Jeni + Ellen’s Road Trip: Columbus recap

We’re off and running! Ellen the amazing apron lady and I are trekking through 5 cities in 9 days to spread goodwill, meet current and future makers, and inspire creativity. We kicked off the fun on my home turf. For two days I checked out of my regular life and saw Columbus from the eyes of a visitor. It’s incredible to see the city through the eyes of a tourist. Columbus is an extraordinary place to live, and I love it. I’m so proud of our community and the hustle, ideas, and creativity that our city possess.

Ellen blew into town on Monday night and headed straight for Hot Chicken Takeover at North Market (where I got my start). We gave the Apron Squad a warm Columbus welcome over cold hot chicken, sides from Little Eater, and a cocktail from Middle West Spirits. We talked about how Ellen and I met, hustle and entrepreneurship, and going out and putting good into the world.

Day Two: Columbus is a great place to live (knew that), but it’s also an excellent place to visit. Fox in the Snow is a must stop if you’re in town. The order: cinnamon rolls with frosting as light as helium. Also, be sure to say hi to owners Jeff and Lauren. They met while working at Blue Bottle Coffee in Brooklyn, and moved to Columbus ready to take the leap and open on Fourth Street. I am constantly floored by their craft and dedication and service.


Ellen and I met up with John, Becka, and the happy jersey cows (seriously happy—they’re doing their jobs and they love it because they have a sense of purpose) at nearby Waterman Dairy Farm, part of Ohio State’s department of animal sciences. I get to spend time on dairy farms, but people don’t understand how good of a job our farmers are doing. Most are family farms similar to Waterman. I’ve never been to a farm where the cows aren’t happy—they’re playful and well taken care of. Most dairy farms are doing a wonderful job.

We also saw a baby calf born! They named it Jelli in honor of Jeni and Ellen.

We made our way back to Jeni’s HQ for a quick tour and a Facebook live chat. Think Hoda and Kathy Lee only with ice cream and waffles instead of wine. We gave Ellen a taste of the amazing, yeast-raised waffles we’ve been perfecting for months. (And I can’t wait for YOU to try these. They are unlike any waffles you’ve ever had. A custard-like interior with browned-butter exterior, plus a butter-sugar donut glaze.)

We squeezed in a quick pitstop to Igloo Letterpress, who we have been working with for years to create cards and posters (their youngest press is from the 1960s!). Owner Allison Chapman told us, “When I was younger I realized I couldn’t not do letterpress, so why wouldn’t I take the chance to try it?” She proves everyday with the extraordinary work she does that there’s care and resilience behind everyone’s passion. And Allison was kind enough to make us posters with a phrase that sums up the core essence of our entire road trip: Those are not bumps in the road, they are the road.

And then we were off to West Elm for a pop-up and our Clintonville shop for a meet-the-makers social with more aprons, ice cream, and goodwill. 


Next up: Louisville and then Nashville. Meet up or follow along with #IceCreamsAndApronsForAll.