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Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner

July 24, 2017

  • 2160 W. Case Road
  • Columbus, OH 43235
  • (614) 292-5699
  • Website
  • Menu

Road trip!  J and I have been wanting to take a trip to Columbus, Ohio for a few years.  We love taking zoo trips in the summer and the Columbus Zoo has been on the shortlist of zoos we wanted to visit someday.

We finally decided to make the trip.  It’s been a long summer already and we haven’t had much free time, so we both decided to take a week off work to just relax.  We started our vacation by driving into “enemy territory.”

We made our drive on Friday night after I got off work.  We didn’t end up leaving Kalamazoo until almost 7:30 PM which put us in Columbus a little after midnight.  We got a room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Dublin which is northwest of Columbus proper.

Everyone was pretty excited for the day ahead so even though we didn’t get to bed until 12:30 or so, we were up a little after 8:00.  I didn’t look very closely at the hotel.  They don’t have free breakfast so we decided to go out instead of paying for breakfast or room service at the hotel.

I quickly looked for breakfast joints before falling asleep Friday night and came up with a couple.  There are Waffle Houses in the area too…and you know that’s always an option and probably what I would have chose if I didn’t find a diner that seemed too good to pas up.

Jack & Benny’s is a Columbus staple.  The original location is close to THE Ohio State University….(side bar….I’m not a U of M fan.  I have no dog in the fight between Wolverines and Buckeyes….but I will always choose Wolverines only because of the “THE” in OSU’s name.  Seriously….that’s pretty damn pretentious…..side bar over.)

About five years ago, Jack & Benny’s saw an opportunity and seized it.  There is a small diner at THE Ohio State University Airport that had seen seven different owners in ten years.  

Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner is in a hanger at The Ohio State University Airport.  One of the owner’s of the diner actually has a BS in Aviation Management and a private pilot’s license, so he spent many hours at this airport before the restaurant became available.

The diner is at the end of the main road when you turn into the airport past the administration building.  There’s a large parking….much, much more than is needed for the size of the diner.  The entrance is off the side of the hanger near what used to be the old terminal.

There’s a small waiting area just inside the door.  There are a couple of leather couches and a TV that was showing the DirecTV no signal screen.  The walls are adorned with airport related artifacts including a display in memory of Don Scott…a former OSU football player who was killed in a training mission in the UK during WWII and for whom the airfield is now named.

We were met by a “Please Seat Yourself” sign at the doorway that separates the small waiting room from the small dining room.  Once we had everyone inside, we noticed a four top open right inside the door.  The waitress saw us coming and grabbed a high chair for B along with some menus.

The dining room is tiny.  This place is a diner in every sense of the word.  There are less than a dozen tables tightly packed in to the small room.  It appears this place used to be a counter service restaurant, but that area is now used for the waitresses.  Nothing about Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner looks like it’s very new.  The whole place has that well worn feel.

The walls are covered in Ohio State Buckeyes paraphernalia and dozens and dozens of aviation related pictures hung side-by-side throughout the entire space.

If you think you’d forget that you’re in an airport hanger, no worries, there’s a glass door that leads out in to the main hanger of the airport so you can see the planes.

J and I both started with Cokes while the kids just wanted water.  The menu is classic diner food and includes the “Gutbuster.”  Jack & Benny’s signature breakfast dish is hash browns, potato pancakes, bacon, ham, egg, sausage patty, and cheese stacked and covered in gravy.  There are four different variations on the “buster” but i passed knowing we were going to be outside in the heat all day.

What I did order was the Eggs Benny.  This classic presentation of the Eggs Benedict is an English Muffin with eggs and ham on each side covered with a Benedict sauce. This was a pretty simple and incredibly delicious Eggs Benedict.  The eggs were pretty large and over flowed on the English Muffin and there was a pretty generous portion of the Hollandaise sauce covering everything on the plate.   The benny came with hash browns and these hash browns were cooked perfect for me.  They were dark brown and crunchy on both sides with a soft, flaky middle.  They really needed some kind of seasoning, but the super crispy outsides were really great.

J was in the mood for an omelette and wanted to get something she could share with B.  She picked the Three Cheese Omelette.  The eggs come filled with American, Swiss, and Cheddar cheeses.  The eggs were pretty light and airy and the three cheeses melted into a stringy, gooey mess in the middle.  Her sandwich came with the same delicious hash browns and some wheat toast.

The kids weren’t really being helpful and didn’t really give us any indication of what they wanted.  They had a kids menu, but nothing was working for them.

I decided just to order a la carte and get them things I assumed they’d eat.  I ordered each of them a buttermilk pancake plus a side of toast and a side of bacon to split.  The pancakes were much bigger than I expected them to be.  They probably could have just shared one.  The bacon came out super crispy which we all love.  B ate a little bit of the pancake but he was a little more interested in J’s eggs.  L devoured the bacon, took a few bites of pancakes, and barely touched the toast….but we counted it as a win with her.

Our bill for breakfast was a little over $30.  They have iPads with Squares they just bring to the table if you’re paying by card which J had to take care of because B wanted to run around outside .  The diner is small enough, I didn’t want him screaming and ruining everyone else’s breakfast so he and I went to look at some airplanes while J and L finished up.

Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner is a great classic breakfast joint.  The atmosphere is kind of amazing.  It’s such a small place that feels like there’s too much in the space, but that’s what makes it feel comfortable.  The food is great “hangover food” as well as just being solid diner fare.  It’s not hard to see why Jack & Benny’s is a Columbus institution.  It was a great start to our day before heading to the zoo.

Jack & Benny's Barnstormer Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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