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Handshakes and Johnnycakes: Philco Bar + Diner

The front of the Short North-based Philco Bar + Diner
Columbus' Short North has a plethora of eateries, many of which are marked by large crowds and much fanfare. Philco had been one of those places, rising up from long-time neighborhood stalwart Phillip's Coney Island and opening up during one of the biggest weekends in the area (ComFest) back in 2013.

Since then, numerous places have earned the "latest and greatest" destination eatery title in this vibrant neighborhood, and Philco, located in a section of the neighborhood with very similar storefronts, is very easy to drive or walk by when you're looking for places to stop for a bite to eat. This effect was quite noticeable to me: not having visited during its initial fanfare, I passed by here numerous times either alone or with my spouse after the hubbub had faded without paying this eatery much mind. It was almost like a revelation that first time I walked by here and finally noticed its presence. "Oh yeah, Philco!" I remember thinking to myself as I spied their sign.

Philco's retro hip feel is matched up with a fancier take
on some traditional greasy spoon diner dishes.
Philco will never remind anyone of the old traditional greasy spoon dine visually; rather, it sports a cool, retro vibe with fashion touches like a subway tiled wall, steel counters and leather-backed booths. While there is a certain hipness to the entire package, the atmosphere is fairly relaxed, and the crowds are rarely loud and they cut across all types. I've seen suit-and-tie clad luncheons with business types, older couples on a date, a couple of dudes who look like they could be truck drivers, and everything in between during my visits.

L-R clockwise: Johnnycake Sliders with fresh-cut fries; Mac-n-Mornay
with a Rockmill Brewery saison; Huevos Rancheros
Food-wise, the items may appear at first glance similar to those of a greasy-spoon, but careful reading of the menu and the ingredients used (many of them locally sourced) show that Philco's takes are modest-sized meal portions with a modest-quality jump over the usual diner fare. All dishes I have there from the Johnnycake sliders (with excellent fresh cut fries), the Mac-n-Mornay, and their Huevos Rancheros (Philco serves breakfast all day long) have been quite flavorful and satisfying. Paired up with a craft beer (Philco features select tap handles from local Ohio craft brewers) or a slice of pie from Just Pies, and you'll have yourself a complete meal.

Philco definitely falls into the neighborhood hangout spot, but one that's worth a visit for those outside the area. One of the more unique endings to a meal happened here at Philco, where my server and I ended up with a short conversation after I had finished my meal, followed with a handshake. I don't think I've ever ended a meal before with a handshake, but it was a pretty nice topper to pretty darn good experience.

Philco Bar + Diner
747 North High St (Short North)
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 299-9933
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Philco Bar + Diner on Urbanspoon

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