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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

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

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  • DavidF

    I am so hungry right now!

  • VicVillage Guy

    I don’t understand how you can do a documentary on breakfast in Columbus and not go to German Village Coffee House. I’ve been to The Best several times and it’s good don’t get me wrong but it doesn’t compare to GVCH.

  • DavidF

    Yep. GVCH is awesome. Great, now I’m even hungrier.

  • Well, to be fair, it wasn’t a documentary on breakfast in Columbus – and they were only able to feature 2 restaurants here, unfortunately. There are so many good places in this city!!! And The Best is truly the best, in my humble opinion. :) So excited to see this show tomorrow night!

  • I love GVCH, too! I actually mentioned it to Rick in one of the interviews – we’ll see if he stopped by there or if it made the cut!

  • This looks great Nick! Wasn’t familiar with your blog before, but will definitely be checking it out.  I’ve also heard great things about Rick Sebak’s other docs, but have yet to see any.  A coworker of mine (@DanHoffman24) worked on the Hot Dog doc and was very impressed.  I’ll be tuning in to this one!

  • Oh, and catch me, Lisa the Waitress, Tom from Best Breakfast, Kevin from Skillet, and Rick Sebak himself on WOSU tomorrow between 11am and 12pm, on All Sides w/Ann Fisher.

  • JimL2

    I really enjoy Rick Sebak’s stuff. It’s such a pure, exuberant celebration of the “little things in life,” it always makes me smile… and that’s rare for me to say. It’s like he’s making time capsules about what makes 20th c. American lives quirky and great.

    I’m really looking forward to this (if my TV cooperates and picks up WOSU’s signal!).

    Congratulations Nick! I hope you’re ready to be re-run on every PBS station nationwide for the next 15 years!

  • JimL2

    p.s. if I could eat breakfast foods three times a day, I would.

  • lizless

    YES! I can’t wait for this!

  • Coy

    For anyone to be looking for breakfast in Columbus and not IMMEDIATELY be pointed in the direction of the GV Coffee Haus is a complete travesty.

  • When it comes to the “greasy spoon” or traditional Americana breakfast, I’m still a fan of the Warehouse Cafe. Haven’t been in awhile, but they’re always friendly, speedy, and have some great prices.

  • catnfiddle

    It was a wonderful production that made me want to make a few road trips.  Nick, great job getting TWO places highlighted in our fair neck of the woods!

  • Yeah, we’re already planning a trip to the Cartwright Maple Tree Inn next winter. And fortunately we have close friends in Portland, so when we next visit them, we’ll definitely hit up Hesler’s and the Tin Shed.

  • vestanpance

    I watched it and it was very cool! Very well done.

    (but the song at the end..)

  • Heh, vestanpance, my wife said the same thing about the song!

  • kcrissinger

    Too bad they didn’t include the metro area and document Starliner Diner in Hilliard.

  • I have got to get to Skillet. But I’m guessing lots of other people are thinking the same thing after watching this.

  • heh…wouldn’t matter Columbusite the place is tiny and packed anyway…and still well worth it.

  • tigerlily62

    This was a wonderful show. It made me miss Columbus! (and if you’re related to me or one of my high school friends from Walnut Ridge, you know that’s BIG!).

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