Date of Visit: Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: Having lived in Columbus for nearly seven years, I’ve heard about Tee Jaye’s time and again. All the commercials bill Tee Jaye’s as a great family restaurant, with something to please everyone. Over the years, I never really had cause to go, and only in the past couple years have we even lived close to one. Then came the morning with my brother-in-law Chip, my frequent breakfast companion, asked where we should go for a catch-up over coffee and breakfast, and I tentatively mentioned Tee Jaye’s.
ATMOSPHERE: Walking in to the restaurant, I was surprised by how big and open it was. You can see across the entire restaurant, looking over islands of large tables to the booths along the walls. The tables and chairs themselves feel massive – plenty of room to comfortably fit an entire family.
Overheard are a series of gigantic chandeliers. The dim lighting gives you the sense of a quiet, comfortable place to enjoy a meal. But this heartwarming sense was offset by the slight smell of vinegar; I think this came from the cleaner used on the tables.
FOOD: Chip and I both chose The Barnyard Buster on the recommendation of our server. The BB is pictured below.
At $4.75, the Barnyard Buster is Tee Jaye’s version of the everything platter: two eggs, two biscuits, home fries, plastered in sausage gravy. It was certainly filling, but not that flavorful. You can’t really mess up eggs, but the gravy was unremarkable, the biscuits dry, and the home fries (thin sliced potatoes) were so overcooked that they were plastic-y around the edges. Yuck.
Tee Jaye’s features some other country favorites that I wish I had tried instead, from Cornmeal Cakes and Sausage Cornbread, to Chipped Creamed Beef, Country Ham, and Mush. The prices are all cheap, but if the Barnyard Buster is anything to go by, they might not be the highest quality, most freshly cooked meals.
SERVICE: Tee Jaye’s website promises you a friendly “Howdy Folks” when you enter their restaurants, and they certainly mean it. The servers and manager embodied the family-owned, “stick-to-your-ribs-home-cooking” vibe of the restaurant. We felt welcomed and well cared-for.
OVERALL: Honestly, I don’t think I’d make the trip to Tee Jaye’s again, at least not for breakfast. They’re one of the rare 24-hour joints in town, along with the handful of Waffle Houses sprinkled around the I-270 loop, a few Denny’s here and there, and Late Night Eggs near OSU’s campus. So if you’re looking for a local 24-hour restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere and some decent food, give Tee Jaye’s a try. But it’s not your best bet for a home-cooked breakfast.