IMPRESSIONS: Beth and I decided to check this new place out on Chip and Marcia‘s recommendation. It’s in a strip mall at the corner of 5th Ave. and Northwest Blvd. in the Grandview neighborhood of Columbus. A couple of these have sprung up around Columbus, most recently this one and one in the Arena District downtown. We decided, along with about half of Columbus, to go out to breakfast the morning of July 4. The restaurant was brimming full of people, but we ended up waiting for only 20 minutes or so.
ATMOSPHERE: Rise & Dine (which is a clever name, by the by) felt like your standard breakfast place on a weekend morning (it felt like a weekend, being a holiday). There was the usual bustle inside. The smell of coffee and bacon wafting through the air. Servers rushing around with pots of coffee. A small crowd of parents with grown-up kids, college students, and older couples waiting patiently outside for their name to be called. In other words, just the right atmosphere for breakfast. It’s a perfect balance between the relaxation inherent in breakfast dining, and the full-steam-ahead pace of the servers and cooks who make that casual atmosphere possible.
FOOD: I went for the standard breakfast platter: eggs, meat, potatoes, and carbs. The scrambled eggs were quite good – a tad on the dry side, but not bad in the least. I liked the potatoes (home fries, potato chunks, what are they called?); the light seasoning raised them above the usual greasy pile, and they were in small enough chunks that I didn’t need to wield a knife while eating them. Pancakes were slightly crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside, and they spanned the entire plate. That, to me, is a good stack of pancakes. I think the dual-layered (like a DVD, Beth!) stacking method is ideal for pancake consumption. That way, you can drown them in syrup, cut them up, and eat little double-layered morsels. And finally, the bacon was very good. For the very first time in my life, the server asked me how I wanted the bacon cooked! Everyone has a preference: burnt, crispy, floppy, dry, greasy, you name it… but never before have I actually been asked for my preference by a server. That scores big points for ole Rise & Dine here. (I like my bacon crispy but not burnt, in case you need to make me breakfast in the near future.)
SERVICE: Fast and friendly. However, they don’t make it clear what you’re supposed to do when you walk into the restaurant. Like many small places, you write your own name and the number in your party on the list, and then wait to be called. But there’s no sign telling you to sign up or where to do it, so each subsequent arrival is forced to either a.) get lucky and see someone ahead of them sign up, or b.) stand around like a fool until a server who’s jogging by tells you to sign up. I don’t like that. I hate all the excess sign-age that restaurants sometimes have to put up to cover their butts, but I like to know what I’m supposed to do when I walk in. It makes me feel comfortable, like a regular, even if it was my first time there. That being said, our server was very nice. She seemed a bit harried (busy morning) and we had to ask her twice for some small items (milk for coffee, syrup, sweetener), but our food came quickly and it came hot. And don’t forget: our server was the one who asked how I like my bacon done.
OVERALL: Since writing this review, we’ve been back once more to Rise & Dine, so that tells you something about our overall impressions. On our second visit, we went on a weekday, and the place was much quieter. I’d say Rise & Dine features all of your standard breakfast fare, along with some specialty items (steak & eggs, various egg benedict sandwiches, some variations on waffles), but all with above-average quality. It’s a wonderful neighborhood addition: not greasy dives like some neighborhood joints, and with a wider, cheaper menu than places like Northstar Cafe (although I will never speak against Northstar’s breakfast). We will definitely be back, and probably take you there.