2516 Sylvania Ave. Toledo, 43613
All too soon, summer vacation is a thing of the past. In the blink of an eye, we are again slaves to the school schedule and countless activities. However, before we succumbed to our impending reality that the end of vacation was looming, the kids and I headed out for one more summer celebration: BREAKFAST! Even with the start of school, weekends and the occasional teacher conferences days lend a morning to splurge with this going out treat.
We took a short drive to West Toledo to try Executive Diner. The diner opened last December on Sylvania Ave. near Douglas in the former Friendly’s building. The outside of the diner was dressed with beautiful flowers and a brand new patio which included umbrella tables and a white pergola. The first thing you’ll notice when you enter Executive Diner is the beautiful woodwork and the stained glass drop ceiling. Turns out, Executive Diner is owned by Jesus Angel who also owns the ever popular El Camino Real restaurant just across the parking lot. According to the diner’s manager, Jennifer Hurst, some of Angel’s family did the woodworking, and Angel himself laid much of the beautiful tiles in the open air kitchen. They consider it a “New York style diner.”
We were greeted and seated immediately in one of their booths that line the sides of the diner. Tables and chairs occupy the middle and can accommodate larger parties if necessary. I was intrigued by the many Mexican breakfast options on the menu. Of course, the usual diner standbys are also available for both breakfast and lunch. However, there are Authentic Specials on the menu, including Yucatan Eggs (huevos motulenos, made with eggs, cheese and beans on tortillas), Tex-Mex Burrito, and Divorced Eggs (huevos divorciados, covered in red and green salsas). Omelets and waffles are great, but they had me at the Authentic Specials. Hurst said their Mexican breakfast items are some of their best sellers.
Our friendly waitress brought out packs of Goldfish crackers for the kids along with crayons and an activity sheet. I can’t recall the last time I’d been out to eat where a complimentary snack was given to the kids as soon as we sat down. Thank goodness, too, because they were starving and needed a little something while I was taking what seemed like an eternity to decide what I wanted to try.
The kids’ meals include a drink, and lunch meals also include fries. My kids were all about the waffles and pancakes; which were really good! The three mini cakes meal (which I didn’t think were that mini) were only $2.50. I thought, “Why aren’t we going out for breakfast more often?” My daughter was extra hungry, so instead of the half waffle and drink for $2.50, she ordered a full size waffle for $4.25.
I felt compelled to try the Mexican Burrito. The burrito was filled with homemade chorizo (a blend of spicy seasonings and sausage), scrambled eggs, potatoes, and topped with cheddar cheese. Everything you want for breakfast, all wrapped up! I enjoyed it with mild salsa on the side. For only $5.50, it was grand in size, and very filling. Actually, I looked around, and everyone’s orders were rather grand in size. A bit unusual for a diner, they also have a liquor license. Mimosas and Bloody Marys are on the menu as well as Bailey’s and coffee, and a selection of beer. “This place is very unique,” said manager Jennifer Hurst. I would have to agree.
She said ticket times are only 6-8 minutes (from order until food served), so you can really be in and out in short order if necessary. However, with five churches in a one mile radius of the diner, Sundays often require a short wait. Saturday mornings are busy too. “Everyday we get new customers,” said Hurst. With the increase in regulars, they recently began handing out Frequent Diner Cards to customers. You can use them Monday through Friday and eventually earn a free meal.
The lunch menu has a large selection of sandwiches, salads, and they’ve recently added a rotation of six homemade soups. They’ve become a hit with customers. “We listen to the customers and see what they have to say,” commented Hurst. Since they are locally owned, they can make any changes rather quickly. That has undoubtedly contributed to the growing list of regulars they serve on a daily basis.
Bottom Line: Treating the family to breakfast or lunch is a great (and more economic) alternative to dinner, and a welcome change of pace. The atmosphere, service, and unique extras on the menu will make Executive Diner a winner with everyone in your group.
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.