Toledo Talk

Gradkowski’s

Anyone been here yet? I wish they had a menu online. I plan on checking it out in the near future.

It seems that for a college that size, UT has few bars within walking distance. Back in the dark ages of my youth (late 80's), the establishment now called "Jax" on Dorr Street was called the "Cock Eyed Eagle" and was actually a happening place. Seems deserted now.

created by Dappling2 on Jan 28, 2013 at 02:15:48 pm     Food     Comments: 63

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Plan on getting there soon myself....maybe even this Friday

posted by Hoops on Jan 28, 2013 at 02:26:16 pm     #  

I miss The Pub, which was almost on campus. 25 cent draft beers. Summer classes were awesome.

posted by Molsonator on Jan 28, 2013 at 02:29:53 pm     #  

Yelp says its great

posted by upso on Jan 28, 2013 at 02:37:54 pm     #  

I was there for a work lunch last week, and all of us were very pleased.

I can't speak to the service, because there was only one other table in there, so it's not like our waitress had a lot of orders to be juggling. It was 1:30 when we got there, it was their first week of being open, and it was one of the days last week that never got into the double digits, so I don't know how busy it would be at peak lunch hour on a regular day.

As for the food: we were all very impressed. I had the roast pork sandwich, and it was extremely juicy and delicious. My only suggestion would be that they toast the bun it came on, to help it hold together a little better. And try the pesto fries, they are freaking addictive! Everyone else also had sandwiches. I can't remember what anyone else got, but I know everyone had positive things to say about them. Two of the guys got their soup, which was some kind of potato bisque or something, and both recommended we get a cup of it the next time we go in.

Long story short, I'm pretty happy to see this place opened up, and I will definitely be going back sometime for dinner to check out some of their entrées.

posted by Johio83 on Jan 28, 2013 at 02:42:39 pm     #  

They have a menu posted on their Facebook page. Looks great and I can't wait until I try it.

posted by HickoryG on Jan 28, 2013 at 07:27:04 pm     #  

couldn't find any menu of the Facebook page-- where's it at?

posted by papajoe21 on Feb 19, 2013 at 02:37:08 pm     #  

"where's it at?"

It's right in front of that preposition!

posted by Johio83 on Feb 19, 2013 at 03:16:39 pm     #  

We went yesterday at lunch. Loved the atmosphere - not so much the food (although the fries were tasty...). Probably safe to say we won't be returning.

posted by ajm00733 on Feb 19, 2013 at 04:05:17 pm     #  

Did you get the pesto fries, or regular?

posted by Johio83 on Feb 19, 2013 at 04:19:40 pm     #  

ajm... can you be any more specific. i don't mind short good reviews but i think a bad review ought to say more. i haven't been yet but i am expecting to go soon and there seems to be a TT group outing set to go. thanks

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 19, 2013 at 04:43:55 pm     #  

I went there last Friday night after shopping at Costco and made the mistake of thinking it was a sports bar or something casual or less than casual. Even walking up to the front doors the student housing up above the shops and small neighboring shops still gave me a casual feeling.
It is a nice restaurant period. I had the ribeye which was very good and tried a bite of the burger my 11 year old had ordered which was perfectly seasoned and the toppings it came with made it a sandwich I will go back for to get my own.

posted by sparky31134 on Feb 19, 2013 at 05:29:45 pm     #  

Pesto fries - yes! My husband had the burger with the cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce - he said it was dry and lacked flavor. I had the margarita pizza - and it was overcooked and lacked their buffalo motz cheese the waiter raved about.. I guess I thought it would have a decent amt of cheese but I could barely see any. My 2 waters had floaters :-/ Pesto fries were quite yummy. I guess we had higher expectations since it was a nice atmosphere.

posted by ajm00733 on Feb 19, 2013 at 05:34:47 pm     #  

My 2 waters had floaters :-/ ...game, set, match - check please

posted by justareviewer on Feb 19, 2013 at 06:00:00 pm     #   2 people liked this

Not bad, but it won't make it because it's not a safe location (remember the murder at the gas station that used to be on that corner). It's too expensive for students. Someone suggested that it could make a go of it with just UT employees. If that were true, Ferdos should be doing much more business than it does.

posted by Elva on Feb 19, 2013 at 07:41:52 pm     #  

Probably unsafe because there are a lot of minorities in that area, eh Elva?

posted by HickoryG on Feb 19, 2013 at 07:53:27 pm     #   14 people liked this

The pre & post sports crowds of older people will probably give them a lot of business. I have not yet made it to try. Glad to see it is more upscale than another chicken wing and beer joint.

posted by Hoops on Feb 20, 2013 at 08:37:49 am     #  

LOL!

posted by stooks on Feb 20, 2013 at 08:55:10 am     #  

Johio83 posted at 02:16:39 PM on Feb 19, 2013:

"where's it at?"

It's right in front of that preposition!

cute...okay, where is the menu located on the Facebook page?

posted by papajoe21 on Feb 20, 2013 at 05:06:40 pm     #   1 person liked this

In the photos, if I remember correctly.

posted by gamegrrl on Feb 20, 2013 at 05:19:34 pm     #  

https://www.facebook.com/Gradkowskis/photos_stream

posted by upso on Feb 20, 2013 at 05:43:36 pm     #  

Went there over the weekend and enjoyed it a lot. I'll definitely be going back. The restaurant is nice, the menu is great, and the food is good. The servers could use a bit more training/coaching, but that's correctable. Overall, it was a very good experience.

posted by clt212 on Feb 21, 2013 at 01:38:23 pm     #  

Went there after the game last night. Food was good , nice atmosphere. 90% of the crowd was older males, and a handful of females.....aka sausagefest. Bruce himself stopped in so we got to talk a little football.

posted by Hoops on Feb 28, 2013 at 09:02:17 am     #  

Elva posted at 06:41:52 PM on Feb 19, 2013:

Not bad, but it won't make it because it's not a safe location (remember the murder at the gas station that used to be on that corner). It's too expensive for students. Someone suggested that it could make a go of it with just UT employees. If that were true, Ferdos should be doing much more business than it does.

The presence of people tends to stop crime...

posted by BusterBluth on Mar 01, 2013 at 07:20:29 pm     #   3 people liked this

Had a business lunch there today. I had the Bru Burger and pesto fries.. it was all very good. One of the best burgers that I've had in a long time. Our waitress, Johnna, was great and very attentive. I was very impressed and will definitely return.

posted by wahhutch9 on Mar 07, 2013 at 05:16:57 pm     #  

Has anyone who has patronized this joint been mugged or murdered yet, Elva?

posted by researcher on Mar 07, 2013 at 06:04:33 pm     #  

I went last week and was not killed

posted by upso on Mar 07, 2013 at 06:34:41 pm     #   10 people liked this

Prove it.

posted by Johio83 on Mar 07, 2013 at 07:37:48 pm     #  

Shit... Is this all a dream? Am I dead? Is this heaven?

posted by upso on Mar 07, 2013 at 07:54:19 pm     #  

upso posted at 06:54:19 PM on Mar 07, 2013:

Shit... Is this all a dream? Am I dead? Is this heaven?

I told Dio that Toledo Talk was closer to Heaven than Hell, and now I have proof.

posted by jr on Mar 07, 2013 at 08:11:01 pm     #   1 person liked this

upso posted at 06:54:19 PM on Mar 07, 2013:

Shit... Is this all a dream? Am I dead? Is this heaven?

You're in a final episode of Lost.

posted by SensorG on Mar 07, 2013 at 10:02:41 pm     #  

Not about the restaurant, but about Bruce. Looks like he just landed a sweet gig--Ben Roethlisberger's backup:

ESPN: Bruce Gradkowski joins Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a move to stabilize the quarterback position behind Ben Roethlisberger, agreeing to a three-year deal with Bruce Gradkowski, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The 30-year-old Gradkowski, a Pittsburgh native, played the past two seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals. He has thrown for 4,057 yards with 21 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in 36 career games.

Congrats to Bruce! Wouldn't look for him in the restaurant from July - December, though....

posted by oldhometown on Mar 13, 2013 at 12:19:46 pm     #  

You mean July to February. He's now a Steeler, not a Bengal.

posted by JohnnyMac on Mar 13, 2013 at 02:34:21 pm     #   4 people liked this

You mean July to February. He's now a Steeler, not a Bengal.

LOL!

posted by oldhometown on Mar 13, 2013 at 02:44:01 pm     #  

great gig .... congrats bruce.

i hope they kept charlie batch around as QB coach... three MAC boys

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Mar 13, 2013 at 02:50:18 pm     #  

Last I checked, Bengals played one more game than the Steelers last year.

posted by ahmahler on Mar 13, 2013 at 05:44:09 pm     #   2 people liked this

We were supposed to have a small party there last night for one of thr dept students thesis denese. After about a half hour they told us they had NO HEAT and NO GAS in the kitchen. About the only thing they could serve us was egg salad and didn't even comp us a diet coke! The whole deal sucked and they couldn't get us out fast enough. Will not return...eva eva eva

posted by RockChick on Apr 02, 2013 at 09:13:54 pm     #  

sounds like a terrible night
can you clarify what "thr dept students thesis denese." means?

posted by upso on Apr 02, 2013 at 10:33:46 pm     #  

RockChick posted at 09:13:54 PM on Apr 02, 2013:

We were supposed to have a small party there last night for one of thr dept students thesis denese. After about a half hour they told us they had NO HEAT and NO GAS in the kitchen. About the only thing they could serve us was egg salad and didn't even comp us a diet coke! The whole deal sucked and they couldn't get us out fast enough. Will not return...eva eva eva

Between this and your beef with Lloyd Jacobs, I don't think you should be within 5 miles of campus ever again if you want to control your blood pressure...

posted by oldhometown on Apr 03, 2013 at 01:45:19 am     #   6 people liked this

I had a terrific lunch at Gradkowski's yesterday. Upso, thanks for the recommendation on Margherita pizza! It was delicious.

posted by tigers on Apr 03, 2013 at 09:36:58 am     #   1 person liked this

:)

posted by upso on Apr 03, 2013 at 09:45:53 am     #  

Is this a college hangout? I'm interested in the restaurant, but the location deters me. I guess what I really mean is does it have a good mix or is it all frat boys?

posted by bow on Apr 03, 2013 at 02:26:13 pm     #  

bow posted at 02:26:13 PM on Apr 03, 2013:

Is this a college hangout? I'm interested in the restaurant, but the location deters me. I guess what I really mean is does it have a good mix or is it all frat boys?

The menu prices are out of the price range for students. I got a craft beer which was priced accordingly, so I'm not sure what a Bud Light would cost. I wouldn't worry though, college kids will still go to Chasers and Jake's because of the prices at those places.

posted by clt212 on Apr 03, 2013 at 02:47:37 pm     #   1 person liked this

yeah, the two times i've been there it's been a 30 and over crowd.

posted by upso on Apr 03, 2013 at 03:21:00 pm     #   2 people liked this

Do they do brunch?

posted by endcycle on Apr 08, 2013 at 01:32:50 pm     #  

I am pretty sure they have brunch on Sundays 10-2

posted by wahhutch9 on Apr 08, 2013 at 03:42:08 pm     #  

Heard from a friend who delivers beverages to local bars/grills that they've been notified gradkowskis will be relocating to the available elephant bar location at franklin park. They need more foot traffic.

posted by Xbuckeyex on Aug 31, 2014 at 02:21:55 pm     #  

He was at C 'n Bull last night after the UT football game.

posted by 6th_Floor on Aug 31, 2014 at 02:47:58 pm     #  

That would be quite a change if true. Hopefully they can keep the quality while they scale up to that space and crowd. A local restaurant at a large mall seems unusual for this market. I love their space now but wish them the best of luck!

posted by Spaceace on Aug 31, 2014 at 04:18:04 pm     #  

to me it sounds right for the type of place gradkowski 's is... i wish he would be involved in opening a sports bar at the secor location. i would be there regularly to watch tigers and red wings and pre-game for football and basketball

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Aug 31, 2014 at 04:57:54 pm     #   1 person liked this

Interesting. The Elephant Bar spot is like 4 times the size of the current location. Tons of foot traffic, but also tons of headaches dealing with that amount of staffing etc.

I wish him / them the best of luck, and hope something good goes into the current location. I really liked the build out.

posted by upso on Aug 31, 2014 at 05:24:30 pm     #   1 person liked this

We will see. Agree it's much larger. Apparently Lance Moore has joined his partnership and they are looking to develop a sports bar chain....think Bar Louie. Good food, multiple locations. Looking to open one in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

Again - nothing official but my friend has been in the business for a long time and is usually spot on.

posted by Xbuckeyex on Aug 31, 2014 at 06:42:42 pm     #  

HATE that mall location - parking is all but impossible

posted by justareviewer on Sep 01, 2014 at 10:07:43 am     #   1 person liked this

Ate at Gradkowski's Saturday (he was there, talking to guests, etc). Everything was wonderful. If they do move, I hope quality doesn't suffer.

posted by webrioter on Sep 02, 2014 at 09:02:12 am     #  

Must of had a short term lease at the current location. One would think the space will not be empty for long since the building is new and that area could support something a little less fancy

posted by Hoops on Sep 02, 2014 at 09:13:31 am     #  

It was nice to have the fancy option right in our own 'hood. Good for out-of-town visitors and UT alums and for Sunday lunch. We never go to The Mall for those kinds of occasions ... but I can totally understand an owner who is an athlete wanting to work the sportsbar angle.

The only other upscale option close to home - Mac and Tong's -- has a completely different vibe. Their elegance is from another era (1960s country club?), so one has to be in the mood for a time machine experience :-).

posted by viola on Sep 02, 2014 at 09:47:38 am     #  

From my understanding it was an initial 2 year lease. For Gradkowski it was his first experience in the food industry and for that strip they needed a restaurant so it worked for both.

They have a very good regular crowd but get little to zero from the students or new customers during the weekdays. That's the big issue. They are doing well enough to stay there but as mentioned above they are looking to build a sports bar franchise not a fine dining local eatery.

Either way I wish him much success. As most know Bruce isn't from the Toledo area but absolutely loves it and its great to see him trying to build his business here first.

posted by Xbuckeyex on Sep 02, 2014 at 10:26:56 am     #  

UT tells me Gradkowskis is not moving out of that spot.

posted by Nolan_Rosenkrans on Sep 02, 2014 at 05:58:37 pm     #  

maybe he's opening up another "social" location?

posted by upso on Sep 02, 2014 at 07:38:34 pm     #  

Upso-I think you're possibly right. Social was the concept that was built for multiple locations. They are opening another location in Edwardsvlle, IL (Outside of St Louis) this month. However, if they say they aren't moving, then it may be a red herring of some sort.

posted by ahmahler on Sep 02, 2014 at 08:32:52 pm     #  

I'd heard that FPM raised the rent on Elephant Bar to astronomical heights to force them to move so that they could rent to high-end retail.

At least, that was the story of a former Elephant Bar server.

posted by Anniecski on Sep 03, 2014 at 09:22:32 am     #  

Nolan_Rosenkrans posted at 05:58:37 PM on Sep 02, 2014:

UT tells me Gradkowskis is not moving out of that spot.

That doesn't surprise me. The restaurant was a HUGE part of the development of Gateway (along with B&N taking over the UT bookstore).

posted by clt212 on Sep 03, 2014 at 09:26:16 am     #  

Xbuckeyex posted at 10:26:56 AM on Sep 02, 2014:

From my understanding it was an initial 2 year lease. For Gradkowski it was his first experience in the food industry and for that strip they needed a restaurant so it worked for both.

They have a very good regular crowd but get little to zero from the students or new customers during the weekdays. That's the big issue. They are doing well enough to stay there but as mentioned above they are looking to build a sports bar franchise not a fine dining local eatery.

Either way I wish him much success. As most know Bruce isn't from the Toledo area but absolutely loves it and its great to see him trying to build his business here first.

The market for the restaurant is not the general student base. They do have a nice room that can be reserved and I hope they are marketing that room to different student groups for dinners and events. Also, I believe they close at 10 p.m., which is not quite the schedule for most students looking to go out on a typical weekend night.

It's a great restaurant, but one that I cannot imagine that I would have frequented as a college student. I look forward to heading there again the next time I'm in town for a UT football or basketball game.

posted by clt212 on Sep 03, 2014 at 09:37:23 am     #  

We went there during the UT Musicfest, on a weekend night. There were students going into a private room (they looked like the fraternity governing board or something similar). The rest of the patrons were couples, some elders.

It's been a GREAT place to take older friends because there's one table right inside the doors. No need to maneuver one's cane or walker around chair legs and in between tables to get to a seat.

I sense this aspect will become more important in years ahead: how to provide a nice dining experience where folks with limited mobility can make a graceful entrance and exit.

posted by viola on Sep 03, 2014 at 03:48:56 pm     #