Mike N Willies
Fusion Cafe
Fusion Cafe

Serious Eats had a street food profile of the Fusion Cafe in Columbus, OH.  Their food looks delicious, like the jerk chicken legs with fusion slaw and blackberry dipping sauce shown below. [Serious Eats]

Jerk chicken legs with fusion slaw and blackberry dipping sauce.

What you might not know is there are a bunch of other great street food options around Columbus.  Click through to see what other fascinating street food is in the area, such as Japanese-style crepes!

The Columbus Dispatch had a rundown recently, so let’s get to work.

ray rays

There’s Ray Ray’s Hog Pit, a barbecue stand in the Clintonville neighborhood which has no website and no tables, but you can smell their brisket for blocks.  The owner of Ray Ray’s, James Anderson, operated a North Side restaurant for several years.

Viewed as a less-risky investment for newcomers — or an easy supplement to those with an existing eatery — area food-truck vendors cited startup costs ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, a fraction of the average cost to launch a brick-and-mortar bistro.

3 Babes and a Baker
3 Babes and a Baker

The notion of a more-manageable investment appealed to Carla Saunders, a former bakery owner who in June opened Three Babes and a Baker, a gyro truck she bought for $15,000 that has since been outfitted to bake and store cupcakes.  Carla sells varieties of cupcakes ranging from banana split to German chocolate on weekdays from a downtown parking lot at N. High and Gay streets.

Japanese crepes from the Foodie Cart
Japanese crepes from the Foodie Cart

Kenny Kim and his wife, Misako Ohba, didn’t want to start a restaurant.  They opted instead, on July4, to launch the Foodie Cart, a pushcart peddling thin, Japaese-style crepes that Ohba perfected at a Tokyo pastry school.  Kim, who has worked in the kitchens of Mitchell’s Steakhouse and Dragonfly Neo-V, thinks the couple can turn a fast profit by cutting out rent, utilities and employee costs that restaurants must artfully balance to prosper.

Others view mobility as a viable brand extension.  The nocturnal breakfast kitchen Eggfast this month opened an evening truck in a Harrison West parking lot at Pennsylvania and W. 3rd Avenues.  With a limited menu of hash-brown casserole plus breakfast burritos and tacos, the truck  was inspired by time manager Beau Foshee spent living in the vibrant food-truck city of Austin, Texas.

Later this summer, an Indian-made Bajaj-brand scooter truck owned by Jeni’s Ice Creams will begin making the rounds, selling ice-cream sandwiches and mini containers on the go, sales director Ryan Morgan said.  The Columbus company will promote the vehicle’s whereabouts via Twitter and the location-based social-networking website Foursquare.

The Cincinnati City Council in June also passed legislation designating three city-owned downtown spots as open territory for 20 mobile vendors, allowing them to operate until 3:30a.m. for an annual fee. [Columbus Dispatch]

Looks like you don’t have to be a huge city to support a vibrant street food scene.  All you need are some talented chefs, and a local government that understands.