As much as I love exploring and celebrating new restaurants in Columbus, I find it just as important to remember and revisit the classics. It’s easy to take them for granted, when these are the corners that make up the culinary fabric of our city.
All this to say: we were way overdue for a visit to Jack & Benny’s for breakfast, but we made it right on my birthday.
Jack & Benny’s is a campus institution, open since 1994 at the corner of Hudson and High Streets. You can read their full story on their site, but the name is a nod to a 24-hour restaurant that once stood at Broad and High streets downtown, owned by Jack Sher and Benny Klein. His restaurant closed many years ago, but founder Geno Garcia, who had worked at the restaurant, was able to borrow the name to start his diner near campus. Today his son Geno Garcia, Jr. and his wife Hilda run the dining room.
Geno and Hilda even expanded to the Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer at the OSU Airport and downtown Jack & Benny’s, right where the original was. Unfortunately, both locations closed in the last two years.
Jack & Benny’s has all the markers of a classic diner, from the open grill to the counter seats to the cramped booths to the Ohio State paraphernalia that fills every square inch of the walls.
My favorite is the display case full of bobbleheads.
The place also earns its diner status with simple but hearty meals that are easy to love.
Ever since I first visited Jack & Benny’s years ago, I landed on the Gutbuster as my favorite, and I haven’t strayed since. (And no, I’ve never tried James Buster Douglas. That’s beyond me.)
You’ll also find an excellent Eggs Benedict on the menu.
Thick slices of French toast. (Jack & Benny’s is also known for its pancakes, especially Buckeyes).
A nice chunky sauce on biscuits (which were a bit crumbly).
Bonus points for serving pomade brownies, and properly browned ones too! I’ll take these home fries any day.
But the Gutbuster is where it’s at: hash browns, a potato pancake, bacon, ham, sausage, cheese, an egg cooked to order, all topped with a pepper sauce and served on toast.
They also do a brisk business in giant trout.
And although we didn’t order it this time, don’t miss the huevos rancheros or the scrambled chorizo.
So if you’ve never been, get to Jack & Benny’s soon. And if you have… don’t forget to come back and support your favorite sites regularly.
Jack & Benny’s
2563 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43202
FB: Jack & Benny’s Old North Diner
You can check out the Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer and Jack & Benny’s downtown locations.