Thank You, Toledo!

For over 13 years it’s been a joy sharing my family’s dining adventures with all of you through Toledo Parent. Our travels have taken us near and far enjoying breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes we enjoyed a greasy spoon diner and other times, a more refined evening out for a special occasion. But with all of the dining experiences, one thing remained a constant:  a celebration of the area’s fabulous and unique establishments and the folks who operate them. We met so many delightful and interesting people throughout the years, and it’s been a gift getting the chance to know a bit more about all of them. Everyone has a story, and I’m thankful so many shared theirs with us.
Connections happen around the dinner table
I didn’t expect to get emotional when I sat down to begin my Farewell Food Fight. I mean, it’s food! This is fun! But as I glanced over my spreadsheet listing Food Fight subjects  — which began in January 2007 with Toledo icon Inky’s Italian Food and ended with Fire Station, one of the area’s newest restaurants — a tidal wave of memories flooded over me. So much life has happened between those two dining adventures. So many stories, connections, ideas, teaching moments along with much laughter around our dinner tables.
As I flip through the list that includes over 150 Food Fights, I vividly recall each and every visit like it was yesterday, partially because this was my “job,” but also because eating together as a family has always been very important to me. With everyone’s individual schedules and activities, it was often the only time we were all in the same room together on any given day. We all need that time to slow down, take a breath, and check in with one another. Food for the soul is just as important.
So many places, so little time
It would be remiss of me not to highlight some of my family’s favorite spots we’ve found over the years, as well as the adventures of the Pizza Posse. (Trust me, our adventures will continue.)
I truly wish I could write about each and every local place we enjoyed. And honestly, I feel terrible only mentioning a few. But here it goes:
In 2011, we made our first trip to Glass City Café in Uptown for breakfast and have visited there many times since. It doesn’t get any better than a hometown diner with great music every Saturday.  They also host a lively and entertaining Bluegrass Breakfast the fourth Saturday of every month. The Original Pancake House, Rick’s City Diner, Chandler Café, Scrambler Marie’s and Briarfield Café (finally open again!) are always winners for breakfast and lunch with my family, too!
The Pizza Posse would agree that we drooled over our pizza pies at Inky’s Italian Food, Pizza Papalis, Charlie’s Pizza, Homeslice, and The Original Gino’s Pizza.
Rounding things out, some of our favorite dinner spots are still Cocina de Carlos in Waterville, Social Gastropub, Chowder’s N Moor, Sidon Grille, Reverend’s Bar & Grill, Schmuckers (oh those pies!), Ye Old Durty Bird, Inside the Five, and New Empire. Our town has so many great local eateries, and these are just a few of our favorites.
Lastly, when we want to take it up a notch or two, we enjoy a chance to dine at Mancy’s Steakhouse, Real Seafood, Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse, and Mancy’s Ideal.
One final thought…..
One thing I’ve discovered over the years is the importance of making family mealtime a priority, whatever that looks like for our family on any given day. It doesn’t matter if I brought home burgers and fries or spent all day preparing in the kitchen. The main idea is that my family sits down and shares the meal together. That little thing, even though it’s a brief period of time together, can make a HUGE difference. If you haven’t made it a priority for a while, try it. I think you’ll like it. 

Zickes kids overlooking the river
Zickes’ kids overlooking the river

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