Though I love trying the new restaurants popping up all over Columbus, sometimes I want to stick close to home. After years of living in Dublin, it felt as though we had exhausted all of our options–or so I thought. Apparently, while I was living under a rock, Jack & Benny’s acquired Barnstormer Diner at the end of 2013.
I was aware J&B had opened a new location, but for some reason, I assumed it was at Port Columbus. Nope! It was right down the street at the Ohio State Airport. To make up for lost time, I recently dragged Thom out for Sunday breakfast.
What is this “barnstormer” they speak of? Per Wikipedia, (I know, super reliable sources here, guys): Barnstorming was a popular form of entertainment in the USA in the 1920s, in which stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes, either individually or in groups called a flying circus.
Can we talk about this next excerpt that quite literally gives me terror?: Barnstormers would perform a variety of stunts, with some specializing as stunt pilots or aerialists. Aerialists would perform feats of wing walking, stunt parachuting, midair plane transfers or even playing tennis, target shooting or dancing while on the plane’s wings.
I’m sorry, target shooting? Wing walking? MIDAIR PLANE TRANSFERS? I’m having heart palpitations just thinking about it. I can barely sit on a plane let alone dance on one. I’m fairly certain the Ramones song I Wanna Be Sedated was a prophecy written about me, that’s how bad I am in the air.
BUT I DIGRESS. Back to the diner.
If you’re familiar with the original Jack & Benny’s in Clintonville, you know what you’re getting into. A long wait on the weekends, and a small dining space. Both of these features remain the same at the new location. But! The dining area is connected to a hangar. Poke your head in and you will see this:
I should probably talk about food at least once, right? The menu is standard diner fare. Eggs, meats, breads, and of course, pancakes.
I usually avoid getting twin meals with Thom, but the Buckeye pancakes couldn’t be denied. The peanut butter and chocolate chips were a melty dream in a fluffy cloud of hotcakes. NO RAGRETS. (In the event you have never seen We’re the Millers, I need you to know this spelling error was intentional).
Since I’m a nosy sort, I couldn’t help but overhear people talk about the flight deck right next door. My interest was piqued, so after we ate, I insisted we check it out. Along the way, I paused to snap a picture of this bench because I couldn’t help but admire the Block O with wings–I love little touches and attention to detail! I’m so embarrassing. My poor husband.
When you get into the concourse, there’s plenty of aviation decor and paraphernalia to behold.
And immediately when you walk in, you stumble upon the door to the observation deck. After a quick climb up the stairs, you end up in a room surrounded by windows and there are tables and chairs if you want to set up shop for awhile.
There was a full house when we ventured up, so we didn’t stay that long, but there was something entertaining about watching the planes take off. From a far distance. In the safety of a building. On Terra Firma.
Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner is located at the OSU Airport–2160 W. Case Rd. Hours are below: