With the opening of the Jack & Benny’s Diner downtown this week, Columbus will eventually have a 24/7 diner in the heart of the city once again (FYI: J&B’s isn’t open round-the-clock yet). Jack & Benny’s namesake once stood at the corner of Broad and High, owned by Benny Klein and Jack Sher; it closed in 1972. The father of Geno Garcia, owner of the new J&B diners, once worked as a dishwasher at the original Jack & Benny’s, and when he started his diner in North Campus he borrowed the name of the old restaurant. So let’s celebrate a bit of Columbus restaurant history coming back to life with a look at other 24/7 establishments!
1. Buckeye Donuts – Jimmy Barouxis, owner of Buckeye Donuts, once said that years ago, when they went to close up the donut shop, no one could find the key. So they left the lights on, started making more donuts, and the rest is history. Stop by Buckeye Donuts any time of day, any day of the year for donuts, breakfast sandwiches, and coffee. (Fun story: the editor of Columbus Alive spent 24 hours at the shop for a cover story this summer.)
2. Fitzy’s Old Fashioned Diner – Fitzy’s is a rough-around-edges diner on the north side of town. They roll out big plates of pancakes, omelets, sausage gravy and biscuits, all the fixings – any time of day. They’ve got the look of the classic diner: checkered floor, posters of 50’s icons, counter stools, booths. From my experience, it’s pretty tame on weekdays and during the morning, but the bar crowd filters in on weekend nights, and things can get exciting.
3. Short North Coffee House – This little coffee shop closed and moved one door up the street earlier this year, but as of this spring they’re back in action. They serve a small breakfast menu of oatmeal, sandwiches, biscuits & gravy, plus lunch and other snacks.
4. TeeJaye’s Country Place – Okay, you get a bonus this week. Only because there just aren’t that many local 24-hour spots in Columbus. I don’t often recommend TeeJaye’s because I’ve only had so-so experiences there. But to paraphrase a reader from years ago: “if you’re drunk at 3 a.m., a Barnyard Buster is the perfect antidote.” Take that recommendation as you will.
The last Three To Try: New Brunches