Hang Over Easy – Columbus, OH

 

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So, I’ve found myself on a bit of a “farewell breakfast tour” lately by revisiting some of my favorite Columbus diners and eateries in recent weeks, before I head off to Philadelphia. We’ve been to DK Diner, Katalina’s, Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner, Buckeye Donuts, Fox in the Snow Café and more…but I knew I HAD to get back to Hang Over Easy before I left. It’s easily one of my favorite campus breakfast joints. I realized that I had never reviewed it for the blog, so when my buddy David, who is new to town, wanted to grab some breakfast, I decided to kill two birds with one stone: I’d take the opportunity to say farewell to HOE by using this meal as my one of my final Columbus reviews (sigh…that hurts), and introduce him to one of his new city’s breakfast gems.

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Hang Over Easy is one of those places where college kids come to grub after a night of heavy…umm…indulgence? Thankfully, they let regular guys like me come and partake too, so there’s always a good mix of students and people just looking for awesome breakfast food.

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The atmosphere here is very laid back and casual. There’s plenty of room during the week, but as you can imagine, the place gets packed on the weekends, so expect a wait.

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HOE does utilize lots of chalk board signage, for everything from their daily specials to their beer list. We found this nice little shout-out to the local products and vendors they use, which was a nice touch.

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Their breakfast menu is labeled “Morning Prescription”, and offers tons of amazing dishes with quirky names such as their breakfast burrito called the “Dirty Sanchez” (heh), a plate of biscuits & gravy topped with two eggs they call “Frog’s Eyes”, and combo plates like the “Angry Egg” and “Sloppy Seconds”.

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I ordered the CBH ($7.99), which was a HUGE plate of, you guessed it, Corned Beef Hash. It was made from their sliced, house-made corned beef and a huge portion of their famous HOE fries (i.e. really good fried potatoes). It was topped with two eggs and came with a side of toast (in my book, you ALWAYS order rye toast with corned beef hash).

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I ordered my eggs over-medium, which came out perfectly (whites totally cooked with the yolks slightly runny), and the hash was absolutely delicious. The crispy, chunky HOE fries were seasoned very well and the tender, briny corned beef was outstanding. The portion size on this plate was huge, and I didn’t need anything else until dinner. Positively a winner!!

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Here’s one of their all-inclusive plates, the Ramblin’ Man ($7.50), which included two eggs, HOE fries, toast, and 3 slices of French toast or pancakes. We ordered a side of bacon ($2.99) to go with it. Again, the eggs were cooked perfectly, delicious potatoes, and crisp bacon…all good stuff.

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The French toast was a really tasty diner-style variety, powdered with sugar and a big scoop of butter, and came with a side pitcher of syrup. Who doesn’t love that??

Pro Tip: Hang Over Easy recently expanded by opening a shop in the Clifton/Avondale area of Cincinnati!! So, the next time you’re in the Queen City, stop in for an awesome start to your day.

I’ll tell you what guys, if you live here and have never been to HOE, or haven’t been in a while, it’s definitely worth the visit. I had forgotten just how good their food is! The prices are really affordable, especially for the portion sizes you get. And I seriously can’t say enough about the service – our server was super friendly and she made sure our meal was just what we wanted it to be, including keeping our coffee mugs filled for our entire visit.

College campus grub doesn’t get better than this.

HOE Rocks! Goodnight, Columbus!!

Hang Over Easy is located at 1646 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43201 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 7:00am – 3:00pm, and Saturday & Sunday, 8:00am – 3:00pm. For more info, you can check the out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

 

Giveaway: Cravings Carryout Café gift card!!

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Hey guys, I know it’s a HUGE foodie weekend in Columbus, but it’s about to get better – it’s time for another Gift Card Giveaway!! Sadly, it will be my last giveaway from Columbus, and soon I will be giving away breakfasts at some of Philly’s best eateries. But lets focus on this month….

We’re giving away a $15 gift card to one of my favorite little eateries in Cbus, Cravings Carryout Café!! They’re selling their famous bronuts every Saturday now, and also regularly feature some awesome breakfasts and tremendous lunch sandwiches and soups.

The contest starts now and runs through this Sunday, Aug. 16th at 11:00pm. All I want you to do is to comment on this post and tell me your favorite place for donuts in Columbus!!

A winner will be picked Sunday night and will be announced Monday morning right here.

Good luck!!

***** Congratulations to Doug Hauschild!! Doug, you are the winner of a $15 gift card to Cravings Carryout Cafe. Please email your address to me at Thebreakfastgrubguy@gmail.com.

Thanks to all who entered!! ******

Recapping the 2015 Ohio Pork Rib-Off Competition

This past week I had the opportunity to take part in the 2015 Ohio Pork Rib-Off Competition at the Ohio State Fair, and I’ve got to tell you, it was one of the tastiest “jobs” I’ve ever been given. We sampled ribs and pulled pork from nine of the best BBQ teams across Ohio, and collectively determined who we thought was the King of ‘Que. Below are just a few photos I took from the event, as well as the official press release from Ohio Pork Council:

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OHIO PORK RIB-OFF SHOWCASES PORK VERSATILITY AT THE 2015 OHIO STATE FAIR

COLUMBUS  Nine of Ohio’s finest barbecue teams, from backyard chefs to major restaurateurs, gathered in Columbus for the 19th annual Ohio Pork Rib-Off. This event invites teams to prepare both ribs and pulled pork that are evaluated by a judging panel for taste, tenderness and appearance.

 

This year’s contestants prepared their best pork for guest judges;

Senator Bob Peterson, Ohio Senate District 17

James Phillips, The Breakfast Grub Guy

Jim Ellison, Stock & Barrel and Columbus Brew Adventures

Steve Reinhard, Ohio Soybean Council

Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

and Virgil Strickler, General Manager, Ohio Expo Center.

 

Dave Russell of Brownfield Ag News served as the competition emcee and announced the following award winners:

 

Grand Champion Ribs: Smokin’ Joe’s, Columbus, OH

Reserve Champion Ribs: Team Baney-Q, Columbus, OH

Grand Champion Pulled Pork: Smokin’ Joe’s, Columbus, OH

Reserve Pulled Pork: Bark Brothers BBQ, Columbus, OH

People’s Choice Award Winner: Tony’s Restaurant, Findlay, OH

Best BBQ Sauce containing Soy: Team Baney-Q, Columbus, OH

 

In addition to $3,000 in prizes through support from the Ohio Soybean Council, top teams received commemorative banners and trophies.

“We (the Ohio Pork Council) are very pleased with today’s event and the opportunity we are given each year to showcase pork and some of Ohio’s most competitive barbecue teams,” said Quinton Keeran, OPC Director of Communications and Rib-Off coordinator. “The Rib-Off provides the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the versatility of pork and celebrate what individuals are able to do with the product. Eat more pork!”

*********

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I’d like to thank Quinton Keeran and everyone at Ohio Pork for inviting me to be  part of this year’s competition. Eating tons of delicious BBQ is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. If you need some more help next year…I’m your man.

Bexley Coffee Shop – Bexley, OH

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I have a friend who’s just moved to Columbus to attend Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and he’s the kind of guy who likes to explore local shops. So when he emailed me and wanted to meet up somewhere for coffee, I suggested checking out someplace that would be close by for him, and we settled on the Bexley Coffee Shop on N. Cassidy Ave in Bexley. I had been to the shop once or twice several years ago when it was under previous ownership, but I was excited to see the shop these days, since I’ve heard what a great job the new owners have done in giving the space some new life.

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You’ll see one of the biggest examples of the changes that new owners, Nikki Ore and Maria Schlegel, have implemented at the shop as soon as you pull into the parking lot. A beautifully decorated garden patio has been created just to the side of the building, where visitors can enjoy their food and drink in the warm, Summer sun.

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Inside, the shop’s makeover is equally as noticeable. A new coat of paint, stylish décor, new tables and a cozy reading nook have all been added to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

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Since taking over the store, Nikki told us that business has been booming! On the day we visited, there were constant lines of customers coming in for their morning fuel.

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The Bexley Coffee Shop features a nice menu of all of your coffee shop usuals, including hot & cold drinks, smoothies, kid’s drinks, and food.

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I was impressed with the spread of delicious, homemade baked goods that are prepared fresh, in-house every day. The options rotate frequently, but you can usually find a great assortment of bagels, muffins, coffee cakes, scones, gluten-free snacks, and more.

PRO TIP: I’ve heard that their Saturday morning iced cinnamon rolls are To. Die. For. I’ve gotta get back here to try these.

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One of their biggest selling snacks are their Coffee Bombs. They sell these on Tuesdays and Fridays, and most often sell out as quickly as they can be put out on the counter. It’s similar to a small muffin, that’s been made with espresso, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Get there early to grab one of these!!

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The homemade quiche is also a favorite.

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I tried one of their bacon-cheddar scones and a delicious, hot latte. They serve locally-roasted Thunderkiss Coffee, which is always a favorite.

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The scone was moist but flakey, and had a ton of flavor. Good stuff!!

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My pal David tried one of their giant chocolate chip cookie bars, and an iced hot chocolate.

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Have you guys seen these before?? These are gourmet chocolates from Michael’s Artisan Chocolates in Bexley. The candy itself is absolutely beautiful, with vibrant colors and designs, but it’s the flavors that make them extra special – flavors like Mandarin Orange, Citrus Rosemary, Lavender Honey, and more. And if that’s not enough, he’s also making some crazy-hot caramels from habanero, scorpion, Carolina Reaper and ghost chilis!! Make sure you check these out when you visit!!

As you can see, Nikki and Maria have been hard at work to make The Bexley Coffee Shop an extra special place for you to enjoy. Their scrumptious baked goods, specialty drinks, and the Thunderkiss Coffee all make a stop worth while, but it’s the friendliness of the owners and that great new patio that sets the place apart.

Stop in soon for a coffee an a big slice of quiche. And maybe a ghost chili caramel for dessert :)

The Bexley Coffee Shop is located at 492 N. Cassady Ave, Bexley, OH 43209 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 6:00am – 5:00pm, Saturday, 7:00am – 3:00pm, and Sunday, 8:00am – 1:00pm. For more info, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Movin’ On Up To The East Side….

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I’m full of mixed emotions today. I’d like to let you all know that after a LONG Spring and half Summer, and much thought and prayer, that my family and I have made the decision to relocate back to Philadelphia, PA within the next few weeks.

I’d like to thank each and every one of you that have enjoyed, participated in, and supported TBGG, and my amazing Columbus breakfast blogging journey for the last 3 years. I will always consider Columbus my home, and will always love this city. We will continue to visit family and friends here, so trips back will happen frequently, which will obviously mean future Columbus breakfast posts. I hope to be able to share those meals with some of you on those visits.

That being said, do not despair….The Breakfast Grub Guy blog WILL GO ON!! I’m planning to continue my love and passion for writing about my favorite meal in my new city. I’m seriously looking forward to discovering tons of new foods and breakfast places to enjoy, and can’t wait to bring you my thoughts about breakfast in the City of Brotherly Love!!!

I would love it if each and every one of you would continue to follow along with me here on the blog, as well as on social media (all addresses and handles will remain the same). I still have a few Columbus breakfast posts that I will be posting up to, and through the move, and seriously can’t wait for you join me in a new chapter of The Breakfast Grub Guy story!!

With much love and appreciation,

James

Barry Bagels – Dublin, OH

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Is it sad that a lot of my favorite childhood memories involve food? Well, pathetic or not, they do.  I remember when I was a kid – like five or six years old – standing in front of the bagel counter at Blocks on the East side, my mom would let me help choose the bagels we got to take home. That was the best, and I’ve loved bagels ever since then. So I can’t even tell you how pumped I was to learn recently that the Toledo-based bagel chain, Barry Bagels, was expanding to the Columbus market. I couldn’t wait! And then, just this past May, when I heard they had opened in Dublin, I knew I had to check them out ASAP. Because to me, you can never have too many bagel places in town!!

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Barry Bagels has built its reputation over several decades in the Toledo area. Starting in 1972, Barry Greenblatt opened his first shop, and has been serving delicious bagels to Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan non-stop ever since. After a brief stint with a shop near OSU campus in the early 2000’s that didn’t last nearly long enough, Barry Bagels has again expanded to the capital city thanks to the work of franchisees, Billy Fristo and Drew Stapleton. Billy has worked for Greenblatt’s small restaurant chain for almost a decade and a half, and felt it was time to bring his passion for good bagels to Columbus. Bagel fans already know and support local bagel powerhouses Block’s and Sammy’s in the 614, and now the addition of Barry Bagels will bring even more options for bagel lovers to enjoy.

The new location on Frantz Rd, just south of Tuttle Crossing, is a stunningly beautiful store. The wide open floor plan combined with modern, chic décor makes the space feel somewhat like an upscale restaurant. I was impressed to say the least.

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The store is designed cafeteria style, in which you make your selections from several menu boards overhead (they also have printed menus if you’d rather) and order at the counter, and then move down the line to the checkout area. From there, lots of seating options await you.

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While I was at the shop, I was given a total behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the whole bagel-making process, thanks to a kitchen tour led by the owners themselves. We started in the cooler, where Billy showed me racks and racks of proofed bagels that they had just received. They get the bagels strait from their Bagel Factory in Michigan, and they are served up within a day.

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Barry Bagel’s sticks to the traditional New York water bagel method. The bagels are boiled, but for only around 30 seconds or so, which essentially finishes the proofing process. After that, they are removed from the water.

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Here’s where any toppings or flavorings come into play, just after they come out of the water. Billy made a tray of “Everything” bagels and a tray of plain bagels while I was observing. A quick spritz of cold water is applied and then the trays are placed into a huge, revolving oven that is kept between 515* and 525* for several minutes. It’s suggested that baking on the tray is what gives Barry Bagels their softer texture, as opposed to baking without the tray and directly on the oven shelf, which produces a more crusty, shell-like exterior.

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After the bagels are finished baking and cooling, they are placed into the baskets in the front of the house for consumption. Barry Bagels serves around 18 different varieties of bagels on any given day. They also offer special holiday versions throughout the year, such as pumpkin spice bagels at Thanksgiving, cranberry bagels at Christmas, etc,

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Their menu consists of (obviously) tons of bagels!! Everything from bagel sandwiches like BLT bagels, Turkey Pastrami, Corned Beef, and Chicken Salad to their breakfast sandwiches – called Eggles. You can also buy bagels in any increments, as well as their delightful plain and flavored cream cheeses. And get this…Barry Bagels also does baked potatoes!! Yep, and they’re topping them with everything from a basic sour cream & chives to a crazy-sounding Club potato!!  You can check out their full menu HERE.

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One of the interesting menu items is their Onion Stick ($1.25). It’s basically an unrolled bagel and topped with onion and poppy seeds.

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While I was visiting, I tried their Farmer’s Eggle ($3.85), which is made just like a red onion, green pepper, and tomato omelet, with your choice of one of about six different cheeses and placed on any of their bagels or breads. I opted for a Jalapeno Cheddar bagel with muenster cheese. I do have to say that I was really impressed with the way this sandwich was prepared. The staff actually cracks open a fresh egg, chops fresh veggies, whisks it all together, and cooks the egg mixture right there at the prep station so you can watch while it’s being done. I liked that a lot. The sandwich was really good, and the bagel was fresh, chewy and flavorful.

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They’ll also tempt you with giant, delicious-looking cookies of many kinds…oatmeal raisin, M & M cookies, even peanut butter cookies topped with chunks of  Reese’s peanut butter cups!!

“Look away…look away!!”  – (Me to myself) :)

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I also thought their Teething Bagels were a really interesting item. Perfect for little ones to gnaw on!!!

So yeah, I’m totally excited that Barry Bagels has moved into town. Like I said, I don’t think you can ever have too many bagel places around, especially when they’re baking up high quality goods. Word is that the company plans to open up 4-5 additional stores in Columbus in the next couple of years, too!! Until then, I recommend you stop in to Billy & Drew’s shop in Dublin to try their delicious bagels and sandwiches!!

Barry Bagels is located at 5760 Frantz Rd., Dublin, OH 43016 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 7:00am – 7:00pm, Saturday, 7:00am – 5:00pm, and Sunday, 7:00am – 3:00pm. You can check out their website for more info, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Crimson Cup Coffee House – Upper Arlington, OH

 

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Just a couple of weeks ago, Crimson Cup Coffee opened their second company-owned coffee house at the corner of Lane Ave and Northwest Blvd in Upper Arlington. The location, as I’m sure many of you are well aware, has been used in similar fashion by prior residents (most recently Peet’s, and Caribou before that), but I think Crimson Cup has the local presence to make the new shop into something really special. The folks at Crimson Cup have made no bones about the fact that they don’t believe in cookie-cutter shops, so they have designed the new shop to offer a completely different experience than their Clintonville store.

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The new store is an inviting space with lots of seating, including a pleasant patio area out front, which has always been one of the greatest features about this place. Inside the shop, the front counter is stocked with bottled drinks and juice, as well as muffins, scones, coffee cakes and cake pops.

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The back half of the shop is a comfy sitting area featuring a charming fireplace surrounded by armchairs and end tables, which gives it a homey feel. There are also several other tables that can be pushed together for larger groups. The exposed brick, ceiling duct work, and custom painting lends a cool, artsy vibe to the room.

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The front of the house is huge and bright, with a few tables lining the windows. The major focus of the shop is the brew bar, which is the perfect vehicle for providing a deeper coffee experience.

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Crimson Cup’s brew bar showcases the slow coffee-brewing techniques that bring out the optimum flavor of each coffee bean. The innovative Modbar, which is a new and revolutionary coffee brewing experience that is completely modular, stores all of the major brewing hardware under the counter, so that all the customer experiences are the beautiful taps that pour their favorite drinks.

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A perfect example of this are the several nitrogen and carbon dioxide taps that dispense their cold-brew coffees and several other favorites.

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I tried the Sidamo Ardi cold-brewed Nitro ($3.75). It was very Ethiopian-like, being light, fruity and bright, and the nitrogen infused drink was extremely smooth and flavorful. Many coffee connoisseurs have raved about their Hopped Nitro, but they were out on the day I visited. I definitely plan to try it soon.

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The brew bar menu also includes delicious drinks such as espressos, lattes, cortados, and pour-overs, along with coffee cocktails. The rest of the menu is there too, like hot loose-leaf teas, frozen drinks, iced coffee & tea, and even breakfast sandwiches.

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In addition to serving up their amazing coffee to the community, Crimson Cup also plans to use the new location as a “testing lab” to experiment and utilize the latest coffee brewing equipment and methods to stay current on the latest trends in the coffee biz.

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You can still buy Crimson Cup’s products at the new store, for your home-brewing desires. Several varieties of beans, as well as home-brewing equipment are available for purchase.

I hadn’t been in the shop when it was Peet’s, but I was there when it was a Caribou Coffee, and I have to say that from what I remember, the feeling in the shop is just so much more cheerful and welcoming to me, as Crimson Cup’s newest location.  It’s the kind of place where you can relax and unwind, or enjoy coffee with family and friends.

I’m excited for the addition of the Coffee House to the UA area, and it’s a place I know my family and I will surely be frequenting. Stop by and check them out when you’re in the area. If you’re lucky, you may just be among the first to try a new coffee or brewing method. If not, at least you’re guaranteed to receive an excellent cup of locally-roasted coffee from Columbus’ oldest roaster.

Crimson Cup Coffee House is located at 2468 Northwest Blvd, Upper Arlington, OH 43221 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 6:00am – 9:00pm, Saturday, 7:00am – 9:00pm, and Sunday, 7:00am – 8:00pm. For more info, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and check out their website

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Tremont Goodie Shop – Upper Arlington, OH

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Sweets and treats are a big part of my world. As a food writer and breakfast lover, I’m always on the hunt for awesome local shops that are serving up freshly made donuts, pastries, and other such glorious offerings. So, there’s this shop in Upper Arlington that I’ve been hearing about since I moved back to Columbus from Philly in 2010, that for some reason, I’ve never visited. It’s a place that has a long and storied history in the area, and a place that provides cherished memories for many folks – the Tremont Goodie Shop, aka the Original Goodie Shop. I decided to finally stop in recently to experience why this little shop is such a beloved part of so many people’s lives.

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In the nearly sixty years that they’ve been serving delicious desserts to their community, the Tremont Goodie Shop has become an Upper Arlington institution. One quick search of the online review sites and you’ll find a multitude of personal memoirs from fans young and old – people who have been indulging in the Goodie Shop’s goodies for decades, and those who have recently found them for the first time. They’re a business that is definitely loved by their community. In fact, in 2009, when the Goodie Shop closed up shop citing economical hardship, fans of the bakery rallied around them and did what it took, including holding gatherings and selling t-shirts, to pull them through their hard times. The shop reopened shortly thereafter, and has been going strong ever since.

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Tucked back into a corner of the Tremont Center off of Tremont Rd, the Goodie Shop is 100% small-town bakery in a modern world. As soon as we entered the shop, the aroma of fresh-baked delights consumed us as we were warmly and cheerfully greeted with a smile by the lady waiting behind the counter. The shop is petite and charming, but it makes good use of the space, featuring several cases filled with their many baked goods.

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There’s also a modest seating area where you can sit, relax and enjoy a pastry or a big ol’ iced cookie, and a cup of coffee. They also have a nice bistro table outside in the shade, along with some benches that surround one of the Center’s courtyards.

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The Goodie Shop does many, many things very well, but if there’s one thing they’re known for it’s their Cinnamon Sticks.  If you’ve never had one (like I hadn’t) you’re in for a real treat. The Sticks are wee in size but huge in flavor, and will satisfy just about any sweet tooth. Multi-layered pastry dough, along with butter, cinnamon and sugar make these things highly addictive – imagine taking the yummy insides of a cinnamon roll and pressing it flat like a cookie. That’s kind of what they’re like….only better! I mentioned to the lady who was helping me that this was my first time visiting the shop, and she instantly handed me one of these beauties to sample. She told me that people all over the country order these by the boxful and have them shipped directly from the shop to wherever they are, and the farthest they’ve shipped them is Afghanistan! These are definitely one of my new favorite sweets in town!

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They also make room for a coffee station featuring locally-roasted Crimson Cup Coffee.

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Donuts are in abundance here too! All of their donuts are scratch-made in house (as are all of their goods), and I was immediately drawn to them. I had heard amazing stories about their bear claws and their fritters, but unfortunately didn’t see any on the day we stopped. That didn’t deter me though.

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Stop drooling!

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Being that it was mid-morning, we decided that a snack was in order. We opted for one of their Buttermilk Stick donuts, along with a few more Cinnamon Sticks. The donut was really fresh and delicious. I also grabbed a cup of Crimson Cup’s Celtic Grogg coffee to accompany my cake. So good.

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After snacking, I snapped a few photos of some of the shop’s other delicacies, like their beautiful wedding cakes. The Goodie Shop bakes custom-made specialty cakes for all occasions, and has a reputation for doing whatever it takes to make sure the cake is exactly what the customer wants it to be. I especially loved the cakes on display, including this one with the cascading emerald-colored roses. The shop also stocks a nice assortment of cake baking and decorating supplies for all of you DIY’ers out there!

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And then there are the cookies…they’re everywhere!! Thumbprint cookies, Snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, and these tea cookies come in a variety of flavors….

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Their artful and inspired iced cookies are a huge hit with the kids. I seriously almost bought a Cookie Monster cookie for myself :)

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And then of course you have the Buckeyes. A staple in just about every Columbus bakery and candy shop (especially during football season), these guys aren’t really unique, but they sure are tasty!!

During my visit, I got to chat with Emilie Smith, who is the current shop manager and the daughter of owner, Debbie Smith. She told me that the Smith’s know that they’re lucky to be as loved by supported as they are, and that they strive to make this family business the best it can be, by offering the freshest, tastiest treats they can possibly make.

It was definitely nice to find another local bakery in town that not only focuses on high-quality products, but one that employs a friendly, welcoming staff and owners who know the value of a satisfied customer.

The Tremont Goodie Shop’s community obviously values and appreciates them too, and has for many years. And that’s what it’s all about.

The Tremont Goodie Shop is located at 2116 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington, OH 43221 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Thursday, 7:00am – 6:00pm, Friday 7:00am – 7:00pm, and Saturday 7:00am – 5:00pm. For more info, visit their website, or follow their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Grand Day Café – Columbus, OH

 

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Grandview is really one of my favorite areas of Columbus. It has pretty much anything you would want: fancy shopping, fine dining, quaint little shops, breweries, local coffee, pubs & bars, bakeries, trendy eateries, and comfortable family-style cafes. When it comes to the latter in Grandview, in my mind I immediately think of places like Grand Day Café. GDC is squished inside of a strip mall along busy W. 5th Ave, surrounded by lots of other local businesses. It’s a casual, medium-sized restaurant that serves breakfast all day, seven days a week.

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Grand Day Café has that simple breakfast place feel. It’s been around for several years as its current incarnation, but the space itself has been a breakfast mainstay in town even in its prior life as Rise & Dine Restaurant, a concept very similar to GDC. We visited on a Saturday morning at around 10:30am, and the place was packed. What makes that last sentence a little more impressive was the fact that it was raining cats & dogs outside. When the weather is pleasant, you can usually expect big crowds. But on this day, the weather sucked, so I was pretty surprised at the volume of business they were doing.

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The restaurant is set up with a small entryway in the middle, with a counter straight ahead and a seating area on either side. While we were waiting for a table, I struck up a conversation with a guy who has been coming here every Saturday for the last couple of years and sitting at his usual spot at the counter. That’s him in the hat. I love stories like that.

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And the other side of the room…packed.

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The menu at Grand Day is about as all-inclusive as you can get. It covers all of the usual breakfast bases  – like breakfast combos, steak & eggs, wraps & sandwiches, corned beef hash, omelets and the like – but also adds some nifty dishes that you don’t often see, like a Kentucky Hot Brown and eggs benedict made with fried chicken or shrimp. I was surprised, however, that the kids meal section only included three or four options. Thankfully, Grub Boy doesn’t venture far from his usuals.

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One interesting item on the menu is the Benedict Sampler ($8.99). The idea is that you can create your own combo from any two benedict dishes that they offer and sample one of each, along with hash browns or home fries. The choice was tough since GDC makes about eight different varieties.

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I chose one Fried Chicken benedict and one Avocado benedict, along with a side of hash browns. On the up side, I loved the huge portion of well-cooked hash browns that was on my plate. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, just the way I like them. The benedicts, on the other hand, were a little hit & miss for me. I loved the concept of both, but the execution fell a little flat. The meat on the fried chicken benedict consisted of two small slices from a breaded chicken patty, which tasted good, but I had wished there was a little more to it. The poached egg was overcooked and had very little runniness to the yolk, and the hollandaise was really heavy on the lemon, almost to the point that I couldn’t eat it. The avocado benedict was better – the egg was a little less overcooked, but the hollandaise was still tough to get past. Both were topped with some tasty crumbled bacon.

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Our boy went with his favorite dish, French toast ($4.49), from the kid’s menu. It came with his choice of bacon or sausage, and he chose the salty pig strip, which was cooked nicely.

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Mrs. Grub Guy ordered one of GDC’s specialties, their breakfast version of a  Kentucky Hot Brown ($7.29), and it looked absolutely delicious. It was a big slice of Texas toast topped with some really nice sliced, smoked turkey breast, a poached egg, hollandaise, and bacon. It came with her choice of potatoes, and she too went with the shredded hash browns.

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This dish was a hit with the wife. The turkey was thick-sliced breast meat and had a really amazing smoked flavor. Her egg was poached perfectly (tender but firm whites with a smooth, velvety yolk) and she didn’t mind the lemony flavor of the hollandaise. It was topped with two strips of bacon that just added another layer of goodness. I’m still not 100% sold on the hollandaise for this dish…I’m thinking maybe if I were eating (or making) it, I’d prefer a traditional cheese sauce for this one, but she said it was very enjoyable.

Pro Tip: Grand Day Café offers a “Free coffee before 8:00am” guarantee every day!! Their coffee is standard, slightly weak diner brown, but I’m still chugging down two or three cups every time I go!!

There’s a lot to like about Grand Day Café. They do breakfast well, and offer a menu with enough variety to satisfy everyone from the enthusiast to the casual fan looking for a plate of bacon and eggs. It’s the perfect place to take someone who’s stuck in the Bob Evans/IHOP/Sunny Street Café rut because it’s just got that same kind of feel, but it’s much more enjoyable to someone like me who’s big on supporting locally owned businesses.

Overall, we enjoyed our most recent visit, as we have the previous ones before it, and even though the food was a little off this time, I’m sure we’ll be back.

Grand Day Café is located at 1284 W. 5th Ave, Columbus, OH 43212 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Sunday, 6:30am – 3:00pm. For more info, check out their website, or their Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Grub on Wheels: OD on BBQ – Columbus, OH

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I thought I knew about every barbecue place in town. I have consumed some of the most amazing pulled pork, brisket, and ribs at many of Columbus’ best smokehouses, food trucks, and rib shacks. But earlier this year I discovered a hidden BBQ gem on the southeast side of Columbus, and I couldn’t have been more excited!! ( I snapped this picture when I first found this place, thus the snow on the ground – lol).

OD on BBQ has been a regular resident in the parking lot of Smith Farm Market (3341 Winchester Pike) for almost ten years. Consisting of a decent-sized food trailer with a big smoker out back, and a large, sturdy canopy that shelters several picnic tables, owner Dan Burch is on site just about every day smoking pork, chicken and beef to satisfy just about any barbecue craving you might have. But with just a small sign with the letters “BBQ” near the road to direct the public, OD on BBQ is pretty easy to miss unless you’re looking for it. I just happened to stumble upon them recently while out for a drive, and decided to stop in for a sampling.

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OD on BBQ serves up all of your traditional favorites in their award-winning, Southern pit-smoked BBQ style: pulled pork, beef brisket and pulled chicken sandwiches which you can order individually, in a combo, or by the pound; 1/4 slab, 1/2 slab, and whole slab ribs, as well as rib tips; half and whole chickens; as well as homemade sides such as cole slaw, baked beans, red skinned potato salad, corn pudding, mixed greens and more that they sell in individual, pint and quart sizes. They also offer a couple of family-sized meal deals, which include enough food to feed an army. And on top of all of that, they also find time to make two varieties of their own homemade BBQ sauces– The Cure (sweet) and Defib (spicy).

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On my first visit, I met the staff and got to taste a little of what they offered. Based off of their recommendations, I ordered a cup of Wild Bill’s BBQ Stew ($2.35), a favorite of those in-the-know. The stew was very much like a hearty vegetable soup with a thin, slightly BBQ-flavored broth, corn, tomatoes, and a couple kinds of beans to add flavor and texture. It also contained OD on BBQ’s pulled pork, chicken and brisket which bulked up the dish nicely. I can certainly see why it’s always in such demand.

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I recently went back and ordered one of their monstrous pulled pork sandwiches ($5.85), and a side of their mac & cheese ($2.35). The sandwich was simply enormous, with a softball-sized portion of pulled pork piled high atop a sturdy bun, and smothered in sweet BBQ sauce. The pork had a great smoky flavor and was very tender. The sauce was somewhat thin, but tasted incredible. It was served with several spicy, homemade dill pickle chips that were much appreciated.

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The mac & cheese was nice and had decent flavor, but it just wasn’t that gooey, cheesy baked mac & cheese I was hoping for. The seasoned breadcrumb topping gave it a little more definition and flavor, as well as some much needed texture, but it could definitely benefit from the addition of a bolder cheese added to the mix. Overall, I’d give my meal at OD on BBQ one and a half sauce-covered thumbs up because of the delicious pork (I need a wet-nap)!!

OD on BBQ was definitely a great find. Their meats are tender and are smoked really well, and their sauces are delicious (hey, I lived in Memphis, I know good BBQ!!). Remember, they’ve got your BBQ needs covered for everything from a quick bite on your lunch break during the work week, to a Sunday afternoon family reunion under the awning. If you’re like me and think you’ve had all the barbecue Columbus can offer, head over to Smith Farm Market and check out OD on BBQ. Trust me, it’s worth the drive!

I hope to get back to that side of town to try some of their other grub soon!!

OD on BBQ is located at 3341 Winchester Pike, Columbus, OH 43232 (MAP). They’re open Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00am – 8:00pm, and Sundays 12:00pm – 6:00pm. For more info follow them on Facebook .

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