Carrying on the tradition of his father Labib Hajjar, a restaurateur who opened the original Poco Piatti location on Monroe Street, Elias Hajjar and his wife Joy have created a welcoming new space where locals can experience Mediterranean cuisine. Diners choose from Greek classics including moussaka, Italian-inspired dishes such as prosciutto crepes with basil and homemade sundried-tomato sauce, or Middle Eastern-style kabobs with swordfish or beef tenderloin. The owners have designed the interior to resemble a Spanish villa—the mural above the bar colorfully depicts rolling Mediterranean hills, and a stone oven churns out freshly baked pita bread or lights the miniature Olympic torches of waiters jogging by.
Since 1996, Labib has given back to the community as the co-chairperson of Share our Strength's Taste of the Nation Toledo, an annual food and wine event that, according to The Toledo Blade, raised more than $100,000 to help fight childhood hunger in 2011. Elias also follows in his father's community-minded footsteps by electing to source his ingredients from local suppliers.
Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi's well-traveled owners, Mel and Barb Ayers, unite the culinary artistry of Japan with chefs selected from around America for their talents and showmanship. The result—set in a convivial restaurant with an outdoor patio and tableside hibachi grills—draws a bridge between the artistic elegance of Japanese cuisine and the family-friendly atmosphere of an American steakhouse. Meats sizzle on hibachi grills as chefs perform knife and spatula tricks for dazzled onlookers, who must refrain from leaning in too close lest a tower of onions suddenly catches fire. The spectacular dance of flames results in entrees of filet mignon, sea scallops, and lobster tails, all of which pair nicely with sushi such as a crab-filled california roll or a Volcano roll drizzled with fresh magma.
JB?s Sarnie Shoppe?s owners, Gareth and Bruce, helm a bustling kitchen where fresh bread, baked in-house twice daily, embraces a cavalcade of hearty sandwich fillings. Guests can build their own sandwiches, referred to as sarnies, with wholesome ingredients, such as Boar?s Head meats, thick slices of cheese, and housemade roasted-red-pepper spread. The menu ventures beyond the breaded with cobb salads and creamsicle smoothies, and names items using slang from overseas: ?sarnie? (sandwich), ?crisps? (chips), ?biscuits? (cookies), and ?cookies? (biscuits). Outside of the shop, it caters any event that has at least five people capable of chewing.
Helmed by a dedicated baker and mother of seven, 7 Little Cupcakes offers customers an impressive selection of gourmet cupcakes, custom cakes, and fun creations such as little cupcakes in a jar. The awe-inspiring menu of flavors rivals a con artist?s fake-mustache collection and includes more than 100 different varieties that rotate daily. In addition to standard cupcakes, seldom-seen treats such as gooey cupcake dippers and adorable bite-size cupcake sandwiches also vie for customers? affection. Made with high-quality ingredients, 7 Little Cupcake?s creations are available in gluten-free formulas.
At Babycakes2go, the baker tends to tiny cakes in dozens of flavors, including chocolate-covered pretzel, chocolate-covered bacon, or chai-latte concoctions topped with a swirl of nutmeg whipped frosting. In addition to ready-to-go treats, a cakeologists can also layer their signature cakes, fillings, and frostings in deliciously down-home Babycakes2go jars, a quaint mason jar brimming with a sundae-like amalgamation meant to be enjoyed via spoons or old-fashioned country chopsticks. Orders are placed by phone and can be picked up at O-Deer Diner and Ice Cream Shop, or can be delivered.
Mexican dishes both classic and newly invented sizzle on the signature plates at OK Patron Fajita Bar. The name OK Patron, which translates to "OK, boss," belies the restaurant's dedication to customer service. American specialties accompany the Mexican dishes featured on the lunch buffet each afternoon, along with chicken, steak, vegetable, shrimp, and scallop fajitas. Family recipes serve as the blueprint for dishes such as tortilla soup, which pairs crispy tortillas with garden vegetables, cheese, and a cure for the fear of soup.