Don't skip breakfast — especially not at these spots
Given the proliferation of breakfast and brunch offerings these days, it’s important to remember that the morning meal isn’t all trendy Bloody Mary bars and Instagrammable runny eggs. By this writer’s estimation, these are a few of Columbus’ unsung breakfast heroes.
52 E. Lynn St., Downtown
Jack’s Diner has been around as a business since 1942, and in its current location since 1968. It’s the very definition of a hidden gem: a small storefront, down Lynn Alley in the shadow of the Rhodes Tower. Neither the décor nor the menu has changed much over the years; they still make pancakes using Jack’s original recipe. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s soul-rejuvenating all the same: crispy corned beef hash, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, steak and eggs, omelets and the like.
730 S. High St., German Village
Kolache Republic is now one of the original tenants of a trendy stretch of South High Street, joined recently by Ambrose & Eve, Antiques on High, The Daily Growler and soon enough, Law Bird cocktail bar. The bakery and cafe is the only spot in Columbus crafting the traditional, square-shaped Czech pastries. They take the kolache dough and wrap it around savory ingredients; for breakfast they dish up sandwiches filled with eggs, cheese, bacon, sausage, chorizo and more. It’s so simple, but works so well. kolacherepublic.com
2515 Summit St., North Campus
You can find Baba’s by seeking out the giant “SoHud” mural on their building at the northwest corner of Summit and Hudson. Inside, Dan and Caroline Kraus and their team do everything from scratch: butchering and curing meats, baking bread and muffins, whipping up pies and cookies. They’ve perfected their griddle muffin, a cornmeal-dusted hybrid of a biscuit and an English muffin, and they use it in hearty breakfast sandwiches layered with shredded vegetables or house-made chorizo, sausage, bacon and ham. Pair it with a cinnamon roll and a hot or iced Thunderkiss Coffee, and you’re good to go. babascolumbus.com
1577 King Ave., Fifth by Northwest
Bonifacio stakes its claim in Columbus’ brunch scene with its unique menu infused with Filipino flavors. It’s the only place in the city to discover guava-stuffed French toast, omelets with roasted eggplant or chicken and waffles, where the waffles are crafted from purple yams and the chicken is doused with adobo glaze. The one must-order dish is the silog, a breakfast plate combining a fried egg and garlic rice with your choice of house-made meats: sweet longanisa pork sausage, sweet and savory tocino pork, soy- and citrus-braised bistek beef and other options. If possible, order a little bit of each. bonifacio614.com
114 N. Front St., Downtown
This little bakery and cafe has weathered a move from a side street in Italian Village to Front Street Downtown in recent years and continues serving simple but interesting breakfasts: sandwiches on house-made brioche rolls, breakfast burritos, smoothies, granola, not to mention weekend specials. cravingscafe614.com
2971 N. High St., Clintonville
Lineage has become one of Clintonville’s favorite watering holes, pairing house brews with handpies, sandwiches and snacks. Their weekend brunch menu is a true unsung hero: a rotating quartet of well-executed and flavorful dishes that currently includes a breakfast-themed handpie, chilaquiles, quiche and enchiladas. It’s reason to get up early on the weekend. lineagebrew.com