Gradkowski’s open at Gateway PlazaWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The grand opening of Gradkowski’s, a new restaurant at the University of Toledo’s Gateway Plaza, went well, said co-owner Mike Graber.
In fact, Graber said the Jan. 15 opening “exceeded expectations,” exceeding his projected forecast of sales for opening night.
Graber said the most popular dish was the Pat LaFrieda Burger. He sold 25.
“Everyone said it was the best burger they ever had,” Graber said.
The restaurant, which is co-owned by former standout Rocket quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, now playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, and Singh Grewal, owner of Arnie’s on Levis, was originally slated to open in August.
But Gradkowski, who lives in Maumee during the offseason, said he wanted to make sure everything was perfect before the restaurant opened its doors.
“This isn’t just some couple-year thing where we’re trying to come in quick,” Gradkowski told Toledo Free Press in November. “We want to help the university out and make the campus grow, so we want to make sure we’re building it right and having everything done right now, so it can last for as long as we want to be here.”
The menu features fresh, made-from-scratch dishes featuring an array of “tempting appetizers, hand-cut steaks, pastas, specialty pizzas, salads, burgers and decadent desserts,” Graber said.
“We’re going over and above in every category of food,” he said.
The wine list features wines from small vineyards worldwide.
“Everything we are doing is based on creating a memorable experience,” Graber said in November. “From your food to your service and environment to the garnish on your cocktail, we have put a lot of care into every decision made.”
Prior to the opening, employees were able to bring two of their friends or family Jan. 13, Graber said. He added this helped give workers practice before the true opening night.
Gradkowski’s hosted a VIP party the following night for members of the Toledo community such as Mayor Mike Bell and UT president Lloyd Jacobs as well as UT’s coaches, recruiters and some faculty members.
Located on the southwest corner of UT’s campus, near the intersection of Dorr Street and Secor Road, Graber said the lunch rush has been mainly university faculty and local business professionals with some students trickling in.
The Gateway Project also includes a Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Jimmy John’s, Yogurt U, Great Clips, Rice Blvd., Wireless Zone and Lofts at Gateway.