When I lived in Grandview, I’d always bypass the Starbucks a few blocks from my house to go to Columbus’ own Stauf’s a mile away. I chose Stauf’s because it was a place to people watch, but also because it was locally owned. Others must have done the same, because the Starbucks Building on 5th Avenue is no longer inhabited by Starbucks. My first time in the building was this past weekend. And, well, it’s had a bit of a transformation.
Graffiti Burger, a higher-priced ($9 for a burger, fries and drink), Columbus-based infant of a fast food burger chain opened its second restaurant in Grandview less than a week ago. And if I know Columbus, these suckers will be in every neighborhood as fast as Giovanni Santiago can paint a mural or ten.
Primary and secondary target audiences are clearly marked, in graffiti-style murals painted by Mr. Santiago, who, according to an employee, took a month to paint every inch of the walls and some of the ceiling. (Like his work? He also does t-shirts and body art at clubs downtown.) Images of the (not-yet-opened) Grandview Theater, Rife’s, Jim Tressel, Grandview Bobcats and the Upper Arlington Golden Bears grace the walls of Graffiti Burger. So… If you live in Grandview or Upper Arlington or if you like OSU football, this is the place for you. Pretty all-encompassing targets, there. Marketing speak aside, I did feel as if the folks at Graffiti Burger actually cared that I was there. Mission accomplished.
On to the food. The menu is simple, yet feeds all: big appetite, small appetite, vegetarian and Atkin’s Diet people. (I thought that trend was over.) I ordered the namesake burger: two angus beef patties, vinegar-based slaw, special sauce (a thousand island dressing that I got on the side), pickles and tomato. I had them add two types of cheese and spicy mustard. There are a myriad of free ingredients that you can add to the burger, which creates more reasons to return.
Like “all natural” the term “angus” can be slapped on anything these days, so I ignored the claim. The burger pretty much tasted a step above a fast food burger, but without the physical side affects that I experience when I consume a burger from McWendyKing.
The fries, hand-cut and served in generous portions, were amazing. They could be a meal in themselves, and I’d call them the shining star in my lunch experience there.
Their third claim to fame are their milkshakes. I opted to pass, but my friend ordered vanilla, after being visibly bummed that strawberry was not an option. I have nothing to report on their taste, but visually, they were beautiful. Next time, I’m bringing a Lactaid with me and I’m going to down one of those guys. (Also available in chocolate.)
So. I like it. I like having a locally-owned fast food option (with incredible customer service, by the way) that caters to specific neighborhoods. It’s a perfect fit for Grandview and I’d like to see one open in Clintonville. My suggestion is this: before they grow too big to change, it might be good to see if they can look into locally sourcing some ingredients. Start small. Snowville for their milkshakes, maybe. Or a mustard from one of Ohio’s half-dozen mustard creators. It’s clear that they’re going to grow; it be great if they brought a little guy up with them.
1505 West Fifth Ave
Columbus, OH 43212