Thanks to a reader who informed me a couple of months ago about a new breakfast cafe opening in Upper Arlington, South of Lane has been on my radar since the end of April. The thought of a breakfast spot combined with a vintage curio-style shop intrigued me. So when my buddy, Rob, sent me a message inviting me to check it out with him, I was all over it.
South of Lane is located between Lane Ave and W. 5th Ave, in a cluster of trendy shops known as The Mallway, which reminded me of something you’d see while walking through an upscale New England neighborhood. The plaza is backed up against a residential neighborhood, and the location is perfect if you’re looking to have a quiet morning breakfast at one of their patio tables out front, or if you want to just sit for a while, sip a cup of coffee and read a good book.
Speaking of coffee, South of Lane serves locally roasted Thunderkiss Coffee. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by the owner, Catherine Vonderahe, and invited to grab one of their custom mugs and partake in the wonderfully aromatic brew. Catherine was extremely friendly and welcoming, and she offered to go over the breakfast menu with us since it was our first visit. She made a few suggestions, and then let us find a seat close to the kitchen.
The decor of SOL is bright and artsy. The solid wood floor, the big wooden tables & mismatched chairs, the great artwork on the walls…it had all the essentials of a spectacular, local cafe. They also had lots of flags and Americana decor displayed in honor of our upcoming Independence Day, which I appreciated.
One entire wall, among other areas of the shop, was dedicated to their vintage finds and unique gifts. Most, if not all, of the things they have on display are for sale, as are some wonderful large, antique furniture pieces they have in the front of the house. It really is a great atmosphere.
One of my favorite things was the open kitchen area, located just behind the counter where you place your order. It’s very well lit, and I think it’s great that they offer you the chance to see exactly where your food is being prepared.
The menu itself is relatively small, and some of the items are consistent with the local breakfast cafe norm. Of course there are the assorted pastries & bagels, coffees and tea selections that one would expect, but they have some really nice, larger entree options as well. Their “3-2-1 Omelet” (3 eggs, 2 folds, 1 cheese) comes in several varieties, like a Greek version which is stuffed with fresh spinach, tomatoes, red onions and feta cheese, and topped with Kalamata olives, a Western-style omelet with ham, veggies and cheddar, or the namesake SOL, made with peppers, onions, salsa & pepperjack.
Rob ordered the “3-2-1″ original omelet – a thick, fluffy blanket of egg, cradling tons of gooey cheddar cheese. It came with buttered toast, in his choice of white or wheat. He said he enjoyed it greatly.
I ordered the “PB2″ – a thick, golden-brown waffle, which was folded, and sandwiched crunchy peanut butter and applewood smoked bacon, with a sprinkle of confectioners sugar on top. Wow…it was amazing. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of doing this before. I didn’t even need syrup, although Catherine did bring us each a glass of water and added that in her opinion, I needed that to wash it down. They also offer a “PB3″ version, which is the same dish, but with the addition of Nutella and sliced bananas inside.
This was a complementary gift we received from the owner herself – a large slice of their house-baked coconut bread. It was incredible! Rob and I both raved over the delightful, cinnamon and coconut-flavored treat. It was fresh, moist, and very much appreciated. I was told that this is the bread they use to make their French toast with. I know what I’m ordering next time!!
These are the kinds of places I LOVE in Columbus; the independent, local businesses, full of life and vigor, whom the community has taken to and fully embraced. People want these kinds of places in their neighborhoods. With the awesome food that South of Lane is putting out, as well as the genuine friendliness of its owner, I’m sure they will enjoy continued success for years to come.