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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Tee Jaye’s Country Place | Columbus, OH

Tee Jaye’s Country Place (Facebook / @TeeJayes)
4910 North High St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 885-1383
Open 24 hours a day
Accepts cash & credit/debit

Date of Visit: Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.


IMPRESSIONS
: Having lived in Columbus for nearly seven years, I’ve heard about Tee Jaye’s time and again. All the commercials bill Tee Jaye’s as a great family restaurant, with something to please everyone. Over the years, I never really had cause to go, and only in the past couple years have we even lived close to one. Then came the morning with my brother-in-law Chip, my frequent breakfast companion, asked where we should go for a catch-up over coffee and breakfast, and I tentatively mentioned Tee Jaye’s.


ATMOSPHERE
: Walking in to the restaurant, I was surprised by how big and open it was. You can see across the entire restaurant, looking over islands of large tables to the booths along the walls. The tables and chairs themselves feel massive – plenty of room to comfortably fit an entire family.


Overheard are a series of gigantic chandeliers. The dim lighting gives you the sense of a quiet, comfortable place to enjoy a meal. But this heartwarming sense was offset by the slight smell of vinegar; I think this came from the cleaner used on the tables.


In front of the kitchen was a large bar, with more tables along it.

FOOD: Chip and I both chose The Barnyard Buster on the recommendation of our server. The BB is pictured below.


At $4.75, the Barnyard Buster is Tee Jaye’s version of the everything platter: two eggs, two biscuits, home fries, plastered in sausage gravy. It was certainly filling, but not that flavorful. You can’t really mess up eggs, but the gravy was unremarkable, the biscuits dry, and the home fries (thin sliced potatoes) were so overcooked that they were plastic-y around the edges. Yuck.

Tee Jaye’s features some other country favorites that I wish I had tried instead, from Cornmeal Cakes and Sausage Cornbread, to Chipped Creamed Beef, Country Ham, and Mush. The prices are all cheap, but if the Barnyard Buster is anything to go by, they might not be the highest quality, most freshly cooked meals.

SERVICE: Tee Jaye’s website promises you a friendly “Howdy Folks” when you enter their restaurants, and they certainly mean it. The servers and manager embodied the family-owned, “stick-to-your-ribs-home-cooking” vibe of the restaurant. We felt welcomed and well cared-for.

OVERALL: Honestly, I don’t think I’d make the trip to Tee Jaye’s again, at least not for breakfast. They’re one of the rare 24-hour joints in town, along with the handful of Waffle Houses sprinkled around the I-270 loop, a few Denny’s here and there, and Late Night Eggs near OSU’s campus. So if you’re looking for a local 24-hour restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere and some decent food, give Tee Jaye’s a try. But it’s not your best bet for a home-cooked breakfast.

OTHER LINKS:

Tee Jaye's Country Place on Urbanspoon

Cornerstone Deli & Cafe | Columbus, OH


Cornerstone Deli & Cafe
(Facebook)
3296 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43202
(614) 267-DELI
Open Mon-Fri 6:30 am-8 pm; Sat 7:30-8; Sun 7:30-7
Accepts cash & credit cards

Date of Visit: Friday, May 8, 2009 at 7 a.m.


IMPRESSIONS
: A real quick review here. My brother-in-law took me to the Cornerstone Deli & Cafe for a quick meeting. The Deli & Cafe isn’t a prime breakfast spot, but they offer coffee and some basic breakfast sandwiches, so a review was in order.


ATMOSPHERE
: Cornerstone is a corner cafe on High Street in Clintonville. The main space is a large, open room with plenty of tables and chairs. The back wall features their menu, an ordering counter, and large coolers. We visited just as they were opening, so the employees were loading deli items into the coolers.


FOOD
: They offer the basic deli fare: sandwiches, wraps, bagels, salads, sides, drinks. The actual breakfast menu is fairly limited, and features bagels, wraps, etc with eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, and cheese. The entire breakfast menu is seven items, not counting all the bagels. And coffee.


I ordered a coffee, which was great. They serve Crimson Cup, a great local roaster.


I tried the breakfast bagel with eggs, bacon, and cheese, on a sesame bagel (always a favorite). The sandwich was pretty basic, but tasty, a good size, and filling. It was made freshly to order.

SERVICE: I really didn’t interact with the staff, so it’s hard to form an opinion, but I can tell you that the woman at the counter was very nice, and the gentleman who brought my sandwich out was just as pleasant.

OVERALL: I wouldn’t go out of my way for another breakfast at Cornerstone Deli & Cafe, but it could make a great stop for a quick sandwich and a coffee. I’ll keep it in mind if I’m in need of a fast breakfast in the Clintonville area.

OTHER LINKS:

Cornerstone Deli & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kumm Esse Diner | Myerstown, PA

Kumm Esse Diner
101 W. Lincoln Ave.
Myerstown, PA 17067
(717) 866-4000
Open Monday-Friday, 6 am-10 pm; Saturday & Sunday, 7 am-10 pm
Accepts cash and credit cards

Date of Visit: Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 10 a.m.

IMPRESSIONS: On a recent family trip to eastern Pennsylvania, we made the fortunate discovery of the Kumm Esse Diner. The name – German for “come eat” – gives an indication of the strong German heritage to this part of the country. The diner was just across the parking lot from our hotel, so we spent the morning of Valentine’s Day enjoying a classic diner breakfast.

ATMOSPHERE: Kumm Esse is clearly a local favorite, because nearly every table was full when we entered. We had a large group, but they managed to fit us next to each other at two booths.

A couple views of the restaurant. While we ate, locals came and went, greeting each other and asking about each others’ lives.

So much of the decor screamed classic diner. Formica floors, old leather seats at the counter, faded curtains with over-busy patterns. There were still some Christmas decorations up. And check out the green enameled-metal ice cream shake maker below.

Kumm Esse even has its custom mugs, plastered with local advertisements. The mugs were labeled 2009, so clearly there’s an annual edition.

FOOD: The food was a mixed bag of diner fare – some curious, some suspicious, and some delicious. Kumm Esse has a HUGE menu – several pages for breakfast alone – with specialized pages just for some demographics (see the Senior Citizen’s Menu below).


I went for a breakfast combo called Bud’s 2×4: two each of four different items (although now that I look at the picture again, I’m seeing five different things): 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, 2 sausage links, 2 pieces of toast, and 2 pancakes. Coffee was included. Speaking of which, Kumm Esse featured some of the BEST diner coffee I’ve ever tasted. Not gourmet, but straight-up tasty brown. Mmm. The breakfast, on the other hand, was nothing to write home about (but apparently enough to blog about): good toast and eggs, thin bacon, dry sausage, and sticky pancakes.

One thing we discovered about the food was that Kumm Esse seems to use a high-gluten flour in their food. I noticed it at first with the pancakes, when I couldn’t cut them with the side of my fork. They were seriously chewy. We noticed the same thing with the biscuits and gravy – the gravy was almost gummy it was so sticky.

My wife chose the Chipped Beef with Gravy on Texas Toast. It was a little salty, and again sticky, but otherwise very good. It’s a bold, hearty meal.

Here’s a shot of a fried egg – I wish I could fry eggs like that. At the diner, you can order your eggs Kumm Esse style, which means they’ll throw ham, potatoes, onions, and peppers in with them.


My sister-in-law tried the Country Fries with Eggs. Nice mix of starch and protein.

Ah, and here we come to the piece de resistance, that eastern Pennsylvania specialty: scrapple. I had heard about scrapple on the Food Network, but this was my first opportunity to try it. Scrapple is made from pork scraps (get the name?) mixed with corn mush and fried. I will say this about scrapple: it’s tasty. Nice crispy outside, good seasoning, and a definite meat-like consistency on the inside. My mother-in-law, who grew up in Eastern PA, said it was good, but not the best scrapple she’s tasted. Maybe someday we’ll do a scrapple tour. Or what about an entire blog dedicated to it?

SERVICE: The service at Kumm Esse, was fine. We sat a little while before someone came and took our orders, but they were friendly and seated us quickly. The servers – all women – seemed to be wearing hospital scrubs. But they moved quickly and efficiently – I even watched one woman behind the counter filling up four coffee mugs at once – all four in one hand, while she worked the coffee machine with the other. And she didn’t spill. Clearly years of experience at work.


OVERALL: Our server told us that Kumm Esse Diner first opened around 1960, and not much seems to have changed since them. It’s a perfect example of a small diner that sits at the intersection of two major state routes and serves as a hub for locals and travelers to sit back with coffee, some pie, or a filling breakfast. Even as we walked up to the diner, the inviting smells of the kitchen (probably cooking up scrapple) offered a sense of comfort. So if you happen to be passing through Myerstown, stop on by, if only for a cup of coffee.


OTHER LINKS:
-> Scrapple on Wikipedia

Kumm Esse Diner on Urbanspoon

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