Cap City Fine Diner: Comfort food at its finest in Columbus

Comfort food at its finest in Columbus


We love diners, but we find the experience finer when the owners really care about what they put on the plate. Our go-to spot for elevated comfort food in central Ohio is Cap City Fine Diner – our family-friendly restaurant for January.

Why go?

This Cameron Mitchell classic opened in 1996 in Grandview, and transformed everything we associate with diners – including neon signs, red vinyl and meatloaf – and cranked it up to foodie levels.

Here, meatloaf is artistically served with molded beef stacked upon a slice of thick toast and topped with buttermilk-chive mashed potatoes and chili onion rings.

The three-layer “Seriously Big Chocolate Cake” lives up to its name and is more than suitable for sharing.

What’s missing?

You won’t find weathered waitresses who affectionally call you “Honey,” but you’ll find attentive young professionals who mind their own business when they’re not taking and bringing orders.

  • Cap City Fine Diner
  • Comfort food at its finest in Columbus
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You won’t find bathrooms with rusted plumbing and quarter-operated machines, but you’ll find dimly-lit pamper rooms with complimentary mouthwash.

You also won’t find spatula-flattened grilled-cheese sandwiches with cooked pickles for less than $3. Rather, a pan-seared ribeye with a twice-baked potato cake and steamed broccoli will set you back about $30.

Why take the kids?

This is a rare, finer restaurant where kids seem encouraged to join you on a date – as evidenced by the care that’s gone into the children’s menu titled “Capital Cuisine for Kids.” Pick from complementary baby food to a grilled PB&J, to a kid-sized portion of Cap City’s famous meatloaf.

Cap City is a place where kids go gaga over the giant bubblegum machine, and adults freak out over the bar’s giant container of vodka-soaked pineapple wedges.

Cap City has two locations: Cap City Gahanna and Cap City Grandview. A third location will open in Dublin in the summer of 2017. Our go-to location in Grandview is the original at 1299 Olentangy River Rd. For more information, visit capcityfinediner.com.

The Seasoned Farmhouse: Build skills, confidence at recreational cooking school

Boost skills, confidence at recreational cooking school


In this fast-paced world where heads of lettuce are sold pre-shredded in plastic bags, it’s nice to slow down and crack an egg once in a while.

I recently did just that and more with my daughter, Rosie, thanks to a Christmas gift from my husband. It had us measuring and mixing ingredients to make cookies during a cooking class at the Seasoned Farmhouse in the Columbus neighborhood of Clintonville.

The recreational cooking school offers classes that help home cooks boost their skills and confidence with hands-on instruction.

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Tricia Wheeler, who graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York City, opened the school in 2013. She and other local chefs can teach you how to make everything from pies and cakes to soups and salads to a five-course French meal.

Rosie and I took a daughter-and-mommy baking class over winter break. We made six types of cookies in two hours and got to take the goods home to share.

Wheeler said she found inspiration for the class from a box of child-sized aprons that she bought.

“I chose this age group because my daughter, Kensington, is 10,” Wheeler told our group of a dozen girls and their moms. “I picked age-appropriate recipes in the hopes that your girls will make these cookies on their own at home, too.”

Wheeler and her helpers created six stations for participants to use over two hours. It was amazing what we could accomplish when we put our minds to it.

We made sugar-cookie bars, chocolate chip cookies, no-bake caramel sea-salt cookies, pretzel toffee, Nutter Butter acorns, and polar bear marshmallows that we dipped into hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream.

When done, each girl received a basket that she filled to the brim with the group’s cookie creations. Since then, we’ve duplicated several of the recipes at home.

Most classes are geared toward adults, but kids’ classes occasionally are offered, such as a Valentine’s Day candy-making class. Otherwise adult classes are open to teen-agers with an adult chaperone.

Classes typically accommodate a dozen students and last up to three hours. Currently advertised hands-on classes cost from $65 to $150.

Classes fill up quickly. Learn about classes before they’re posted online by subscribing to Seasoned Farmhouse’s e-newsletter by clicking the “Be the First to Know” tab at the lefthand-side of the website at www.theseasonedfarmhouse.com.

The Seasoned Farmhouse is located at 3674 N. High St. Call 614-230-6281 to learn more.