Because sometimes the only way to feel good about yourself is self-flagellation by calories.
Some days you’ll wake up feeling like turning over a new leaf. Like you want to work out more, eat healthier, more organic. After all, your body is a temple and you’re the only one that has to deal with the inevitable graceless aging of that wilting meat-suit.
But then there are the days when you know you need to punish your arteries and throw a rave in your gastrointestinal tract and not clean up afterward. Let’s face it, it’s just more fun to eat like a human garbage person.
So embrace that fatalistic nihilism, we’re going on a tour of the cities dopest greasy spoons and dive diners. You bring the Tums, I’ll bring the depressing yet charming food-angst.
India Oak is a 40-year-old staple in the Clintonville area. The location was originally an automated carwash (because of course it was). It’s the perfect place to shovel food in your face like no one is watching (because no one is), silverware be damned. Who needs self-esteem when you have a double meat sub? Amirite? …right? *sobs while eating*
Where: 590 Oakland Park Ave, Columbus, OH 43214
Website: India Oak
If you don’t know how great lunch at Johnnie’s Tavern can be, then you’re missing out. With huge burgers, cheap prices, and the kind of dive atmosphere that you have to see to believe, Johnnie’s is very deserving of a place on this list. Plus, if you’re feeling a little too greasy after you eat (don’t forget to order onion rings) you can head over to the nearby Quarry Trails Metro Park to walk it off.
Where: 3503 Trabue Rd, Columbus, OH 43204
Website: They’re definitely too divey to have a website
Fitzy’s is the greasy spoon of greasy spoons. Sure, they recently underwent a massive revamp, but they still have the spirit of a greasy spoon, and that’s what matters here. It’s very much so not healthy for you, but if you’ve ever woken up hungover the day after Halloween, still dressed as Bender from Futurama and you want the pain to go away, Fitzy’s got your back. Take a seat in the back booth and eat your food in silence like the shame-bot that you are.
Where: 1487 Schrock Rd, Columbus, OH 43229
If you’ve ever wanted a burger that perfectly captures the beauty of a warm summer day and the despair of a trip to the DMV, look no further. Don’t get me wrong, these burgers are bomb. I just, you know, recommend a light, 3-hour, coma/nap afterward followed quickly (hah, you’re not doing anything ‘quickly’) by 4 hours of a Hulu binge of season 5 of Buffy and maybe some self-reflection. That’s all.
Where: 2822 N High St, Columbus, OH 43202
Here’ the thing about Tip Top, the place is definitely a dive. Darkly lit and in the center of downtown, you definitely get that shady bar feel. But they have a seriously good menu with a lot of food options. I mean, I wouldn’t take a first date there or anything. It’s more of a “we’ve been dating for a year and a half and we’ve accepted each other’s mutual sadness and all, but if your mother calls me Debbie one more time I swear to God I’ll end her” sort of date. You know the one.
Where: 73 E Gay St, Columbus, OH 43215
Website: Tip Top Kitchen + Bar
A tiny little bar and counter diner in Bexley, you know the place is good because it’s right next to a Panera Bread and is doing completely fine. They’re all like, “oh cool, soup bread bowls, that’s cute. How about this French toast son?! How about these city-wide famous hashbrowns?? I know one thing Panera, you can catch these hands son!!” Yeah. Something like that. Anyway, good food.
Where: 2932 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43209
Website: Stav’s Diner
You gotta respect any diner honest enough to name something “The Hangover Sandwich”. That sandwich knows exactly what it is and it’s not trying to be anything more than that. It’s the sandwich from the other side of the tracks, the kind of grub your mom doesn’t want to see you hanging out with after school. But of course you do, after all, you can save it. Nothing wrong with a little fixer upper. (Sigh), You did always like the bad ones, didn’t you?
Where: 2090 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington, OH 43221
Turn around now. I’m telling you right now, you’re not brave enough for this place. Sure, you’ve dabbled in a few double patty burgers here and there, maybe you’ve downed a hot-wing challenge or two, but nothing prepares you for the meat-Gundam that is the Thurmanator. Sure, it’s a truly awe-inspiring sandwich, but no one wants to see you replaying the scene in Top Gun when Goose dies. Don’t be the Icarus that flew too close to the sun. Thurman’s isn’t food. It’s a self-inflicted medical emergency and it’s oh so great.
Where: 183 Thurman Ave, Columbus, OH 43206
Website: Thurman Cafe
German Village Coffee Shop
German Village Coffee Shop is probably the most textbook “greasy spoon” on this list. It’s a small diner serving up a classic, unchanging menu at affordable prices. Nothing about this place is fancy, and that’s what we love most of it. Plus, they have the best bacon in the city, and that’s just a fact.
Location: 193 Thurman Ave #2629, Columbus, OH 43206
Website: German Village Coffee Shop