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Starliner Diner – nothing finer…..

Posted by CMH Gourmand on November 2, 2006

Starliner Diner
5240 Cemetery Road
Hilliard, Ohio 43206


Starliner Diner Link
Tuesday • Wednesday • Thursday
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Friday • Saturday
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
5:00 pm – 9:30 pm

9:00 am – 3:00 pm


I hate driving to Hilliard, I only do so from one reason – Starliner Diner. I never get tired of the menu. For most of us there is no quick or easy way to make a journey there, unless you live in Hilliard or just love to drive. From central Columbus, one must travel over the river and through the strip malls, and still drive a bit more, before arriving. The journey is a taste of suburbia and urban sprawl but the destination is worth the effort.

The genesis of the Starliner Diner began when Jerry Burgos – rocketed away from The Galaxy Cafe (my favorite restaurant of all time – gone for many years now). For years, people debated whether Starliner Diner or The Galaxy was better. The answer is they were both equals – the influences, attitude, and atmosphere were so similar but had enough subtle differences to give each an identity of their own. The food is a fusion of Cuban/Tex-Mex/diner cooking styles. The Starliner features eclectic furnishing, mismatched tableware, a space themed mural on the wall, and assorted flea marketesque everything else. Since this is South of the Border fare, the sounds of Spanish coming from the kitchen gives me a good feeling. The serving staff is a mix of young and middle-aged folks, as are the patrons.

Starliner Mural

I have enjoyed anything ever served for breakfast here. The Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Burritos are among the best in the Columbus metropolitan area. Several breakfast specials are offered which vary by the day. These specials are so good; I have been prevented from fully exploring other items on the regular breakfast menu. The Crabcakes are my favorite breakfast special – two crabcakes swimming in black beans, covered by two poached eggs, with red salsa on one cake and green on the other. The sweet potato omelet is a close second.

Starliner omlet

(above – sweet potato omelet, with homefries and cuban toast)

An array of appetizers helps pass the time while you struggle and ponder on which main course to get. The Quesadillas are a personal favorite and the Sweet Potato Tamales are worth a taste, if just to support this unappreciated tuber.

The dinner selections include pizzas, pastas, and large plates of food in various combinations. The Media Noche – a traditional Cuban sandwich, with pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard on a grilled bun is a safe introduction to Cuban cuisine. For something more traditional the Cuban Style Roast Chicken, seems to please the meek of palate. The pizza and pasta category choices include – Cheeseless Veggie Pizza , Chicken BBQ pizza and one of my favorites pasta dishes, Vegetable Caliente – Mixed vegetables, smoked chipotle cream sauce tossed with spinach fettuccini. There is something for everyone (from conservative redneck to liberal culinary snob) on the menu. You will also find exceptional plantains as an appetizer or as a side with some dishes.

The Starliner is the type of place, which people could drive by, or even take a quick peek at then decide to head down the road for a more familiar meal. However, once someone makes it through the door, they are hooked.

Starliner Diner on Urbanspoon

4 Responses to “Starliner Diner – nothing finer…..”

  1. Jeanne said

    The Media Noche is the bomb. You’re right –no easy way to get there, but a fabulous sandwich and paired with the sweet potato fries, it’s by far one of my Columbus favorites.

  2. Shaun said

    The Breakfast Burrito rocks! Best in Columbus.

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  4. Noah said

    I live in Hilliard and always try to get people to go there! Trust me, the drive isnt that bad. But I suppose since we have a lot more incentive to drive DT/Campus/Clintonville with our lack of general culture. That’s also why i eat there a lot! Cuban chicken is simple, not for meek i would argue. the specials are the bomb – the peanut encrusted chicken with raspberry coulis with rice, beans and mango banana salsa is heavenly.

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