I recently descended upon Columbus, Ohio (GO BLUE!) for a wedding. It was cold and snowy, and there wasn’t much time to do much. The trip, however, did allow for trips to two establishments that are unavailable in the Chicagoland area.
The first is an Ohio chain1 called City Barbeque. It was recommended by multiple people as a “must visit”. We don’t have maybe BBQ places in the Chicago suburbs, and while there are some in Chicago itself, it’s usually not the type of place we hit when we are down there. We did visit a barbecue on our trip to St. Louis, but other than that it’s a pretty rare occurrence.
We weren’t aware City Barbecue was a chain, and not just a one off place, but that made it a lot easier to visit since we knew there were multiple options and it wasn’t going to be too crowded. I order a 1/2 pound brisket sandwich and Mrs. Hippo went with the lunch-size pulled pork. Both came on nondescript hamburger buns and without sauce. Truth be told, the meats looked exactly the same, and we remain convinced that we both got the same meat. We sampled three sides between us, macaroni and cheese (of course), cornbread and french fries. The macaroni and cheese was OK, but the cheese was a little rubbery. The cornbread was just OK. The fries were actually very good. There were four sauce selections, standard BBQ, mustard-based, sweet and spicy. I went with the spicy version and it was solid, but unspectacular. Near the front there were warmed versions of the sauces, which I forgot about by the time I saw down. Perhaps that would have been better.
Overall, it was good, but nothing better than any other BBQ place. If they had locations near me I would probably visit, but just because there aren’t other options around here. Now that I have been to a couple of BBQ places, I am not sure if my expectations are too high, or if the places just aren’t that great. Regardless, I haven’t been “wowed” yet. If you don’t get BBQ frequently, and don’t come from someplace in the south, you will likely enjoy this, but otherwise, you probably won’t be impressed.
The other stop occurred on the drive home, this time at a national chain, Waffle House. I had been wanting to visit one for years, and was excited to finally get a chance. They are all relatively small diners, and the menu is fairly limited. I had scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage and toast. Mrs. Hippo had a cheesesteak omelet, hash browns, toast and coffee. We also had a couple of diet Cokes. I am sure the prices vary by location, and we were in the middle of nowhere Ohio, but that meal ran us $15. It’s definitely greasy spoon style, and there was clearly a lot of butter used in the cooking. It was good though. And much better than the Bob Evans restaurant we had earlier in the trip.
Ironically, we didn’t try a waffle, but if I went back I would feel obligated to take one for a ride. They do offer a wide variety of hash brown modifications, including any combination of cheese, onions, ham, tomatoes, jalapeños, mushrooms, chili and gravy. They do have food other than breakfast. A few melts on Texas Toast, burgers, steaks and some wraps.
Overall it was very satisfying, and I think it’s far superior to the other breakfast chains, Denny’s, IHOP, etc. It isn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off overall though. But if I am traveling in an unknown area, I would definitely pick this over a lot of places.
- There is one location in Indiana and one in Kentucky [↩]