As a backup quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bruce Gradkowski often has his hands full training and running drills. Whenever he gets a chance, though, he heads back to Toledo?where he first made his name as starting QB for the Toledo Rockets?to visit the restaurant he opened at the edge of campus. Echoing Gradkowski's love of his adopted hometown, the menu overflows with dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, such as the salmon filet, praised by the Toldeo Blade for its "light coating of salty parmesan cheese crust ? cooked perfectly and served with a compound butter that added to the richness of the dish."
A collection of wines ranging from dry to sweet fill bottles at D&D Smith Winery, alongside other eclectic beverages. Visitors to the cozy tasting room can savor fermented teas, raspberry wine, or the winery's first estate wine, the light, peachy Frontenac Gris. The winery also hosts comedy shows, live music, and other events in addition to serving up appetizers and other snacks that complement its offerings.
St. Julian is Michigan’s oldest, largest and most awarded winery. This family-owned winery, founded by Mariano Meconi in 1921, is nestled in the picturesque fruit-growing region along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Today, grandson, David Braganini, has adopted the family tradition of wine making.
Food and wine, Italian and French, fine dining and casual bar snacks?Luc? Nuovo is a place of complementary dualities. Dishes such as fresh-tomato bisque and creamy shrimp risotto are united by their locally farmed ingredients ingredients, and their ephemerality: because executive chef Mason Conway relies on the freshest produce, his menu changes with the seasons. (His staff do make mozzarella and pasta in-house all year long.) In the bar, surrounded by beer taps and wine bottles, diners peruse more streamlined snacks such as mortadella-stuffed stromboli and roasted portobello sliders topped with caramelized onion and arugula.
If you really want to drink in an oenophilic atmosphere, there's the option of booking a private dinner in the wine cellar. The bottles filling the ceiling-high wine-storage system have all been selected with an eye toward complementing the food, never overwhelming it, and menus offer many seasonal pairing suggestions. Elsewhere in the sprawling villa-style buiilding, a stone fireplace dominates the main room amid earthenware floor tiles, exposed ceiling beams, and rustic wooden half-walls. Outdoor seating fills up during the warmer months, although Luc? Nuovo draws crowds indoors on Thursday evenings for live jazz performances.
WineMakers Guild's wine on premise process gives customers an opportunity to craft their own palatable wine creations away from home, avoiding disastrous wine spills that coat carpets and living-room wildlife in rose-colored speckles. In as little as 30 days, visitors can create their own personalized conversation-propelling elixirs with quality juice sourced from around the world. Over 100 tasty wine varieties are available to make, with 30–40 available for tasting at any given time. Your Groupon is good for 15 bottles of Green Apple Riesling or Blackberry Cabernet, or it can be applied toward the price of making any other varietal. A knowledgeable staff of vinologists assists customers at every step, ensuring a tasty blend that is ready to sample in four to eight weeks. Fermentation, racking, stabilization, and filtering all take place on-site, bypassing the need for purchasing winemaking equipment, messy clean-up, or complicated grape-squashing dance steps. The stress-free process yields 15–30 custom-labeled bottles of high-quality wine unsullied by sneaky fairies and even sneakier roommates who keep "mistaking" your wine stash for the Kool-Aid they store in a wine bottle next to it.