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At The Diner On The Corner: Wildflower Cafe

The entrance to the Indianola Avenue-located Wildflower Cafe
Sometimes inexpensive home-style diner food is what you want, and Columbus has more than its fair share of options in that category.  During our move this year to a new house, we found our new travels to work and back took us by McCarthy's Wildflower Cafe on a regular basis, and we figured it was time to drop by for some regular visits during breakfast.

Started by members of the McCarthy family in the early 2000s, Wildflower Cafe's space is set back from the main street a bit, giving what looks to be a somewhat odd-looking parking lot a bit of unfortunate prominence in determining whether you want to drop by or not. However, this parking lot is often full of cars early in the day and especially on weekends, giving you the opposite dilemma of whether or not you think you can find a parking space.

However, once inside, the space is smallish, cozy and bustling; on our visits, customers seem to stream in on a steady basis with only an occasional line-out-the-door effect like you often get at places like Northstar Cafe or Starliner Diner in Hilliard. The word "homey" and diner almost seem to go hand-in-hand; in Wildflower's case, its homey-quality is brought out by a combination of interior decor (a renovation to the building toned down the country kitchen touches but kept the down-home appeal, including subtle touches like stenciled floral designs from the owner's daughter), the friendly staff (service can be a bit slow at the back end when you're wanting to leave, but I've noticed groups here generally don't mind lingering a bit) and the clientele who dine there.

Wildflower Cafe features a smallish but otherwise homey interior space
As for the latter aspect, I've noticed plenty of family and friend groupings at Wildflower, often with a kid or two in tow, not surprising with the diner's nicely inexpensive kid-oriented menu. The random streams of conversation that I've caught (Wildflower can get loud at times, but really no louder than other places in town) have a hint of anticipation to them: a get together with the grandparents, a trip out to the Buckeye football game, a visit to a local festival or out of town to somewhere afar, and so on.  Not that Wildflower doesn't have a space for its solo diners - having done quite a bit of solo dining myself, I'm sure I'd feel right at home near the front at one their small number of counter seats.

The breakfast items we've had there are well-made, perhaps a half-notch higher than the Denny's or Scrambler Marie's of this world on an overall basis.  Considering the level, my spouse found their lox quite good (their bagel was of the Lender's variety, however) as well as their Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, and their Challah French Toast was a palate-pleaser to me. Their omelets and scrambles are also solid, if not particularly spectacular gut-fillers. Service can be a touch slow at times (more so on the back end when you're finished up) but Wildflower Cafe seems to be a place where diners like to linger a little longer than most.

From left to right clockwise: Wildflower Cafe's menu, Challah
French Toast with Ohio maple syrup, Sausage Gravy and Biscuits
Wildflower does have lunch and dinner options that tread the general home-style meal spectrum, with a few twists like the Indonesian Pasta Salad and Creole Shrimp and Grits. In addition, a daily special is available (including a Athens County Chicken and Egg Noodles on Tuesday and a Southern Fried Chicken, featuring chicken from Gerber Farms, special on Saturday) as well as a few vegetarian options.

Like many diners, their coffee tends to be on the weak side; we have found ourselves opting for other beverages here and grabbing a java later on in the day.  Beverages include all the usual diner juice and pop drinks as well as a select adult beverages (wine, cocktails and a small collection of domestic and locally-brewed craft beers (including Jackie O's and Columbus Brewing.) And of course, you can't possibly be a diner if you don't offer pie - an assortment of pies (including butterscotch and bourbon pecan), cheesecake and cakes are available by the slice or ordering to take home.

Wildflower Cafe
3420 Indianola Avenue (Clintonville)
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 262-2233
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Wildflower Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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