Zaharakos is a historic landmark in downtown Columbus, IN. Established on October 20, 1900 (wow!) and started by James, Lewis and Pete Zaharokos, 3 brothers that left their family’s general store in Sparta, Greece to open this wonderful little confectionery.
Over the next century Zaharokos became a family tradition. People stopped by for all sorts of confectionery delights. Sodas, Sundaes, and smiles were always on the menu and the friendly staff had people coming back for generations. Sadly, in 2006 Zaharakos had to close.
Thankfully Tony Moravec, a Columbus business man, wasn’t about to let a piece of Columbus history vanish. He purchased and restored the property. He didn’t want to remodel the ice cream parlor, he wanted to preserve the historical look and feel that people remembered. He nailed it! Walking into Zaharakos is like walking in to the past.
Tiffany lamps, original restored fixtures, giant marble slab counter top and stained wood throughout makes you feel like you are stepping into the 1900’s. Make sure to take a look at the museum of antique soda fountains and the crown jewel of the museum is the Welt Orchestration, a self-playing pipe organ that provides the rich sound of a full orchestra complete with bass and snare drums, triangle, and cymbals!
Alright, so now let’s get to the really important part, the food. All the history in the world doesn’t mean squat if the food is terrible, thankfully that was not the case! The food here is beyond delicious! Sandwiches, soups and salads are on the menu for lunch or dinner and of course ice cream for dessert.
My husband gorged himself on the GOM sandwich, a mouthwatering twist on a sloppy joe, perfectly spiced meat grilled on white bread, add cheese for a sandwich that will literally melt in your mouth and leave you messy and satisfied.
I was a little less messy and ordered the artisan grilled cheese and avocado. OH MY YUM! Piled high with provolone and Parmesan cheese, sliced avocado and tomato and if you are really bad, you can add bacon (I was so bad!) From the first bite you are immersed in gooey goodness that will make you weak in the knees. It is really that good.
2 of my kids had the Classic “Dinner-Style” Burger. I stole a bite from each of theirs, for research purposes of course, and it was good, not quite the taste explosion that my husband and I ordered but it could definitely hold it’s own.
The littles were less than adventurous and ordered mac and cheese. Again for research purposes only, I had a little of their mac and cheese. I loved it! This isn’t the boxed, processed mac and cheese found in so many chain restaurants, this was real mac and cheese, the kind my grandma used to make. Nothing is a good as my grandma’s mac and cheese, but this is a close second. The kids ate every bite and asked for more.
So here we were, completely stuffed, like seriously so full we could burst. What do you do when you are that full? You order ice cream of course!
We ordered a couple scoops of ice cream for the littles and myself. The portions are huge! A “scoop” fills up an entire ice cream dish. The big kids decided to go big and get the Big “Z”! This monstrosity is 5 scoops of any flavor ice cream you want, covered in any 3 toppings that you want and of course topped with whipped cream and cherries!
Now I know why people kept coming back to the place for generations. If you are ever in the area, you need to make it a point to visit Zaharakos!