Great food and a ghostly good time at The Café
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Anytime.
Noise level: Moderate.
Bathroom amenities: Changingstation in BOTH men’s and women’s restroom.
High chairs? Yes.
Allergies? Be sure to alert server to precautions can be made during food preparation.
The kids and I made the most of summer, with hopes that it might somehow make the season last longer. (It didn’t work.) One sunny, summer afternoon we ventured downtown for an adventure at the historic Oliver House and the nearby Middlegrounds Metropark. If you haven’t been to either place, it’s time you check them out!
Historic Oliver House
The Oliver House, located on Broadway not far from the high-level bridge, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It opened in 1859 and was considered a modern hotel for its time in an area of downtown called the Middlegrounds. It has been home to many things including a medical center during the Spanish-American War. I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Currently, the Oliver House is home to The Café, Rockwell’s Steakhouse, Maumee Bay Brewing Company, Mutz Sports Bar and several other businesses. After our fabulous lunch at The Café, the kids and I enjoyed meandering through the Oliver House admiring the beautiful architecture and checking out the Toledo Brewing Hall of Fame & Museum. We then spent time at the Middlegrounds Metropark, on the river, just steps from the Oliver House. Enjoy a great breakfast or lunch at The Café and then have yourselves a little adventure, like we did!
Unique experience and delectable food
Petit Fours Patisserie and Café is often simply referred to as The Café; which most people call it for short. Though we did not indulge in any pastry or bakery items, I hear they are scrumptious. The décor is described as ‘contemporary minimalist’. With the painted brick walls, brushed metal tables, tile floor, open ceiling and local art on the walls, I agree with that description.
There is a unique triangular courtyard with many dining tables, but my kids had their fill of the extreme heat so we stayed indoors where the air was conditioned. Rodney, our enthusiastic and personable server, made our visit even more enjoyable. When he heard we had never dined at The Café he was beyond excited to tell us how everything, including the salad dressing, is made in house, and how everything on the menu is delicious. We did not try everything on the menu, but I can say that the items we DID sample were fresh, flavorful and made us want to return.
We began our meals with cheddar broccoli soup, gazpacho, and their famous tomato bisque. We loved them all, but oh that bisque . . . one of the best we’ve had yet.
The regular lunch menu is very large and includes nine salads, 12 hot and seven cold sandwiches, burgers, soups –you name it! The sandwiches are served with chips and a pickle, but you can always substitute fries or soup or salad. The kids enjoyed the Hot Italian, Rueben, and three cheese grilled cheese with caramelized onions. I, on the other hand, tried the Oliver House Wagon Wheel. Picture this: an English muffin with American cheese, either bacon, ham, or gyro meat, dipped in egg, and grilled. That is an item you don’t find on every menu, and it was very good.
They do have high chairs and kids’ menus as well, so the family is certainly welcome. Breakfast options for the younger set include meals with eggs, fruit, French toast, etc. and are only $4.99. Lunch options range from BLT’s to hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken tenders, etc. and are $5.99.
We heard that the Oliver House is considered to be “haunted.” Once we started asking questions, Rodney and another server couldn’t wait to share with us some of the things that they themselves had experienced. We heard many stories about a gentleman who may have been there during the Spanish-American war, and he always appears in full uniform. They call him “The Captain.” Ask around when you are there. Someone on the staff will be able to share a story or two with you. Or maybe you’ll have a sighting yourself!
The Bottom Line: Get out with the family and do something different. It’s a short jaunt downtown to The Café and you can extend the visit by walking through the historic Oliver House, and maybe spend some time along the river at Middlegrounds Metropark. The service is personable, and the food will be worth the trip. Take home some pastries while you’re there, too!
27 Broadway St. Toledo 43604
The Historic Oliver House