In almost every city, there are most certainly specific, popular areas of activity that are sprinkled with small, storefront diners and eateries. Some of these restaurants have been thriving for decades, thanks in part to their loyal following of regular customers, but also due to the events that take place nearby that generate business. In Columbus, we have places like the OSU campus area, the Arena District, several downtown festivals throughout the summer, and other popular hangout regions like the Short North. The cool thing is that these areas of excitement and family enjoyment, as well as the fabulous fooderies therein, aren’t exclusive to the city. The ‘burbs are alive with the sound of…well, people stuffing their faces with good grub!!
Located in the heart of Grove City’s historic shopping and eatery district, known as Grove City Town Center, is Lilly’s. Lilly’s is one of those diners that has been around forever and certainly has its own regular customers, but also benefits from the hometown, family festivals and parades that occur throughout the year along the main business section of Broadway. It’s a family run place, and the owner, Tracey Cope, has been working at Lilly’s for the past 13 years.
Lilly’s has a lot in common with many other small diners around Columbus. They have the standard checkered floor, several tables & chairs scattered around the room, a wall of booths, a counter and stools, comfortable decor…oh, and some really friendly people who work there.
On the morning we visited, there were several parties of older folks at the front of the house, leisurely enjoying their breakfasts and talking about their families or discussing the weather. There was a girl who came in for a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of fruit before beginning her day, and a couple of booths with anywhere from 2-4 occupants, enjoying the morning with some comfort food. Each and every one who entered, Tracey and her staff welcomed them, fed them, and made them feel at home. I love these kinds of places.
The menu features your typical, diner breakfast foods: Eggs, meats, griddle selections, omelettes…..all pretty standard. I was told about a dish that I didn’t actually notice on the menu until after I had already ordered – something called an “omelette wrap”. It’s described it as an omelette filled with hash browns and sausage gravy, topped with shredded cheddar, and accompanied by two fresh biscuits. It sounded tasty (you know about my biscuits & gravy obsession). I’ll have to check it out next time.
They also have a daily special for both their breakfast and lunch services.
I ordered the “Day Lilly” special, which consisted of two eggs, hash browns, choice of bacon or sausage, and toast. I ordered the eggs over easy, and they were cooked just right. The hash browns could have been from the freezer, but I couldn’t tell. Same with the sausage patties. The toast was lightly browned and heavily buttered, just the way I like it. It was all really tasty, and just about what you would expect from a diner 2-egg special. My buddy, Kevin, ordered the same thing, and enjoyed his as well.
They also offer a really nice fruit cup. A big portion of mellon, grapes, bananas and berries. Always a favorite!!
I found these goodies up by the register…a couple of different sweets that were displayed as an after-breakfast temptation. The pecan roll, as well as the iced cinnamon roll, looked so delicious.
Before leaving, I had a chance to talk with Tracey for a couple of minutes. She told me her story of working at Lilly’s for many years, before buying the place 2 years ago. One part of the restaurant that she is really proud of is the wall mural that was painted after she took over. It’s a picture of the outside of the diner, with her grandchildren sitting on a bench out front.
Honestly, Lilly’s is one of those places that serves the same style of breakfast food that you could find at a hundred other diners, but it’s the friendliness of the owner and servers that keep people coming back. I’d definitely recommend checking them out next time you and your family are in Grove City, and especially if you’re trekking up and down Broadway during the upcoming Wine and Arts Festival, and have a craving for a good, diner breakfast.