To me, nothing says "it's the weekend" more than settling down in one of my favorite Columbus restaurants, ordering a drink and slowly perusing the brunch menu.
Brunch offerings in Columbus run the gamut from wholesome and healthy, to gluttonous and cocktail-soaked. The following five spots have something delicious for all food gurus.
1. Surly Girl Saloon
The Surly Girl is hands down my favorite spot for a bit of brunch and a few drinks. Actually, the drinks are my main draw to this red-hued cowgirl and pirate-themed diner in the Short North.
Bloody Mary's are offered in varying degrees of spiciness; from the mild Sassy Mary to the blazing hot Psycho Mary.
Food offerings lean toward the Tex-Mex style and include quesadillas, nachos and The High Noon, a breakfast sandwich of bacon, lettuce, tomato, egg and avocado.
The best part for late-risers/late-night partiers is that the Surly Girl offers its brunch menu until 4 p.m. on weekends.
1126 N. High St.
Northstar Cafe appeals to those looking for a clean and healthy start to their weekend. The cafe, which has three different locations throughout Columbus, professes a commitment to "pure and natural" food, with an emphasis on local, organic ingredients, and prepares everything from scratch in its large open kitchens. Northstar also offers some good options for vegetarians and vegans.
My favorite brunch dishes are the homemade granola with berries and the Cloud Nine pancakes with ricotta cheese and Ohio maple syrup. If I'm feeling the need for an extra vitamin kick, I'll wash it down with a Shooting Star, made with blended carrots, lemons, oranges and ginger.
Pancakes via http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesswebb/
Beechwold Short North Easton
4241 North High St. 951 North High St. 4015 Townsfair Way
614-784-2233 614-298-9999 614-532-5444
Knead, in the downtown area, continues the local, organic theme. A painted map on the small diner's wall points out the farms that provide its produce and it also takes advantage of its proximity to the North Market to utilize market-fresh ingredients.
The most entertaining name listed on Knead's menu is that of the Egg McJunkin Sandwich made with scrambled eggs, Amish cheese and house cured bacon and served on a housemade, perfectly soft and buttery biscuit.
Knead's excellent cocktail list is available all day and my favorites include the spicy Tapatio Margarita and the Jalapeno Hemingway, made with white rum, lime juice and peppers.
505 N. High St.
4. Matt the Miller's
Matt the Miller's, which has two locations in Columbus, offers one of the city's rare brunch buffets. A reasonable $15 gives you access to a large spread of the usual breakfast dishes such as eggs, bacon, waffles and an omelet station, as well as lunch offerings that include crispy flatbreads with a variety of toppings, and jerk chicken.
I recommend leaving room for the dessert table, and throwing down an extra $7 for the Bloody Mary bar where the bartender supplies you with the vodka and leaves the sauces, spices and garnishes up to you -- options include pickles, pickled okra, pickled haricot vert, horseradish, Worcestershire, hot sauces, jerky and olives.
6725 Avery-Muirfield Dr. 1400 Grandview Ave
The only downside to Skillet's brunch is its tiny German Village space (seating only around 15-20 people), which makes advance reservations a must.
Skillet describes its menu as "seasonal driven," meaning that it changes fairly often. Nevertheless, the best dishes I have tried include the chorizo sausage gravy and biscuits with fluffy eggs, and the triple-stacked oven-dried cherry and oatmeal pancakes topped with powdered sugar and maple syrup.
410 E. Whittier St.