Nov 14, 2022 - Things to Do

Best Day Ever: Stephanie Cedeño

A selfie of Stephanie Cedeño holding her coat to show a pin of the Besa logo

Stephanie Cedeño shows off a pin of the Besa logo, a tree with a heart inside it. Photo courtesy of Besa

We're back with another installment of Best Day Ever, our feature highlighting how local movers and shakers spend their time in Central Ohio.

What's happening: Stephanie Cedeño is director of civic engagement for Besa, a Columbus nonprofit connecting people to community service.

Cedeño's local favorites:

💃 Music to start your day: I wake up to the lively beats of salsa and reggaeton; Bad Bunny and J Balvin are on constant rotation.

  • I grew up waking up to the sounds of salsa filling my house and it's a great way to get the body and mind moving. It's hard to have a bad day when you start it dancing!

🍳 Breakfast: Tasi Cafe in the Short North. It's tucked away in a quiet corner and everything on their menu is prepared daily from scratch. I always order the black bean cakes topped with poached eggs, jalapeno butter, a side of fresh French bread, coffee and mimosas.

☕ Morning activity: Walking through my neighborhood, Olde Towne East, admiring the big old houses as I make my way to Upper Cup for a big cup of freshly roasted coffee and a cronut. We have great community builders that frequent that coffee shop, and there are always lively conversations, coupled with beautiful local art and some of the best coffee in the city.

  • Then I would walk to Broad Street Food Pantry and volunteer. Service work makes my spirit feel full, and the pantry was one of the first places I started volunteering through Besa in 2014. On Thursdays, we pack and distribute meals to the seniors living in Poindexter Village, and it's fun to spend time with them.

🥗 Lunch: I'm obsessed with Freedom a la Cart Cafe. Their Life Salad literally gives me life. The roasted rosemary pecans and herb-mustard vinaigrette are what really set it apart.

  • In addition to everything on their menu being delicious and the cafe being super adorable, each purchase provides workforce training and wraparound services for local survivors of sex trafficking. Good food and an amazing mission is a win-win in my book.

🦖 Afternoon activity: Releasing my inner kid at COSI. I never miss the chance to explore the Dinosaur Gallery. They have a ton of fun exhibits and I always learn something new when I visit (like T. rexes did not roar!).

  • Then I would walk the Scioto Mile and take in the beautiful views of downtown.

🧑‍🍳 Dinner: Chapman's Eat Market is my favorite restaurant in the city. Their menu rotates, but their General Tso’s Cauliflower has become a staple, and I couldn't leave without ordering it.

  • They also have the friendliest staff. They treat you like a good friend and the chef comes out to check on tables.

🍿 Evening activity: Happy hour with my friends to catch up — Goodale Station has great views and cocktails! — and then a movie at Gateway Film Center. Gateway has a good mix of popular new movies and small independent films from around the world.

  • Bonus: If you go on Tuesdays, you get free popcorn!

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