A whirlwind of utensils hovers over a sizzling grill under the ministrations of a deft hibachi chef, sending morsels of seared meat to diners seated around a crimson-hued circle of polished wood. Guests can request orders of teriyaki chicken, hibachi steak, or shrimp and watch the multitasking chef cook each meal to order while entertaining fellow diners and writing a grocery list to shop for after their shift. Vibrant, rustic murals and dioramas decorate the dining room, and lantern-style light fixtures cast a warm glow on tables and working fountain by the restaurant's entrance.
Tee Jaye's founders began preparing homestyle meals in 1970, a venture that spawned a string of 24-hour diners stuffed with delicious country fare. An egg-centric medley of dishes graces the all-day breakfast menu, with options such as the barnyard buster ($5.10)—two biscuits, two eggs, and country fries wallowing in a puddle of Tee Jaye's famous sausage gravy—and the sunshine sandwich ($6.95), grilled sourdough trapped under stacks of cheddar, swiss, ham, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. Turn to the lunch-and-dinner menu to find the answer to the sphinx's riddle ("sweet tea") as well as a spread of classic country-kitchen eats, including the chicken-fried chicken ($8.25), homemade meatloaf and dressing ($7.75), and Granny's grandburger ($7.95), a half-pound beef patty served with fries and a choice of three toppings. A tot-thrilling kids' menu ($2.49/breakfast; $3.49/lunch and dinner) and a crisp collection of summer flatbreads ($6.95+) round out the restaurant's dining selections.
Like a carousel made of beautiful meals instead of parade horses, Dream Dinners sports a monthly rotating menu of up to 17 dinner selections designed to be healthy and savory for you and your loved ones. For January, the chefs have prepared a series of delicious feasts, including baked fish and chips, cider braised pork chops, Mediterranean pasta with chicken, Chicago-style chicken with red skin potatoes, and beef stroganoff. Hungry chessmasters can plan five suppers ahead with meals that serve six ($30 average price) or three ($15 average price). Dream Dinners requires a minimum order of 36 servings.
Gatsby?s offers its patrons plenty of entertainment, from the cheers that erupt from boisterous sand-volleyball games on two courts to the resonating vocals of live bands. Guests can watch live performances from their seats as servers cart around trays filled with ranch-chicken pizzas and jumbo wings deep-fried in housemade Jim Beam barbecue sauce. Other finger-friendly foods include a half-pound Gatsby?s burger piled with saut?ed mushrooms, onions, swiss cheese, and bacon, as well as a deep-fried and breaded pork tenderloin stuffed inside a Kaiser roll. Outside, a fleet of picnic tables provides ample seating, and a nearby sand court proffers games of volleyball to tiebreak sandcastle build-offs. Gatsby's offers two outdoor patios, and hosts a Bike Night on Saturdays.
At Knead—named Best New Restaurant 2010 by Columbus Monthly—the cooks toss salads with lettuce just plucked from the ground and fry eggs straight from the farm. Valuing farm-fresh ingredients, husband-and-wife team Krista and Chef Rick Lopez based their diner-style eatery's menu on ingredients available in Ohio. Rick and his team rotate in selections of sandwiches depending on the ingredients available from their area suppliers, which include local and specialty farmers and vendors and the nearby North Market. Year-round offerings include Grandwiches, which are embraced by house-baked bread and stuffed with locally procured morsels, such as pork shoulder and ham in the Cuban-OH and hormone-free beef and house-cured bacon in the KneaDaBurger.
The restaurant's commitment to local ingredients extends to its specialty drinks and desserts, all of which are made in-house. The sweet selections include oatmeal cream pie—made with from-scratch oatmeal cookies—and cork-size double-chocolate brownie bites, which give nibblers a sugar rush just long enough to say "cork-size double-chocolate brownie bites" three times fast.
Commence your Cajun- and Creole-laced meal with an appetizer of cornmeal-fried jumbo shrimp with rémoulade ($7.95), cornmeal-fried oysters ($9), or the roulade of house-smoked salmon crème fraîche ($7.95). Low Country barbecue fanatics find solace in Flatiron's made-from-scratch sauciness, such as the North Carolina–style mustard sauce on the pulled-pork sandwich served with coleslaw ($8.75) and the bourbon-barbecue slathering the slab of St. Louis pork ribs (with hand-cut fries and coleslaw, $14.75). For a genuine New Orleans experience up north, try the fried-oyster po' boy dressed with lettuce, tomato, and rémoulade on a baguette ($10, also available with shrimp or catfish). Devotees of pub food can grab a hefty half-pound cheeseburger with pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, onion, and ancho mayonnaise ($8.50); the Flatiron gumbo with chicken, shrimp, and house-made andouille sausage ($5.95); or the house-made chorizo and black-bean chili ($5.50). Put a cap on your appetite with a finishing slice of homemade sweet-potato pie ($5) or a custard bread pudding with bourbon anglaise and shaved chocolate ($5).