Dining on the avenue

. May 24, 2013.

Avenue Bistro
6710 W. Central Ave. Toledo
Mon-Fri: lunch 11:30a.m.
Mon-Thur: dinner 4p.m.-10p.m.
Fri-Sat: dinner 4p.m.-11p.m.

Over the years, I’ve decided I’ve become either more desperate, or more daring.  Although, it’s possible I’ve become a little of both.  I recall a time when the mere thought of dragging my entire entourage to a restaurant decked out in linen tablecloths sent me hightailing in the other direction.  But as the kids get older, in many ways, they also get easier.  Eating at restaurants nicer than Mickey D’s with children in tow still doesn’t rank at the top of my “Favorite Things To Do” list, but each year it moves on up.
The other week, I was anticipating a long overdue quiet dinner in an upscale atmosphere.  You know — candles on the table and no singing waitresses or TVs in the dining room.  When my babysitter cancelled, I was so anticipating that nice meal that I dared to take the kids with us.  We called it a celebration for their start of a great school year; and a nice break for mommy from having to cook another meal that week!
So off we headed to one of my favorite places, Avenue Bistro.  Over the years I’ve enjoyed delectable dinners there countless times, but never with my children.  Usually it was a girl’s night out, or date night with my husband.  I didn’t recall ever seeing young children there before, but to my relief, they do have a children’s menu and activity sheet with crayons to boot.  Yes!  I was going to get to enjoy that scrumptious meal after all.
For the last six or seven years, Avenue Bistro has been locally owned by Chuck Mira, Anthony Calamunci, Pat Giammarco, and Ash Banoub, according to manager Linda Kurisco.  Their mission at Avenue Bistro is simple: “To maintain our reputation as a premier locally owned and managed restaurant/lounge, serving the finest in foods, desserts, and beverages resulting in great value to our customers.”

A warm, welcoming

They classify themselves as a Contemporary American restaurant.   The atmosphere is elegant, yet comfortable with warm colors and a beautiful glass and iron wall separating the lounge and dining area.  Booth seating and small tables are available; all of which have a great view of the stone framed open kitchen.  I know my children enjoyed getting a glimpse of the cooling action as we waited for our meals.  The bistro also has a DJ on Thursday evenings and live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays.  Though we missed the music (because it starts after my kids should be in bed), it’s something to keep in mind in case you get out for a date night sometime. 
The kids’ menu included staples like chicken fingers, burgers and fries, and pasta for only $3.99 (drinks are extra).  All three of my children went for the cheeseburger.  Wow.  Those burgers were some of the biggest I’ve seen on a kids’ menu, and so flavorful.  There was much entertainment value in watching my 3-year-old attempt to maneuver his mouth around his burger.  They made for great leftovers the next day — there was no way they could polish them off at dinner.
The menu is quite extensive, including steaks, seafood dishes, pastas, pizza, duck, and more ranging from $13-$26.  The Saturday Dinner Special is a fabulous deal that includes your choice of two select entrees for only $29.95.  My husband and I couldn’t resist the deal or the choices.  I devoured the chicken picatta with a side of fettuccine, and my husband had a pasta special with feta cheese and spinach in a light sauce.  It’s a must to opt for their house salad and lobster bisque.  They’re definitely memorable.  According to Linda, the manager, the prime rib has fast become a favorite of customers as well.
They were the busiest I’d ever seen them the night we stopped in, so our meals were a little slower than usual.  However, our waiter was most accommodating by bringing bread out to the table quickly and attending to our drink refills.  The service and delicious dishes made our time very enjoyable, even with three young kids in tow.
Bottom Line:   All is not lost when your sitter cancels and you had plans for a nice dinner out.   At Avenue Bistro, you can enjoy a delectable meal and great service in an adult atmosphere, yet feel comfortable enough to have your children join you. 

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