Anybody can go to a Perkins or Bob Evans for breakfast, but finding someplace with a genuine hometown atmosphere that also serves made-from-scratch food takes time and persistence. Lucky for folks in the Columbus suburb of Gahanna, Ohio, the Cafe Creekside more than fills the bill. It serves classic American dishes like corned beef hash for breakfast and BLTs for lunch, and its cute retro decor features a red-, white- and black-checkered color scheme that looks like something from an Archie comic book. Another bonus is the summertime dining deck, which overlooks the sparkling waters of Big Walnut Creek and doubles as an herb garden. Owner and chef Chris Katanyuta grows the sage, rosemary and other herbs she uses to season everything from soups to thyme-infused maple syrup that perfectly complements her feather-light whole wheat pancakes (short stack, $5.25).
Because the cafe is the kind of eatery that attracts a lot of regulars, in-the-know locals arrive early to snag complimentary muffins. Freckled with fat blueberries, the muffins are mere appetizers for hearty fare like oatmeal laced with fruit ($3.50), sausage gravy over hot biscuits ($4.95), or eggs Benedict with fried potatoes ($6.95). Generous portions, moderate prices, and good, homemade food, what’s not to like?