Dining Guide: Bowling Green restaurants and diners offer varietyWritten by Andrew Farr | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to variety in dining, look no further than college towns. With late night choices in the downtown area and restaurants that have served the city for decades, Bowling Green is no exception.
Campus Pollyeyes on East Court Street was established in 1978. Originally a pizza pub, Campus Pollyeyes is now known around town for their “world famous stuffed breadsticks.” With the stuffed breadsticks, customers can choose from almost any combination of meats and cheese and other pizza toppings.
Manager Dean Smith said the stuffed breadsticks have become the bulk of the business at Pollyeyes.
“Chicken and cheese is by far our most popular kind,” he said.
Smith said what makes the breadsticks “world famous” is the fact that the restaurant has actually shipped its breadsticks out of the country, as well as to other parts of the United State. The breadsticks’ reputation has spread by word of mouth.
Smith said Pollyeyes also seems to be a Bowling Green State University alumni favorite when they come into town.
“Not a day goes by where we don’t have alumni in here asking for the breadsticks,” he said.
“I guess you haven’t really experienced BG until you come to Pollyeyes,” he said. “You come for the education, you come back for the breadsticks.”
Campus Pollyeyes delivers and is open until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends.
Just down the street from Pollyeyes is the small sub shop Mr. Spots that has been serving BG since 1986. “Spots” is famous for its Philadelphia-style steak sandwiches, but also serves a variety of hoagies made from authentic Italian meats and cheeses.
Owner Jim Gavarone started Mr. Spots with his friend Jim Kelley after he finished school at BGSU 25 years ago. After Kelley left in 1992, Gavarone continued running his business and even set up another location in Ann Arbor, Mich.
A native of Philadelphia, Gavarone said lots of ideas for his food come from his hometown. But he said sometimes it’s difficult to appeal to new students coming into town who may be reluctant to try local restaurants, especially for subs.
“A lot of times, kids will come into town and if they want sandwiches, they will just think about places like Subway,” he said. “It’s harder to get into the minds of incoming students.
“I think our authenticity is what sets us apart,” he said.
Gavarone also said he owes a lot to his staff and the people he works with keep Mr. Spots going. Mr. Spots has free delivery and is open late throughout the week.
Farther down on the corner of East Court Street and North Main Street is Corner Grill. Corner Grill is a 1950s-style diner that has been open for 45 years. Since opening, the diner has been a favorite of downtown BG regulars who come to enjoy breakfast or burgers. Corner Grill is open 24 hours, except Sunday nights when it closes at 2 a.m.
Larry Cain is the fourth owner of Corner Grill since taking control in 2004. He said the diner gets lots of business between midnight and 6 a.m. throughout the week and always has a huge crowd after the bars close at 2:30 a.m. on the weekends.
“Burgers and fries is the most popular thing on the menu,” he said. “Almost everything is made from scratch.”
Cain said Corner Grill is unique because of the look and the atmosphere of the diner.
“It’s the type of place you don’t see very often anymore,” he said.
Cain hopes to pass ownership of the Corner Grill on to his daughter and son-in-law.
Directly across from Corner Grill on the west side of Main Street is Pisanello’s Pizza. Pisanello’s has been in town since 1964 at the same location. It started when owner Jerry Liss moved the name Pisanello’s to Bowling Green after working at another pizza shop of the same name at Kent State University.
Liss said he wanted to start a pizza shop somewhere in the Midwestern part of the state and ended up in BG. He said it seemed like a good location, being a college town, and would be good for deliveries. He also said there were only two other pizza places in town at the time.
“This was back in the days when pizza wasn’t known as a main course food yet, but more like a snack,” he said.
Since then, Pisanello’s has earned a reputation of having some of the best pizza in town. It has been voted best pizza in Wood County 12 years in a row by the Sentinel Tribune and the Wood County Fair.
Liss said one of the reasons Pisanello’s continues to do well is because it has friendly competitors in town. Jerry’s daughter Miranda, who operates Pisanello’s, said the restaurant gets great business from the campus, but also has a huge following from the city as well. “Business really doesn’t even slow down in the summer either,” she said.
Pisanello’s delivers for free and opens weekdays at 4 p.m.