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Actual Roastery | Columbus, OH

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Actual Roastery (Facebook)
400 W. Rich St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 407-5282
Open Mon-Fri, 7a-4p (special Saturday hours on 400 Market days)
Accepts cash & debit/credit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/Y

Visited: Most recently, Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 10:15 a.m.

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There’s lots of good stuff happening in Franklinton, between the continued growth of 400 West Rich, the opening of Strongwater Food & Spirits, Rehab Tavern, Idea Foundry, and Land-Grant Brewing (coming this weekend!).

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The space has transformed over the months as Dinin’ Hall finished its run and Actual Roastery has fully taken over. With the big windows and the garage doors open during warmer weather, the space is bright and quiet. There’s wifi, too, so studiers looking for caffeine and a snack should take note.

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The big community table still remains, and now there are smaller cafe tables and a comfy couch, too.

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Many are familiar with Actual Brewing Company and their top-notch beers (and if you’re not – get right on it!). Their operations are based in an industrial park on James Road near the airport. That’s where they brew, maintain their yeast lab, and roast coffee. Jen Ryan and Jason Montgomery from the coffee-roasting side of things have appeared at markets around town, but the cafe – which opened this summer and is headed up by Jen – offers a nice retail front to things.

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The cafe offers both hot and cold coffee. Hot options include pour-overs, French press, or good old-fashioned brewed. There are also snacks from local vendors like Buttergirl Bakery. Coffee is available to-go or in mis-matched mugs to stay.

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Naturally, the cafe serves Actual roasts. You get a choice of beans for your brew.

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Snacks range from cookies to handmade pop tarts to oatmeal energy “bawls.”

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I’ve enjoyed my stops at the Roastery. It’s a fun and comfortable place (although it deserves to be busier), just over the river from downtown and nestled in a quiet section of east Franklinton.

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The coffees are solid, and the snacks are excellent. I’m particularly fond of Buttergirl’s pop-tarts, with a special place for their apple vanilla and the pumpkin. I appreciate the bright and colorful location – with nice pops of color on the walls and from fresh flowers.

There’s plenty of space at Actual Roastery, so it’s good for meetings, studying, writing, or just relaxing with a book. I recommend anyone traveling through the area – or looking for a new spot to work – stop in for a cup of coffee and a snack. It’d be great if the coffee shop became a Franklinton institution.

Read more: here’s my Q&A with Jen for Columbus Crave.

Milo’s Deli & Cafe | Columbus, OH

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[Update, February 2014: Milo's Deli is now closed and serves as their catering center. Consider visiting the Capitol Cafe By Milo's instead!]

Milo’s Deli & Cafe (Facebook / @MilosCatering)
980 W. Broad St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43222
(614) 224-0104
Open Mon-Fri, 7a-2p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 7 a.m.

I’m finally completing the trifecta of Pappas family-owned restaurants. I’ve breakfasted multiple times at the Franklinton institution Tommy’s Diner (easily one of Columbus’ more beloved diners). I’ve enjoyed Italian benedicts in the historical underground location of the Capitol Cafe by Milo’s. And now I’m completing my triathlon of breakfast awesomeness with simple sandwiches and coffee at Milo’s Deli & Cafe.

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Milo’s was the second edition to the family of restaurants after Tommy’s Diner. It’s actually named after Tommy and Kathy Pappas’ two boys, Michael and Louie: Mi + Lo. In addition to offering a small restaurant front, Milo’s plays host to the larger catering business. I haven’t been for lunch, but I get the sense that in-house breakfast isn’t their busiest of times. One of the employees actually seemed surprised to see people walking in the door at 7 a.m.

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The cafe is bigger than it looks from the outside, with rows of small tables extending along the front and to the back of the space.

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There’s clearly a bigger focus on lunch and catering, but breakfast isn’t completely neglected. True to the form of a deli, Milo’s offers plenty of options for hand-held breakfasts, like egg sandwiches, paninis, and wraps. Standard dishes are available, too, including omelets and plates of two eggs, bacon, and toast. There’s nothing fancy about the breakfast, but it’s simple and filling. It’s a bonus that – because you’re in a deli – you’ve got solid toast options like pumpernickel and rye.

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I felt like I needed to get something deli-ish, so I picked the wrap with eggs, corned beef, and cheese. I added the side of home fries: thin, thoroughly cooked slices of potatoes. They’re a little tougher than the chunkier and softer home fries I’m used to, but they were salted appropriately and I wolfed them down. Better to think of them like thick potato chips, perhaps.

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I liked the wrap, too. I’m a sucker for corned beef, so when you layer that with fried eggs and Swiss cheese, you’ve got a breakfast I can love. There isn’t much to the wrap beyond those simple components, but it was quickly prepared, a filling portion, and hit all the right notes for breakfast.

If you’re in Franklinton or just passing through, Milo’s is worth a stop. They’re only there weekdays, but they open the doors early enough that you can grab a panini or a wrap and a cup of coffee and be good to go for the day!

Milo's Deli & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tommy’s Diner | Columbus, OH


Tommy’s Diner
(Facebook / @TommysDiner)
914 W. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43222
(614) 224-2422
(614) 224-2901
Open Mon-Fri, 5:30 am – 3 pm; Sat, 5:30 am – 2:30 pm; Sun, 7 am – 2 pm
Accepts cash and credit cards

Date of Visit: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 7:30 a.m.


IMPRESSIONS
: I have the feeling, as I’m stepping into Tommy’s for the first time, that I’m entering a bit of history that’s not really my own. Admittedly, I don’t venture into Columbus’ Franklinton neighborhood often enough, so I can’t claim it as my neighborhood, and thus I can’t claim a Franklinton institution like Tommy’s. At the same time, while I’m experiencing this “other part of town,” I’m feeling instantly welcomed like an old regular stopping by for the umpteenth time. Gotta love the American diner.


Tommy’s Diner is the most diner-ish diner I’ve ever visited. It’s the epitome of the classic American diner, albeit one that’s become famous in its own right and isn’t afraid to tell you about it. Most true diners are not so self-conscious, but that doesn’t take away from the experience in the least. Tommy’s has been around for over twenty years on West Broad Street, a major thoroughfare that cuts through downtown Columbus and the neighborhoods to the east and west. When you visit, you can actually meet Tommy, as well as his son Michael. Both of them will gladly share the history of their restaurant.


ATMOSPHERE
: Tommy’s wasn’t very busy when we arrived – perhaps because of the heavy snow – but customers steadily rolled in nonetheless. I took the opportunity to stroll around a bit and take some pictures. All of the elements of the diner are in place: black and white checkered floor, glossy red vinyl booths and stools…


…a big curving counter, plenty of local kitsch on the walls…


…Coca Cola paraphernalia, and neon lights all over.


A WWII bomber on top of an old street sign. Tommy said he took it from Worthington.

FOOD: In line with the classic diner setup of the place, Tommy’s menu offers all the old favorites, with a few house specialties thrown in.


The breakfast menu – served any time – includes all of the good ole eggs, meat, and potatoes combos. Some featured items include steaks or pork chops and eggs (not enough places do those well), breakfast sandwiches, and omelets. There are also a handful of Greek variations, given Tommy’s background.


Very good diner coffee, in custom mugs.


I chose the Big Breakfast: 3 pancakes or 2 French toast, 2 eggs, choice of meat, potatoes, and toast.


All of this stood up to the best diner breakfasts I’ve had. Good scrambled eggs, nice browned potatoes, very good bacon, and well buttered toast. And you can’t argue with the portion size.


But I liked the French toast the best: nice thick slices of bread, with powdered sugar and a generous scoop of melting butter. I mean – what’s not to like?


My breakfasting partner, Micah, ordered the ham and cheese omelet, which he said was good. The cheese looked like American cheese, which I’m never a fan of, the omelet still seemed tasty.

SERVICE: Our server was a lot of fun – very friendly and very attentive.. She made fun of me when I seemed to be slowing down on my French toast. The best diners know how to make you feel like you’re part of the “in crowd” on your first visit. I’ve been to a few that treat you like an outsider who’s intruding on a very close circle. Tommy’s was in no way like that – we felt like part of the family instantly.


But the real treat is meeting Tommy himself, plus his son Michael. I found Tommy behind the register, and introduced myself. He talked a bit about his restaurant, and showed me the wall featuring pictures of himself with various local and national famous faces.


I snapped this picture of Tommy (on the left, in white) chatting with two regulars at the counter. Whenever he wasn’t busy at the register, he hung out with his customers.


OVERALL
: What can I say? Tommy’s gets a lot of love from the Franklinton neighborhood, and with good reason. Every neighborhood of Columbus, I’m finding, has at least one great diner that they can brag on, and Tommy’s serves that purpose for Franklinton. But whether you’re from that neighborhood or not, it’s worth a visit – it’ll feel a bit like home for you.

Tommy's Diner on Urbanspoon

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