It's Just Brunch: Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

I love it that the already much-beloved Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails keeps striving to get better.

Obviously it was not content with being a totally unique looking, wood-and-brick heavy, proudly Columbus-dwelling, 19th-century-homage paying, patio-equipped, hipster (and hell, everyone else) hangout bringing peeps to our neglected Downtown.

No, it also worked hard to assemble a super-cheap, something-for-everyone menu that caters to comfort-food hounds as well as Ohio-honoring veggie heads.

Its ambitions even ran to a summertime rooftop garden both for show and to harvest some of its you-can't-get-more-local-than-upstairs produce. Oh yeah, there's also tons of fun - and funnily described -Ohio-themed cocktails plus a slew of top-shelf microbrews. So what more could you possibly want?

If your answer was "how about a Tip Top weekend brunch?" well the place has got you covered on that count now also.

Whipping up omelets and diner-style "classics" (eggs and bacon, French toast) as well as reconfiguring lots of its popular p.m. ingredients - and frequently adding creamily soft-scrambled eggs to them - Tip Top is giving you a strong reason to show up earlier on the weekends (or even not-so-early - the Top's brunch conveniently runs until 4 p.m.).

By now, most everybody in town knows about Tip Top's splendiferous pot roast in delicious dinner and sublime sandwich form. Well, it's been reinvented for brunch, and I'd call the preparation - named the Blue Ribbon Breakfast Skillet ($9) - an instant classic.

The killer pot roast was hopped up on a spicy ancho chili rub and heaped into a ceramic "skillet" in mammoth proportions. Adding the ancho made the juicy strands of beef sing in a whole different key - a melodiously comforting and zingy one.

The unfinishable amount of meat came with redskins soaked through with the beef's fragrant roasting liquids, plus curds of soft scrambled eggs, a cooling mound of sour cream and, instead of the menu-mentioned "cheese sauce" (which had a sort of hangover-soothing trashy appeal), grated cheese.

The Sweet Potato Hash and Black-Eyed Peas ($8) was another winner - only meatless. The "hash" was a loose, ungreasy melange - including jalapenos, onions and bell peppers - that tasted sweet, spicy and herby (lots of thyme) and had an attractive brown and crispy textural appeal to it. It came with a couple of those nice scramblers and hearty whole wheat toast.

I also liked both the "Ohio Farmers Do It Best" (stuffed with ostensibly Ohio-grown minced spinach, tomato, bell peppers and onions plus cheddar and jack cheese) as well as the "Eggs From Hell" (filled with pickly, not overly spicy giardiniera and cheese) omelets.

Both medium-sized eggy envelopes were nicely priced at $8 and came with a good and quite greasy mass of irresistible hash browns that was as much gooey melted cheese (sprinkled with scallions) as it was cooked-to-crunchy spuds. There was also more of that satisfying whole-everything toast on the plate, too.

Cake-holers will no doubt dig the Apple Cinnamon Pancakes ($8). My three big dark-shaded flapjacks eclipsed the standard pancake model with their sensible amount of cinnamon and a touch of cooked apple-pie-like filling. The trio came with two eggs and sausage (two sagey silver-dollar-sized patties), bacon or ham (with a quick griddle searing).

Some suggestions: I'd love the option (at an upcharge, natch) of Ohio maple syrup, and it'd be nice if the pancakes were available a la carte, in single or short stack amounts.

My guess is that minor issues like this will eventually get addressed by the restless-to-get-better Tip Top. But even as is, for a relaxed and fun combination of ambiance, price point and sassy satisfying brunchtime food, this place is pretty hard to beat.

Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails

73 E. Gay St., Downtown



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