The Social – Columbus, OH

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They say that you should never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. I say that’s actually the perfect time to go.

Especially if you shop at Whole Foods Market.

I’m a big fan of Whole Foods, but quite honestly, we don’t shop there nearly as much as I’d like to, and I had not been to the Whole Foods Market in Upper Arlington until just recently. I have followed them on social media for quite some time and regularly see advertisements for the in-store events and different dining opportunities that take place at the store, and I certainly appreciate their dedication to local food and drink. So when I finally had the chance to stop in and check out The Social inside of the UA store, I was super excited to find the crew there making fresh, delicious meals to order, including those from a breakfast menu!!

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Whole Foods is known for showcasing delicious and healthy local foods, which includes a number of prepared food options, such as their beautifully fresh, organic olive bars and salad bars, pizzas, hot and cold sandwiches, and more. Many Whole Foods stores offer abbreviated menus at different lunch counters throughout the store featuring small meals made up of specific types of food, and will often hold different tastings, samplings and such. Some of their other Columbus locations offer this type of option, but I never really liked the feeling of sitting in the middle of the store and eating, exposed.

At the store in UA, however, there’s The Social – a casual eating space with a full-service menu consisting of many of the awesome foods and drinks that you can find throughout the store, prepared fresh for you in a comfy pub-style environment. The Social has a really independent feel to it – you know it’s part of the store, but it’s separated enough to feel like its own entity.

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Big, bright windows and stylish decor add to the attraction of this little restaurant. The dining area is actually much larger than you would expect it to be, being inside of a grocery store and all. The Social actually does have its own entrance from the parking lot, but you can also access the store from inside, using an adjacent set of electronically sliding glass doors.

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When you enter the café, the menus are located just to the left of the order counter, below a welcome sign. I actually had a hard time locating them at first, and was searching the chalk boards behind the counter for food options. I finally found the menus, and I grabbed a table as I looked it over. The boards behind the counter list all of their hot and cold drink options, as well as their beer menu and draft list. Both the coffee bar and the beer list had everything you’d want, including lots of local craft beer. The restaurant is filled with empty growlers as a reminder of the option to take home some of your favorite brews, too.

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Being that it was about 10:30 in the morning, I passed on the growler and ordered an Allego brand Pomegranate Green Iced Tea ($2.00). It was one of three available flavors that day, and it was really refreshing. I’m not sure why I don’t order iced tea more often??

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I also noticed at the counter were several really yummy donuts and pastries for sale, which appeared to have been made in-house. They went for $.99/ea, which seemed like a really good deal for as delicious as they looked.

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The Social’s menu features a pretty good selection of sandwiches, salads, and entrees for the lunch and dinner crowd, and a small but solid breakfast menu with 5-6 entrees and around a dozen a la cart items. The menu at The Social does change several times per year based on seasonal ingredients. Many of their dishes can also be made as vegan or wheat free upon request.

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I ordered the Farm Breakfast ($5.00), which was pretty much a steal at that price! It’s advertised as “The best deal in town”, and I have to say, it might just be, when it comes to breakfast!! It included two eggs, breakfast potatoes w/ onions and peppers, two slices of multigrain toast, and my choice of meat (bacon, ham, or pork/chicken/vegan sausage). Everything was cooked really well – the potatoes were soft and nicely seasoned, the eggs were good, the toast warm and lightly toasted (just the way I like it), and the sausage patty was really flavorful. For $5, you can’t beat this plate of breakfast grub!!

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Here’s a shot of the Breakfast Sandwich ($3.00), which was pretty basic, but very tasty. It comes as a local fried egg and your choice of cheese (American, Swiss or cheddar) on a toasted English muffin. They offer add-on options of bacon, ham, sausage or avocado for an extra $2.00. The egg was cooked with the yolk still a little runny, which seeped out and covered the bottom of the muffin, making it a little messy, but who doesn’t love a good runny yolk? The muffin was toasted exactly the way it should be – just a slight crunch, but still soft and chewy. The addition of the avocado was the perfect choice, as it made for a more filling meal without the guilt of a lot of extra calories.

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I enjoyed spending the morning visiting The Social. Their comfortable atmosphere, affordable prices, and good food have definitely given me an inexpensive option for breakfast in UA. And the best part is, you don’t even have to be doing your shopping to check this place out (and as a guy, I certainly appreciate that)!

The Social is located inside Whole Foods Market Upper Arlington at 1555 W. Lane Ave., Columbus, OH 43221 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Sunday, 7:00am – 10:00pm and serves breakfast all day. For more info, check out their website, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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