Then we have the cousin to the mighty doughnut. Don’t be fooled by their plain Jane appearance—when you’re really in the mood to go all in, there’s nothing better than a fritter. The pinnacle of indulgence, fritters stand head and shoulders above other already-rich baked treats in terms of decadence.
By definition, a fritter is simply pieces of food (an apple, for example) surrounded by or dipped into batter and deep-fried. But we don’t think this really does them justice, and culturally they’ve become something else: bigger, badder–and oftentimes a lot better–than regular doughnuts.
Here’s our list of the best fritters in Columbus. You might want to loosen your belt by a notch or two before you check them out; you’re going to need the room.
Jolly Pirate Donuts
Grove City Location: 3118 Southwest Blvd, Grove City, OH 43123
As you’ve probably noticed, our first two spots began by taking over the storefronts of former Jolly Pirate Donuts locations. And we’re inclined to think that Jolly Pirate is so ubiquitous for a pretty good reason: they’re fantastic.
A small doughnut chain with independently-owned shops that’s based right here in Columbus since they first opened in the 1960s, Jolly Pirate has a handful of locations in central Ohio and nearby states like Kentucky and West Virginia. Currently, there are three Jolly Pirate spots in the greater Columbus area in Grove City, Reynoldsburg (the original), and a third in nearby Newark.
And if there’s only one fritter from this list I’m able to eat for the rest of my life, it’s going to be this one. According to owners of the Grove City location Amy and Steven Rinehart, their fritter recipe–which still relies on workers hand-weighing ingredients and hand-frying each pastry–has remained unchanged since the 1960s when the chain first launched.
Even though all the others are also fantastic, there’s something special happening here. And while it may not be the best-looking of the bunch, it’s not a beauty pageant, and these huge decadent fritters, especially when warm, come off so wonderfully sweet and rich that they almost remind me of freshly-fried funnel cake. At only $1.55 each, they’re just as sweet of a deal.