Mactacular: Starliner Diner

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Creole Mac

No wall space is wasted in the Starliner Diner. This fun and funky place is crammed with a nutty amalgam of garage sale, thrift store and vintage-shop clutter that riffs on '50s and '60s motifs. And I love Starliner's fanciful murals -like the one where the smiling sun and the man in the moon share outer space with short-order favorites. But all of that wacky ambience would be for naught if the Starliner didn't consistently deliver on massive plates of diner fare spiked with zesty Latin verve.

The Hook: Perennial King of the Mardi Gras

The incredible Creole Macaroni is always available as a chalkboard special but it's not on the printed menu -apparently there's no space for it (that's how this place rolls!) But you should definitely make room to eat it - and you'll need plenty.

The Crescent-City-riffing Creole Mac is like a gigantic Mardi Gras party in a bowl. Its rowdy flavors parade by in discs of pervasively smoky andouille sausage, good shrimp, sauteed onions and peppers, chopped tomatoes, corn and chunks of tender chicken.

All of those Zydeco-approved doozies are dancing together with elbow macaroni to the foot-stomping tune of a racy Cajun cream sauce. The Creole Mac jams in jazzy colors, has right-on textures and its flavors will work their Bayou voodoo on you.

In short, it's a big easy on the eyes and a big easy to eat, too (but hard to finish). Laissez les bons temps rouler, indeed.

Starliner Diner

5240 Cemetery Rd., Hilliard