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(Credit: Chris Casella)

B-Fast with Nick: Go Breakfast!

Get Your Early Morning Game Face On

By Nick Dekker

Published September 1, 2011
(Credit: Chris Casella)

Even if Ohio State football fans are feeling down on their luck this season, we’re still loyal enough to fill the ’Shoe beyond capacity to cheer on the Bucks. We’ve got proud traditions that go further back than Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor, and one of those is the massive ramp-up to each game: frat parties, tailgating grillouts, skull sessions . . . it’s time to ask breakfast to join the team.

This fall, surround yourself with the old scarlet and gray while you fuel up for a big game. Eat a big breakfast along North High Street and then walk it off on the way to the stadium.

Sloopy’s Diner

1739 N High St. (inside the Ohio Union)
(614) 688-4636

What better way to embrace the future of the University than to fuel up at the new student union? Sloopy’s Diner is about as decked out in the Ohio State theme as a place can get, with colorful tile floors, bar stools and booths, lighting fixtures – even the plates and cups bleed scarlet and gray. The only way they could get more dedicated is if they tried putting buckeyes on the menu. Because Sloopy’s is a campus eatery, you’re served college-student portions. The Smothered Breakfast Burrito is packed with enough proteins and veggies to keep you cheering for hours. Or you could shotgun a plate full of Sausage Sliders, made with eggs, cheese and crispy onions, sauced in BBQ. If you really can’t decide, take heart: on game days, Sloopy’s features a gigantic breakfast buffet. Line up early and help yourself to heapings of eggs, sausage gravy and biscuits and cinnamon rolls. Another bonus: you’re already on campus, and the breakfast buffet moves customers through quickly, so you’ll be on your way to the stadium in no time.

Jack & Benny’s

2563 N High St.
(614) 263-0242

Football games can last a long time, and you can’t be left starving during third quarter. Fend off hunger ahead of time by sneaking in a Gutbuster from Jack & Benny’s before the game. There’s no way you’ll be hungry after cramming in a sausage patty, a potato pancake, ham, hash browns, an egg and cheese, all stacked together and drowned in peppery gravy. Or revel in the glorious Buckeye Pancakes, loaded with peanut butter and chocolate chips, hanging over the edge of your plate. Bask in tradition by taking in Jack & Benny’s classic diner décor: an old wooden floor, little counter stools and knick-knacks stacked everywhere. Gear up for Ohio State mania with signed photos of past football teams and a display case (a repurposed fridge) holding what is arguably the largest collection of OSU bobbleheads ever. Stuff yourself silly on busters and omelettes, then step out front at Hudson and High and catch yourself a COTA bus down to campus.

The Blue Danube

2439 N High St.
(614) 261-9308

Regulars lovingly describe the Dube as a “dive.” Current students and alumni alike have fond memories of days, mornings and nights spent there, and a pre-game trip to the Dube is a sure bet for reconnecting with your student heydays. Who can forget the neon signs, strings of Christmas lights and hand-painted ceiling tiles? Sit at the bar and get your game face on with the Dube’s choice omelettes and breakfast sandwiches. You can even get your tailgating jumpstarted early by noshing on breakfast the night before. Or slide into a booth Saturday morning for the Blue Danube’s special weekend brunch menu. Dig into the ever-popular breakfast burrito, loaded with home fries, eggs and meat. Help yourself to a big plate of eggs Benedict or biscuits and sausage gravy. As an added bonus, you can prepare for going crazy at each touchdown by taking advantage of the Dube’s mimosa special.

Nick Dekker holds a legitimate job teaching theatre at Ohio State, but on the side he writes a blog at www.breakfastwithnick.com. He’s also a husband and father, smokes a pipe, and helps run Wild Goose Creative. His book Breakfast With Nick: Columbus is due out November 5th. Please buy it.