Did You Know There’s a Diner in the Ohio Union? Check Out Sloopy’s Diner!

September 20, 2011

Sloopy's Diner at the Ohio Union

Sloopy’s Diner
1739 N. High St., in the Ohio Union (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-7000

Accepts cash, credit/debit, and BuckID
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Date of Visit: Friday, August 5, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.

The Ohio Union at Ohio State

IMPRESSIONS: Anyone who attends or works at Ohio State is familiar with construction on campus. We live with road closures and new buildings, but we also enjoy the fruits of all that labor. Cases in point: our beautiful renovated library, and our massive new Ohio Union. And a bonus that came with the Union: the designers wisely placed a diner in it.

Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

ATMOSPHERE: Because Sloopy’s is, after all, situated on the campus of THE Ohio State University, you can expect very heavy Buckeye themes. Tile floors, plates, lighting fixtures, booths, signs, countertops, everything is decorated in scarlet and gray. It’s very fitting for a diner, actually.

Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

If you go at mealtimes, especially during the school year, you’re bound to find crowds of students. However, the diner provides a wealth of seating, with two levels of booths, tables, and a looooong row of counter seats. For a diner, it’s pretty spacious.

Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union
Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

You also get a big view of the kitchen, so Sloopy’s may not have that crammed-next-to-your-neighbor charm that smaller places like Nancy’s (RIP) or Jack & Benny’s boast, but it still gives you enough of the diner flare.

A cup of coffee at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

FOOD: We started off with some coffee. Notice the checkered scarlet and gray around the cups and plates. Coffee was good diner coffee; bonus points for bringing out a mug of cream automatically.

A cinnamon roll at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

We had heard tell of their popular cinnamon rolls, too, so we sampled one. It was pretty warm and soft. Definite cream cheese taste in the frosting. Not the best cinnamon roll ever, but I can see why people go for them. It works well as an appetizer for a group.

Breakfast sliders at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

I haven’t seen too many breakfast sliders on menus, so we had to try one of these, too. It’s essentially a small breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs and a sausage patty, but then it’s topped with crispy onions and a dash of barbeque sauce. This could make an easy light breakfast (or another appetizer). The ingredients came together well: the onions and a little bit of zest from the sauce sold it.

Smothered breakfast burrito at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

I ordered the smothered breakfast burrito: a flour tortilla packed with eggs, cheddar, chorizo, black beans, and salsa. I’m a sucker for a good burrito. This wasn’t the most dynamic, but it certainly tasted good and was filling. The chorizo and salsa were pretty flavorful, and you can’t argue with eggs and cheese. Came with a side of nice crispy hash browns.

Smothered breakfast burrito at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

Here’s the overhead artsy shot of my burrito.

In fact, I loved the smothered breakfast burrito so much that THEY NAMED IT AFTER ME in 2014. I don’t know if they still do it, but every year they name select menu items in honor of different university notables, and yours truly was nominated by his students that year.

Omelet at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

And here’s the No Veggies Here omelet, loaded with bacon, sausage, ham, turkey, and cheese, then covered with black beans, avocado, and more cheese. We chose the side of hash browns. Like the burrito, the dish was delicious and portions were student-sized. You’ll certainly get your fill at Sloopy’s. It’s a wonderful combination of diner + student cafeteria, which means you’ll get a lot of comfort food.

Parfait at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

If you prefer sweet over savory, of course you’ll find pancakes, French toast, parfairts.

Record-shaped menus at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

SERVICE: Sloopy’s fully embraces the 1950’s diner theme. The menu is shaped like a record, and you’re of course treated to lots of 50’s rock music while you eat. Although the servers don’t come to your table on roller skates, you’re still treated well. Our service was great: very friendly and welcoming, able to suggest menu items and tell us about the restaurant.

Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union
The patio at Sloopy's Diner in the Ohio Union

OVERALL: Sloopy‘s has the feel of a deliberately retro-looking diner, so if you’re searching out one of Columbus’ true old-school eateries, this isn’t your place. But as a welcoming and filling breakfast experience, Sloopy’s won’t let you down. I love that the Union designers actually made something of the restaurant, rather than just building another student cafeteria. I recommend trying Sloopy’s, and then taking time to wander the rest of the Ohio Union (plus the newly renovated Thompson Library). It would serve as a great start to a morning of touring campus. (Bonus side note: they serve a breakfast buffet on football game days!)

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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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