For those about to Shamrock, I salute you. But as you drink like a hero next Thursday - becoming smarter and better-looking with each sip - remember that you need to soak up the hooch. This brings us to the classic St. Patrick's Day food: corned beef and cabbage and, especially, its easier-eaten sandwich variation, the Reuben.

For those about to Shamrock, I salute you. But as you drink like a hero next Thursday - becoming smarter and better-looking with each sip - remember that you need to soak up the hooch. This brings us to the classic St. Patrick's Day food: corned beef and cabbage and, especially, its easier-eaten sandwich variation, the Reuben.

Did you know the Reuben - corned beef, cabbage (sauerkraut), melted Swiss cheese and Russian (or 1,000 island) dressing on rye bread - was invented on St. Patrick's Day in a New York City pub 100 years ago? Here's what happened.

After 11 Guinnesses too many, Reuben McTrashedpants grabbed his wife's grilled cheese sandwich (she'd left the pub after warning Reuben not to order another round) and stuffed it with the remnants of his traditional Irish dinner of corned beef and cabbage. After three delicious bites, Reuben began shouting that he was a genius. After 10 bites, he was arrested for public intoxication.

Shocker: I made that up.

Truth: Although several unconfirmed theories persist, no one knows how or when the Reuben was invented. Here's what I know for sure: delicious Reubens are increasingly rampant in Columbus.

And not just Reubens from terrific delis, such as Katzinger's and Lexi's. I'm talking about Reubens from new restaurants and places you might not think would serve a great sandwich. In fact, the only thing the following top-notch Reubens have in common is that they're assembled with goes-the-extra-mile, house-made corned beef.

Dempsey's Restaurant

$10, served with a side (e.g. roasted redskin potatoes)

Long, dark and handsome Dempsey's (aka ground-zero for Downtown St. Patrick's Day celebrations) is a kitsch-restrained, Emerald Isle-infatuated tavern that features a ton o' live Irish music every March 17. Its rock-solid "Rubenesque" will steady you through untold tears-in-your-Guinness renditions of "Danny Boy."

Dempsey's Restaurant
346 S. High St., Downtown
614-586-0511
dempseysdowntown.com

Valter's at Maennerchor

$11, served with chips and meaty beer-cheese sauce

Open about a month, Valter's resides in a quaint and quirky space inside a 1907-erected building long-devoted to German choral music clubs. Starring hunks of succulent meat, Valter's Reuben sings, too. Enjoy it with a stein of Konig Ludwig Weissbier.

Valter's at Maennerchor
976 S High St., Brewery District
(614) 444-3531
maennerchor.com

Harold's American Grille

$13, served with hand-cut fries

Part of the new wave of Reuben specialists, this smallish rookie restaurant with a neighborhood-tavern vibe sports a colonial-style interior to honor its "Olde" Worthington roots. Its Reuben honors hearty appetites with thinly sliced corned beef and butter-happy, crunchy toasted rye.

Harold's American Grille
673 High St., Worthington
(614) 396-8381
haroldsamericangrille.com

Villa Nova Ristorante

$9, served with fries and a pickle

Yes, an old-school red-sauce palace seems an unlikely destination for a great Reuben. But one bite of the juicy, lean and still brisket-y corned beef showcased in Villa Nova's feel-good Reuben might have you improvising a new verse to "That's Amore."

Villa Nova Ristorante
5545 N. High St., Worthington
(614) 846-5777
villanovacolumbus.com

Windward Passage

$9.50, served with chips (spring for the $1 Saratoga chips upgrade)

Excellent seafood reigns supreme at this nautically themed, four-decades-old oddball-cum-overachiever. Lacking a website, it kinda sails under the sonar. So, as a longtime fan, I'll happily avow that the Reuben served in this accomplished fish restaurant will hook in all landlubbers, too.

Windward Passage
4739 Reed Rd., Upper Arlington
(614) 451-2497