While I love exploring and celebrating new restaurants in Columbus, I find it equally important to remember and revisit the classics. It’s easy to take them for granted, when they are the places that make up the culinary fabric of our city.
All this to say: we were very late for a visit to Jack & Benny’s for breakfast, but we made it well 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 on Broad and High streets downtown, owned by Jack Sher and Benny Klein. Their restaurant closed many years ago, but founder Geno Garcia, who had worked at the restaurant, was able to borrow the name to open his restaurant near campus. Today, his son Geno Garcia, Jr. and his wife Hilda run the restaurant.
Geno and Hilda have even spread out at Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer at OSU Airport and Downtown Jack & Benny, where the original once sat. Unfortunately, these two sites have closed in the last two years.
Jack & Benny’s has all the markers of a classic restaurant, from the open grill to the counter seats to the cramped booths to the Ohio State paraphernalia filling every square inch of the walls.
My favorite is the showcase filled with bobbleheads.
The place also earns its restaurant status with simple yet hearty meals that are easy to like.
Since I first visited Jack & Benny’s years ago, I’ve landed on the Gutbuster as my favorite, and haven’t strayed since. (And, no, I’ve never tried the James Buster Douglas. It’s beyond my ability.)
You will also find an excellent Egg Benedict on the menu.
Thick slices of French toast. (Jack & Benny’s is also known for its pancakes, especially buckeye pancakes.)
Nice thick ladle sauce over biscuits (which were a little crumbly).
Bonus points for serving hash browns, and golden brown ones too! I’m going to have these home fries every day.
But the Gutbuster is where it’s at: hash browns, hash brown, bacon, ham, sausage patty, cheese, egg cooked to order, all topped with a pepper sauce and served with toast.
They also have a thriving business in giant omelettes.
And while we didn’t order it this time around, don’t skip the huevos rancheros or the chorizo scramble.
So, if you’ve never been there, go quickly to Jack & Benny. And if you have… don’t forget to go back and regularly support your favorite places.
At Jack and Benny’s
2563 N. High St.
Columbus, Ohio 43202
Facebook: Jack & Benny’s Old North Diner
You can take a look at the old Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer and downtown Jack & Benny’s locations.