Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana

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Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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2006/12/24 19:23:08 (permalink)

Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana

We received this note about an old, departed Roadfood favorite in Indiana, from Terry Snyder of Columbus, Indiana:

"The future of Zaharako's is up for grabs. They sold the organ at the beginning of 2006 due to having trouble finding parts and repairs. They had plans to buy another organ, but before they did the lone Zaharako running it passed on (around mid-2006 or a little later). He had been going down for some time and so did the place as some other people have mentioned (particularly in the past couple of years). At one time his mom, brother, and others in the family all worked there. Death, health and family commitments took their toll until Lew was the only one left. He had trouble keeping help and was not really able to keep up like even he wanted to. It was sad to see it waste away before my eyes. Yes, sometimes the chips were stale and the sandwiches were not as good as they once were. They had to quit selling candy because they couldn't keep up with it all. The drinks were not always available as they once had been.

Some years back the Chees Br-Grs, Coney Burgers (hotdog with the meat sauce from the chees Br-Grs with melted cheese on top), and drinks, including orangeades (which were freshly squeezed oranges, pretty finely crushed ice and sugar) were really great. I hope something is done with it, but Lew had said it was not for sale before he got more sick. Am not sure what the family intends to do with it now. Will update here if things change, but don't come now because it is closed down.
#1

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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/01/29 16:40:35 (permalink)
    A further update from Terry:

    "The future of Zaharko's looks a bit better. It has been purhased from the remaining family members by a non profit group in town who wants to return it to its former glory. They plan on having it restored and operational by the Christmas season of 2007. The organ will probably not be back as it had already been sold to a private collector before Lew passed away. However, it appears that they plan on updating things that need to be, cleaning it up some more, giving it a facelift, but try to keep as faithful to the old Zaharako's as it can be. They said they do not want to see another Christmas go by without Zaharako's. In the past, the decorating was done on Thanksgiving night and it was always hopping after that until after Christmas. The purpose of the non profit organization is to save Columbus landmarks and to keep them as much like they were as possible, so I think this is a good thing. I don't forsee any major changes (or changes for the worse.)"
    #2
    MacTAC
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/01/30 01:26:21 (permalink)
    That's great news...
    #3
    UncleVic
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/01/30 01:30:08 (permalink)
    Thanks... Nice update!
    #4
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/01/30 07:37:57 (permalink)
    That really is great news about Zaharako's. It has been several years since I have last been there, so I only remember them from their heyday. And I have very fond memories of the place. Here is hoping that the non-profit organization doing the work is successful in reopening Zaharako's, but it probably won't be the same without the old organ. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to my next Cheese-br-gr and a cinnamon coke.
    #5
    Louis
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/01/30 19:12:28 (permalink)
    I went to Zaharako's for the first time in 2004. It was kind of run-down inside, but that didn't matter. The several items I ate and drank there that afternoon made the trip worth the drive. In particular--although I forget the item's name--they had one old-time soft-drink flavor that tasted exactly like an Atomic Fire Ball without the fire. It was pleasant to drink. In fact, I drank three glasses of it, along with several other old-time flavors that you can't find anywhere else.

    If the soft-drink companies ever want to discover a new flavor for market-testing, they should check out this place when they re-open and then duplicate what they serve. Zaharako's offers some 19th-century soft drink flavors that you just can't find anywhere else.

    I went there in October 2006 and learned that they had closed because of the owner's death. So I'm glad to hear that the city of Columbus, Indiana is going to save it from extinction.
    #6
    MacTAC
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/01/31 00:10:43 (permalink)
    buffetbuster said "I am looking forward to my next Cheese-br-gr and a cinnamon coke."

    and Louis said "-although I forget the item's name--they had one old-time soft-drink flavor that tasted exactly like an Atomic Fire Ball without the fire. It was pleasant to drink. In fact, I drank three glasses of it, along with several other old-time flavors that you can't find anywhere else."

    Could that be the drink?
    #7
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/01/31 06:07:43 (permalink)
    MacTAC-
    I was thinking the same thing. It sure sounds like a cinnamon coke. I know Zaharako's offered quite a few different coke flavors you rarely see anymore.
    #8
    Louis
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/02/01 09:16:32 (permalink)
    Maybe it was a cinnamon coke. All that I remember about the soft-drink was that it consisted of a bright red liquid, the same color of an Atomic Fire Ball. I was introduced to it this way: it had another name on the menu, and the girl who waited on me said that it tasted like an Atomic Fire Ball. And it did. After that, I just kept pushing the glass forward and asking for a refill.
    #9
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/02/01 13:17:17 (permalink)
    Louis-
    No, the cinnamon cokes I had were not bright red, so what you had was something different. I sure hope when they reopen, they put what you had back on the menu, because I was would like to try one.
    #10
    Louis
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/02/01 20:23:45 (permalink)
    If you like the flavor of an Atomic Fireball without the fire, you'll like it. I sure hope they have them when they reopen. Columbus, Indiana is about a 3-4 hour drive for me, if I don't stop along the way.
    #11
    ftldave
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/06/06 15:08:08 (permalink)
    The red cinnamon drink was undoubtedly a Cinnamon Phosphate. I always got one with extra syrup, along with a GOM (or two), which was kind of a coney-sauce-sloppy joe on white bread. Some attribute the GOM name from old-time slang for "gummy" or "all gummed up".
    #12
    Louis
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/06/06 19:04:18 (permalink)
    I hope that's the name of it. I sure hope Zaharako's opens soon. I only got two cinnamon phosphates to go last time. Next time I'll get a half-dozen. I can't say enough about that drink.
    #13
    columbusite
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/07/04 22:07:41 (permalink)
    Hi, I have another update. After the non profit bought it, they discovered that it would take much more money to fix it than they had at their disposal and take longer than thought. One of the members bought it himself and is going to do some things differently, but try to keep it close to what it was while improving it somewhat. It will likely be some time in 2008 before it is ready to open. He tried to buy back the organ, but the offer was rejected. He is going to try to find a similar one (it won't be the same model, but hopefully close.)
    #14
    Louis
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/07/04 22:56:42 (permalink)
    So long as they leave the recipes alone, I'll accept any changes they make.
    #15
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/11/09 10:53:58 (permalink)
    Anybody have news about Zaharako's? How is the fixing up going and when are they planning on reopening?

    It looks like I will be driving through there in a couple weeks and I would be thrilled if they happened to be reopened already so I could stop in.
    #16
    ayersian
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2007/11/09 11:13:25 (permalink)
    One of my first and most memorable RF trips! Sure hope they've reopened -- I can almost taste their Cheese-br-gr and cinnamon Coke...
    #17
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2008/03/15 18:24:23 (permalink)
    I heard some good Roadfood scuttlebutt today. I was talking to the nice lady at the visitor's center in Columbus, Indiana. The renovation at Zaharako's is coming along well and they are due to open some time in 2009. The new owner is sinking lots of time and effort into it and it will apparently be as good as new when it reopens. But the really good news is, that they did get the organ back. Anyone who has eaten here before knows exactly what I am talking about and Zaharako's wouldn't be the same without it. I can't wait to see it next year!
    #18
    Louis
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2008/03/15 20:16:06 (permalink)
    This IS good news! Someone let me know when it opens. I can taste those cinnamon phosphates now.
    #19
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/01/07 15:53:49 (permalink)
    I found that Zaharako's has a website, with lots of good photos of the renovation:

    http://www.zaharakos.com/

    It looks like the reopening will be in the Fall of 2009.  I can't wait!
    #20
    carolina bob
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/01/08 22:32:09 (permalink)
    Thanks for posting that website, BB. The pictures look great. I was there back in the mid ' 80s - had a cheese-brr-ger and I-don't-remember-what to drink, and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings, especially the pipe organ. I really looking forward to going back.
    #21
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/01/08 22:43:57 (permalink)
    BB -

    I find it amazing you are on top of this...I got on there email list.  Thanks!  This looks like a roadtrip for the grand opening!
    #22
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/01/09 07:56:35 (permalink)
    CTD-
    Since the sign said reopening in 2009, I put it on my calendar to call as soon as the new year started.  The Columbus visitor's center is who told me about the website.  And yes, the nice lady did admit that she occcasionally tried to peek through the brown paper covering the windows, trying to see what was going on.

    I also put my name on the email list and will GLADLY meet you and anyone else for the reopening!

    nocarolina-
    Sounds like you have really been around.  You would be welcome to join us.
    #23
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/01/09 09:41:07 (permalink)
    BB -

    I checked out the website and signed up and got a nice form email indicating I would get updates as they became available.  Thanks again for the tip!
    #24
    Louis
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/01/16 08:36:49 (permalink)
    I'll be watching this tread.  I'll definitely show up when they open.  It's only a day's drive to cinnamon phosphate heaven.
    #25
    ayersian
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/04/03 13:26:53 (permalink)
    I just received a press kit from Zaharakos today, and the grand re-opening weekend is June 6-7!  Anybody making plans to visit?  Click here for the site...  Chris
    #26
    mayor al
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/04/03 14:22:29 (permalink)
    Chris,
      Thanks for posting the schedule. We are a tentative Yes on attending the re-opening...depending on any conflicting events that come along. It is less than a hundred mile trip for us. 
    post edited by mayor al - 2009/04/03 14:23:45
    #27
    Louis
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/04/03 18:13:30 (permalink)
    I'll make it there as soon as I can.  If not on the day of the Grand Opening, then later that month.

    #28
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/04/08 09:34:28 (permalink)
    I am very, very tempted to try and be there for the opening.  It sounds like a great event!
    #29
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Zaharako's, Columbus,Indiana 2009/04/08 12:13:50 (permalink)
    That kind of restoration is very, very expensive.  I don't know how the owner can afford it with a real-world business plan, but I am glad that it is being done.

    Take lots of pix, buffetbuster!
    #30
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