Chandler Café has been a downtown Sylvania staple for the past decade. While I’ve met friends for lunch at this upscale cafe, I had never really thought about stopping in with my kids until a friend asked “Why haven’t you taken the kids there yet?” Perhaps it’s because I thought maybe it wouldn’t be a place they’d enjoy? Maybe I didn’t think it was suitable for kids? Our recent visit as a family proved me very wrong.
Small town charm with a dash of hipster
When I think of a café, I think of a quaint dining area, large windows spanning the storefront, and small tables and chairs on the front patio. Chandler Café has all of that and then some. Add in the tasteful black awning, wood floors and exposed brick, charming decor and you have a recipe for the perfect café. Well, that and the fact the food is fresh, unique, and they offer a wide variety of beverages to boot; all provided by friendly upbeat staff.
I suppose it was the couple small chandeliers and a few feminine type pieces of décor that made me think maybe my boys would find it “girly”. That was a bit silly on my part. With the exposed brick, a small bar area in one section of the café, and the fine food selections, it wasn’t girly at all. It has a bit of swag that my teen daughter absolutely loved. She can’t wait to return with friends.
Need and vision spark downtown staple
Owner Gail Stansley’s husband purchased the building in downtown Sylvania 10 years ago. As he was trying to find renters for a portion of the space, she decided she loved it and wanted to open up a café of sorts. With two of her three children already graduated from Northview and gone, she thought it was the perfect time to jump into this endeavor. “There was nothing left in downtown Sylvania,” said Stansley and she wanted to fill the void.
Though Stansley had never dabbled in the food industry before, she had been a long time cook for her family and decided she would come up with some great recipes for soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods. Throw in a bit of fabulous lattes, smoothies, and vino and the recipe just worked. “It’s been so fun,” said Stansley recalling the past 10 years.
Kids are more than welcome at Chandler!
As my kids and I stepped into the café we were quickly followed by a dad and his young daughters, as well as a mom and her young sons. In the mix were other moms with their older kids and groups of ladies having Saturday social hour. Some of the menu items are a little unique with ingredients such as spinach artichoke spread, cranberry chutney, kale and quinoa soup, etc. To my surprise, my kids all found something that sounded good to them.
However, if your children would prefer basic they offer a grilled cheese or a PB and J for $5.50. Personally I think it’s maybe a tad pricey by the time you add a drink and chips, but hey, it’s also about the great service, unique atmosphere, and high quality ingredients. And I assure you it’s not a grilled cheese made with Kraft American.
We ventured to try the Asian Salad, a breakfast sandwich that included the spinach artichoke spread, a Rueben made with turkey pastrami, and a vegetable sandwich chock full of cheese and veggies and topped with pesto and hummus. My youngest with nut and legume allergies enjoyed a grilled chicken sandwich with two of his favorite things; ranch sauce and bacon.
At the conclusion of our meal we all remembered the fresh baked goods up front that looked ever so divine….and huge. “I have a baker that bakes everything in house,” said Stansley about her large selection of baked goods. Scones, brownies, cookies; we sampled quite a few. It’s no wonder Stansley recently hosted a birthday party for a local 10 year old girl because Chandler Café is her favorite restaurant. How sweet it is.
Bottom Line: Chandler Café is exactly what every small town downtown needs. The atmosphere, food, location, and service will have you coming back. It’s a bit nicer than the local greasy spoon joint, but no need to dress up; come as you are! You’ll love the change of pace.
The Short Course:
To avoid wait: Anytime
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: Changing station
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes, as well as apple juice and orange juice
Kid’s menu? Yes, there are a couple sandwich options
Allergies? Gluten free options in baked goods, food prepared at time of order
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and a freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.