2010: A Year In Breakfast

December 31, 2010

It’s New Year’s Eve, which means it’s time to look back. How was your 2010? It was a benchmark year for breakfasting (for me, at least), and I thought it’d be worth recapping some of the highlights. Of course, we made many return visits to old favorites like The Best Breakfast and Sandwiches in Westerville, or Real Food Cafe up in my hometown of Grand Rapids, but we also discovered some great new eats around Columbus:

  • Linden Cafe – a soul food joint serving the best chicken and waffles in town. I seriously crave these all. the. time.
  • Resch’s Bakery – 100-year-old bakery on the East Side serving donuts to their loyal fans. Enjoy fresh donuts while you watch the constant line of customers cycle in and out the door.
  • Starliner Diner – we finally visited this Hilliard restaurant on my birthday. Their Cuban fare quickly became one of my favorite breakfasts in town, and one of my top recommendations for out-of-town visitors.
  • Due Amici – my favorite brunch in Columbus. The Due Brunch Burger is probably one of the best dishes I tasted in 2010.
  • Tommy’s Diner – finally visited this Franklinton institution. A good breakfast in fun-looking diner, where you can chat with Tommy himself.
  • Knead Urban Diner – new addition to the Short North/downtown area that focuses on locally-sourced ingredients in creative dishes. We visited during the soft opening; I still have to do an official write-up.
  • Beechwold Diner – opened on Indianola Avenue at the beginning of the year, in the old Rube’s Diner space. Decent food with a good clientele.
  • Nancy’s Home Cooking – after closing June 2009, this Clintonville institution came back to life last February with the help of a generous community. It’s so rare to see this happen.

My wife and I had the opportunity to travel a lot this year. Some of my favorites included:

New York City: Kitchenette. A mix of small diner and country kitchen. They feature made-from-scratch breakfasts in a tucked-away Tribeca location. Real maple syrup, homemade apple sausage.

New York City: Jing Fong. An overwhelming but fun first experience in dim sum. A simply massive room full of brunchers. We were inundated with carts full of steamed dishes, and eventually dove in and enjoyed one of our best overall experiences of our visit.

Baltimore: Cafe Hon. It was hard to beat Blue Moon Cafe’s Captain Crunch French toast, but Cafe Hon had the best overall experience. Great potatoes, fluffy pancakes, funky diner that reeks of Bawlmer culture.

Lexington: Winchell’s Restaurant. Breakfast in a sports bar, oh yeah. Two of my brothers live in Lexington, and they took us here. Great white chocolate & blueberry pancakes, country fried steak, and jalapeno grits.

The Outer Banks: Dajio Restaurant. We discovered this new spot on Ocracoke Island during our family’s annual vacation. Fantastic blend of Kentucky cooking with Island spice. Best breakfast on the OBX.

Pittsburgh: Square Cafe. Admittedly my only stop so far in Pittsburgh, but oh what a good one. Creative use of ingredients, passionate employees, colorful atmosphere. I wish I lived nearby.

Portland: Gravy. It’s hard to pick a favorite breakfast in Portland, one of our country’s best breakfasting cities, but Gravy stood out with huge portions, an astounding smoked salmon hash, and their Oatmeal Brulee.

Bethlehem, PA: Blue Sky Cafe. One of my favorite discoveries of the year. We were on the road from a family wedding in New Jersey, and thanks to Yelp and Urbanspoon we found this hole-in-the-wall cafe in downtown Bethlehem. Brick walls hung with local art, sky lights, cute neighborhood, and some of the best French toast I’ve ever had.

It’s been a momentous year otherwise. In July I appeared in Breakfast Special on PBS. In September I began writing for (614) Magazine. And last month I announced a book about breakfast in Columbus, due out next year.

Thanks to everyone who’s been reading, suggesting places, and joining me for breakfast. Look for big things to happen in 2011!

Happy New Year, and happy breakfasting!
Nick

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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