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Cravings Carryout Café has indeed marked their territory over the past year. This tiny shop, located along a side street in the Italian Village neighborhood of the city, has hit its stride as one of the tastiest options in town for incredibly delicious sandwiches, as well as inventive and inspired daily breakfast and lunch specials. But they haven’t always had such a strait-forward framework for their business…

They started out three years ago as Cookie Cravings Bakery, where they sold cookies (obviously), and other bakery sweets and treats. Eventually, owners Matt & Lindsey Tewanger decided to expand their menu by adding several varieties of crepes and a few other unique brunch and lunch options. Word spread, and the response to their new food was so great, that Matt & Lindsey decided that instead of pigeonholing themselves as just a bakery, they would keep a few of the baked goods on hand, but focus more on expanding their horizons, with Matt’s exquisite brioche rolls as the foundation for much of their new menu. They rebranded their shop and re-opened as Cravings Carryout Cafe last Spring.

Since then, Cravings has continued to wow it’s customers with incredible morning and afternoon meals. But I think it’s safe to say that none have been so embraced, or have seen such a demand, as their wildly popular Bronut.

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I was invited by the Tewanger’s last week to come and hang out before the store opened this past Saturday as they prepared for their latest Bronut offering. The Bronut was created by Matt as an experiment several months ago, after deciding to try a brioche donut on the menu. Matt’s brioche dough is so amazingly rich and buttery, that there’s no way it wouldn’t be a huge hit! He put it on the menu and advertized it as a “Bronut Takeover”. That morning, there was a line waiting out the door when they opened! Matt made about 100 donuts that day and they sold out quickly. He’s since settled on about 150 as a doable number for Bronut Saturday’s, which they recently announced would be the second Saturday of every month.

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I arrived at the shop just after 7:00 AM, but Matt & Lindsey had already been there for over an hour, frying, icing and preparing the bounty. We chatted as they worked, and they were both extremely friendly and kind enough to let me capture their prep session. Matt handled much of the frying duty, and explained that they don’t actually have a fryer…instead, all of their frying happens in a pan of oil on an electric burner, which is painstakingly kept at around 300 – 350 degrees.

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The donuts are fried in small batches of a half-dozen or so at a time to keep it manageable.

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They’re fried for about 3 minutes per side, until the donut is golden brown.

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After they were done frying, Matt passed them off to Lindsey, who was waiting to coat them in rich chocolate, a classic sugar glaze, or a sweet blackberry glaze. They feature several scrumptious flavors each time they offer the Bronut. Aside from the three aforementioned varieties, there was also a Cayenne Chocolate Walnut donut that was incredible!

WARNING: Extreme salivating straight ahead…..

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I just couldn’t resist capturing the deliciousness of these donuts. Seriously, you guys, they all looked and smelled so good!

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This was the first time that they offered “Bro Bites”, which were simply the fried brioche donut holes coated in powdered sugar. A batch of about a dozen went for $5.00.

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The kitchen is where all the action happens, but Cravings does have a very small front of the house area, too. There’s just one high-top table and a short counter with three stools for seating, and these shelves on the opposite wall feature things like t-shirts, fancy bottled water, and more. It’s quite a tight squeeze, especially when there are folks waiting for Bronuts and other food to take out, but it’s cozy. Matt, Lindsey and the other staff chat with their customers to make them feel welcome while they wait.

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Cravings Carryout Café offers locally brewed Thunderkiss coffee by the cup, and also sells bags of beans to take home and brew yourself.

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As I mentioned, while the menu isn’t huge, Cravings offers a variety of sandwiches and breakfast items that are top notch. Their brioche rolls are utilized well, and fresh wraps, focaccia, and more cradle the high quality meats and local cheeses that are chosen to build these portable masterpieces. They always run a daily special or two, and often include a delicate or hearty “Soup of the day” option.

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In addition to hot, Thunderkiss French Press coffee, they also offer a cold brew coffee and honey mint green tea that you can get in single servings, or a growler to take home if you’d like!!

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After they opened the door for the morning and the initial rush died down a bit, I decided to order some breakfast. I had already tasted one of the Cayenne Chocolate Walnut Bronuts, which was amazing, so I wanted something a little more substantial. I selected the Breakfast Burrito w/ bacon ($8.00 + $2.00 for bacon), which was a hearty, yet tender wrap filled with two scrambled eggs, potatoes, red peppers, scallions, avocado, salsa rojo, jack cheese, and of course, bacon. I also ordered a 16 oz. glass of refreshing orange juice.

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The burrito was really, really good. It wasn’t huge, but was filled well so it was satisfying. Everything tasted very fresh, including the wrap itself. The eggs were soft and not dry, the potatoes inside the wrap were a welcome and tasty surprise, and the avocado, peppers and other ingredients combined to make an extremely tasty morning meal. For whatever reason, I don’t usually gravitate toward a burrito when I dine out for breakfast, but I’d definitely come back for this one.

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Cravings Carryout Cafe has been a welcome addition to that area of town for those who enjoy quality foods. Although they draw big crowds for their Bronuts, and they also continue to serve delicious cookies and other sweets, they’ve proven that they are much more than just a bakery. Their sandwich shop/cafe atmosphere is casual and comfortable, and you’re sure to get Matt & Lindsey’s best efforts in every meal you eat here. It’s a solid choice for a simple, yet complex breakfast or lunch sandwich or special.

I started this post talking about the Bronut, and will end it by saying that if you haven’t tried them yet, Bronuts are a special kind of donut, unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Make sure you mark your calendars for the second Saturday of the month. And get there early! They go fast!!

Cravings Carryout Cafe is located at 227 E. 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43201 (Map). They’re open Tuesday – Friday, from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and Saturday – Sunday, from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. For more info, you can check out their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @cravingscafe614.

Cravings Carryout Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Earlier this week, I posted a link to fellow blogger Morgan Lee’s Holiday Gift Guide on her blog Columbus Living, where she suggested some awesome local products for your still-to-buy-for friends and family. I got some great feedback in response, and hope many of you have found something for the folks on your list. But a lot of you asked about gifts for the “foodies” in your life. You know, those special folks who love to not only shop local, but EAT & COOK local too.

So without further delay, here’s my 2014 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Foodies in your life!!

 

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1. Local Culinary Tours from Columbus Food Adventures

The opportunity to experience local eats in this uniquely designed atmosphere will always top my list of awesome gift ideas. CFA offers guided tours through several of Cbus’ popular neighborhoods, and also features tours focusing on things like ethnic eats, desserts, coffee, and even a breakfast tour!! Booking a trip or buying a gift certificate to a CFA tour is the ultimate foodie gift!!

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2. Local Brewery Tours from Columbus Brew Adventures

CFA’s sister company, Columbus Brew Adventures, offers equally entertaining and informative tours for fans of local breweries and distilleries. They also offer an exceptional Pizza & Pints tour that I can personally recommend. A guided tour or a gift certificate from CBA will certainly thrill the craft beer fan in your family!

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3. Coffee by the Month

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters offers a unique and special gift that will last the whole year through…their Coffee by the Month Club.  It’s an extra special way to sample many of their delicious coffees, selected by their roasters for each and every month. In addition, bags of coffee and holiday gift sets from local favorites like Roaming Goat, One Line Coffee, Thunderkiss, Cafe Brioso and others are usually available for purchase at each respective shop, and at local grocers like The Hills Market, Weiland’s Market, and Lucky’s Market.

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4. Open A Coffee Shop

No, I’m not suggesting for you to open a shop for someone, but if you have someone in your life that has always dreamed of opening and running their own coffee shop, Crimson Cup Coffee founder Greg Ubert has written “Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry”. It’s everything you need to know to run a profitable coffee house or cafe. It could be just the gift that your aspiring small business owner needs to motivate them to success!

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5. Buy them a seat at a cooking class or culinary event

The Commissary is a certified, commercial kitchen and culinary event center designed for anyone and everyone who works in food at any stage. They host cooking classes, tastings, local start-ups, and is seriously just an awesome community tool for “foodies”. The Commissary regularly schedules events with local chefs, where the public can purchase tickets and sample their foods, and learn more about the Columbus food scene in the process.

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6. Chocolates

Everybody loves chocolates!! Luckily, Columbus has some of the finest, top-quality chocolate makers in the country right here. Check out the delicious gift boxes and holiday selections at Le Chocoholique or Winans Fine Chocolates & Coffees.

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7. Beer Dinners & Educational Tasting Sessions

101 Beer Kitchen in Dublin (and their soon-to-open 2nd location in Gahanna!) offers their exciting, monthly Beer Dinner Series, a unique 5-course dinner which is paired perfectly with 6 different beers from local breweries and brewers, well-known regional breweries and top-level national brands. In addition, they also offer Educational Tasting Sessions throughout the year.

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8. CaJohn’s Flavor & Fire

One of my all-time favorite vendors at the North Market is CaJohn’s. With over 180 all-natural items that will ignite your taste buds with the fire of local flavor, they’re the perfect choice for the spicy and adventurous food lover on your list. They specialize in sauces, spices, salsa and gift boxes of all varieties.

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9. Jeni’s Holiday Delivery

We all know and love Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. But did you know that they offer a Holiday gift service with holiday delivery? The process is simple – just log on to their website, select a mix of your favorite flavors (or the recipients favorites), or shop by collection, and they’ll take care of the rest!

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10. Aprons from Kitchen + Threads

Chef Silas Caeton, formerly of Veritas Tavern in Delaware, recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign where he created a line of aprons that are durable, fit well, and are stylish at the same time. Kitchen + Threads is now taking orders on their website for their popular smocks, and even has a section for custom designs as well. I’m thinking of buying one of these for myself this holiday season, and I’m thinking the foodie in your life who loves to cook or bake would love to have one too!

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Where did this year go??

December is here already and the cold and snow have arrived, the holidays are at hand, and thus it’s time for TBGG’s annual Holiday Gift Guide. Each year, I try to publish a list of a local items or services that I’ve discovered over the past year or so, but this year I thought I’d do something a little different…I’m publishing two lists! My pal Morgan Lee, who writes the blog Columbus Living, has put together a pretty darn comprehensive list of some of the best local products and businesses available to help you start or finish your holiday shopping! Trust me, if you can’t find a gift or an idea from her list, you’re pretty much SOL.  I’ll be posting my own “2014 Holiday Gifts for Foodies” list in a few days, but until then, check out Morgan’s gift ideas HERE!

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And since it’s December…it’s also time for our next gift card giveaway!! This month, our friends at Village Crepe in Pickerington have generously donated $40 in gift certificates to one of my readers. Village Crepe is an awesome local business that will seriously satisfy your craving for both sweet and savor crepes! Mrs. Grub Guy and I visited them earlier this year, and really loved their food (you can read my review HERE)!!

If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, all you need to do is comment on this post, or post to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TBGGCREPE. We’ll select a winner on Monday, Dec 15th at 11:00PM, and will post the name of the winner here on Tuesday, the 16th. Spread the word!!

Thanks for reading!!

 

*** WINNER***

Hey everybody, sorry I’m a little late in announcing the winner…I lost track of time :) The winner of the $40 in Village Crepe gift certificates is “Molly”!!! Molly, please email your name and address info to me at thebreakfastgrubguy@gmail.com, and I will get your prize out to you. Thanks to everyone who entered!!

Keep reading!!

 

 

I’m always up for a good eating challenge, and Columbus is certainly home to some pretty great ones. I’ve defeated the Dagwood at Ohio Deli, but honestly with the number of folks who can boast the same accomplishment, I feel like that’s become more of like a warm up to the big boys.

For those who haven’t participated in, or watched an eating challenge before, here’s a quick tutorial:

There are three main formats to an eating challenge -

1. Quantity of food eaten in a specified time period

2. Completion of a predetermined meal or amount of food in a specified time period, and

3. Consumption of food based on heat or flavor intensity

Because I’m a major weenie when it comes to really hot or spicy foods, I usually focus on the first two types when selecting a challenge, which is what drew me to my latest quest – to defeat a pizza so colossal that, out of the dozens of attempts there have been to topple this gargantuan, it’s only been conquered one time in history….it’s the Mega Meat Challenge at Joseppi’s Pizza.

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Joseppi’s is a local chain of four pizza shops, located primarily on the west side of town. I’ve been to their shop on W. Broad Street many times, and even wrote a blog post about a year and a half ago about their lunchtime pizza buffet (you can read it here). The pizza is absolutely delicious, and from the very first time I saw the poster in their dining room advertising this contest (below), which daringly stares me down like a hungry predator every time I walk into the shop, I knew this was a challenge I needed to accept….

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Joseppi’s main store in Lincoln Village is their only location that hosts this mega pizza challenge. It’s a hefty one, so the rules allow a team of two competitors exactly one hour to down an entire 28″ Joseppi’s Mega Meat pizza. The prizes for completing the challenge are lucrative, and make the attempt all the more enticing. This past summer, Jim from CMH Gourmand and I decided that we should team up in order to defeat the Goliath pie. Jim, being the Columbus pizza connoisseur and experienced eating challenge competitor that he is, was the perfect partner for such a feat. We finally decided upon a date and time to meet up at the store and try our hands (er…our bellies) at the competition. We were hungry and ready to put away some grub.

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This is Jeff Thompson. He’s the manager of the W. Broad Joseppi’s location. Jeff’s family started the shop in 1969, and is now in it’s 3rd generation of management of the company. He’s been working for his family’s business since he was 12 years old, and knows how to build an amazing pizza. Jeff showed us every single step of the process as he made our competition pie. We chatted with him quite a bit about the history of the shop, his other locations, and Columbus pizza history in general. Here, he showed us the crust for our pizza about to be piled high with meat and cheese…

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This is a shot of the pie at about the halfway point of building. Crust, sauce, provolone cheese, old world pepperoni, ham, and italian sausage. Still to be applied is more shredded provolone, ground beef, and bacon!!

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And here’s a couple of close-up’s of the finished product. The crust is a thin crust, but not cracker-like. We sliced a piece in half to show the layers of meat inside each piece. When contemplating a 28″ pizza, one could envision the possibility of consuming such a monster. But when you take into account that the pizza was at least a half inch thick, the task becomes quite the chore.

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As the pizza arrived at the table, we were feeling pretty confident. The rules were laid out for us: We were allowed one hour to finish. We could get up, walk around, stretch, or whatever else we needed to do to help digest, but if we left the dining area, the competition was over. We were allotted an unlimited supply of water or fountain soda. No one else was allowed to sit at or approach the table, and finally….

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…If we had to use these, it was over.

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We sized up our challenger before we dug in. Jeff’s recommendation was to have some dipping sauces on hand in case we needed to break up the flavors a bit. We opted for ranch dressing and hot sauce. Jim counted the pieces before we started…a total of 59. Surely one of us could handle 29, and the other 30, right? After letting the pizza cool for five minutes or so, we notified Jeff that we were ready.

We dug in just before 8:00, and started off strong. Jim and I each had an outer row gone before we knew it. The pizza itself had great flavor. All of the meats made each bite a real pleasure. The rim of the crust was golden brown, and sort of just melted in our mouths, instead of being hard. We each started on a side, and did well for a while, but as we started on our second row in, we started slowing down. Slowly but surely we fought onward. A few more pieces in and we were slowly hitting that dreaded wall.

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Sadly, at 38 minutes in, Jim and I had to tap out. We had hit that wall head on, and knew there was no way we would recover. Even after stretching, and getting up for a few minutes, we weren’t able to push forward. Man, I was stuffed.

The Mega Meat pizza really is an incredibly delicious pizza. I’m glad I had the opportunity to make this attempt, and haven’t ruled out another go at it in the future. I don’t really have any advice for anyone contemplating this challenge. It’s a monster. Truly. I’d say, find a great partner like we did, and go for it. If you love meat pizzas, this one is probably one of the tastiest, and most filling ones you’ll find in Columbus. And If you love leftover cold pizza for breakfast, fail the test and you’ll certainly have plenty. Enjoy!!

To read CMH Gourmand’s post about our epic endeavor, click HERE!!

If you want to try Joseppi’s Mega Meat Challenge, or if you just want to check out one of their other tasty pies, check out their website here for their shop locations.

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No matter where you live, having a great deli nearby as a delicious and fresh lunch option is something that most foodies can agree is an essential requirement in life. I mean, really…who doesn’t love deli sandwiches? Most of the time they’re healthier, lighter, and easier to handle than, say, a giant burger or your favorite pizza. And when you find a really good shop, it’s pretty much “your place” for life, right? Enter Neighbor’s Deli. For me, this is MY new place. And all that stuff I said about healthier and lighter food? Oh, they can do that if you want, but it’s not the norm here. Here, they pile the meat so high that you can barely see over the lid! But even more than that, do you want to know my favorite thing about this place? It’s that they’re doing the same thing with breakfast sandwiches, too!!

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I first learned of Neighbor’s Deli through a blog post that Jim Ellison of CMH Gourmand wrote a few years ago, where he told about his misadventures in tackling the Deli’s behemoth eating challenge known as The Monolith (A sandwich so huge that it makes the Dagwood wet itself). I’ll save the details on that particular menu item for a future post when I can brag about how I put it down like the culinary demon that it is (I will defeat you, Monster!!).

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Neighbor’s Deli is located in a strip of shops on Henderson Rd., and is right next door to another U.A. breakfast favorite, Cuco’s Taqueria. The space is compact, but is bright and clean. It’s designed to steer you right toward the order counter, where the shop’s owner, John, and his staff slice up your favorites.

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The dining room is a simple space, and I’m told by John that they usually get pretty packed around the lunch rush during the week and for breakfast on Saturdays when there’s an early Ohio State game. Luckily for us, the Buckeyes were playing a night game on the day we visited, and we avoided the crowds until folks started filing in for lunch around 11.

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Written on chalkboards that stretch the length of the inner wall, Neighbor’s deli menu is quite impressive. As you can imagine, most of the items are huge sandwiches, like monster reubens, clubs, grilled melts, hoagies, scrollers (wraps) and more. Much of the menu is comprised of John’s specialty creations – combinations of just the right ingredients discovered simply through trial and error.

The breakfast menu is small, but huge. I dare you to find something on this six-item menu that you wouldn’t love. Seriously.

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We decided to order from both the breakfast menu and the regular menu during this visit. I opted for the Cheesesteak & Eggs ($8.00), which was recommended by the owner, himself. It was an enormous sandwich with equally enormous flavors – thinly sliced, marinated sirloin steak, grilled sweet peppers, onions (maybe just a tad too many for me), white American cheese, and two fried eggs stuffed into a fresh, homemade 7-inch hoagie roll.  This was truly the ultimate breakfast sandwich. John asked me to try a “secret sauce” he’d been working on, and honestly, my best guess is that it was a simple combination of honey mustard/barbeque/hot sauce, and it worked really well with the cheesesteak.

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Mrs. Grub Guy ordered the California ($5.50), a terrific sandwich made with eggs, cheddar cheese, sliced avacado, and about a half pound of bacon! Seriously, this thing was HUGE for a half-sandwich (the picture really doesn’t do it justice)! She ordered it on Sun-dried tomato, but also had the option of several other breads or one of their fresh, house-made bagels. Being the bacon fan that she is, she enjoyed this sandwich tremendously. And the crispy cheese around the edges was a surprise bonus :)

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When we first arrived, the boy saw a row of hoagies being prepared for another order, and decided that was what he wanted, nevermind that this was our first meal of the day. So, we ordered him a half-sized Roast Beef & Turkey Club Hoagie ($5.75). Forget those stingy chain places, this is the way a hoagie is supposed to look!! It was piled high with fresh turkey, roast beef, bacon, mayo and veggies. He ate half of the half, and was full. Big sandwich.

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Here’s a look at another beauty, The Undertaker ($5.75/half). John told me that he named this sandwich after a friend of his, who worked in a funeral parlor, asked him to make him a sandwich. It’s an absolutely huge sandwich made with fresh-sliced roast beef, which is grilled and layered with Swiss, a mountain of delicious cole slaw, and horsey sauce, cradled between two slices of grilled, marbled rye. You definitely need some sturdy, plastic utensils for this one. It’s a bit messy, but the flavor is incredible!! This is one of my favorites so far, but I’ve only tried about a half-dozen items on the menu…I’ve still got a long way to go!!

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We finished our meal with some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies ($1.00/3) upon the boy’s request. Dessert after breakfast? I mean, sure…why not!

As you can see, nothing that Neighbor’s Deli does is small. If you’re a fan of deli, or breakfast, or lunch, or just food in general…you have got to check this place out! I’ve been several times now, and honestly everything I’ve ordered has been super fresh and delicious. It’s obvious that John and his staff are focused on two main points: Great food and customer satisfaction. I’d say they are excelling at both.

Pro tip: During the Buckeyes’ season, Neighbor’s offers a tremendous “Game Day Special” – any two, large hoagies for only $16.99! What a great deal!!

Neighbor’s Deli is located at 2142 Henderson Rd, Columbus, OH 43220 (Map). They are open Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and Sunday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. For more info, visit them on Facebook and at their website.

Neighbor's Deli on Urbanspoon

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We know that Columbus loves coffee, right? And it seems as though we all have our favorite local roasters or coffee shops to which we gravitate toward again and again for any number of reasons – maybe it’s close to home/work/school/the gym/wherever…perhaps it’s the coffee selection…maybe the view…or possibly an untold number of others. So, with this post, I thought I’d share with you one of my all-time favorite places in Columbus to sit and sip an espresso or a pour over. It’s a place that offers a relaxing atmosphere where the staff is ultra-friendly and knowledgeable, and a place that serves one of the most famous breakfast casseroles in Cbus – Yup, I’m talking about Luck Bros Coffee House.

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Luck Bros sits in a colorful row of shops along W. 1st Ave in Grandview, where it’s sandwiched between Marshall’s and an Old Bag of Nails pub. The street is pretty quiet, which makes it all the nicer for sitting outside when the weather cooperates. I’m pretty surprised actually that I haven’t reviewed Luck Bros up to this point, but it’s been a while since I’ve visited. Again, though…for me, this is one of those places that draws me in. The comfy atmosphere inside makes it all the easier to just grab my laptop or a good book, and settle in with a warm cup of something.

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The shop’s owner, Andy Luck, ensures that everyone who is involved in your coffee experience is highly knowledgeable and passionate about bringing you coffee of the highest quality. Luck Bros offers many of the usual coffee shop/roaster selections, from your standard cup of coffee to espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and some cold brew as well. They’ll also be happy to serve you a fresh pour over, a cup of French press, or even some herbal teas if that’s your thing.

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On the morning I visited, I ordered a medium Caramel Bullseye Espresso ($4.25) as my drink of choice, and a freshly prepared helping of their famous Breakfast Bake ($4.25) to fill my belly.

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My coffee was amazingly smooth and rich. Luck Bro’s uses Snowville Creamery’s 2%, which adds an incredible creaminess to the drink. I didn’t have any troubles putting this one away.

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Luck Bros roasts their coffee on site, which, as you can imagine, permeates the air with an alluring aroma that is simply impossible not to love. It’s fun to get here early and watch the roasters at work, roasting beans to perfection. It really does bring a new appreciation to coffee consumption.

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Luck Bro’s Breakfast Bake is one of their most popular food items. They also serve a variety of scones, pastries, cookies, bagels, and donuts from various local bakers, but this would kind of be what you would call their signature item. It’s an easy-to-like casserole which is simply made up of layered hash browns, cheese, eggs and kielbasa sausage. Andy claims it’s an old family recipe that has been handed down, and one that he decided to try in the shop. I, for one, am glad he did. I would highly recommend it to any first-timer.

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Luck Bros also offers home brewing supplies, freshly roasted beans or fresh grounds, and other things like branded mugs for purchase in their shop. I just thought the quirkiness of these character drawings on their newest mugs was fun, and the logo mugs are really cool, too. Andy and his staff are more that willing to help answer any questions you have about home brewing or the products they sell.

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Luck Bros is totally just an all-around great place to sit and hang out with a friend and catch up over some java, to write a paper, or to simply enjoy a free morning of relaxation. It’s definitely one of my favorite shops in town. I’d highly recommend stopping in for your favorite hot or cold cuppa joe the next time you’re thinking of trying a new spot, and be sure to grab a big slice of the Bake. It’ll get you started off on the right foot, and put a smile on your face. Really. Come see if I’m lyin’….

Luck Bros Coffee House is located at 1101 W. 1st Ave, Columbus, OH 43212 (Map). They’re open Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, and Saturday – Sunday, 8:00 am – 7:00 pm. Feel free to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, IG, or visit their website for up to date info.

Luck Brothers Coffee House on Urbanspoon

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I recently went on a job interview where the owner of the company invited me to breakfast so that we could discuss my qualifications over a plate of eggs (free breakfast? Sure!!). Aside from my professional experience, he also seemed genuinely intrigued about the whole idea of photo-documenting my breakfast adventures, and about my writing experience, so I was more than happy to accompany him to an out of the way strip mall at the corner of McKinley and W. 5th Ave, for breakfast at a little diner that I honestly never knew existed – Spiro’s Plaza Cafe.

Spiro’s is a quiet little storefront diner that serves American and Greek cuisines. They offer a pretty limited breakfast menu which sticks to the basics, with nothing that really gets too overly creative or complicated. Their lunch and dinner menus offer a wider variety of Greek dishes, along with lots of old-fashioned family diner favorites.

The restaurant itself is divided into two halves – a bar side, and a dining room. I did take photos of the interior, but they were somehow deleted while I was compiling my photos for this post. Spiro’s is pretty quaint and neutral, and by that I mean that there really isn’t much to look at, or a whole lot of  character to the place. The dining room is clean and neat, but actually kind of plain. The bar is small, and is surrounded by a handful of high-top tables and a flat-screen TV, but otherwise, uneventful. The morning we visited, there were a couple of tables occupied by some younger folks on the bar side, but the dining room seemed to be where the older folks preferred to be. It was sort of strange, in a comfortable way.

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My potential employer seemed to be a semi-regular at this joint, so we were waved in as soon as we arrived, and told to grab a seat wherever we liked. We scooted into a booth on the side of the room, and our waitress immediately brought out water and two mugs of warm diner brown. She was the only server in the restaurant that morning, and was very friendly and talkative. She made sure all of our dining needs were met and that our coffee cups never emptied more than half a cup. Great service!

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As I mentioned, their breakfast menu was relatively small, but most of the classic diner bases are covered.

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After looking over the menu for a minute or two, I decided on the Greek Omelet w/ gyro meat ($7.79). This dish was a BIG 3-egger filled with feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, and the gyro meat. You can also order this without the meat, but why would you?? It came with a big helping of home fries that were cooked well, but needed some seasoning. Thankfully, the salt and pepper shakers on the table were full, so it wasn’t so bad. It also came with some nice, buttery toast.

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My omelet was pretty tasty, and had plenty of filling. The gyro meat was good, but was obviously prepackaged. It didn’t deter much from the omelet, but I’m not too sure I’d be as forgiving if I were to order an actual gyro. Nonetheless, I was pretty satisfied with my meal, and thanked my interviewer for treating me to a good plate of grub.

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My dining companion ordered the Steak & Eggs ($10.49) which came with some of those potatoes and toast. He graciously offered his plate to me for photos, and I secretly wanted to steal a bite of his steak. He ordered his eggs over easy, which looked pretty spot on, and his steak medium.

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Unfortuntely, his steak left a lot to be desired. It was quite small and seemed to have been cooked previously, and then just reheated with a little bit of a seer to each side when ordered. It was definitely not cooked medium, but was an overcooked well done. He did say that it was seasoned nicely, however.

Overall, I was grateful for the meal and the opportunity to discuss our potential business relationship. The plates at this cafe are large and filling. Spiro’s definitely isn’t the most trendy, happening place in town, but it would be a perfect spot to take your parents or grandparents for a nice diner-style meal.

Spiro’s Plaza Cafe is located at 2958 McKinley Ave, Columbus, OH 43204 (Map). They’re open Monday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. For more info, check out their Facebook page here.

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