Diners can offer good food at a cheap price, nurse a hangover and provide a personalized experience. In other words, diners have a lot to offer college students.
Michael’s Goody Boy Diner
Michael’s Goody Boy Diner is located at 1144 N. High St. in the Short North and has evolved over time but has kept its hipster vibe. It has stood the test of time and survived, holding the same old-school values close to heart.
The diner is a restaurant that caters to all crowds seven days a week from 9 to 2:30 a.m., serving breakfast all day in addition to mixing simple American comfort food with Greek street food cuisine.
“I love our location in the Short North and the diverse crowds that we get,” said Valerie McKee, assistant manager of Michael’s Goody Boy Diner.
Michael’s Goody Boy is legitimately vintage. It has been open since the 1950s, functioning originally as a drive-in. McKee said it is a historic landmark.
Diners can be perceived as small, but Michael’s Goody Boy Diner is expansive, with a large eating area, mirrored walls, neon glow furnished walls, a U-shaped counter bar, vinyl booths and a patio, which McKee said is the largest in the Short North.
The menu is very straightforward, but the most popular food to order is breakfast, McKee said.
Breakfast prices range from $5 to $7, and for this price you can get a combination of eggs, meat, hash browns, omelets or pancakes.
I myself ordered the Bad Boy Grilled Cheese, which had three pieces of toasted bread, bacon, ham, several different cheeses, coleslaw and a side of fries. It was fairly cheap, tasted great and was so big that I had to unravel my knife and fork napkin set to eat it — all without feeling like I broke the bank.
The wait was not long for the food, and the staff checked in regularly to see if I needed anything. The staff also refilled my water without hesitation.
Definitely a surprising experience. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Jack & Benny’s
Jack & Benny’s is located on 2563 N. High St. near Hudson Street and takes the traditional formula of an omelet to the next level with various types of three-egg omelets.
Jack & Benny’s is known for its astoundingly large breakfast menu and classic diner cuisine. It doesn’t push the boundaries of a diner menu, but each meal is made with quality and care, which is also embodied in the family atmosphere of the restaurant.
“A lot of students come back years later, and we’re still here,” said Liberty Garcia, a server whose family owns the restaurant.
Inside, ceilings and walls are hung with Ohio State sports memorabilia, like its famous vintage bobble heads collection, polished booths and a long bar great for parties of two or four.
The restaurant offers a variety of pancakes, amazingly delicious omelets and breakfast sandwiches. A lot of students will order the busters for breakfast, Garcia said.
The most popular buster is the Jack Buster, which has two hash browns, one slice of bacon, one piece of ham and one egg with cheese, all stacked and topped with country gravy and toast for $7.50.
Jack & Benny’s has two rooms, but the bulk of its customers like to eat at the bar or in the booths.
I tried the avocado and swiss omelet, which was utterly savory and the flavors melted in my mouth.
The laidback environment of the staff makes you feel like you’ve already been there before.
“Everybody knows you once you’re a regular. We’ll know your name, and know what you like. It’s very personable,” Garcia said.
It is easy to get to on any COTA bus headed north down High Street, and is five minutes away from the CVS on Lane Avenue.
If you want to feel like you’re at a friend’s place, go to Jack & Benny’s.
Jack & Benny’s is open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hang Over Easy
If you’ve ever watched the movie “Dazed and Confused,” you instantly get reminded of the movie upon walking into Hang Over Easy, from the friendly customer service to the eager freshmen that come in with their parents ready to be a part of the tradition.
Hang Over Easy is a restaurant known for curing “beer flu” and is the best remedy to a morning after one of “those” nights. An OSU favorite, students regularly come to restaurant, located on 1646 Neil Ave. between 10th and 11th avenues, for all-day breakfast and lunch.
“I feel like when people think of campus restaurants, there’s not a high expectation for good, quality food and service,” said Nellie Moss, general manager of Hang Over Easy. “Being in this ever-developing industry, the two most important things to me are the quality of our food and the service our guests receive while dining with us.”
The walls are retro-tinted, and there are copious pictures of pop culture greats and favorite posters from the dorm sale. The Instagram-worthy environment is not the only thing Hang Over Easy prides itself on, though.
“We buy our breakfast meats from a local farm in Zanesville, all of our spices come from North Market Spices, hot sauce from CaJohn’s located in Westerville and the North Market, our coffee is bought from Regal Beverage based out of Gahanna and we’re currently running a special with Block’s Bagels from Bexley,” Moss said.
The menu brings smirks to customers’ faces with items like Struggling To Get Up and the Menage A Trios.
“I recommend the Dirty Sanchez breakfast burrito, chicken and waffles, H.O.E. Benny, H.O.E. Burger, Cleveland Steamer and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. Also, our seasonal Pumpkin pancakes are to die for,” Moss said.
Hang Over Easy caters to the luxury of its college crowd but keeps in mind the customers that come back after graduating from college.
“The Ohio State University is built on tradition … and just like the traditions of the university, we plan to keep serving up hot food, cold drinks and the spirit of OSU for as long as the community will allow us to,” Moss said.
The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day except on weekends, when it opens at 8 a.m. On Saturday home OSU games, hours are extended.
Katalina’s emphasizes the local flavors of Columbus and southern Latin roots to create bright, vibrant meals for breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.
Located at 1105 Pennsylvania Ave. since 2008, the vibe of Katalina’s is like a beachfront transplanted into Victorian Village. The inviting lights decorating the wooden patio and embellished sign warmly welcome customers to sit down and eat.
Katalina’s is not your average restaurant.
“It’s a fun environment, it’s communal seating, the food is not like any other restaurant that’s around, the atmosphere honestly is the seller,” said Tyler Arnold, manager of Katalina’s.
Pioneering in rustic and holistic aesthetics, the menu is drawn in chalk and hangs above the cash register. It reads at the same length as the excerpt on attendance for a class syllabus. It’s detailed, but gives you the right amount of information you need to make a decision.
The inside of the restaurant is quaint and only has a few tables available for seating in comparison to the patio, which has benches, stools and small tables.
I ordered Katalina’s Southern Fried Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich, which was $11.50. I waited no less than 10 minutes for my food.
The ciabatta bun combination of chicken breast, peach habanero jam, brussels sprouts coleslaw, tomatoes and frisee was soul soothing.
Most of the breakfast and lunch options range from $8 to $11.
The most popular items to order are the pancake balls. The pancake balls are filled with nutella and dulce de leche, and they are topped in powdered sugar and shaped to spherical perfection. It gives you the same kick as any stack of pancakes would, but better.
Katalina’s also caters to food allergies. The attention to detail that the staff takes into account to satisfy all customers is surreal.
Katalina’s engages all senses and is definitely worth the trip.