2019 Dining Guide Award Winners

. September 24, 2019.
DiningAwards_Splash_092519

They’re hot, and you should know them!

We served up the categories, you ordered the winners. From local food supporters to producers and consumers, here’s who Toledo craves the most.

PLACES | PEOPLE | POTIONS | PLATES

PLACES

Best Restaurant:Inexpensive

Rudy’s Hot Dog
Various locations. rudyshotdog.com
For nearly 100 years, Rudy’s Hot Dog has been one of the area’s most popular purveyors of delicious dogs. And the chain’s jaw-droppingly low prices— a classic chili dog for only $1.90, with fries or nachos for only $1.85 more— make these dogs one of the most mouth-watering bargains in Glass City dining. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Balance Pan-Asian Grille
balancegrille.com

Best Restaurant: Overall

Rockwell’s Steakhouse and Lounge
27 Broadway St., 419-243-1302. mbaybrew.com
Rockwell’s takes the fine dining experience to a new level with some of the best steaks and seafood you can find in Toledo. Their incredible staff and beautiful setting in the historic Oliver House make it a must try for anyone who hasn’t experienced the amazing menu. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Mancy’s Steakhouse
mancys.com

Best “Splurge” Restaurant

Benchmark Restaurant
6130 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg.
419-873-6590. benchmark-restaurant.com
With sophisticated takes on classic American cuisine, Benchmark offers traditional steaks and seafood elevated by stellar service and ambiance. Sure, the indulgence could lead to a bill a bit higher than your typical night out, but can you really put a price on an evening to remember? —JM

RUNNER-UP: The Chop House
toledochophouse.com

Best View

The Heights
444 N. Summit St., 419-243-7565. theheightstoledo.com
With a 360 degree view of downtown Toledo along the Maumee River, the view of the city from The Heights is top notch. Grab a cocktail, take a seat on the balcony next to one of the fire pits, and feel the soft breeze from the water below. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Real Seafood Company
realseafoodcotoledo.com

Best Outdoor/Patio Dining

Real Seafood Company
22 Main St., 888-456-3463.
realseafoodcotoledo.com
For an elegant dinner on a patio, Real Seafood is
certainly the place to go. Order appetizers with friends, or make this a date night with a bottle of wine, and watch the sunset on the Maumee River for the perfect way to end the day. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Webber’s Waterfront Restaurant
webbersrestaurant.com

Best Waterfront Dining

Real Seafood Company
22 Main St., 888-456-3463.
realseafoodcotoledo.com
There’s nothing quite like a seafood restaurant with waterfront dining, and Real Seafood Company checks all the boxes. Order their famous lobster, crab, or oysters and enjoy the view as you dig into the delicious fare. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Tony’s Quarterdeck
facebook.com/tonysquarterdeck

Best Hidden Gem

Whiskey & The Wolf
3515 W. Alexis Rd., 419-690-4280.
whiskeyandthewolf.com
For foodies, hidden gems offer a classic moral dilemma— when presented with something exceptional, that is sure to bring happiness to others, are we obligated to share this information? Sure, we could selfishly debate virtue and ethics as a way to procrastinate the inevitable, but the votes of TCP readers demonstrate three fundamental truths: 1) The universe doesn’t care about perceived ethical paradoxes. 2) The only thing that matters is really good food. 3) Gems rarely stay hidden, especially when they boast a wide variety of whiskey and dish up juicy roast beef sandwiches, creative fried chicken thighs, impossibly good burgers, and other gastropub-inspired bites fit to satisfy any carnivorous craving. So, move quickly and visit this unassuming neighborhood eatery while the not-so-secret foodie favorite still feels hidden. The universe demands it. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Rose & Thistle
roseandthistlepub.com

Most Beautiful Restaurant

Mancy’s Steakhouse
953 Phillips Ave., 419-476-4154.
mancys.com
As iconic as its aged, prime steaks, Mancy’s gorgeous wood-paneled interior accentuated by stained glass makes for a great Glass City dining experience. If you haven’t enjoyed a meal at Mancy’s, you haven’t really eaten in Toledo. —JM

RUNNER-UP: The Chop House
toledochophouse.com

Fast-Casual Eatery

Balance Pan-Asian Grille
Various locations. balancegrille.com
Looking for fast food that doesn’t taste like fast food? Balance Pan-Asian Grille is where it’s at for a quick, fresh meal. The ever-popular Bang Bang tacos, bubble teas, and healthy sides, like citrus brussels, will have you celebrating how they manage to be so cost-efficient with such freshly sourced ingredients. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Sidon
sidongrille.com

First-Date Restaurant

Barr’s Public House
3355 Briarfield Blvd., Maumee.
419-866-8466. barrspublichouse.com
With a swanky, industrial interior, a truly cosmopolitan cocktail selection (available at two full bars) and an inspired menu boasting elevated pub fare, Barr’s offers a uniquely cozy and sophisticated atmosphere that is tailor-made for sparking romance. While we can’t guarantee that your first date will go well, we can promise that Barr’s fine fare and expansive booze selection can restore any broken heart. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Ventura’s Mexican Restaurant
venturasmexicanrestaurant.com

Mom & Pop Restaurant

Schmucker’s Restaurant
2103 N. Reynolds Rd., 419-535-9116.
schmuckersrestaurant.com
Schmucker’s is a perennial favorite because of the things that make it so unique— tradition, family, and real-deal home cooking at affordable prices. From the antique cash register and beloved phone booth to freshly baked pies and butter-rich comfort food, it’s no wonder why Toledoans have been visiting this beloved diner since 1948. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Mayberry Diner
mayberrydiners.com

New Restaurant

The Stubborn Brother Pizza Bar
3115 W. Bancroft St., 419-720-1818. stubbornbrother.com

The Mancy’s family name, along with their hard work and generational restaurant know-how, almost guarantees success in Toledo, but their newest venture, which opened by the UT campus back in February by brother John, didn’t rely on reputation to earn victory. Instead, the secret to success here came from a different attribute— stubbornness. When owners John and Gabrielle Mancy decided they wanted to serve New York pizza, they didn’t settle for “NYC-inspired pies.” They bought the world’s first molecular water replication system, the New York WaterMaker, to make sure their dough tastes exactly like the NYC slices they fell in love with. And, it worked. But it’s not just the hand-tossed, thin-crust slices that keep TCP readers coming back. It’s also the casual atmosphere, well-rounded menu, the full bar’s impressive craft beer list, and the absolutely stubborn attention to detail by both John and Gabrielle. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Whiskey & The Wolf
whiskeyandthewolf.com

Old School Favorite

Mancy’s Steakhouse
953 Phillips Ave., 419-476-4154. mancys.com
Diners at Mancy’s have been treated to some of the very best in steak and seafood for decades. Your father ate there, and so did your grandfather. Generations of restaurant goers have experienced Mancy’s quality foods since 1921, making this establishment a beloved Toledo tradition. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Inky’s Italian Food
inkysitalianfoods.com

Restaurant You Want to Try

Rayoka Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi
465 W. Dussel Dr., Maumee.
419-794-0038. rayokatoledo.com
A full hibachi grill with sublimely seared steaks, remarkable sushi options, fun and engaging chefs practicing personable service, a tremendous selection of spirits and cocktails, as well as Happy Hour every Monday through Friday… and you haven’t been there yet? You need to change that. —JM

RUNNER-UP: The Chop House
toledochophouse.com

Restaurant to Take a Foodie

Registry Bistro
144 N. Superior St., 419-725-0444.
registrybistro.com
When dining out with difficult-to-satisfy foodie friends, it’s best to meet them at their level. For a refined, yet adventurous, epicurean experience, TCP readers choose Registry Bistro. From grilled duck to New Zealand mussels, and a menu full of ingredients you’ve probably never heard of— like branzino, Ka’ak, and lomo— Chef Erika Rapp’s eclectic and focused gourmet plates will ensure that even the most finicky foodies feel right at home. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Benchmark Restaurant
benchmark-restaurant.com

Place for a Late Night Bite

Carlos’ Poco Loco
1809 Adams St., 419-214-1655.
carlospocoloco.com
Whether you’re stumbling into this popular eatery after visiting the hip neighboring bars, or you find yourself longing for yuca con mojo late at night for some other reason, Poco Loco is the best place to satisfy an after-hours craving. Sample Mexi-Cuban cuisine, sip mojitos and soak up the nightlife until midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. —AC

RUNNER-UP: The Original Gino’s Pizza
originalginos.com

Place for a Business Lunch

Georgio’s Café International
426 N. Superior St., 419-242-2424.
georgiostoledo.com
Business is primal, and nobody in power got there because they met associates for limp sandwiches and uninspired salads. Differentiate yourself from the crowd by devouring a midday steak at this classic downtown Toledo restaurant. Whether you are the boss, or just want to feel like one, scheduling a lunch meeting at Georgio’s will confirm that you’re the one in charge. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Mancy’s Italian Grill
mancys.com

Place to Impress

Final Cut Steak and Seafood Hollywood Casino
1968 Miami St., 877-777-9579.
hollywoodcasinotoledo.com
You want to wow your date with a scrumptious and sophisticated dinner at a four-star restaurant? Head for Hollywood Casino and its beautiful steakhouse, Final Cut, which features an extensive wine list, thick-cut steaks and some of the best crab legs in Toledo. After dinner, listen to great bands in the H Lounge or hit the tables. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Mancy’s Steakhouse
mancys.com

Place to be Seen

Plat 8
4330 Central Ave., 419-214-0370. plat8toledo.com
A night out on the town where you want to dress to the nines and be seen begins and ends at Plat 8. With an atmosphere that is somehow both rustic and elegant, Plat 8 offers people-spotting and tasty delights, from charcuterie boards and cocktails to pulled pork cornbread. —EH

RUNNER-UP: The Heights
theheightstoledo.com

Restaurant: Bowling Green

Porkbelly BBQ
1616 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. 419-819-4465.
porkbelly-bbq.com
BGSU students are always on the lookout for good eats in between classes, and no joint in the city brings as much flavor per bite as Porkbelly’s amazing homestyle BBQ, highlighted by delectable pulled pork and chicken. Porkbelly also offers catering, if you want to make your wedding guests the happiest people on Earth. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Naslada Bistro
nasladabistro.com

Restaurant: Downtown Toledo

Registry Bistro
144 N. Superior St., 419-725-0444. registrybistro.com
Registry Bistro is a frequent winner in our ballots in a wide variety of categories, and there’s a reason for that— it’s that good! The perfect merging of high cuisine with Midwestern charm, Registry’s menu offers succulent dishes that would satisfy the most sophisticated of diners, all while providing personable and welcoming service .—JM

RUNNER-UP: Kengo Sushi
kengotoledo.com

Restaurant: East of the River

The Original Tony Packo’s
7 S. Superior St., 419-246-1111. tonypacko.com
Fact: you can’t spend any amount of time in Toledo without hearing about Tony Packo’s. This Glass City staple is known for its quirky ambiance care of the celebrity-signed hot dogs buns gracing the walls, but it also has some of the best hot dogs and Hungarian food in town. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Luckie’s Barn & Grill
luckiesbarnandgrill.com

Restaurant: Lower Michigan

The Mason Jar Tap & Grill
8504 Secor Rd., Lambertville, MI. 734-854-8737.
masonjartapandgrill.com
This charming, casual gastropub serves reasonably priced burgers, sandwiches, pizza and cocktails. Creative ingredient combinations like the That’s My Jam burger —served with garlic aioli, bacon jam and cheddar cheese on a brioche bun— keep TCP readers coming back for more. Don’t forget to check out their well-rounded brunch menu! —EH

RUNNER-UP: Charlie Mops Grub & Hops
charliemop.com

Restaurant: Maumee

Mancy’s Bluewater Grille
461 W. Dussel Dr., Maumee.
419-724-2583. mancys.com
The Mancy family continues their legacy of quality meals, fresh seafood and beautiful ambiance with Bluewater Grille. From fish and chips to African lobster tails and Alaskan king crab, this is the establishment of choice for seafood lovers dining in Maumee. Order one of their signature cocktails, or choose from the extensive wine list that TCP readers love, to wash it all down. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Barr’s Public House
barrspublichouse.com

Restaurant: Perrysburg

Benchmark Restaurant
6130 Levis Commons Blvd.,
Perrysburg. 419-873-6590.
benchmark-restaurant.com
When it comes to eating in Perrysburg, Benchmark sets the highest standard for TCP readers. Beyond its deliciously decadent lunch and dinner menus— don’t overlook the exquisite Benchmark burger— this place also stands out with a remarkably friendly staff and beautiful interior design. Save room for the Sticky Bourbon Cake! —JM

RUNNER-UP: Swig
swigrestaurant.com

Restaurant: Sylvania

Element 112
5735 N. Main St., Sylvania.
419-517-1104. element112restaurant.com
Located in historic downtown Sylvania, Element 112 has weekly specials and a menu that changes with the seasons. Executive Chef Chris Nixon keeps the selection diverse, with entrees like the Eight Hour Braised Octopus and the classic Roasted Amish Chicken. Begin your night with one of our favorite cocktails— Thyme to Get Lillet. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Ciao!
ciaorestaurant.com

Restaurant Worth a Drive

Evans Street Station
110 Evans St., Tecumseh, MI.
517-424-5555. evansstreetstation.com
Transforming an old firehouse into a restaurant is the sort of gimmick that gets customers in the door once, but Evans Street Station makes sure they return by dishing up decadent and artful meals. Just 40 minutes from Toledo, you can easily make the trek out for an award-winning dinner. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Whitehouse Inn
facebook.com/PrimeRibWHI

Rooftop Spot

The Heights
444 N. Summit St., 419-243-7565. theheightstoledo.com
It’s hip. It’s the height of sophistication (see what we did there?). It’s The Heights, a rooftop bar located atop the Renaissance Hotel. There’s nothing like sipping a craft cocktail and sharing tasters from a menu that ranges from wood fired pies to house-made cake donuts, all while taking in the best view of the city skyline. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Fleetwood’s Tap Room
hensvilletoledo.com

Spot for Breakfast

Sunrise Skillet
1855 S. Reynolds Rd., 567-315-8866. facebook.com/sunriseskillet
The friendly staff and comfort food at Sunrise Skillet promise to make anyone a repeat customer. French toast, waffles, skillets, and omelets— all the trappings for a hearty breakfast— and much more. The biscuits, served with house-made country gravy, are to die for! Make sure you show up hungry. —EH

RUNNER-UP: First Watch
firstwatch.com

Spot for Brunch

Manhattan’s Pub ‘n Cheer
1516 Adams St., 419-243-6675.
manhattanstoledo.com
TCP reader’s most coveted brunch destination, Manhattan’s offers a full assortment of both breakfast and lunch favorites, from sausage and kielbasa to a carving station offering ham, turkey and prime rib. And, there are those two words that are music to every brunch goers’ ears: complimentary mimosa. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Black Kite Coffee and Pies
facebook.com/BlackKiteCoffe

Spot for Lunch

The Cafe at the Oliver House
27 Broadway St., 419-243-1302. mbaybrew.com/cafe
Looking for a filling lunch? The Cafe has a full menu of soups, salads and sandwiches to give you the energy to make it through the rest of the day. Sensational deli sandwiches, housemate soups, inventive salads and the quiche of the day make for perfect noontime fare. You can even down one of the Maumee Bay Brewing Company’s signature beers if the work day is being really difficult. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Grumpy’s
grumpys.net

Most Creative Menu

Registry Bistro
144 N. Superior St., 419-725-0444. registrybistro.com
Those with an adventurous palate will find plenty of exciting options at Registry. Creole Succotash Pot Pie, Grilled New Zealand Lip Mussels, Beef Tenderloin served with bone marrow butter, and more, provide the basis for what TCP readers voted Toledo’s most unique— and delicious— dining experiences. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Element 112
element112restaurant.com

Best Use of Local Ingredients

Element 112
5735 N. Main St., Sylvania.
419-517-1104.
element112restaurant.com
When Chef Chris Nixon opened his ingredient-driven fine dining restaurant in the fall of 2012, it was the first of its kind in the area. While others have followed his farm-to-table movement lead, Element 112 is Toledo’s OG eatery for locally-focused New American cuisine. —AC

RUNNER-UP: The Original Sub Shop
originalsub.com

PEOPLE

Best Baristas

SIP Coffee
3160 Markway Rd., 419-407-5038. siptoledo.com
You’ll always be greeted with a smile and the feeling of being home at SIP. Whether you are there to work while fueled by rich brews made with La Colombe, Flying Rhino and other quality roasters, or to have a leisurely drink with a friend, the “socially infused” baristas at this coffee shop will keep you happy and caffeinated. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Maddie & Bella Coffee Roasters
maddieandbella.com

Best Bartenders

Georgz419
1205 Adams St., 419-842-4477.
georgz419.business.site
The warm, inviting bartenders at Georgz419 make the experience of having a drink or two anything but standard. Once you hang out at Georgz, you’ll realize that the bartenders regard the customers as family, and you’ll become a regular as well. The pizzas, wraps, complimentary popcorn, and well-stocked bar will seal the deal. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Benchmark Restaurant
benchmark-restaurant.com

Best Catering

Shorty’s True American Roadhouse
5111 Monroe St., 419-841-9505, mancys.com
Let’s face it, people love barbeque. When you’re looking for a way to please a ton of guests at a shindig, it’s hard to go wrong with racks of ribs, a bunch of chicken wings or a few pounds of pulled pork. Shorty’s can bring all of it and more, served buffet-style, and they do it better than anyone. —JM

RUNNER-UP: The Beirut
beirutrestaurant.com

Farmers Market Vendor

Busia’s Pierogi Shack
419-870-3154. Facebook.com/busiaspierogishack
Fans of traditional, handmade Polish cuisine flock to Busia’s on a weekly basis for its delicious and creative pierogi dishes, like dill and potatoes or the wildly popular buffalo chicken. As a bonus, Busia’s sells frozen dishes to take home and prepare later. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Shared Legacy Farms
sharedlegacyfarms.com

Best Chef

Chef Jeff Dinnebeil, Benchmark Restaurant
6130 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg.
419-873-6590. benchmark-restaurant.com
It’s hard to compare two chefs, but when it comes to Jeff Dinnebeil, you don’t have to. His experience and reputation say the most. Before he opened Benchmark at the end of 2017, he didn’t even have to hire— his staff came to him excited to work at his New American steakhouse. If earning a vote of confidence from the most seasoned members of the culinary community doesn’t convince you of his skills as a chef, just try his food. Then thank us later. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Chef Erika Rapp, Registry Bistro
registrybistro.com

Best Overall Staff

Benchmark Restaurant
6130 Levis Commons Blvd.,
Perrysburg. 419-873-6590.
benchmark-restaurant.com
If you’re a patron of Benchmark, you will have already extolled the virtues of the staff. They know what you need before you have to ask, so— along with the amazing food from their artfully curated menu— you will experience how fine dining is supposed to be from a well-trained staff. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Poco Piatti
pocopiatti.com

Food Truck

Duce’s Dawgs
419-266-2161. ducesdawgs.com
If you have a hankering for a good, old-fashioned chili dog and see Duce’s on your street— well then, my friend, you have hit the jackpot. TCP readers know that Duce’s homemade meat sauce, dogs and mac dishes are top shelf delicacies. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Infinite Zen Coffee & Noshery
Look for “Infinite Zen Coffee” on Facebook

Restaurateur

Jeff Dinnebeil, Benchmark Restaurant
6130 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg.
419-873-6590. benchmark-restaurant.com
They say that a good staff is the trickle-down effect of good management, and restaurateur Jeff Dinnebeil of Benchmark is certainly a reflection of that principle. The executive chef has created an atmosphere that is both welcoming and elegant, with juicy steaks, delectable seafood, and generous appetizers. Dinnebeil has made Benchmark the perfect addition to the area dining scene. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Gus Mancy, Mancy’s Steakhouse
mancys.com

Local food supporter

Balance Pan-Asian Grille
Various locations. balancegrille.com
When it comes to supporting local food, it’s hard to compare Balance to others. While many Toledo businesses make a strong effort to source ingredients from local growers, Balance has worked from the ground up to make sure its support goes full-circle. From biodegradable containers and utensils to community composting and recycling initiatives, and its own vertically-integrated aquaponics farm in the heart of downtown Toledo, Balance doesn’t just use local produce, they also grow it, supply it and compost it. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Fowl and Fodder
fowlandfodder.com

Cooking Classes

Foodology
2059 W. Laskey Rd., 567-970-7100.
foodologytoledo.com
Want to skip a trip to the grocery store and learn how to make mouthwatering meals? A class at Foodology is the way to go. Learn to cook from a professional chef while enjoying an adult beverage of your choice (BYOB). (That’s the kind of class we can get behind.) From creating pierogies to full eight-course formal dinners, this is education at its tastiest. —EH

RUNNER-UP: 577 Foundation
577foundation.org

Coffee Roaster

Maddie & Bella Coffee Roasters
44 S. St. Clair St., 419-214-0822. maddieandbella.com
When TCP readers are out for a cup of coffee, the first question asked is, “What kind do you have?” When the answer is Maddie & Bella, they know they’ve come to the right place. M&B’s aromatic blends are good for the soul, which is why it’s so hard not to grab a coffee at their downtown St. Clair Street location before work everyday. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Flying Rhino Coffee
flyingrhinocoffee.com

POTIONS

Bar: Bowling Green

Howard’s
210 N. Main St., Bowling Green.
419-352-3195. howardsbg.com
A staple in downtown BG for over 90 years, Howard’s is tuned in as a focal point of the Northwest Ohio music scene. Grab a beer, listen to some great music, soak in the history and while away the hours in a great American bar. —JM

RUNNER-UP: City Tap and the Attic
citytapandtheattic.com

Bar: Downtown Toledo

Georgjz419
1205 Adams St., 419-842-4477. georgjz419.business.site
Georgjz419 is the place to go if you want to grab a drink after work in a chill environment. Plus, it is an incredible spot to catch drag shows, eat a variety of delicious offerings, and hang out on the patio. Seriously, order their cheese pizza. You won’t be disappointed. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Ye Olde Durty Bird
yeoldedirtybird.com

Bar: East of the River

Luckie’s Barn & Grill
3311 Navarre Ave., Oregon.
419-725-4747. luckiesbarnandgrill.com
A drink at Luckie’s Barn & Grill means you’ll find yourself in a relaxing scene surrounded by good home cooking. Enjoy an ice cold beer and order from their comprehensive menu, featuring baby back ribs, steaks, burgers, fried chicken, and more. You have no excuse to go home hungry (or thirsty) from Luckie’s. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Frankies Inner City
frankiestoledo.com

Bar: Lower Michigan

Charlie Mops Grub and Hops
8505 Secor Rd., Lambertville, MI.
734-568-6686. charliemop.com
With craft brewed Michigan favorites like Bell’s, Founders, and Pigeon Hill— as well as Glass City staples from Maumee Bay Brewing Company— Charlie Mops offers a stellar selection. It’s also a great place to catch a game with your buddies. Just don’t get us started on their mac n’ cheese burger. Delish. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Mason Jar Tap and Grill
masonjartapandgrill.com

Bar: Maumee

The Village Idiot
309 Conant St., Maumee.
419-893-7281. villageidiotmaumee.com
How does a neighborhood bar become THE neighborhood bar? Is it the live music, offered seven days a week? Or the cult-favorite pizza? Maybe it’s the eclectic people, the even more eclectic decor, and the friendly atmosphere? Who knows, but we doubt that even an idiot would tell us the secret to this bar’s success. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Dale’s Bar & Grill
facebook.com/DalesBarGrill

Bar: Perrysburg

Swig
219 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg.
419-872-6223. swigrestaurant.com
Swig has won numerous awards from us for its food over the years, but the bar’s ever-rotating selection of beers and selection of more than 100 different spirits cannot be ignored, either. Add in a fun atmosphere and a friendly waitstaff and you have an essential stop on any bar crawl. Swig’s mouth-watering— and award-winning— menu also deserves your attention. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Social Gastropub
socialgastropub.com

Bar: Sylvania

Ventura’s Mexican Restaurant
7742 W. Bancroft St., 419-841-7523.
venturasmexicanrestaurant.com
Ventura’s is a restaurant, sure, and they’ve even earned honors from TCP readers for their Tex-Mex fare, but even its biggest fans aren’t there for the food. It’s the margaritas— those unbelievably tasty, surprisingly strong, and easy-drinking Best of Toledo award-winning margaritas— that have kept the roadhouse packed with friendly crowds since 1984. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Inside the Five Brewing
insidethefive.com

Bar: Toledo

Doc Watson’s
1515 S. Byrne Rd., 419-389-6003. docwatsonstoledo.com
Doc Watson’s is a Toledo nightlife hotspot for a reason. The beers on tap come from all over the country, with a smattering from local favorites like Earnest Brew Works added to the list. The food menu impresses TCP readers as well, particularly when it comes to their gourmet burgers. The Houdini— a savory monster stuffed with bacon— is worth ditching your diet for. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Whiskey & the Wolf
whiskeyandthewolf.com

Best Bar Overall

Ye Olde Durty Bird
2 S. St. Clair St., 419-243-2473.
yeoldedurtybird.com
When it comes to iconic Toledo bars, the Bird has been the word since 2012. Residing in the old Grand Hotel on St. Clair, a building that has stood for more than 150 years, the ingenuity and drive of owners/sisters Linda Ball and Julie Ketterman helped make Ye Olde Durty Bird a go-to destination for great live music, a friendly atmosphere, an impeccable selection of spirits and beer, and some of the best sandwiches and burgers this side of New York. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Ventura’s Mexican Restaurant
venturasmexicanrestaurant.com

Sports Bar

Sidelines Sports Eatery
Various locations. sidelinessportseatery.com
Sidelines wins once again, as TCP readers voted that there is no better place to catch the game (and maybe drown your sorrows, if you’re a Browns fan). Be sure to check out their delicious Fowl Balls (chicken chunks) or grab a rack of their epic Bad-To-The-Bone Ribs to celebrate your team vanquishing their foes. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Fricker’s Wings Sports Bar
frickers.com

Dive Bar

Rocky’s Bar
4020 Secor Rd., 419-472-1996.
Look for “rockysrules” on Facebook
A true dive bar has a lived-in, well-loved feel, and, according to TCP readers, no place exemplifies that mood more than Rocky’s. Excellent pizza and an inviting, low-key atmosphere, punctuated by live music, make Rocky’s a perfect place to unwind. If you’re looking for your own neighborhood place, you can stop looking. —JM

RUNNER-UP: The Four Horsemen
Look for “TheFourHorsemen” on Facebook.

Wine List

Rosie’s Italian Grille
606 N. McCord Rd., 419-866-5007.
rosiesitaliangrille.com
House wines, sparkling wines, red and white wines, Italian wines and choice selections on the “Captain’s List” please TCP readers. Be sure to ask the knowledgeable waitstaff if you need help making a decision, but there are very few ways to go wrong at Rosie’s. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Mancy’s Steakhouse
mancys.com

Craft Cocktail Selection

Bellwether at Toledo Spirits
1301 N. Summit St., 419-662-9521. toledospirits.com
The cocktail selection couldn’t be more perfect, each hand-crafted with one or more house-distilled Toledo Spirits libations. From classics, like the Corpse Reviver made with East Side Gin and Orange Tiger, or signature cocktails, like Roche de Boef with Heart of Glass strawberry vodka, TCP readers are drinking this place up —SE

RUNNER-UP: Benchmark Restaurant
benchmark-restaurant.com

Local Spirits

Bellwether at Toledo Spirits
1301 N. Summit. 419-662-9521.
toledospirits.com
With the mantra “Whiskey for the People,” the Bellwether at Toledo Spirits Company has quickly become Toledo’s hottest tasting room and lounge. Located on Summit Street in the Historic Vistula neighborhood, Bellwether serves up a thoughtful cocktail menu, each drink crafted with time-honored preparation. A simple appetizer menu featuring shareable tapas compliment Bellwether’s powerful cocktails. —SE

RUNNER-UP: Six Fifths Distilling
sixfifthsdistilling.com

Hangover Cure

Mayberry Diner
Various locations. mayberrydiners.com
You wake up with a headache. A little queasy. Feeling lethargic. Your partner suggests you to go to the gym to sweat out the night before… yeah, no thanks. Mayberry Diner does the trick for TCP readers. Order the steak and eggs or Aunt B’s Favorite (just try not to think of how disappointed TV’s most wholesome family would be about your current state), or maybe go with something from their Healthy Starts menu to begin anew. Either way, Mayberry will cure what ails ya. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Executive Diner
executivediners.com

Happy Hour

El Camino Real
Various locations. elcaminorealtoledo.com
Fans of El Camino Real’s margaritas can’t say enough good things about their happy hour. Sunday through Thursday, from 2-5pm at both locations, you’ll find $3 margs and all the delicious foods you’ve come to expect from El Camino Real. Bottom’s up! —EH

RUNNER-UP: Ventura’s Mexican Restaurant
venturasmexicanrestaurant.com

Place to Buy Local Beer

Joseph’s Beverage Center
4129 Talmadge Rd., 419-841-3000.
josephsbeveragecenter.com
You could easily spend a whole afternoon in Joseph’s Beverage Center admiring their superior selection of beer, wine and spirits. Founded in the 1960s, the Joseph family has created an establishment where you can always find local craft brews, and international favorites, to bring home with you. Maumee Bay Brewing Co., Buckeye Brewing, Bells, Founders, Great Lakes— if you’re looking for something regional, Joseph’s is the place to hit up. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Bottle Shop at Mancy’s Italian Grill
mancys.com

Locally-Brewed Beer

Maumee Bay Brewing Company
27 Broadway, 419-243-1302.
mbaybrew.com
Look, TCP readers love Maumee Bay Brewing just for some of the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek names for their beers— Creature from the Algae Bloom, #FakeJuice, etc.— but their expertise at crafting some of the tastiest ales, lagers and more also earns them a loyal and very, very happy clientele. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Black Cloister Brewing Company
blackcloister.com

Place to Drink Local Beer

The Casual Pint
3550 Executive Pkwy.,
419-469-8965. thecasualpint.com
The Casual Pint’s trivia nights, amazing food and relaxed vibe keep patrons coming back for more, but the biggest reason for a frequest return, by far, is the selection of local beers. From Earnest Brew Works’ Crunchy Hippie to The Winged Hussar by Quenched and Tempered, prepare for the kind of difficult decision-making that we can’t get enough of. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Earnest Brew Works
earnestbrewworks.com

Margarita

Ventura’s Mexican Restaurant
7742 W. Bancroft St., 419-841-7523.
venturasmexicanrestaurant.com
A repeat winner for best margaritas in our Dining Guide, Ventura’s truly can’t be beat. Whether you order them frozen or on the rocks, each glass always offers up a generous amount of tequila and a tangy flavor that is unlike anything else you’ve had. —EH

RUNNER-UP: El Camino Real
elcaminorealtoledo.com

Martini

Mancy’s Italian Grill
5453 Monroe St., 419-882-9229.
mancys.com
Mancy’s reputation definitely extends to their cocktails, particularly their martinis. Whether you like yours dirty, dry, shaken or stirred, Mancy’s handcrafted martinis never disappoint. They always deliver with their fresh-pressed espresso martinis and pomegranate martinis to seasonal favorites like the creamy pumpkin martini and the glazed pear. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Rosie’s Italian Grille
rosiesitaliangrille.com

Bloody Mary

The Adams Street Cafe
608 Adams St., 419-214-1819.
facebook.com/theadamsstcafe
Enjoy the down-home charm of The Adams Street Cafe as you sip on one of their famous Bloody Marys. Made with Major Peters Bloody Mary mix, combined with Tobasco or Cholula hot sauce (your choice), and topped with olives, pickles, worcestershire sauce and a celery stir stick, The Cafe’s Mary has more than just some kick to it. Treat yourself to this spicy delight as you enjoy pork belly French toast or chicken and waffles. Ah. The perfect day. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Doc Watson’s
docwatsonstoledo.com

Bubble Tea

Balance Pan-Asian Grille
Various locations. balancegrille.com
Toledo is finally is home to the Taiwanese speciality, bubble tea, and TCP readers couldn’t be more excited. Balance’s Bubble Tea Co., available at all locations, takes pride in an expansive menu, with each offering a little sweet and a lot of fun. —SE

RUNNER-UP: Infinite Zen Coffee Co.
facebook.com/8zencoffee

Juice Bar

Local Roots Juice Co.
306 Elm St., Perrysburg.
567-331-8037. localrootsjuiceco.com
This quaint and trendy shop would fit in on any street corner in Southern California. The menu centers around the organic cold-pressed juices available in 16oz. servings. Try the Good Lookin’, made with carrot, apple, ginger and lemon. Local Roots also offers a superfood smoothie menu with favorites like the Blue Jay, made with almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, banana, date, and peanut butter. —SE

RUNNER-UP: All Juice Co.
alljuicedelivery.com

PLATES

Creative Burger

Bar 145
5305 Monroe St., 419-573-0073.
bar-145.com
The name may be derived from the exact temperature for a perfect burger— 145 degrees— but the selection of unique offerings on 145’s menu shows just how adventurous a burger can be. Ever wanted a burger topped with a lobster claw? Whipped cream and spiced apples? Served on a waffle and topped with maple syrup? Think outside the ketchup-and-mustard bun. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Mancy’s Ideal
mancys.com

Creative Pizzas

Pizza Cat
4034 Monroe St., 419-214-1640.
pizzacat.com
Sure, you could have a plain cheese pizza, but you could have a Flaming Hot Cheese pizza instead— with jalapenos under the cheese and Flaming Hot Cheetos on top. With over 20 different speciality pizzas and a remarkable variety of toppings and sauces to choose from, TCP readers determined that this Cat is sure to twitch any pizza lover’s whiskers. —JM

RUNNER-UP: 5th Street Pub
5thstreetpub.com

Steak

Benchmark Restaurant
6130 Levis Commons Blvd.
Perrysburg. 419-873-6590.
benchmark-restaurant.com
There are few dishes more American than a thick-cut slice of beef that’s grilled to perfection. And there are few places that do justice to this slab of Americana quite like Benchmark. Offering a selection of cuts and meats basted with butter and herbs (they even offer a vegan steak option). Benchmark’s menu may be pricey, but once you take a bite you’ll know it was money well-spent. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Mancy’s Steakhouse
mancys.com

Sushi

Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi
6190 Levis Commons Blvd.,
419-931-8400. nagoyatoledo.com
A delectable variety of options await diners who enjoy Nagoya’s sushi menu, with classics like Nigiri and Sashimi presented alongside more exotic options, like the Beauty-and-the-Beast Roll or the Put-in-Bay Roll. The tableside performance of Nagoya’s hibachi chefs accentuate the memorable dining experience. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Kengo Sushi & Yakitori

Coney Dog

Duce’s Dawgs
419-266-2161. ducesdawgs.com
In a town that boasts options like Swisher and Tony Packo’s, it is quite an achievement for a food truck like Duce’s to lay claim to having the best Coney Island-style dogs in Toledo. But once you taste one, you know it is worthy of the accolade. Succulent made-from-scratch chili topping a classic beef frank makes Duce’s truck a must-visit lunchtime destination. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Swisher Dogs
Find “Swisher Dogs” on Facebook

Falafel/Gyro

Grape Leaf Diner
909 S. McCord Rd., 419-868-9099.
grape-leaf.com
Toledo isn’t lacking Mediterranean food, and there are plenty of choices to satisfy whatever kind of craving for hummus that you might have, but if you want to keep it easy, a classic pita sandwich is the ultimate comfort food. Whether you want a juicy gyro or a crunchy-on-the-outside and soft-on-the-inside falafel, TCP readers know that this Holland icon is the go-to place for dine-in or carry-out. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Byblos
Byblostoledo.com

Mac N’ Cheese

Social Gastropub
25818 N. Dixie Hwy. Perrysburg,
419-931-9936, socialgastropub.com
One may think, “How good can mac and cheese be?” TCP readers saw the gastropub’s menu, featuring Grad’s Mac and Cheese (made with chorizo, chicken and buffalo sauce) and Lobster Mac and Cheese (with lobster, garlic, white wine and cavatappi) and realized that mac and cheese can be better than basic. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Shorty’s True American Roadhouse
Mancy’s.com

Pie

Schmucker’s
2103 N. Reynolds Rd., 419-535-9116. schmuckersrestaurant.com
For over 70 years, Schmucker’s has been synonymous with pie, so it stands to reason that TCP voters would once more recognize Schmucker’s with this award. Between the dozens and dozens of options available— from traditional options to more adventurous specialty pies— every sweet tooth will be satisfied at Schmucker’s. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Glendale Garden Cafe
ggardencafe.com

Ribs

Shorty’s True American Roadhouse
5111 Monroe St., 419-841-9505.
mancys.com
“ENJOY AMERICA’S FOOD” the front cover of Shorty’s menu states, and there may be no food that tastes more American than Shorty’s classically prepared ribs. Dusted with their special rub, slow smoked, grilled and then basted with their own trademark sauce, Shorty’s ribs are always a feast for the eyes— as well as the stomach. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Sidelines Sports Eatery
sidelinessportseatery.com

Tacos

San Marcos Restaurant
Various locations. 419-244-2372.
sanmarcosmexicanrestaurants.com
Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays. If you look in your heart, the taco spirit can live within you you every day of the week! And there is no place to find great, affordable tacos every day than at any of the San Marcos locations around Toledo, where traditional tacos are as low as $1.50 each. You can also buy your own fixings from
San Marcos’ grocery section. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Te’kela Mexican Cocina y Cantina
tekelacocina.com

Pasta Dish

M’Osteria & Bar
611 Monroe St., 419-214-4222.
mosteriatoledo.com
Tortelli, fettuccine, carbonara, garganelli. All made fresh in-house, topped by succulent sauces and served by impeccable waitstaff in a cozy warehouse atmosphere. The fact that M’Osteria also features great pizza and craft cocktails is just a bonus. Truly great Italian creations like these are sure to make even the most discerning diner smile. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Rosie’s Italian Grille
rosiesitaliangrille.com

Killer Salads

Grumpy’s
34 S. Huron St. 419-241-6716.
grumpys.net
Whoever said that a salad isn’t a meal has never seen a Grumpy’s Garbage salad. Loaded down with everything delicious you could want on a bed of lettuce, and piled high with a colorful blend of meats, four kinds of cheese, grains, fruits, veggies, and poppyseed dressing, the Garbage Salad could literally kill you(r interest in sandwiches). —AC

RUNNER-UP: Sarnies Cafe
sarnies.org

Southern Food

UNB Soul Food
1855 S. Reynolds Rd., 419-382-1820, facebook.com/Unbsoulfoodcafe
Southern soul food at its finest, UNB has all the comfort you can handle— sweet cornbread muffins, collard greens, the cheesiest mac n’ cheese you’ll find anywhere else, and fried green tomatoes that are out of this world. You’ll also discover that the owners, the Wittys, will make you feel like you’re one of the family. —EH

RUNNER-UP: Ruby’s Kitchen
msrubyskitchen.com

Wings

Sidelines Sports Eatery
Various locations.
sidelinessportseatery.com
Chowing down on wings while you’re watching the game just feels right. So it stands to reason that Toledo’s Best Sports Bar would serve Toledo’s Best Wings. Available with a wide variety of dipping sauces, Sidelines’ wings come in packs of 10 if you’re by yourself, or up to 50 (if you’re still by yourself). —JM

RUNNER-UP: Fricker’s Wings Sports Bar
frickers.com

Desserts

NeNe’s Sweets
419-699-0918. nenessweet.com
It seems a little unfair for TCP readers to name a food truck as the source of the best desserts in Toledo, as it may be harder to immediately locate these scrumptious goodies now that you’ve heard about them. But the delicious variety of cupcakes, macarons, cheesecakes and more make NeNe’s a must-visit for everyone who loves dessert. Which is everyone. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Schmucker’s
schmuckersrestaurant.com

Gluten-Free Options

Fowl and Fodder
7406 W. Central Ave. 419-690-4290.
614 Adams St. 419-214-1588.
fowlandfodder.com
With a large selection of unique salads like Fowl & Fodder’s signature kale & roasted beet salad, daily homemade soups and plenty of gluten-free options, it’s no wonder this favorite made the list. Try the house tots to compliment your meal. —SE

RUNNER-UP: Poco Piatti
pocopiatti.com

Vegan/Vegetarian Options

Sarnies Cafe
811 Madison Ave., 419-246-0730. sarnies.org
Sarnies’ incredible customization options mean that no one needs to sacrifice flavor to get a great meal, regardless of their dietary preferences. A wide variety of toppings, wraps and additional items make Sarnies a perfect destination for diners looking to stay cruelty free. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Fowl and Fodder
fowlandfodder.com

Most Instagram-Worthy Plates

Element 112
5735 N. Main St., Sylvania.
419-517-1104.
element112restaurant.com
Element 112 takes food sourcing seriously, only featuring what’s in season. During the autumn months, enjoy the harvest prepared in a thoughtful way. Try the heirloom tomato salad paired with the roasted lamb loin entree. Each item on the menu is a work of art. —SE

RUNNER-UP: Registry Bistro
registrybistro.com

Comfort Food

Schmucker’s
2103 N. Reynolds Rd., 419-535-9116. schmuckersrestaurant.com
Schmucker’s inviting old-school interior is pretty comforting in and of itself, but the menu of traditional homespun favorites really seal the deal. A bite from Schmucker’s Hot Roast Beef Platter or Fried Chicken can truly soothe the culinary soul. Save room for their award-winning pie! —JM

RUNNER-UP: Mancy’s Ideal
mancys.com

Sandwiches

Sarnies Cafe
811 Madison Ave., 419-246-0730. sarnies.org
In the Toledo food world, there are sandwiches, and then there are Sarnies. If you don’t know the difference, you haven’t tasted one from this downtown gem. The menu has classics, like the Turkey Avocado or the B.L.T., plus vegetarian alternatives and a comprehensive selection of options to build your own. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Grumpy’s
grumpys.com

Appetizers

Poco Piatti
3155 Chappel Dr., Perrysburg.
6710 W. Central Ave. #1, Sylvania.
329 N. Huron St., Downtown Toledo. 419-931-0281. Pocopiatti.com
Considering the name means “small plates,” it’s almost funny that Poco Piatti earned the most votes for TCP readers in the appetizer category. But, it’s also no wonder— from their lamb sliders to their artichoke salad, shrimp saganaki, and their sumac encrusted tuna— this Mediterannean eatery proves that sharing is not only caring, but also the best way to enjoy a meal with friends. —AC

RUNNER-UP: Basil Pizza & Wine Bar
basilpizzaandwinebar.com

Healthy Selections

Balance Pan-Asian Grille
Various locations. balancegrille.com
Balance Grille’s Wiseman Bowl— an utterly delectable blend of veggies covered in Szechuan sauce— is a treat in and of itself. Then, when you find out it’s only 220 calories, the experience goes to a whole other level. Balance’s menu has plenty of mouth-watering options that keep TCP readers on the straight and narrow. —JM

RUNNER-UP: Zingo’s Mediterranean
eatzingos.com