Progressive Northstar Café has built quite a name for itself in Columbus. The sleek, modern dining atmosphere offers a very unique concept to attract atypical diners with its heavy emphasis on local grown, organic, and healthy ingredients. More than simply providing food for the many diners passing through the doors of its three locations, this concept seems to desire a wholesomeness in its experience I’ve rarely seen. I have to admit, though, the different take on food definitely equates to a very unique taste.
The menu is wholly impossible to describe for its great variety of dishes. There are burritos and flatbreads and rice bowls. There are wines, craft beer, bakery items and burgers. This is not your typical concept, and the wide variety of dishes make it a very difficult place to judge bases on one visit. You’ll have to come back a few times and try a few different things to get an idea for what you really like. That’s refreshing to see: a place that can’t be generalized, that defies description. It’s no wonder it attracts so many different kinds of people, you can’t help but be curious as to what it’s all about.
The gist of the dishes is they are all very different. Most use organic or local ingredients (things easily acquired in a large city like this, I imagine) and integrating them into more common dishes to give them a new twist. Most of the dishes are heavy on vegetables and healthier starches and proteins. Brown rice, wheat dough and black beans are a common sight on the menu, as are organic eggs and sweet potatoes. Every dish feels very deliberate. You won’t be able to show up and binge on junk food.
- The Buddha Bowl, a colorful assortment of vegetables and chicken served on a bed of brown rice is topped with a very peanut butter sauce with a distinct Asian flare to it.
- The Square Meal is loaded with black beans and avocados, and simply exudes a very tex-mex inspired flavor. All around the creativity is palpable.
- BBQ Chicken flatbread: A Crispy flatbread topped with veggies, a little cheese, and a barbecued chicken. Great!
- Classic cheeseburger: A ground brisket and chuck patty, topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. So juicy it’s ridiculous! I love it!
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich: A pretty straight shot here, chicken, avocado, smoked gouda, roasted red peppers and an aioli. Clean, simple eating.
- Fish sandwich: Grilled barramundi filet has a mild flavor and only needs a little flavor but it’s plenty dressed up with lettuce, tomato, red onion and a herb aioli.
- Northstar Burger: A creative veggie burger, built of black beans, brown rice and beets. Then it’s topped with white cheddar, kale, tomato, pickle and onion. Strange sounding recipe right? Actually it’s substantial, but still very filling.
The staff is friendly and helpful, though the cafeteria-style line where you order leaves you feeling a little rushed to order at peak hours. Either way, Northstar Café is and outstanding restaurant concept with a refreshing outlook on making dinner both holistic and delicious. It absolutely deserves a visit or two. It won’t take the little cafe long to win you over.
- It’s hard to generalize the menu with one line. Be adventurous. Give lots of menu items a try.
- The place operates sort of like a cafeteria, you stand in line, order, then sit and wait for the food to be delivered to you. So, try to come in before the rush.
- The place has a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu, so any time to eat here really works.