An old diner is a sign of good health for a neighborhood. It demonstrates the neighborhood's commitment to history and community. The local diner is a little enclave where simple recipes and good company are kept alive.
An old diner is a sign of good health for a neighborhood. It demonstrates the neighborhood's commitment to history and community. The local diner is a little enclave where simple recipes and good company are kept alive. You know many of the big names in diners around town: Tommy's, Nancy's, Jack & Benny's, Wildflower Cafe. As we anticipate the arrival of a third Jack & Benny's downtown - at Broad and High, where the original Jack & Benny's once stood - let's dig into these five diners, too.
Dan's Drive In
1881 S. High St., South Side
Although Dan's has the shiny, chrome-plated look of a faux diner, it's got history to back it up. Plaques on the wall explain how Dan's began its life further north downtown in the early 1950s, as one of the city's first drive-ins. Although teenagers on roller skates no longer run burgers and shakes to your car, the menu of simple comfort foods is all there: biscuits and gravy, fried bologna sandwiches and giant one-pound burgers.
Fitzy's Old Fashioned Diner
1487 Schrock Road, North Side
Fitzy's is the rare 24/7 diner. It's got the checkered floor, the long counter, the plush booths, the Marilyn Monroe and Elvis memorabilia plastering the walls. Hit it up any time of day for omelets, steak and eggs, meatloaf - the works. Owner Mike Lott will argue that his home fries are the best you've ever had, although he'll say that about most of his food. His diner captures a lot of crowds, from families during the day to bar-goers at night.
2060 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington
No one knows what the name "Chef-O-Nette" means; the original owner took the definition with him to his grave. But the mystery just adds to the 60-plus years of charm. Chef-O-Nette owner Harlan Howard has long pleased Upper Arlington residents with inexpensive breakfasts and lunches. Grab a seat in a booth, or sit at one of the U-shaped counters that angle into the room. Chef-O-Nette's other claim to fame is as the first drive-through (not drive-in) in America. Howard said he has yet to find reference to another restaurant using a drive-through before his.
German Village Coffee Shop
193 Thurman Ave., German Village
"Das Kaffe Haus," as it's sometimes known, is a German Village staple. Its advocates are amongst the most vocal in town, and they have reason to be. The location has long served as a lunch counter, and its current iteration is beloved for its giant omelets, huge stacks of pancakes and crispy Falter's bacon that's pressed on the grill. They're packed on weekends, and even on weekdays there's a steady stream of regulars coming through the door, all greeting each other and catching up on the day's news.
George's Beechwold Diner
4408 Indianola Ave., Clintonville
George's rose out of the ashes of Rube's Diner - a greasy spoon with the emphasis on greasy - back in 2010. Since then, it's become a staple in a neighborhood rich with old diners like Nancy's and Jack & Benny's. In a cream-colored and wood-accented setting, George's focuses on the diner classics: giant plates of breakfast, burgers, club sandwiches, gyros.