Pioneer and entrepreneur Smedlap Effingtas famously forged a trail into the West, brewed his own secret moonshine, drove a general mad, and won a fair maiden's heart as a stowaway. But his most memorable contribution to the world turned out to be his descendants. Generations after Smedlap's heyday, his kin opened a restaurant to honor the memory of their infamous ancestor, instead of conducting a seance. After nearly 30 years in business, ownership was passed to Jim Favorite and his family, who had blazed a trail West in the footsteps of Smedlap.
After years of working in the steak-house business, Favorite snatched up the opportunity to transform a local institution into his dream restaurant. Though he and his chefs changed the menu a bit, he made sure to preserve some of the beloved traditions, such as the two-story slide behind the hostess stand. The overhauled menu includes a varied blend of dishes, from lake perch to lean burgers decked out with a dozen possible cheeses. Though broad, the menu's focus remains the steak, with choice cuts served on a plank and drizzled in peppercorn sauce.
Balance Pan-Asian Grille is a grassroots Asian-American restaurant. Their staff believes that every restaurant should be like theirs—one that serves from-scratch, healthy food made from fresh ingredients, noting that if customers wanted a microwaved meal, they wouldn’t go out to eat. The name Balance is a reference to restaurant's flavorful bowls, which contain a balance of proteins, carbs, and vegetables.
In the kitchen, Head Chef Jang, who worked for years at his parents' traditional Chinese restaurant, heats up the wok to create fusion recipes such as sweet butternut squash soup and vegan potstickers. He also cooks vegetarian and vegan dishes built on brown rice, salad greens, and tofu. Jang and his staffers often design their seasonal menus using fresh, farm-to-table ingredients, and they eschew any produce or proteins that are classified as genetically modified organisms or that have been handled by robots at any point during the harvesting process.
It's not every day that a dinner with friends risks a murder accusation. That's a good possibility for the guests of The Murder Mystery Company, who find themselves in the middle of a investigation for which any one of them could stand accused by a hapless detective. During each interactive dinner, the company's troupe of professional improv actors ignites the dining room with entertaining outbursts and hilarious one-liners in an effort to divulge clues and redirect guilt. Meanwhile, guests work together to sniff out the real culprit, which is definitely not the school janitor in a mask. Birthday parties, bachelorette celebrations, and corporate events can also get in on the interactive action by scheduling a private murder-mystery dinner.
The name Barry Bagels conceals the diversity of its menu. In addition to 16 bagel varieties, the staff churn out homemade soups, sandwiches, desserts, and coffee. The flagship Barry Bagels shop opened in Toledo in 1972—the company celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012—and now shares its oven-mastery with three other Toledo-area locations as well as one in Ann Arbor, MI.
Pretzelmaker knots up homemade ropes of golden goodness daily, pairing its sweet and salty treats with a bevy of refreshing beverages. Stop-and-go shoppers can refuel with classic salt- and butter-slathered pretzels ($2.35) that pleasantly pair with a number of dipping sauces ($0.65 each), including sweet caramel, icing, tangy honey mustard, and others. Teenier mouths and mitts can wrap pint-sized parts around mini salted and unsalted pretzel bites ($4.25 for a regular size). If desired, braided treats can be dusted with cinnamon sugar for no extra charge or wrapped around plump rolls of hot doggery for a Shih Tzu-envied, Doberman-approved pretzel dog ($3.35).
For more than 90 years, Red Wells has filled stomach vacancies with a streamlined menu of roast-beef recipes that date back three generations. Diners clasp fingers around a classic roast-beef sandwich ($4.59) or paint sauce murals on tongues with a barbecue-beef sandwich ($3.09). Forks sink like cement submarines into the bountiful roast-beef-and-mashed-potato dinner ($5.87), and belly growls turn to purrs after meeting the beef-and-noodle platter accompanied by a roll ($3.94). Built in 1836, Red Wells boasts historical significance as a former stagecoach stop and the current titleholder of Lucas County’s oldest commercial building. According to the eatery’s lore, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant once visited the premises, but became disgruntled after realizing the restaurant’s root-beer floats ($4.39) hadn’t been invented yet.