Four new restaurants will be among the local eateries participating in the second annual Restaurant Week Toledo. Bar 145 near Sylvania, Burger Bar 419 in South Toledo and Bobby V’s American Grill in Holland all opened within the past nine months while Spicy Tuna Sushi Bar and Grill in Holland celebrated its first year of business in December.
During the week of Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 18 area restaurants will feature special menus — priced at $10, $20 or $30 (drinks, taxes and gratuities not included) — with a portion of proceeds donated to nonprofit Leadership Toledo to benefit its youth programs. The event is also meant to showcase the variety of local culinary options and promote dining locally.
Also participating are The Blarney Irish Pub, Caper’s Restaurant and Bar, Dégagé Jazz Café, Fifi’s Reprise Restaurant and Lounge, The Hungry I, ICE Restaurant and Bar, LaScola Italian Grill, Manhattan’s, Plate 21, Poco Piatti, Rockwell’s, Rosie’s Italian Grille, Tea Tree Asian Bistro and Ventura’s Mexican Restaurant.
Becca Gorman, co-chairwoman of Restaurant Week Toledo, said organizers are thrilled and thankful for the support from each of the participating restaurants, but were especially excited to have the support of so many newcomers to the local restaurant community.
“It builds excitement for the overall event, which in turn will help all of our participating restaurants,” Gorman said. “People get curious when they see a newer restaurant’s name on the list and they want to check them out. We hope it will help build a customer base for these newer restaurants.”
Dave Schlaudecker, executive director of Leadership Toledo, said the new restaurants have been some of the most eager and enthusiastic supporters of the event.
“They are all really excited for the opportunity to get their names out in the community and be associated with established restaurants,” Schlaudecker said. “They look at it as a great marketing opportunity. They were actually some of our easiest ones to get on board.”
Bar 145 co-owner Jeremy Fitzgerald aims to bring Put-in-Bay’s party atmosphere to Toledo.
“Toledo is Put-in-Bay’s No. 1 audience,” said the 30-year-old Fitzgerald, whose family owns Mr. Ed’s Bar and Grille on the island. “A lot of people from Toledo go to Put-in-Bay, but none of the bands were really doing it. We want to bring Put-in-Bay entertainment to Toledo, focusing on out-of-town bands that have big followings at Put-in-Bay.”
Named after the temperature of a perfectly cooked medium-rare burger, the gastropub, which opened in May at 5305 Monroe St., features “burgers, bands and bourbon,” including live entertainment six nights a week, ranging from the popular dueling pianos on Wednesdays to full bands on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Menu items from Bar 145
The menu is full of gourmet burgers, including the opportunity to “stack your own” from a list of five buns (including an everything bagel from Barry Bagels), 12 cheeses, 21 sauces and 24 toppings, ranging from locally grown lettuce and vine-ripened tomatoes to bourbon-smoked bacon and sautéed wild mushrooms. Veggie patties are also available.
The eatery, which features a 50-seat oval bar that partially extends into its seasonal patio, also offers specials like $5 martinis on Wednesdays, endless toppings on Mondays and daily happy hours from 1:45 to 6 p.m.
“We’re like something you’d see in a big metro area— very modern, trendy, good ambience,” said Fitzgerald, who co-owns the venue with local business owner George Simon. “The biggest thing that sets us apart from burger joints is that we’re a bar as well. It’s both a great restaurant and a great place to have a night life. People come early to have dinner and then stay and watch the bands. It’s very unique to the city of Toledo.”
Spicy Tuna Sushi
Li Yu, owner of Spicy Tuna Sushi Bar and Grill, which opened at 7130 Airport Highway in December 2010, said he wanted to participate because he believes in giving back to the community.
“Even in just the short period of one year, we have been involved with many different organizations as far as charities and donations,” Yu said. “Basically we believe in giving back to the community that we serve. We thought [Restaurant Week] was a good idea because of the focus on local restaurants.”
Opened at the site of the former Fu Yi Chinese Restaurant by the son of the former owner, the eatery features a full sushi bar as well as a mix of “Asian Fusion” and American cuisines, including more than 30 entrees from the former Fu Yi menu, Yu said.
“We’re getting a good crowd and a lot of word of mouth from people finding out we’re part of the former Fu Yi family,” Yu said. “They are very thrilled we’re back and serving some Fu Yi menu items. That’s a good portion of our crowd. I’d say 60 percent for sushi and 40 percent coming in for the old Fu Yi dishes.”
Spicy Tuna’s full bar includes a variety of sake and imported Asian beers. The eatery also offers a game room, carryout and catering services, and daily specials. These include happy hour from 2:30 to 6 p.m. daily, half-off select sushi and sake on Wednesday nights, live entertainment and half-price martinis on Thursdays, karaoke on Saturdays, discounts for veterans, police and firefighters, and more.
“Our mission statement is to exceed guests’ expectations,” Yu said. “We want people to have the most fun and the most value for the money they spend.”
Bobby V’s American Grill
Since opening in June, Bobby V’s American Grill, located at 8165 Airport Highway, has been preparing American comfort food from scratch and serving it up in a refined casual atmosphere, said dining room manager Kyle Dumkow.
Mama’s Chicken — sautéed chicken breast with dried Michigan cherries, shiitake mushrooms and fresh basil in a white wine reduction sauce — is one signature dish from chef and owner Kevin Bowers, formerly head chef at The Real Seafood Co.
The menu includes homemade mac ’n’ cheese, handcut fries, sliders and apple fritter bread pudding. Specials at the eatery, which was named after Bowers’ grandfather and longtime Toledo restaurateur Bob Verbon, include $4 burgers and $1.25 domestic bottles on Mondays starting at 5 p.m. and a 12-ounce prime rib for $15 on Saturdays starting at 5 p.m.
The eatery’s full bar includes six rotating beers on tap and a wine list, but its $1.50 margaritas are especially popular.
“That’s all day, every day, all the time,” Dumkow said. “People love it. It’s easily, hands-down the most ordered drink from the bar.”
The 26-year-old Dumkow, who grew up in Ottawa Lake, Mich., and 29-year-old Bowers, who hails from Sylvania, met in Maryland when they both worked for Mainstreet Ventures, which operates The Real Seafood Co. Dumkow was previously dining room manager at The Real Seafood Co. in Ann Arbor.
Dumkow said he wants Bobby V’s to be a local place where people feel comfortable.
“We’ve got tablecloths on the table but we don’t want people to feel like they have to dress up to come here,” Dumkow said. “We just hope people come in and enjoy themselves and relax, whether they’re having a glass of wine, dinner, or an appetizer at the bar.”
Burger Bar 419
Taglined “Good flippin’ burgers,” Burger Bar 419, located at 4400 Heatherdowns Blvd., also opened in May.
Following a mantra of simple, fresh and delicious, co-owners Moussa Salloukh and Tony House strive to keep things local, displaying local artwork and offering homemade, handcrafted and locally grown menu items, including vegetarian options.
The eatery offers “comfort food with style,” featuring its popular and unique layered burgers like the Three Little Pigs (ground pork patty topped with smoked cheddar cheese, barbecue pork shoulder, sugar bacon and sweet and tangy slaw).
“Americans have always had a love affair with burgers and we wanted to create ones that are unique and layered with different flavors,” said Salloukh, who also co-owns LaScola Italian Grill and The Hungry I. “We’ve tried to put a few twists on our burgers and I think we’ve accomplished that.”
The eatery offers a big-city atmosphere that’s also casual, warm and inviting, House said.
“Besides a very full belly, I hope they leave with a smile on their face,” House said. “The greatest compliment I’ve had since we’ve opened is a person walking out who said ‘I just feel happy; the food made me happy,’ and that’s really what we want.”
For more information, visit www.restaurantweektoledo.com.
Tags: Bar 145 near Sylvania, Bobby V’s American Grill, Burger Bar 419 in South Toledo, Caper’s Restaurant and Bar, Dégagé Jazz Café, Fifi’s Reprise Restaurant and Lounge, ICE Restaurant and Bar, LaScola Italian Grill, Leadership Toledo, Manhattan’s, Plate 21, Poco Piatti, Restaurant Week Toledo, Rockwell’s, Rosie’s Italian Grille, Tea Tree Asian Bistro, The Blarney Irish Pub, The Hungry I, Ventura’s Mexican Restaurant