 114 died during captivity. 1,606 Vietnam War soldiers remain MIA.
The Defense POW/ MIA Accounting Agency keeps profiles of America’s unaccounted for personnel, they have digitized all of the profiles for Vietnam service members and are adding new profiles daily.
Three years ago a strange request popped into my inbox.
“Hi Ami, I hope this email finds you well…”
A friend of mine had a friend working for The Atlantic and looking for a connection on the ground in Columbus, OH. She was assisting Deb and James Fallows, the husband and wife reporting team, with their planning for the American Futures series. For this series they hopped in their Cessna and flew from city to city to see how the revival of recession-leveled communities was going. In Deb’s own words…
“We have been traveling around the country for over a year, visiting smaller towns, and now some larger cities that have interesting stories to tell of revival and reinvention. We are looking into visiting Columbus in the very near future, and your name came to us via a grapevine…”
At this time in 2014, like everyone else, I was lapping up city-fed messages about the exciting future of Franklinton. So naturally, when Deb Fallows emailed me I was full of links to help connect her with the people doing the doing in Franklinton.
Deb and I spoke on the phone as well as meeting in person. She was utterly lovely; grateful for my help and courteous of my time. She asked insightful questions, shared that she had a 93-year-old mother, and revealed that she was originally from Vermillion, OH. While my ambitions of having our fledgling coffee truck side-hustle featured in the national press didn’t pan out, I was able to connect her with lots of people making big moves in this city…. specifically in Franklinton.
The American Futures project aimed to present “Portraits of change and resilience in American communities.” And when the Columbus feature came out, it definitely captured that spirit of change… but it was named “Gentrification ‘without the negative’ in Columbus, Ohio.” Damn. Even then I thought… that can’t be the whole picture.
Part of the problem with the discussion of Franklinton is the fundamental assumption, based on misunderstanding, that there’s just nobody over there. That it’s a blank slate for the city and developers and therefore a win-win for everyone. If there’s nobody there, then there is nobody to push out. Even the comments on The Atlantic’s video at that time revealed that some residents were uncomfortable with that idea. One person, identifying himself as a resident in the comment section, said: “While I love the art warehouse (& the coffee), someone needs to explain to Mr. Sweeney that there are in fact […] people living in Franklinton, and for some of us, to varying degrees, gentrification will be painful. The blanket comment “the existing population is gone already” is an attempt justifying a corporate takeover of a neighborhood […]”
Another commenter brings up the lack of resident representation this way: “The video says that there is literally no one in that area but also said there’s about a 25% home vacancy rate. So, doesn’t that mean that 75% of the homes do have people living in them? Just because there’s a few boarded up houses doesn’t mean no one lives there. Anyways, the video looked really nice, and I’m not against artists making art in old buildings, I’m just concerned about the title and intent. It would have been a good idea to actually talk to long-term residents from the neighborhood about their opinion of gentrification, and whether or not this space is actually helping create opportunities for local folks.”
Yes, much of East Franklinton (the area near COSI, 400 W Rich, etc.) was uninhabited and ripe for takeover. But that’s not the whole neighborhood.
Three years later, with much of the ground broken on those promised development projects, we wondered what the picture looks like now. What about the people who live there?
Our incredible partners at Loose Films stepped up to challenge. They took our curiosity, a few connections, and lots of elbow grease and got to work on a piece that I think rivals The Atlantic’s in both presentation of perspective and artistic sensibility.
We don’t purport to have answers for what will happen in Franklinton, but we can definitely ask visionaries for their best advice on how to do this right. We can learn lessons from other cities. We can talk to the people who live and work there now. And the ones who will come later.
The end isn’t written, but the beginning definitely is. And it is important for the long-term success of any neighborhood—or city for that matter—to remember where they came from as they continue to grow and change.