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Review: Cap City Fine Diner

 Morgan Kelley Review: Cap City Fine Diner
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As far as Cameron Mitchell restaurants go, I’ve always found Cap City to be one of the most accessible options in their lineup. The atmosphere is comfortable enough for a casual lunch but nice enough for a date night. The menu primarily consists of comfort food with a handful of signature dishes that make it interesting enough to warrant repeat visits.

I recently stopped by the StoneRidge Plaza location for lunch, which is tucked away inside a strip mall at the corner of Morse and Hamilton Roads near Gahanna. The exterior of this location lacks in character compared to the Olentangy River Road location, but the inside is mostly the same: upscale “diner” theme with semi-kitschy decor and an environment conducive to both families and office workers alike.

I started off with the Maytag Blue Cheese Potato Chip appetizer ($8.95) which is one of the signature dishes at Cap City: potato chips topped with blue cheese, scallions and Alfredo sauce. It almost sounds like something dreamed up during my college days when an experimental mix of bagged snacks and condiments wasn’t out of the ordinary. The flavors work well together, though this is definitely a portion size worth sharing with three or four guests.

The Lemon Caesar Salad ($6.50) is a fairly traditional version of this salad with Parmesan cheese and garlic croutons. I would have enjoyed it more had the Parmesan been shaved. It was quite a large portion.

The Cap City Diner Meatloaf  ($11.95) is topped with delicious buttermilk-chive mashed potatoes, mushrooms, chili onion rings and barbeque gravy all sat atop a slice of bread, with a side of broccoli. The onion rings were thin and had a good crunch and flavor. Cap City’s meatloaf is a nice thick slab and is dense and tasty. The gravy is a nice touch.

The Fried Fish Sandwich ($9.95) is a large beer battered fish filet topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, diced onions, pickles and a side of sweet pickle tartar sauce. I was a bit iffy on the cheddar cheese at first glance, but thought that the flavors all worked well together. The fish was well prepared and when coupled with a side of fries makes for a pretty solid Fish n’ Chips meal.

If there’s one thing to complain about when it comes to Cap City, it’s that the portion sizes are a bit out of control, especially for lunch entrees. Not that this is the only restaurant guilty of up-sizing everything, but certainly something worth noting as I’ve always been required to take boxes of food home after a meal here. Some people may enjoy the fact that you’re getting both lunch and dinner leftovers out of a trip to Cap City, but if you’re eating on the go, you might not be interested in leaving leftovers baking inside your car on a hot summer day. Personally, I’d prefer to pay a dollar or two less for half-sized portions and be able to finish my meal in one sitting.

Otherwise, there’s not much to complain about when it comes to dining at Cap City. Some foodies may insist that the food is “safe” and uninventive, but I think there’s something to be said for their consistency in keeping these classic dishes worthy of revisiting.

Cap City has two locations, one near Gahanna at 1301 StoneRidge Drive, and one near Grandview at 1299 Olentangy River Road. Hour, menus and other info can be found online at www.capcityfinediner.com.

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  • Roland

    I get regular cravings for the Cap City Meatloaf. I normally go to the Olentangy location. They price it higher than 12 bucks though. I remember it being closer to $15.

  • Anne & I normally go to the Olentangy location too, but I wouldn’t think there would be a price difference. A quick glance at the menus on the Cap City website shows that the Meatloaf is $12 at lunch and $17 at dinner, so I guess that’s why the difference in the review up top.

  • Andrew Hall

    It is somewhat remiss to not note the origins of Cap City Diner and some of their “signature” dishes.
    For example, the Maytag Blue Chips is directly inspired from the Buckhead Diner’s dish. Back when CCD first opened, they had a origin story about how Cameron Mitchell and company toured the US and brought back ideas from various restaurants. The Olentangy location has an homage to their origins with their wall of restaurant names which is both tribute to these inspirations and a fascinating look at the restaurants of Columbus from the past.
    This is not a criticism of CCD – we get lunch at our office from them about twice a month. I do think that their origin story is worth telling.
    PS – I have a cookbook they published in the late 90s. Not sure if it still available.

  • Ohioirish

    I’ve found Cap City is great about letting you do half-orders of their entrees and they do allow half-orders of the potato chips. A half order is still more than enough for 2-3 people to share as an appetizer.

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