1275 Brown Rd. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43223
Open Mon, 5a-3:30p; Tues-Sat, 5a-7p; Sun, 5a-5p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Date of Visit: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.
I need to come up with a new category for restaurants like the Breakfast Barn. It’s not quite a diner, with decades of tradition and a long counter for conversation, but they do serve monster portions of inexpensive comfort food. It’s not a casual cafe, although there’s plenty that’s casual about it, but it doesn’t have the polish of the small chains or the neighborhood corner cafe. It’s certainly not a fancy brunch spot, although you can order breakfast at odd hours of the day. Places like the breakfast Barn are hard to pin down but instantly recognizable. They tend to exist in the middle of residential areas, on semi-busy streets, but away from the more high profile neighborhoods. In Columbus, many of them are grouped on the southwest or southern part of town. I’m thinking of spots like Ohio Deli or the now-closed Mel’s Kitchen. So what do we call restaurants like this? The casual diner? The diner cafe? Maybe “breakfast barn” is the most fitting title.
Regardless of how we call it, this type of restaurant flourishes around Columbus and around the country. This southwest-side eatery sports a simple interior with a funny mix of decorations: part country kitsch, part old kitchen, part… well, everything. Tiny political signs mix with electronic gambling games and country shelves and different table decorations.
I decided to go all the way on my visit and try the Breakfast Barn Platter. The server, who was also the owner, suggested it. She whipped it up in no time at all: eggs, home fries, sausage links, plenty of sausage gravy, and believe it or not, there are biscuits under there. As a breakfast dish it was easy to like. All well made, and seasoned fairly well. But nothing fancy.
Again, there’s nothing at all really complex about spots like the Breakfast Barn. But their charm and continued popularity is in the simple food and the regular community that gravitates toward it.