The long-time owner of Jack & Benny's, the north campus favorite serving omelets, Gutbusters and plenty of OSU kitsch, has taken over operations of the one-room diner in the OSU Airport.
Imagine being able to combine your love of aviation with your job running a small diner. That's what just happened to Geno Garcia. The long-time owner of Jack & Benny's, the north campus favorite serving omelets, Gutbusters and plenty of OSU kitsch, has taken over operations of the one-room diner in the OSU Airport.
According to Garcia, the airport restaurant has seen seven different owners in the past 10 years. It was billed as The Barnstormer for many years, before re-opening with new owners as Barnstormer Grill in 2012, then closing earlier this year. Now it's been given new life as Jack & Benny's Barnstormer Diner, which opened this month.
"I'm approaching it with a different mentality," says Garcia, who studied aviation management at Ohio State and is still an active pilot. "Previous owners were never real restaurateurs; they were mostly older couples running the restaurant as a hobby."
Fans of the original Jack & Benny's can look for a repeat, too. Garcia is capitalizing on the tried-and-true success of the original diner, using the exact same menu and hours. So now northwest Columbus has ready access to Buckeye pancakes, chorizo scrambles and the Old North burger.
And what about the planes? After breakfast or lunch, diners can sneak up to the old control tower to watch jets come and go. The restaurant space is attached to a hangar, too, and Garcia hopes to install a large window looking into it.
In an age when old-school diners and classic restaurants are closing, it's certainly nice to see an old diner given new life. -Nicholas Dekker
Want to fly in for breakfast or lunch? Here's where to land:
Jack & Benny's Barnstormer Diner, 2160 W. Case Rd. #13, Columbus, 614-292-5699, facebook.com/jbairport
Open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat-Sun