Written by: Amanda Albers
Disclosure: I am very pregnant and craving GOOD food, so this post may make you hungry. Read at own risk!
Moving to the East coast gave me butterflies in my stomach thinking of all the tasty cuisines we would experience. An hour from NYC and every quintessential cafe, restaurant, bakery and food cart imaginable at our fingertips. But the truth is, I’d rather have my Toledo food. GASP! Most people here where we live would never understand that statement. But the truth is, what satisfies your salivating taste buds is food you have a history with.
And…Afterall, Toledo is the food capital of the country. Hello! What other midwest city gets to experience the Doritos Locos first? That’s right, T-town did.(A little bit of sarcasm in that one, but I also don’t have a taco bell within 20 miles of me so even that would cure a craving right now!) And who else has umpteen phenomenal Mexican, Mediterranean, and Chinese restaurants at your fingertips? That’s right, Toledo does. So in honor of being pregnant and unable to satisfy my cravings, I will make all you Toledoans hungry for what is outside your front door. Happy eating.
I could really go for El Camino, Mi Hacienda, El Vaquero or El Salto. Just some nice warm tortilla chips with homemade salsa and really any burrito, taco or quesadilla smothered in the creamy white cheese would be nice. Oh and a margarita, have a few of those for me!
2. Tiger Bakery
I could live off this stuff for months. Thankfully when family comes to visit they stock a cooler full of our favorites and we feast for a few days. However, here in New Jersey I have yet to find a Tiger Bakery rival. I’m not saying Mediterranean places don’t exist, what I’m saying is the closest one is about 25 minutes away and it’s not close in comparison.
So yes, we have found an authentic Polish deli that is about 30 minutes from our house (on a day with no traffic). And yes, all the workers speak fluent Polish and most of the customers do too. And yes, I cook their kielbasa for my friends here along with the fixings. But it’s not Stanley’s. There is nor ever will be anything like it and after having other authentic kielbasa I can confidently say that Stanley’s got their recipe right!
4. Sub Sandwiches
Ok, I know. The East coast is known for their deli sandwiches. However, my mom makes the best and most famous sub sandwich in Northwest Ohio. So much so that she is asked to make it for all types of occasions. It simply can’t be beat. YUM!
5. Tony Packos
Oh sweet sweet hot pickles, how I love thee! Fried pickles, hotdogs and more. Nothing more to add here.
6. Dale’s Bar and Grill
Thank you Eric Shanteau for reminding me how much I love this place. Larry Bird with onion rings, the Mudhen, Varsity Club, Dale’s Burger…the list goes on and on. And the PEANUTS! Such great memories of eating at this quaint Maumee bar.
7. Campus Polleyes
Once I stepped foot on Bowling Green’s campus in 2000 my sister made sure I acquired a love and respect for the chicken and cheese stuffed bread sticks from Pollyeyes. I have since semi-mastered making my own. But there seriously nothing like eating them fresh from the box. And I’m pretty sure their ranch dressing is the best in the nation.
I grew up in South Toledo/Maumee. And my mom made certain that my siblings and I would always compare our chinese food to Yang’s Gourmet. There is no other General Tso’s chicken like theirs.
9. Cafe Marie
I know, I know, Jersey is FULL of diners. Everywhere you turn you can stop in for a breakfast plate at any diner. BUT, Cafe Marie is still a place my husband and I CRAVE. They cornered our market on breakfast food.
I truly miss living 3/4 of a mile from Caper’s. My kids adored it there. My husband’s going away party was held there. And their food is, well, it’s just good. The pizza from Caper’s is still a taste, even being surrounded by the great East coast pizzerias, that I still love!
11. Jimmy John’s, Magic Wok, Chick Fil-A
Fast food! Yuck! But I’m pregnant, remember? And you can’t get any of these three in New Jersey. Well, there is a Chick Fil-A but I’m pretty sure it’s around 90 minutes from my house. So I’d like a #11 from JJ’s, chicken friend rice and an egg roll from the Work and an original chicken sandwich from the Chick. Thanks.
12. The Four Horsemen
My old boss, Jason Trame, introduced me to this place. From the world’s smallest kitchen, they have been able to product the best cheeseburger with pickles, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Not to mention the best beer battered fries ever! Yum. Need one….or two.
So, I have given you a plethora of options just in time for your lunch hour. I will be in town in three weeks and if you need to find me it’s probably best you check any of the above places first, and then check my mom’s house. And remember, always eat an extra meal for me 🙂
Amanda Albers is a former Toledoan raising her family on the East Coast in New Jersey.