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Katalina’s Cafe Corner | Columbus, OH

Katalina’s Cafe Corner (Facebook / @cafecorner)
1105 Pennsylvania Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 294-2233
Open daily 8a-9p (bfast served all day!)
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y-ish

Date of Visit: Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.

IMPRESSIONS: Here’s the story. My wife and I used to live just down the street from Cafe Corner. I remember my first visit when it was essentially a wide open coffee shop. They had decent coffee. They had public computers. It was good, but nothing that really drew me back. Then, slowly, the owners expanded and revamped. We heard more and more about the sandwiches. They built a patio. They made the most of that tiny corner spot on Third and Pennsylvania Avenues. We visited during Restaurant Week 2009 and I reviewed it. And loved it. The Cafe has since transitioned into the hands of Kathleen Day, who has continued to make it a culinary hotspot.

ATMOSPHERE: The cafe itself is pretty small, as the building is a former gas station (see picture of it at the end of this post). There are maybe 7 tables total, plus a few seats at a counter looking out the front window. So beware if you’re coming with a big group. Of course, the game changes in spring and summer, when their big, beautiful patio triples the amount of seating.

The decor mixes elements of country kitchen with trendy cafe. One thing I always love to see in breakfast places are hand-written signs. The aesthetics appeal to me, and it shows that their menu is changeable based on specials, seasonal ingredients, or just plain old rotating offerings.

Self-serve coffee setup featuring Stauf’s roasts.

Visually, the whole cafe is fun to look at: big, bright windows. Colorful menu boards. Homemade iced tea served in mason jars.

FOOD: The breakfast menu covers your standards, but delightfully goes beyond that with things like Hens in a Basket, Breakfast Tacos, and Truffled Egg Sandwiches. This is, indeed, a foodie’s breakfast.

If anyone in your party is not-so-adventurous, they’ll be satisfied with the Classic Breakfast, all done right. Toast, crispy bacon, eggs scrambled and not overdone, plus good, crispy hash browns.

You can (and should) get sandwiches for breakfast, too. Here’s my wife’s Fig & Prosciutto, with provolone, white truffle oil, and a balsamic reduction. It’s such a creative interplay between salty prosciutto and sweet figs. Really a big hit.

Swedish pancake balls! Essentially fried dough balls dusted with powdered sugar. You can get them filled with Nutella or strawberry preserves. I asked the guy at the counter if he suggested one over the other. I barely got the question out before he answered, “Nutella.” And he wasn’t wrong. These are soft, warm, doughy balls of sweet goodness. Plus you can dip them in maple syrup. Also, this comes with a side of CC’s sweet and spicy bacon (which I didn’t get a picture of – gah!). I’ve long been hesitant to list anything as my favorite bacon on my best-of list – I still have lots of exploring to do – but this takes the top spot. The bacon is thick cut, and the topping is a sticky sweet mess with a bite at the back of the throat. I was delightfully surprised by it.

The Prosciutto Mozzarella sandwich, with a tomato-basil pesto and balsamic reduction. So good…

I was drawn to Cafe Corner this day by a weekend special of Eggs Benedicto, aka the Mexican Eggs Benedict (it has been offered again since). There’s the standard poached eggs, but they’re served with prosciutto on a toasted croissant, and a chipotle hollandaise. Um. Yes. Please. Eggs benedict is one of my favorite breakfasts, and I’ve neglected to properly research them in Columbus. But if CC’s is anything to go by… it’s gonna be a fun adventure. I loved almost everything about these. Eggs were perfect, croissant is a very nice touch, hollandaise was light and yet flavorful. I really liked the prosciutto, but it pushes things toward the salty side (obviously), and its nature makes it a little hard to cut with a knife. Eggs benedict is not a sandwich, so you have to use silverware, and I like being able to cut nice portions of egg, meat, and bread. The prosciutto made that a little difficult to do. That said, it all tastes lovely. You must try it.

Side of hash browns. Nice and crispy. Not tons of seasoning, but they’re done right without being greasy.

SERVICE: The cafe service is run at the counter. Place your order there, take a number, and find a table. Coffee and drinks are self-serve. The folks at the counter are very nice – not terribly talkative – but very helpful. (Cafe Corner also does a healthy take-out business. The old owners, after all, started the breakfast delivery service Late Night Eggs out of this space; it has since been relocated to the campus area and renamed Eggfast. Edit: Eggfast is now closed.)

Kathleen shared this picture from the Cafe’s history with me. Here it is in yesteryear as a corner gas station. Makes you really appreciate how much the neighborhood has changed over the decades.

OVERALL: I look forward to more return visits to Cafe Corner. Having moved away from the neighborhood is no excuse not to be back more often, especially with that patio enticing us in the spring and summer months. And that menu is sufficiently big and creative that we’ve still got lots of exploring to do.

Katalina's Cafe Corner on Urbanspoon

Cafe Corner | Columbus, OH

[The restaurant is under new ownership; for an updated review, please see Katalina's Cafe Corner.]

Cafe Corner
1103 Pennsylvania Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 294-CAFE
Open 9-3 daily
Accepts cash and credit cards

Date of Visit: Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 1:45 p.m.

IMPRESSIONS: I’m ashamed to say that I used to live just one block away from Cafe Corner, and only visited once for a cup of coffee. The coffee was excellent, but because of that ignorance I, along with many people, tend to have of the things immediately around you, I never returned. Have you ever had that? Where there’s some hidden gem – a restaurant, a coffee house, a boutique shop, whatever – sitting a stone’s throw from your house, and you never visit. And when you finally do, you smack your hand to your forehead and say, “How could I have missed this for so long?”

Such is my experience with Cafe Corner.

Sadly, I’ve now moved away. But that’s no excuse not to return.

ATMOSPHERE: Cafe Corner’s name really says it all: it’s a small cafe, on the semi-busy street corner of Third and Pennsylvania Avenues in Harrison West. The building itself takes up barely a quarter of the corner lot – the rest is given over to parking. Handy for the Cafe; parking is free most of the day.

We visited during Columbus Restaurant Week, during which a select number of restaurants around town offered $15 and $30 specials on a fixed menu. It was a great chance to try some of Columbus’ best dining offerings. So I took this as my impetus to finally visit Cafe Corner; it was one of only two places doing breakfast specials during the week.

I didn’t get very good pictures of the inside, aside from the menu and the chalk board featuring the day’s special. The small space feels even smaller on the inside. I counted five or six tables; the rest of the space is given over to the bustling kitchen. They really need the patio out front, which adds about nine more tables, but clearly a majority of their business is takeaway.

FOOD: My wife and I did the Restaurant Week special, which was any two menu items plus dessert for $15. Naturally, I chose a breakfast option.

This type of breakfast is very near and dear to my heart. Cafe Corner calls it Hens in a Basket. Some friends call it Toad in a Hole. I know it as Eggs in a Nest, and it’s one of my favorite breakfasts to make (future blog post on this topic, I think). Whatever you call it, this specialty involves buttering up your choice of bread, cutting a hole in it, then frying it with an egg in the middle. It’s simply delicious (my favorite variation uses Panera’s tomato basil bread). Cafe Corner’s was no exception – they use a nice, thin bread, so the egg is cooked evenly. Very tasty sausage patties, and the hash browns were browned and hashed just the way I like them. I washed it all down with coffee from Stauf’s. My only complaint about the meal was the slight fake buttery taste to it all. I suspect this comes from the butter substitute that Cafe Corner uses on their grill. I think they should replace whatever it is with real butter, so that it tastes less like, well, butter, and let’s the full flavors of the eggs, sausage, and potatoes shine through.

My wife and sister-in-law tried some of Cafe Corner’s wide selection of sandwiches. These seem to be the Cafe’s specialty, which makes sense considering their takeout business. Abbey had the Turkey Bacon Bleu wrap and declared it very good.

My wife had the special: a BLT with fried duck eggs (where else can you get those?), smoked cheddar, and pesto aioli. It was really something else. I don’t think I’ve had duck eggs before. Tasty. Very rich and hearty sandwich.

SERVICE: Service was awesome. We were served by the woman who turned out to be the shop manager. I didn’t catch her name, but she was super friendly and willing to accommodate. She even gave Abbey the Restaurant Week special for half price.

OVERALL: I’m sad that I don’t live as close to Cafe Corner as I once did. It’s easy to pass this place by, because it’s a tiny building with a nice patio that looks mostly like a coffee shop, in a mostly residential neighborhood. But, like most great finds, the Cafe is small, unassuming, and worth taking the time to discover. I probably won’t return for their breakfast, but the sandwiches are worth the visit alone.

One last note: the folks at Cafe Corner run a related business called Late Night Eggs, an all-night breakfast delivery/pick-up service run out of their space. Apparently business has been good: they opened a dine-in location on 12th Avenue next to Ohio State’s campus. This is one of the few places near campus that’s open late serving breakfast to students. Guess I’ll have to schedule a 3 a.m. visit! [UPDATE: Late Night Eggs has closed.]


Cafe Corner on Urbanspoon


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