Hot time in the city

. April 29, 2013.
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Depending on the situation, I either possess an abundance of patience, or unfortunately, not so much.   When I have to wait anywhere with all three children in tow, (two being very antsy young boys), my patience meter can bottom out.  Throw in the hungry and tired factors, and we almost have a recipe for disaster.
Granite City is a chain of restaurants that began in Minnesota in 1999.  Currently there are 26 restaurants in 11. The Maumee location is the only one in Ohio.   I’ve had countless friends tell me how much they love Granite City and we needed to try it out.   Ironically, we even ran into a couple friends the evening we stopped in for dinner.  Our friends that were out for a family dinner arrived quite late thinking there wouldn’t be a wait.   At least by 8 p.m. their children could actually sit down near the hostess stand and their Nintendo DS kept them occupied while they waited.  I’m taking notes for next time.
Ready, set, wait!
So went our outing to Granite City Food & Brewery on a recent Saturday evening.  Thank goodness for good micro brew beer at the bar is all I can say.   I was the only one who scored a bar stool as my husband and three children stood near me like sardines.  We waited just over an hour for our table with what seemed like half the city as well.  “Generally we go on a wait about 5:15p.m. -5:30p.m.on Fridays and Saturdays,” said manager Sarah Shively.  Obviously I missed the memo.   Unless you have a large party, they do not take reservations.  Even then, they won’t take reservations past 5p.m. on the weekend.   

According to the manager, when the weather is nice people can wait outside near the pond and fire pit, and even enjoy the giant chess set with pieces that are 2.5ft. tall.  They have a wonderful patio for outdoor dining, too.  I’m confident our future experience will be vastly different on a nicer day, or an evening when we arrive much earlier.
Tasty brews
As I previously mentioned, it’s a good thing they brew some tasty beers on site, as they helped to pass the time.   I highly recommend the Brother Benedict’s Bock.  This German style lager is a little nutty and sweet, with an undertone of chocolate.  Their blueberry beer is refreshing in its own unique way, but my husband preferred his IPA.  We passed some of our wait time chatting it up with a couple who had three older children.  They had lots of great insight into life with kids beyond preschool and grade school.  And unfortunately, they confirmed the kids only get more expensive as they get older.
Flavorful options
The restaurant has a casual, comfortable atmosphere with a view of the kitchen.  Once seated, things moved a bit faster.  We didn’t order their Idaho Nachos, but wow were they gigantic, and I’ve been told they’re very yummy as well. 
The kids’ menu ranged from $3.99 to $4.49 and included the usuals along with their beverage.  Take note, kids eat free off the kids’ menu on Tuesday evenings from 5p.m. to close. My children gobbled up mini corn dogs and grilled cheese.  While we waited, they each received a different fun, yet educational activity placemat and crayons. Ahhh, all were happy once again.    
   The menu is rather large offering eleven sandwiches, burgers, seven pastas, flatbread pizzas, and signature selections ranging from chicken, shrimp and fish, to filet mignon.  My husband really enjoyed one of the house specialties; Charlotte’s Pasta, which had chicken, shrimp, prosciutto, and a spicy marinara sauce over linguine.  The Grilled London Broil with Bourbon Sauce served over crispy onion strings was most flavorful and was one of the pricier items at $17.99.  Though the meat was a little chewier than my liking, I still managed to finish every last bit of my leftovers the next day.  Mmm, mmm, good.
A friend told us the Granite City Big Cookie was a must.  This enormous toffee almond chocolate chip cookie made fresh and served with ice cream and caramel was one sweet ending.  Our waitress was kind enough to throw in an extra scoop of vanilla ice cream for only $.50 for my son with the nut allergy, and he, too, enjoyed a sweet ending. 

Bottom Line:  Granite City Food & Brewery has fast become a favorite of area residents since its opening in 2008.   It offers great micro brews, good food, and a specialty brunch buffet on the weekends.  A word of caution: arrive before 5:15p.m. on the weekends or be prepared for a lengthy wait.

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.