Chef’s House is one of those places that I’ve driven past a hundred times and always wanted to stop in and have a meal, but just have never gotten around to it. It looks inviting enough from the outside: the big, bold “Family Restaurant” sign, modern brick & siding exterior, and always a full parking lot. It’s located conveniently on the corner of a small strip mall, at the intersection of Hilliard-Rome Rd. & Roberts Rd, just about a mile off of both I-270 and I-70. Chef’s House has been in business since 1989, and as you can imagine, it’s pretty much a staple of the town’s business community. It also just so happens to be just up the road from where my parents live.
Walking into the restaurant, I immediately got the feeling that this was probably, at one time, just your average small town family diner. The older-style, burgundy, vinyl booths, the counter and stools, and the brown, wood-veneer tables are all still here, but it looks to have since been partially remodeled, with updated and modernized tile floors, wallpaper and decor. It was really sort of a contrast of styles that surprisingly works pretty well together.
I especially loved the vintage counter & stools with the high-backed chairs. From here, you can see the chef inside the kitchen working fervently, slinging potatoes and eggs like it’s nobody’s business. Behind the counter, the servers/owners are brewing coffee, stocking supplies, and working hard to produce a pleasant dining experience.
My breakfast companion for the morning was my Dad, and we showed up to the restaurant at around 10:00 am. I assume that we got there late enough to miss the morning crowd, as there were only about 3 other tables occupied, and they were just finishing up. We pretty much had the place to ourselves after they left, so I took the opportunity to snap several photos of the inside. As you can see, the dining room is very well-lit thanks to tons of natural lighting from the windows on both sides.
Our server, whom I believe is also part of the owner’s family, did an excellent job taking our order and keeping our cups filled with hot, diner coffee. He explained to us that Chef’s House is famous for their “double-yolk guarantee”. Every order of eggs, including their omelettes, are made with a double-yolk egg that they get from a local supplier. My Dad asked how they know that every egg has a double yolk? The man explained that farmers used to check by holding a candle up to the egg, but now it’s all done by machines, which separate the eggs by weight. The double-yolk eggs are substantially heavier, thus get pulled from the rest and that is how Chef”s House gets them. Now, I’ve read several reviews online that say the double-yolk is just a marketing gimmick and that they actually just cook two small eggs side by side. Either way, it’s pretty cool to get two eggs for the price of one. Other items on the menu include mostly your typical diner breakfast specials, griddle items, omelettes, and the like. I did notice several Greek inspired breakfast dishes listed. They also serve Gyros, and I’d assume there are other Greek items on the lunch and dinner menus too, although I didn’t look. It was kind of a nice surprise because you wouldn’t think just by looking at the place that they served that style of food.
My Dad went with the “Two double-yolk eggs combo” which consisted of two eggs (four yolks), fried potatoes, choice of meat, and toast. He opted for eggs over medium, which were cooked perfectly, ham steak, and rye toast. He said the ham was tender and cooked well – not too juicy, not too dry – and the potatoes were tasty. This huge meal would probably feed just about the hungriest of humans.
I’ve eaten a lot of eggs lately, so I passed on the double-yolks and ordered the French toast with a side of meat special. Now, either I was really hungry, or this French toast was REALLY good. Or both. I had two fresh pieces of Texas-style toast, delicately battered and grilled to golden perfection on the flat-top. I could really taste the vanilla in the batter, which I enjoyed. It was pretty heavily sprinkled with powdered sugar (I didn’t mind that at all) and served with real maple syrup.
My French toast was accompanied by my choice of breakfast meat, and of course, I ordered the bacon. Fried crisp just the way I like it.
After we finished eating, I noticed this beauty stationed right next to the cash register – a large case full of homemade pies, cakes, and a Greek favorite, baklava. They are all nicely packaged, single-servings for quick take out as you’re leaving, or of course, you can enjoy them at your table as well.
As we were leaving, a very friendly lady, whom I am assuming to be the owner, offered me a complimentary parting gift – a large, freshly-baked helping of baklava. I sampled it after I got it home. It tasted really fresh and the puff pastry just melted in my mouth. The bottom layers of pastry, honey and nuts, were a delightful mixture of sweet goodness. I shared it with my wife and she enjoyed it as well. It was a very much appreciated gesture of kindness that she shared this delicious treat with me, and I’m sure we will be back to buy more :)
The Chef’s House is a pleasant, family style restaurant that serves some basic diner food, but does it well. The prices are very reasonable for the amount of food they offer, and the fact that you can stop in for a Gyro or a Greek omelette is a big plus, especially in the suburbs. The family who owns it is very friendly and it’s obvious why they have been around for so long – because they do food well, and they treat their customers the right way. These are the kinds of places that people will keep coming back to. I know I will.
You can visit the Chef’s House Family Restaurant at 5454 Roberts Rd, Hilliard, OH 43026 (Map). They are open Mon-Thurs, 7:00am – 8:30pm, Fri-Sat, 7:00am – 9:30pm & Sun, 8:00am – 4:oopm. You can find more info on their Facebook listing here.