Pie for breakfast?

. October 29, 2012.

Schmucker’s Restaurant
2103 N. Reynolds Rd.
Open Mon-Sat: 5am-11pm
Closed Sundays

Shame on me, I did it again! Eventually I will stop judging restaurants by their exterior. I should know by now that any restaurant appearing to be family owned with a steady stream of cars filling the parking lot probably has some darn good food! Obviously many people already know what I’m just figuring out.

Third generation still makes it like grandma
I have driven past the tiny yellow brick building with the flashing neon sign on Reynolds Rd. more times than I can count. There are cars in the parking lot no matter what time of day. It finally took a friend, new in town, to tell me I should really try it sometime. Too bad I missed out on the food, friendly staff, and experience for so long.

Every inch of the restaurant is utilized with customers perched on the stools at the lunch counter watching everything being prepared right in front of them. Little has changed in this quaint diner that was built in 1948. The same wooden phone booth stands in the corner. The pay phone is actually the restaurant phone and the shiny metal stools have been there since Schmucker’s opened. Current owner, Doug Schmucker, is the grandson of Harvey and Nola Schmucker, who built the restaurant. He took over when his father passed away. “I started punching the clock when I was 12 years old,” Doug says.

“I have worked hard at keeping everything the way grandma and grandpa made things,” Doug says. Most of the entrees are still grandma’s recipes. He’s certain they have remained in business since 1948 because of his grandfather’s belief that if you offer people good food at a reasonable price and they don’t leave hungry, they’ll be back. Doug believes in treating everyone with the utmost respect. “I love people,” he said. Schmucker’s has one employee who has been part of the “family” since 1976. Others have been there since the ‘80s. Employee loyalty like that is a rarity these days.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or PIE?
It was standing room only when we arrived. As I panned the diner, I saw people of all ages. I overheard several conversations that indicated most of the people there were regulars. My kids didn’t mind we weren’t in some fancy place, rather, I think they thought the step back in time was kind of cool; especially the wooden phone booth and old time cash register. It’s the little things, I guess.

My husband and I enjoyed breakfast, and my sons devoured burgers and hand cut fries from the kids’ menu. The breakfasts for kids 10 and under are $2.19 plus drink. The lunch and dinner kids’ menu includes drink and a homemade cookie and prices range from $3.19 to $4.49. If your older kids no longer prefer hot dogs, PB and J, and the like, the home-style dinners are available in child portions for $1.50 less than regular menu prices.

After seeing, tasting, and hearing more about their homemade pies, I may never bake my own again! Most certainly I sampled some pie after my breakfast of eggs and corned beef hash. How could I not? They offer about 20 fresh pies daily as well as pies-of-the-week. If you can think of a flavor, they probably make it. My favorite that day was the chocolate peanut butter pie, while my husband preferred the peach crumb variety.  

Home-cooked favorite comfort foods fill the menu. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, fried chicken, slow-cooked roast beef and gravy over bread and mashed potatoes, and the ever popular chicken and gravy over homemade biscuits, are just a few of their offerings. The homemade chili is a staple, and there is always a soup-of-the-day along with other daily specials. If comfort food isn’t your thing, maybe the seafood specialties or even a Porterhouse steak might be what you’re looking for. And don’t forget, breakfast is available anytime.

Many entrees are available in lunch and dinner portions and prices, as well as ‘full course’ which includes dessert. When I can enjoy homemade meals at such great prices, I think I’ll save myself the time and trouble and take the family back for dinner!

Bottom Line: The exterior of Schmucker’s might not be overly inviting, but you’ll feel like part of the family the minute you step in and grab a seat. Taking the crew out for a good meal doesn’t have to come in a box or break the bank. At Schmucker’s food is good, the portions are generous, and the prices are great.

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