The bold can order belly-whopping breakfasts

The bold can order belly-whopping breakfasts
Thursday, February 5, 2009 3:16 AM
By Nick Chordas


To anyone who has never eaten breakfast at Jack & Benny’s, south of the Clintonville neighborhood, I can ask only this: You think you know better than Captain Lou Albano?

I sat beneath a signed photo of the former professional wrestler — who seems to have eaten a few gravy-laden platters in his day — on a recent Sunday morning visit to the restaurant, at N. High and Hudson streets.

Captain Lou shared the wall next to my booth with others who have stopped by the unconsciously retro restaurant since it opened in the mid-1990s — including Arnold Schwarzenegger, college-football commentator Lee Corso and former TV personality Fritz “the Nite Owl” Peerenboom.

Take that, Sardi’s.

But the slapdash decor — which also features vintage arcade games (Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga), a dessert case filled with bobble-heads of Ohio State athletes instead of pies and a 1950s-style counter with padded stools — is just one reason to visit.

There is also the not-so-small matter of the breakfasts.

Stomach-expanding favorites include the Gut Buster (hash browns, a potato pancake, bacon, ham, eggs, sausage and cheese topped with country gravy); 40 furosemide mg and the Buckeye Pancake (with chocolate and peanut-butter chips).

Also recommended: huevos rancheros and one of 23 types of three-egg omelets.

I considered the Gut Buster, figured I’d like to avoid a mid-afternoon nap and settled on the Chorizo Scramble (spicy sausage, onions, green peppers and two eggs). My friend ordered a ham-cheese-and-egg sandwich with a side of hash browns. We also decided to split a Buckeye Pancake.

Add two coffees and an orange juice, and the bill totaled $22.50 — not bad for what amounted to three breakfasts.

And, yes, I ended up needing a nap, anyway.

“We don’t necessarily want to be a ‘greasy spoon’ as much as a breakfast alternative,” co-owner Iggy Garcia said. “We try not to use too much butter, for example.”

Garcia started the restaurant with his father, Genaro, who named it for the long-closed Jack & Benny’s at Broad and High streets — where Genaro first worked after arriving in the United States from Peru.

“My father wanted to carry on the name,” Iggy said.

Jack & Benny’s serves breakfast all day and, after 11 a.m. weekdays, lunch — including hamburgers, jumbo hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Weekends can be busy, so expect a wait — especially as bleary-eyed college students and well-dressed churchgoers converge in the narrow dining area.

Jack & Benny’s has a second room, with a long table, for larger parties. Otherwise, groups of more than four face the possibility of splitting up.

We were seated immediately at 11 a.m. but passed a dozen patiently waiting diners on the way out at 11:45. The staff doesn’t hurry patrons along (on the contrary, our server stopped by three times to offer coffee refills), but lucky eaters should be mindful of not dallying when a line forms.

Call it not-so-greasy-spoon etiquette — and remember that Captain Lou is watching.

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