For Crave's first cover story, we shared some of our favorite breakfast spots in Columbus. I chatted with one of the city's foremost breakfast experts, Nick Dekker, who blogs about everyone's favorite morning meal at Breakfast with Nick, to find out how our picks stacked up against his go-to places.
How long have you been blogging at Breakfast with Nick? It'll be four years next month, I started in June of 2007.
How many restaurants have you written about over the years? More than 50 Central Ohio breakfast places, and probably another 40 from all around the country. We do a lot of traveling.
We shared some of our favorites in the magazine -- what's your pick for the best breakfast spot in Columbus? Our picks actually line up pretty well! Starliner Diner is one of our favorites. If there's one place that we're always in the mood for or always craving, it's that place.
But our favorite thing is out in Westerville, The Best Breakfast and Sandwiches. I always joke that it's kind of like Cheers for us. The first time I ever went there I had such a wonderful experience, and I've developed a relationship with the owners.
It's just diner food, but a step up. They do corned beef has that's not just out-of-the-can stuff. They get their beef from a nearby family farm that prepares it specially for them. My favorite thing to do is go and sit at the counter and listen to the staff banter with customers and watch them work.
Do you find yourself ordering the same breakfast dishes over and over? The quickest way to judge a place is to order a couple of eggs, bacon and toast. If a place can't do scrambled eggs well, or bacon, that's not good. But if they can, they're off to a good start.
One of my other go-to dishes is eggs Benedict. A lot of times if I see that on a menu, I have to order it. Cafe Corner does a great Eggs Benedicto special.
I look for unusual things as well. There's this place on East Weber, Daybreak Diner, they do the standards but also breakfast fried rice. It's your typical Chinese fried rice with eggs and chunks of sausage. It's good! Probably pretty high in sodium.
How many days a week do you eat breakfast out? Usually about one to two days a week. I try to, on average, find a new place per week to write about. The thing is, when you have a big meal first thing in the morning, you have to plan around it. You're not going to be hungry for the rest of the day.
You're working on a book, too, right? Yes! I'd been thinking about a book for a while, and this past fall I got started. My wife Beth and I approached Robin Oatts of Genre Creative about doing the photography and design.
I'm trying to keep the writing different from the blog. It'll serve more as a guidebook rather than reviews. I'm more interested in the history, telling the story of the restaurant.
Once I started talking with the owners and they started telling me "I'm the third generation to own this restaurant," or "I always wanted to do this but I had a job in corporate America, and I just sunk the money for this diner" -- right away I understood that that's the focus. It's about the culture of breakfast in Columbus.