Breakfast in Columbus: 6 great early morning diners

Shelley Mann, Columbus Alive

If there are three more magical words in the English language than "breakfast all day," I don't know them.

Offer me eggs on a menu, and you can bet I'm going to order them. Breakfast has always been my favorite meal.

Breakfast is the ultimate comfort food, right? It's warm, filling, stick-to-your-ribs fare. No matter what you order, it's gonna be filled with carbs. Potatoes are about as close as you get to vegetables.

But let's get this straight right up front: Breakfast is not the same thing as brunch.

Breakfast is buttered toast to brunch's creme brulee French toast. Breakfast is OJ to brunch's mimosas. It's scrambled eggs instead of quiche.

There's a camaraderie among those who roll out of bed early and seek out breakfast in Columbus, even though the demographics vary widely.

At Katalina's Cafe Corner in Victorian Village, the crowd is young and hip. Those who aren't on breakfast dates are busy checking in and documenting their food on their smartphones.

A visit to Jack & Benny's on the northern edge of Ohio State's campus means you'll be rubbing shoulders with plenty of college kids in warm-up pants. At German Village Coffee Shop, you're more likely to run into construction workers taking a quick break for food.

The scene at Wildflower Cafe is classic Clintonvillian-you know, young couples, hippies, lesbians. Grandview's DK Diner gets a steady stream of customers picking up dozens of their mind-blowingly-good donuts, but their dirt-cheap breakfast specialties are worth sticking around for. Area high-schoolers are well aware-lots of them drop in for a bite before school.

And out in the 'burbs, Hilliard's Starliner Diner attracts an eclectic crowd of families, post-church get-togethers and Latin food lovers from across the city.

My only complaint about Columbus' thriving breakfast scene is that "breakfast all day" too often translates into "breakfast until we close at 2 p.m." Let's see the 24-hour eggs-and-bacon scene expand beyond Tee Jaye's, please!