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.
The culinary staff at Super Suppers strives to breathe life back into the American tradition of sitting down to a home-cooked meal. The handcrafted take ‘n’ bake items, which include entrees, sides, appetizers, and desserts, conveniently last in freezers for up to three months or until evicted to make room for hibernating snowmen. Ready-to-heat basil pork chops with caesar penne or bacon-wrapped chicken breasts with cream cheese save time on prep, and a variety of gluten-free, dairy-free, and heart-healthy items offer tasty meals that meet all sorts of dietary restrictions. Instructors also supply ingredients, gear, and know-how during Kids in the Kitchen and Taste of Super Suppers classes that teach participants how to create simple and tasty meals at home.
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.
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.
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.