Febraury 13, 2019 | By G.A. Benton
Photos by Tim Johnson
This new, brunch-focused spot sources local ingredients and prepares mostly good dishes, several with a healthful edge.
It recently occurred to me that brunch-focused Columbus restaurants might be conducting a secret competition to see who can come up with the silliest name. This thought emerged while I was enjoying a meal in Brekkie Shack and realized that during the past 18 months I’ve eaten at other places vying for a similar customer base: Blunch and Drunch Eatery + Bar. Can this really be coincidental?
Located in the Grandview Yard development and outfitted with a concrete floor beneath a high ceiling, Brekkie Shack is a bright and spacious restaurant that’s rife with white paint and depictions of pineapples — a fruit associated with hospitality. Add a large bar, outgoing service, ocean-blue and sunrise-orange accents, glass garage doors, plus plenty of windows and a soundtrack that could accompany an aerobics class, and you have a decidedly upbeat operation. The vibe is generally reinforced with lively food and drinks, a good amount of which are fashioned with locally sourced ingredients.
Snowville Creamery whole milk is on hand to lighten the flavorful house coffee brewed with Crimson Cup-roasted beans ($3). You can convert this into a near-instant breakfast by adding a sturdy, whole-wheat Cinnamon Roll ($4) that’s well-made and displayed in a bakery case near the counter where orders are placed.
If you’d rather relax with a solid brunch-time cocktail ($8), try the Stone Fruit Sour (think a souped-up screwdriver) spiked with Middle West Spirits vodka, or the Spicy Bloody Mary rimmed with cracked black pepper and textured salt. If you’d like a bite with your libation, the Smashed Avocado Toast ($9) — two slabs of hearty, oat-flecked Lucky Cat multigrain bread topped with fresh avocado livened by not-quite-enough lemon zest and chili flakes — is nice but relatively pricey.
The highly recommended All the Feels Egg Sandwich is a better deal, as you get considerably more bang for your nine bucks, including: a glossy and terrific toasted Lucky Cat multigrain gluten-free roll packed with a soft-and-fluffy omelet; crisp bacon from the Butcher & Grocer; avocado; tangy mayo; melted white cheddar; and a spilling-over load of pleasurably lacy and crinkly, if oily, fragments of dark-cooked Brussels sprouts.
Delving deeper into the eminently manageable small menu, some repetition of ingredients becomes apparent. Fortunately, this doesn’t result in overly same-tasting dishes.
Two properly fried sunny-side up eggs cap a bowl of healthful vegetables in the hefty Plant-Based Hash ($12). Although I’d like more variation — my “hash” was mostly roasted sweet potato and butternut squash cubes — this assembly with shaved Brussels sprouts, onions and radish slivers is a pleasant meal.
Some items are only available after 11 a.m. Among these, the moderately dry wild rice in my herb-enhanced Roasted Veggie Bowl ($12) benefited greatly from a thorough mixing with the other components: warm pulled chicken breast, sweet potato and squash cubes, shaved Brussels sprouts, radishes and the all-important “nut butter,” a de facto sauce that also contributes an appealing flavor and underlying richness.
Wild rice, chicken and herbs — especially parsley — join melted cheese, red cabbage and jalapeno slaw in a toasted flour tortilla to construct the comforting and good-tasting, if rather salty, Winter Chimichurri Burrito ($12). The big and filling creation comes with warm and crisp blue tortilla chips, plus zippy house salsa.
As I added high-quality warm Ohio-sourced maple syrup to one of Brekkie Shack’s big, floppy and irresistible pancakes with a nicely crisped exterior — they’re available by the stack ($10) or single flapjack ($5) — I spied a neon sign I hadn’t previously noticed on a nearby wall. I smiled as the premonition of a potential new brunch place I’d someday review formed in my head when I mouthed aloud the glowing pink-and-orange words I was looking at: “pancakes and dreams.”