Restaurant has a loyal following of locals
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Anytime.
Noise level: Moderate.
Bathroom amenities: Changing station in BOTH the men’s and women’s restrooms.
High chairs? Yes.
Got milk? Yes.
Kids’ menu? Yes.
Allergy Info: Be sure to let the server know of any allergies when you place your order so they can be sure to take precautions in the kitchen. No peanut oil is used.
When you are craving a hearty, home-cooked meal, it’s time to visit a local diner. I recently had that craving and decided, after years of passing by the Glendale Garden Café, that the kids and I would grab our neighbors and head out to finally give it a try. I’ll admit I was motivated by their move into the old Ruby Tuesday on Reynolds.
Diner owner lives the American dream
Mustafa Ilgin was born and raised in Turkey, where he first learned about restaurants and a solid work ethic as he helped in the family restaurant. Mustafa entered culinary school and eventually traveled to many places around the world, settling in the United States after meeting his wife on a cruise ship where he worked.
He bought the Glendale Garden Café in 1995 at the corner of Detroit and Glendale, and later bought the Reynolds Café in 2004. In the midst of all that he and his wife Candice had quadruplets; three girls and a boy. In the fall, their brood will head to college to pursue various degrees. It is quite a heartwarming story and makes me feel more inclined to make a return visit. The other reason for return visits, of course, is because we enjoyed our home-cooked meals!
An overwhelmingly huge menu
We had a group of seven the night we stopped in for dinner. There is a decent size waiting area and at one point in the evening, they did have a short wait despite the size of the restaurant. I was amazed how many people filled the four different seating areas on a weeknight. I was also surprised (but shouldn’t have been) by how many customers the servers knew, and even how many customers knew one another! We were new faces, but were treated as if we had been going there for years.
The menu is huge. You can find great American traditional meals like liver and onions (which got a “what???” from the kids) and roasted turkey with stuffing, along with international favorites; such as Turkish Kafta or Italian or Asian fare. I will say this; I thought the menu was well organized and that helped make it a little less overwhelming. They also offer a very large and reasonably priced kids’ menu with many options under $4. Drinks are extra. It offers everything from pancakes to mac and cheese and countless options in between so not even the pickiest tikes will go away hungry.
You can afford to treat the whole family!
Most of the meals we ordered that evening were just $7 believe it or not, while many other meals were only about $10 and those all included sides. With the hearty portions, combined with the prices this mamma, could afford to treat her family to a dinner out in the middle of the week and my ever- growing boys walked away with full bellies. For once they didn’t go home and raid the pantry immediately after having dinner.
I was so excited to see Chicken Ala King as a special that day, AND I had a side of oh-so-cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes. Boy did that meal bring back some wonderful childhood memories. Other options our group enjoyed included chicken gyros, chili mac, Rueben sandwiches, sweet and sour chicken and veggie pita. I’d say we had a pretty diverse group of eaters that evening!
And despite eye-balling every other plate that went by in addition to the variety of meals in our group, I still couldn’t decide what on earth I may want to order next time. As I study the menu online, I’ve concluded that I’ll make many return trips to try different meals.
Just knowing the feel-good story behind the Glendale Garden Café will make you want to stop in, but the endless possibilities of home cooked specialties and the friendly atmosphere will make you want to return. I’ve decided they call it a family restaurant not only because you can bring your children and know they are welcome, but also because you’ll feel like family by the time you leave.
Glendale Garden Café
2915 Glendale Ave., Toledo, OH 43614
419-382-1011 | ggardencafe.com
Mon-Thur: 6am – 9pm
Fri-Sat: 6am – 10pm
Sun: 7am – 3pm