Brewing up fun!

. June 14, 2013.

Maumee Bay Brew Pub
27 Broadway, Toledo
Mon-Thur: 3p.m.-10p.m.
Fri-Sat: 3p.m.-11p.m.

Somewhere along the line when raising a growing family, it seems that mom and dad’s date nights wane, while getting together with friends with kids in tow becomes the norm.   Simply stopping in a restaurant is hardly a rockin’ night out on the town.  However, unique Toledo restaurants like Maumee Bay Brew Pub make an evening feel a little more like “Destination: FUN” for everyone in your group, not merely grabbing dinner  with friends. I’ve found my way to the Maumee Bay Brew Pub several times since its opening in the Oliver House in 1995.  The atmosphere, unique and fun, is also home to the Toledo Brewing Hall of Fame & Museum.  Surrounding are pictures, rare beer bottles, beer taps, and steins.  Basically, every kind of memorabilia related to the brewing industry can be found there.  Interior brick walls and open ceilings revealing ducts and pipes add to the casual atmosphere. The food is good, with a wide variety of entrees, and don’t forget the micro-brew beer, brewed right on site.  Let’s just say this is not the place to order a Miller Lite.  I’ll have more on that later for you beer connoisseurs.

A history lesson
My friends had never been to the 150-year-old Oliver House, the oldest working commercial  building in Toledo, according to manager Ellie Barnett.  “This building has been many, many different things,“ said Barnett.  What began as a posh hotel back in 1859 also served as an infirmary during the Spanish-American War.  And, the building is considered haunted.  Never fear, Barnett assured us only friendly ghosts reside there.  Numerous people have seen ghostly apparitions over the years.  Most of the sightings have been at Rockwell’s, another restaurant within the Oliver House. We made our way up the staircase and the kids were instantly drawn to the old time popcorn machine filled with complimentary popcorn.  As you enter the bar, you cannot miss the huge copper brewing kettles behind glass.  They really do brew their beer in those very kettles.   I led the group through the bar to the dining rooms, only to find that the former dining rooms have been converted into banquet rooms.  Consequently, the dining area currently consists of the  area adjacent to the bar. 

Selections for both kids and parents
There are a couple of booths and lower tables, and about half of the seating is at tall bar tables and chairs.  My kids didn’t mind, as it gave them a bird’s eye view of the place.   It was a full house that night, and as a result, our service was not outstanding.  However, we had a great time and it certainly won’t deter us from returning in the future.  “We’re very kid friendly,” said Barnett, who added they are considering re-opening one of the banquet rooms for dining which will make an even more family-friendly atmosphere.
The Kidz Zone portion of the menu is for children 10 and under, and kids 3 and under eat free.  They offer typical kids’ menu items such as mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, burgers and the like; fries are included or you can substitute for steamed veggies.  All meals, served with a cookie, are $3.95. Drinks are extra.
As for the adults in our group, we enjoyed Classic Rueben sandwiches, a Lake Erie Perch Sandwich, and an Iceberg Wedge salad.  All sandwiches are accompanied by their flavorful house-made corn relish and homemade seasoned chips. I asked Ellie Barnett what some of the customer favorites are on the menu.  “I’ll put our pizzas up to anybody’s,” she said.  Their brick oven pizzas with house-made pizza sauce are one of a kind and only $9.99.  Barnett also said their Comfort Food Specials such as Country Fried Steak, Breaded Pork Tenderloin, and Classic Meat Loaf are also very popular.  “Of course, we’re known for our cheddar beer soup,” she added.   As one might suspect, it’s made with the beer brewed onsite. They have at least six freshly brewed beers on tap at all times that range from IPAs to stouts with everything in between.  I can still taste the pumpkin beer, which was bursting with flavor and screamed fall!   Blitzen, their winter brew, is outstanding, according to the manager, and they can hardly keep up with demand. Sounds like it might be time for another “Destination: FUN” trip to the Maumee Bay Brew Pub. Bottom Line: The Maumee Bay Brew Pub at The Oliver House is another of Toledo’s unique gems.  Get the family out and experience a bit of local history.  You’ll enjoy a good meal, reasonable prices, and great beer along the way!

Kid-friendly Yes
To avoid wait Anytime
Noise level Moderate
Bathroom amenities Changing station
High chairs Yes
Got milk Yes
Kids’ menu Yes, for kids 10 and under; 3 and under eat free

Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH.  She can be reached in c/o