3809 N. Holland-Sylvania, Toledo
I’m not certain exactly how many restaurants are located in Toledo and the surrounding areas, but I know it’s still a lot. When you cruise through town it’s easy to spot countless restaurants with the flashy signs, fancy buildings, and packed parking lots. However, if you pay closer attention you will see there are many restaurants around town that you may have otherwise driven past not giving them more than a hurried glance. POP Grille is one of those places, and I won’t pass it up next time.
On occasion I had read something here and there about POP Grille. POP stands for Party On The Palate. That caught my attention. I was certain it was an Asian fusion restaurant, but then I saw it advertised as something slightly different. No, I wasn’t going crazy. Since its opening in January 2015, the cuisine that began mostly as Asian fusion morphed into more ‘American with a flare’ cuisine according to owner Tom Parent. You can still find many Asian items on the menu such as potstickers, wonton pork or chicken, and a lobster roll, but a new menu will debut this spring so there are sure to be many new offerings.
When my children and I spotted the nondescript and not overly attractive building on Holland-Sylvania, I thought, “This is the place I read had such great food?” Admittedly, I was surprised and judging already. My boys looked at me and with a quizzical look inquired, “This is the place?”
We ventured in to find our next surprise; live music! It was a Wednesday evening and I was surprised to hear live music, on a weeknight. The boys and I really enjoyed listening to Don Coats on the keyboard and guitar. The atmosphere is very casual, and the dark tile floor might very well be from when the building was home to the old El Matador. The back room was painted and much brighter than the front half of the restaurant. The booths up front line the windows, so the kids and I settled in and enjoyed a window seat.
Our waitress Diana approached our table with the next surprise. She was so friendly and so excited we were there for the first time. She couldn’t wait to tell us about the flavorful and unique food that would soon begin to “party on our palates.” My boys said, “Wow, this place is really friendly!” The surprise after that? You guessed it. The food was wonderful. I just never expected it when we pulled up and stepped inside this unassuming and modest restaurant.
Pop goes the palate!
A Toledo native, Mr. Parent knows what the people of Toledo want when they go to dinner. One of those things is most certainly great food for a good value. “Everything is made in house. We bring everything in fresh,” said Parent. Entrees ranged from $8-$25 and included steaks, pork chops, shrimp, chicken, and so much more. The children’s menu ranged from $5 for the grilled cheese with drink and sides, to $8 for the kid steak dinner. My youngest devoured the steak with sautéed Brussel sprouts.
We began with tender, breaded calamari followed by the must have chicken tortilla soup topped with avocado and cilantro. My three fish tacos were served with spicy aioli, wasabi coleslaw, and mango salsa were a refreshing treat. I certainly couldn’t eat all three. My daughter inhaled my leftovers when we arrived home and I never saw another bite.
When we return, I may need to order what my oldest son enjoyed that evening. For $13 he had the Bulgogi burger. It was thin sliced marinated steak served with cheddar cheese, pineapple, mixed greens, and onion all topped with their signature tropical glaze. Lots of parties on the palates were going on at our table! Our seemingly mundane Wednesday had gotten a bit more fun….and tasty!
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and
freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH.
She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Anytime
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: Yes
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes
Kids’ menu? Yes, even steak as an option!
Food allergy concerns? The menu has a code that lets patrons know what dishes are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, or contain nuts. It also indicates which entrees could be prepared vegan, vegetarian or gluten free. Always alert your server of allergies before ordering.
Bottom Line: POP Grille or “party on the palate” is a most suitable name for this restaurant that opened in early 2015. Though the outside isn’t much to look at, you will find wonderful service, entertainment, and delicious food on the inside that will keep you coming back. The kids’ menu offers a variety of choices including steak, and the adults will have a difficult time choosing their entrees.