Columbus is a great breakfast town. Trust me, I know it. Our culinary scene garners lots of national attention, and our breakfast and brunch keeps pace. We've got it all: classic diners, fancy brunches, hip cafes, ethnic eats, old school donut shops, coffee galore. I don't know if there's a Breakfast City counterpart to the Beer City designation, but if there is, Columbus would certainly be in the running. The great thing is that, no matter how many places you've discovered, there's always more to explore. Here are a few recent favorites I've discovered.

Columbus is a great breakfast town. Trust me, I know it. Our culinary scene garners lots of national attention, and our breakfast and brunch keeps pace. We've got it all: classic diners, fancy brunches, hip cafes, ethnic eats, old school donut shops, coffee galore. I don't know if there's a Breakfast City counterpart to the Beer City designation, but if there is, Columbus would certainly be in the running. The great thing is that, no matter how many places you've discovered, there's always more to explore. Here are a few recent favorites I've discovered.

Hungry Soul Cafe

30 S. Young St., Downtown

hungrysoulcafe.com

Anita and George Keller's downtown cafe is worth checking out for lunch and dinner during the week, but their Sunday brunch is a special little find. The long, wood-accented restaurant space is tucked into the lower floor of a parking garage, making it a cozy spot for someone who loves brunch but wants to avoid noisy crowds (not to say Hungry Soul isn't busy). The food is spot-on: big, chunky bowls of biscuits and gravy, soft palacsinta (Hungarian crepes) with apple butter, oatmeal with bourbon butter peaches and zesty $5 Bloody Marys.

Cravings Carryout Cafe

227 E. Third Ave., Italian Village

cravingscarryoutcafe.com

Cravings is one of my favorite discoveries over the past year. Like Hungry Soul, it's a little side-street find. Cravings is situated in budding Italian Village close to the new Fox in the Snow Cafe, St. James Tavern and Seventh Son. The emphasis is on carryout, but they've got a couple tables, and it's worth hanging out to watch them at work. Owners Matt and Lindsey Tewanger work magic with their brioche bread, using it as the base for breakfast rolls, club sandwiches, lox and brioche and once a month transforming it into bronuts (brioche donuts).

Ethyl & Tank

19 E. 13th Ave., Campus

facebook.com/ethylandtank

Ethyl is the lesser-known sibling of big-hitters like The Crest or bright newcomers like The Market Italian Village or Alchemy Juice Bar. It'd be easy to write Ethyl off as just a college bar (which it is), but then you'd miss its coffee shop corner and its creative breakfasts. Weekday offerings include scrambles, breakfast tacos and a chicken and waffle sandwich, while the weekend brunch comes complete with a $5 build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, orange blossom French toast and pancakes stacked with pulled pork. Also, there's an arcade.

The Social

1555 W. Lane Ave., Upper Arlington

wholefoodsmarket.com/service/social

Yes, I'm recommending breakfast at Whole Foods. I've been very pleased with the execution of breakfast dishes at Whole Foods' in-house restaurants (Dublin and Upper Arlington). The Social is Upper Arlington's eatery, and it serves as a serious coffee shop, an all-day cafe and a bar with wine and draft beer. It's really hard to beat the $5 Farm Breakfast with eggs, potatoes, meat and toast, or the French toast griddle with eggs, ham and Swiss on challah. If you can track down a bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout from the beer case, then you've got a solid brunch going.

AJ's Café

152 E. State St., Downtown

ajayscafe.com

We've known Ajay Kumar since his days owning Taj Mahal near campus (now Mughal Darbar). His latest venture is a small cafe downtown, where he translates some classic Indian flavors into simple sandwiches and wraps. For breakfast he puts together a bacon and egg wrap, plus a vegan zen wrap full of rice, lentils, veggies, apples, tamarind and a cilantro vinaigrette. It's a good start when paired with a cup of Upper Cup Coffee or Ajay's house-made Indian ginger chai.

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast at the newly re-launched breakfastwithnick.com and authored the guidebook "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus," with a second edition coming spring 2015. He also leads breakfast tours for Columbus Food Adventures.