If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, is the breakfast sandwich the most important sandwich of the day?
Maybe, but if you're cramming in an Egg McNuthin' while frantically driving to work, it probably won't be your favorite sandwich. Fortunately, handheld morning meal options have expanded far beyond fast-food models and now include more creative versions sold in esteemed local eateries.
It might be argued that the sublime, souffléed egg sandwich made by Fox in the Snow Café led the way in raising the bar on local morning sandwich fare. In any case, nowadays, more Columbus restaurants are working hard to match and even exceed that elevated standard.
Here are five worth seeking out.
Rockmill Tavern | 503 S. Front St., Brewery District, 614-732-4364
It's telling that Columbus Monthly's best new restaurant of 2016 offers serious breakfast sandwiches. This egg-enriched riff (the “E”) on the BLT exemplifies the cuisine at Rockmill—a casual-chic eatery linked to a great area brewery. The “B” stands for indulgent slabs of smoky and intense, sweet-crusted pork belly braised in Rockmill's witbeir. Arugula and tangy tomato
jam are the “L” and “T.” Add a superior, locally made Matija Breads roll, and the combination earns an “A.”
Breakfast Sandwich ($7.50)
Acre | 2700 N. High St., Clintonville, 614-447-9400; 1717 Northwest Blvd., Fifth by Northwest, 614-826-2896
Purchase this mammoth sandwich made with local ingredients via its convenient drive-through window, and Acre—whose fitting motto is “farm-to-table to-go”—will give you a free Brioso coffee. You'll also get a high-grade Lucky Cat focaccia roll encasing a hefty, tamago-like egg block flattered by melted cheddar, spinach, pickled red onions and smoky bacon jam sweetened with caramelized onions.
Griddle Muffin with Chorizo ($8)
Baba's | 2515 Summit St., Old North, 614-262-2227
This sandwich is to an Egg McMuffin as a platter of cassoulet is to a can of beans. That's what you'd expect from all-scratch-cooking, local-sourcing Baba's, a tiny place whose tiny menu offers giant flavors. Grounding the hearty assembly is a warm and distinct house muffin made with Amish grains. Inside is a whopping big disc of spicy house chorizo, melted Havarti and a fried egg.
Breakfast Chick'Wich ($11)
Katalina's | 1105 Pennsylvania Ave., Harrison West, 614-294-2233
You get the chicken and the egg with this enormous flavor-bomb. Living up to Katalina's tagline of “Latin-leaning and Southern-slanted,” this killer construction stars a huge piece of tender fried chicken breast thickly battered with crushed Shagbark Seed & Mill tortilla chips. Together with its partners—a runny-yolked egg, hot sauce, double helpings of excellent Amish cheddar, plus a Matija roll—it's like hot chicken-meets-chilaquiles inside great bread.
Donut Sandy ($6)
DK Diner | 1715 W. Third Ave., Grandview, 614-488-5160
DK is so classic it's hip. And you can't beat the Grandview institution's scratch-made diner food or old-school doughnuts. This hybrid sandwich combines the best of those worlds: a split and griddled doughnut embracing fried eggs, melted American cheese and crunchy bacon strips that radiate out like a pinwheel. Crisp, chewy, rich, sweet and salty, it's all things to all people—except perhaps your cardiologist.