My wife (Mrs. Grub Guy, as I will now refer to her here :)) and I have the privilege of celebrating our birthdays within a two-week period of each other. So, when she suggested we commemorate with a rare Sunday morning breakfast out, I was all for it. We knew we wanted to go somewhere casual and comfortable. We live in the west-side suburbs of Columbus, and we didn’t really want to drive to anyplace that was too far away. I had remembered a restaurant called The Country Table that I wanted to check out, which is just a ten minute ride outside of Cbus, through the scenic country, just a few miles past the Battelle-Darby Creek Metro Park and about halfway into the small town of West Jefferson, in Madison county. On the outside, The Country Table is a very unassuming place. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to think that you may actually drive right past it if you weren’t looking hard enough. Located on one of the many corners along Main Street, The Country Table Restaurant is a plain white, two-story building with a banner sign tacked over the front door. Nothing frilly, but totally inviting if you’re looking for that small town, country breakfast experience.
Now, there are plenty of restaurants out there that try to manufacture the “country comfort” type of atmosphere (think Cracker Barrel….oy). They provide us with an abundance of country knickknacks on the walls, doily placemats, and categories like “Down Home Fixin’s” on their menus. Their cheerfulness and big smiles often times seem forced and rehearsed. The Country Table Restaurant is NOT one of those places. This is the real “country feel”…they don’t have to fake it. As we were walking in, there was an older couple that was leaving the restaurant. They looked up, smiled, and said, “Enjoy your breakfasts!”. A very friendly gesture from obviously friendly people, which we appreciated. When we walked in, we were greeted by the only waitress working that morning, Tonya, who is also the owner, I believe. She was genuinely welcoming and made us feel right at home. She was carrying a big pot of steaming coffee, and we were served a cup almost as soon as we found a seat (btw, you can pick a seat anywhere you like…by the door, by a window, at the counter, etc). I immediately noticed how simple and authentic the decor in the dining room was…bright white walls accented with country blue (not too overused), blue & white checkerboard table clothes, and vintage country artwork.
We enjoyed this wall’s decor especially, with the hanging vintage utensils and old, enameled, tin cookware. My wife said it reminded her of her great-grandmother, whom she used to watch cook with these same tools, when she was younger. Located along the wall, which you can just barely make out in the picture above, is a jumbo-sized, table-top checkers game that you can enjoy while waiting for your food, in our case only about ten minutes.
The menu is a simple, single-page offering of classic breakfast fare, including a half-dozen specials and several al a carte options. They also have a “Daily specials” board for food and combos that are not listed on the regular menu. Tonya even takes recommendations from customers of meal ideas that they would like to see listed on the specials board in the future.
I ordered The Skillet breakfast special, which was a wonderful compilation of many of my favorite breakfast foods: eggs, sausage, cheese, hash browns, and topped with creamy sausage gravy. Have I mentioned before that I am a huge fan of sausage gravy?? (Ha, are you kidding…just look at my previous blog posts!!) . It was served with a side of warm, buttered toast & jelly. The Skillet is brought right to the table in an actual hot, cast-iron skillet, which I liked.
The portions at The Country Table are pretty large, and by the time I got half way through my breakfast, I started to wonder if I’d be able to finish it in one sitting (I managed :)). It was all very tasty and warm. If there was anything at all that they could change to improve this dish, in my opinion, it would be the sausage. Big chunks were waiting to be found under all of those hash browns, which I certainly won’t complain about, but the sausage itself lacked some seasoning. In fact, I’m not entirely positive that it was pork sausage, although it didn’t state otherwise on the menu. It was definitely a different kind of sausage than they used in the sausage gravy. It was not unpleasant by any means, but more spices would have gone a long way. Either way, a very filling meal.
My wife ordered the Country Fried Steak breakfast…a generous portion of fork-tender steak, seasoned well and fried golden crisp, and smothered in the same smooth sausage gravy that was used in my skillet. It came with hash browns, two eggs, and buttered toast & jelly. She was very satisfied and said she would definitely order this again for breakfast. We both had the the coffee, which was really your typical diner-style cup-o-joe…not too weak/not too strong, and were offered frequent refills before our cups were half empty each time. I really can’t stress enough about how great the service was.
Signs hanging outside of the building advertised some specials that The Country Table Restaurant is obviously known for, such as their signature burger, the Dixie Boy, and Jeanie’s peanut butter pie. If it were up to me, I’d make another sign to make sure passersby knew of their delicious breakfasts and outstanding service.
We talked throughout our meal about how pleasant the whole experience was and how much we enjoyed our breakfast here. The environment was inviting and casual, the waitress/owner was honestly cheerful and seemed to truly value our patronage, and the homestyle cooking felt like I was sitting in my grandmother’s house and enjoying a breakfast cooked with an extra helping of comfort.
Next time, I’ve GOTTA try that pie…..
The Country Table Restaurant is located at 3 W. Main St, West Jefferson, OH 43162 (Map). They are open 7 days a week, from 7:30 am – 3:00 pm, and until 8:00 pm on Fridays. Visit them on their Facebook page for more info.