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Dish Deathmatch: Jack’s Diner Versus Jack & Benny’s

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Dish Deathmatch: Jack’s Diner Versus Jack & Benny’sJack & Benny's (left) and Jack's Diner (right) — Photos by Miriam Bowers Abbott.
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What’s a Benny get ya? That is the question*.

One short year ago, Downtown Columbus was Jack-less. Jack’s Diner, an institution in Lynn alley, was on a long-term hiatus. Jack & Benny’s, now on Broad, was still exclusively a north-side thing.

But now, both joints are fully operational within a 90 second walk of each other. Both offer Downtown patrons a bevy of breakfast and lunch options. With such striking similarities in names, a deathmatch was clearly inevitable.

The answer to the opening question is pretty obvious right at the onset, a Benny gets you unlimited cream ramekins, jelly packages and butter pods. Those are all supplied in hoards at the center of each table at the Broad street joint. You could put 16 creams in your coffee (or pockets), and no one would notice.

But the planned Deathmatch pits kitchen-made diner staples against each other: an egg (over-easy) with wheat toast.

An order at Jack’s delivers a velvety egg with a gushing golden yolk and toast triangles. Neither dry nor greasy, one side of the toast triangles is soft with a distinctly buttery flavor.

Jack & Benny’s version of the egg is a little bit smaller, and a little more frizzled, so it’s drier. The toast is less buttery tasting, but that’s pretty easy to fix at the table.

Then there is the ultimate deciding factor: an impulsive dining companion test-drove the hash browns. At Jack’s, they’re not so much uniform shreds as they are shards of potatoes, fresh-cut each morning then fried with a super-crispy shell. The pure potato-y goodness was immediately and firmly pronounced as “special”. You can get hash browns or home fries at Jack & Benny’s too, but neither inspired that same declaration of specialness.

Advantage today goes to Jack’s, but you can do your own test drive and adventure into their respective omelets or burgers. Jack’s is at 52 E. Lynn and Jack & Benny’s is at 12 E. Broad.

*Kindly contributed by a clever tablemate.

For more information, visit www.jacksdowntowndiner.com and www.jackandbennys.com.

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