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Columbus Breakfast Featured in PBS Documentary

BreakfastwithNick BreakfastwithNick
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Just wanted to share that myself, Breakfast with Nick, and two Columbus restaurants will be featured in a two-part national PBS documentary “Breakfast Special”. The documentary is produced by Rick Sebak of WQED Pittsburgh. Sebak is famous for his previous documentaries on hot dogs, amusement parks, sandwiches, diners, and other bits of Americana.

The new documentary focuses on breakfast in America, and examines the culture of breakfast, why we love it, and how it varies regionally. Filming lasted from November through May, taking Rick and his crew down south to Georgia and Florida, up north to Maine, through Pennsylvania and Ohio, and finally out west to Oregon and even Hawaii. Rick recently announced that, due to the massive amount of footage, they’re splitting the documentary into two 52-minute segments. The first part, airing this Wednesday, July 14 at 8 pm, will include myself and the Columbus stops. The air date of Part 2 has yet to be announced.

Rick contacted me last November about the program and his ideas for it, and asked me for a sampling of Columbus’ breakfast scene. He spent roughly three days filming in town. The first day I took them to my favorite breakfast in town, The Best Breakfast & Sandwiches in Westerville. Best Breakfast shows off the fare of a classic American diner, with simple dishes, fresh preparation, and a Cheers-like welcome. Tom and Jan Spangler, owners of Best Breakfast, talked with Rick about their past restaurant experience and their desire to open a simple restaurant that does comfort food very well. Best Breakfast is just over two years old, and already they’ve built a very loyal clientele, all of whom opened up to Rick in the interviews. You can preview Rick’s visit to Best Breakfast below:

On our second day I took them to weekend brunch at Skillet. Although Skillet is fairly new to the breakfast scene (and they only serve brunch on weekends), they exemplify Columbus’ more creative approach to breakfast, taking locally-sourced ingredients to create interesting variations on classic breakfast dishes. Rick spent a lot of time in the kitchen with chefs Patrick and Kevin Caskey, while they showed off many of their signature brunch dishes. You can get a glimpse of Rick’s time at Skillet below:

They spent their remaining day filming stock footage at various breakfast locations around town, including DK Diner, Northstar Café, and Jack & Benny’s. When Rick asked me how I would describe the Columbus breakfast experience, I said it’s a mix of the traditional and the innovative. We have plenty of classic diners and greasy spoons, each serving up their own local specialties. But at the same time, we have plenty of restaurants willing to push the boundaries of breakfast and brunch. We’ll see how Columbus compares to a national sampling of breakfast – I think we have a lot to be proud of!

To tune in:
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
8 pm
WOSU-TV 34

Breakfast Special official site: http://www.wqed.org/tv/sebak/breakfast/

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