Tucked in the basement of a plaza on the corner of North High Street and Woodruff Avenue is Joy’s Village, a family-owned Chinese restaurant voted best international food near campus by Lantern readers this year.
Joy’s Village has served the Ohio State and Columbus communities since 1986, making it a well-established spot for students to find authentic Chinese cuisine, Ivy Choo, co-owner of Joy’s Village, said.
Choo’s husband, Jackie, took over from the previous owner 30 years ago and has served authentic Chinese, Cantonese and Hunan cuisine ever since.
“Everything is made from scratch –– that includes the sauce and other ingredients used in our recipe,” Ivy Choo said. “The recipe is based on a family recipe from Jackie and his brothers.”
Popular menu items include General Tso’s chicken, orange chicken and mapo tofu, Choo said, and accommodations can be made for those with allergies or other dietary restrictions.
The chicken lo mein and the portion sizes led Samantha Rinehart, a Columbus-based food blogger known as @samsaysyum on Instagram, to eat at the restaurant when visiting friends on campus for the odd Saturday night out.
“We would go to Big Bar and then go to Joy’s Village to chow down on the chicken lo mein, and it was definitely great after a couple of drinks,” Rinehart said.
Rinehart said Joy’s Village seems to be as much a staple for the community as it is for her and her friends on campus.
“Every time that we visited the restaurant it was packed, and people do go back to Joy’s Village often,” Rinehart said.
Choo said delivery services such as Grubhub and DoorDash have helped Joy’s Village bring in business this year. The restaurant has done well with takeout orders, but Choo said dine-in has been slow, likely due to the location of the facility and the pandemic.
“We are hidden in a basement, and a lot of people do not even know it,” Choo said.
Choo said most of their business in a normal year can be attributed to international students, but with travel restrictions and complications due to the pandemic, she said the decrease of international students on campus might be correlated to the restaurant’s decrease in business.
“Before the pandemic, we were just packed for lunch and dinner and all the seats were taken,” Choo said. “I don’t know if it is because of international students not being available at this moment.”
Joy’s Village is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.