34 S. Huron, Toledo
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Lunch time is hit or miss but wait time is relatively short
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: Changing station
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes
Kids’ menu:Yes, plus a homemade cookie with every meal
Food allergy concerns: Gluten free items available. No peanut oil is used. Alert server of allergies at time of ordering.
As I mentioned in my previous column, I’m making more of an effort to patronize the great places that downtown has to offer; and not just when I’m catching a game or a special event. New restaurants and nightspots continue popping up, but there are also many places that have called downtown home for a long time. Grumpy’s is one of those longtime residents.
Keeping it in the family
Grumpy’s has been on the scene for over 30 years; with its humble beginning in the back of the family hardware store. “They started with a deli counter in the hardware store”, said Sara Bauman, one of the owner’s daughters. Bauman and her sister Jennifer Shemak stepped up to keep the business running after their mother, Connie Horn, passed away a few years ago. Shemak had already been in the business many years, and her sister relocated back to Toledo to help keep the family tradition going.
Grumpy’s is on its fourth location and has called the quaint Huron Street storefront home for the past 13 years. The family business has continued to grow so much they now have a food truck that is out and about at special events and various locations on a regular basis. The website lists its regular locations for the week. The kids and I even recently spotted the truck at the Crosby Festival of the Arts.
Rustic and quaint atmosphere
Grumpy’s is located on a tree lined portion of Huron Street with old brick buildings bursting with character. You can’t help but chuckle that the lit “OPEN” sign has a frown in the “O”. But upon walking in, you only hear the low rumble of people enjoying themselves, talking and laughing. They were far from “grumpy.”
We loved the inside as well with the open ceiling, brick walls, twinkling white lights above, and a rustic wood floor below. It was standing room only at lunchtime, but our group of eight didn’t have to wait long for a table. My complaint about waiting for the table? I had to stand next to the case that held the homemade pies and desserts and I think I gained five pounds just drooling over them. Maybe that is why they say “Eat here & diet home?” The apple pie alone was easily 5 inches high in the center. Shemak makes some incredible pies of all kinds and also makes a chocolate chip cheesecake that is gluten free for those with allergies.
Many trips needed to try it all
Unfortunately for many, Grumpy’s is only open Monday through Friday until 2pm. That is part of the reason it took us so long to make it down there. We need to do it during a school vacation, or it can’t happen with all of us going as a family. Shhhh…don’t tell my kids, but now that I got a taste of Grumpy’s, I may need to go back without them while they’re slaving away in school.
Only one of the kids in our group opted for the kids’ menu. It includes hot dogs and chips, PB&J, and grilled cheese. Drinks are extra, but I was told by Bauman that they get a free homemade cookie when they leave. That didn’t happen to be the case for us, but we’ll know to ask next time.
Yes, all that I had heard about the endless selection of fabulous sandwiches and remarkable salads was true. They are known for the Garbage Salad with the poppy seed salad dressing, Shemak developed, that is now bottled and sold in some local stores. However, my friend and I shared the turkey Rueben and Sandy’s shroom sandwich. Others at the table enjoyed the cheeseburger pizza, an angus burger, and a veggie burger. Delicious.
Though we had a nice dining experience, we did have to chuckle that as we were still there at closing time and just ordering our cookies for dessert, it did appear our server seemed slightly annoyed. We had to laugh and said “Maybe THIS is why it’s called Grumpy’s!”
Bottom Line: Despite the name, Grumpy’s is more than happy to accommodate children for a meal. They offer a reasonably priced kids’ menu and it’s hard to beat the delicious homemade cookie that are included for dessert. The menu is almost overwhelming but you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. Be sure to note their days and hours of operation.
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in c/o email@example.com.