Monday, May 20, 2024

Howl for Old School: Whiskey and the Wolf Channels a 1960s Steakhouse

Most of us have heard the phrase, “business and family don’t mix.” For Whiskey and the Wolf owners Tony and George Bardwell, however, being siblings has created the perfect mix. 

A Nostalgic Experience

The vision for Whiskey and the Wolf was largely conceived by Tony, who hoped to create a throwback to 1960s steakhouses, buoyed by classic dishes. His idea, though, was to translate those classic dishes, such as steak au poivre, into a more casual sandwich form.

“That was such an interesting era for restaurants,” Tony says, referring to the 1960’s. “That’s when I grew up and learned more about the business. We wanted to create something that was familiar for customers, but had an added twist.”

Tony has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, working in the Chicago and California markets since he was 26. That experience provided a strong foundation for bringing this new concept to reality. Despite his experience, Tony acknowledged there have been challenges. 

“I have been out of [Toledo] as long as I have lived in [Toledo]” Tony said. “The Toledo market and our location has a different scale than some of the bigger markets I’ve worked in. I think we’ve created something, though, that’s approachable and that people can connect with.”

Brothers and prime beef

For Tony, his brother George was the perfect partner, both because of his personality and his skillset. “George is great with people,” Tony said. “People come in to see him— he has a natural smile on his face at all times. I had the vision and concept and George has been able to implement it really well. It’s been a lot of fun to work together.” 

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The heart of Whiskey and the Wolf’s menu are their prime beef sandwiches. They are big and messy enough that you may need to eat with a fork, but undeniably delicious. And although the number of menu offerings are not expansive, there have been no compromises on quality.

“All the details matter,” Tony said. “We want to set the stage when you come here that this will be different. We are looking for the right ingredients. My philosophy on restaurants is to always push quality over costs. I’ll sacrifice some margin to have a good product.”

Craft Beer and Whiskey Focus

Whiskey and the Wolf also boasts a strong whiskey menu and craft beer selection. According to Tony, whiskey is a special type of spirit. 

“I think people have a certain affection for whiskey,” Tony quips. “It’s appreciated like wine.”

3515 W. Alexis Rd.

419-690-4280 |

3-10pm, Monday; 11:30am-10pm, Tuesday through Saturday

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