Monthly Archives: January 2012

Restaurant Review: Grumpy’s

logoIt’s no secret that Toledo has its fair share of restaurants. The city has become a test market for franchises like Taco Bell, yet local restaurateurs are not intimidated by the city’s reputation. We have burger joints and sandwich shops, authentic Thai, Lebanese, Vietnamese and Mexican restaurants. Any type of food that you desire the Glass City most likely has it. However, while many restaurants sprout up each year, and others shut their doors, it is truly inspirational to see a restaurant survive the tests of time. Intensely popular and insanely addictive Grumpy’s in Downtown Toledo has done an excellent job of luring in hungry customers for 27 years!

Located at 34 S. Huron, just a few short steps from 5/3 Field and the Erie Street Market, Grumpy’s is the ultimate lunch spot for any business person looking to escape the confines of the office. Their menu is extensive to say the least- from thin crust homemade pizzas to fresh cut salads, grilled burgers, piping hot soups, and killer sandwiches. While it is a favorite for lunch, Grumpy’s also has delicious breakfast options like Eggs Benedict Pizza, Steel cut Oatmeal, and World Class Morning Buns. Get your caffeine fix with their “Custom Roasted Coffee [that] will kick you in the pants!” Everything is made by Aunt Jenny- Grumpy’s lead chef for 27 years.

Grumpys-insideWe sat down with co-owner Dustin for what was supposed to be a brief interview that turned into quite the conversation about the history of Grumpy’s, how he took ownership with his 2 aunts, and the supplies he just can’t live with out.

Grumpy’s is an interesting name. What’s the origin?
It was my grandfather’s nickname. He wasn’t what you would call the friendliest guy. Some customers loved his attitude, others not so much. But the name stuck.

How do you select where you will purchase your meats, vegetables and produce?
We order from a variety of places depending on availability. We love shopping at farmer’s markets whenever possible. What’s most important is the quality of the vegetables and meats we need.

How do you select the equipment and supplies in your kitchen?
Quality as well as price. We moved to our current location about 12 years ago and had our entire kitchen redone. So when something needs to be replaced now we usually go back to that particular manufacturer, since it was able to withstand the rigors of our kitchen for at least 12 years. When shopping for supplies, customer service is key. I like to come in to Burkett’s and look around at different products and get some ideas. It’s nice to be able to do that.

What is the most used item in your kitchen?
The griddle! We use it for lots of our menu items like burgers and chicken breasts.

What is the one item would you be devastated to lose?
The red coffee grinder on the coffee bar. That would be horrible. It’s so old- it’s been here since my grandfather owned the place. It’s got to be at least 20 years old. Definitely irreplaceable.

Other than Grumpy’s of course, where is your favorite restaurant to eat at?
Well I eat here a lot! But outside of Grumpy’s I love the Beirut, Mac & Tong’s, and San Marco’s. They all have great food.

Grumpys-garbage-saladWhat is the most popular dish on your menu?
The Garbage Salad. It’s like a burger version of a salad. It has a salty sweet poppy seed Dressing, croutons, raisins, bacon, and cheese. Their burgers are also very popular. According to the Toledo Blade, “I’d argue that Grumpy’s sandwiches rank among the best in town, starting with the restaurant’s incredible hamburgers. Odd that a place best known for its salads and lunch sandwiches would offer what I consider the best burger in Toledo, but Grumpy’s pulls it off.”

How did you come up with your menu?
The menu is a product of being open for over 25 years. A lot of the new items are based on the kitchens creativity and then whether or not our customers respond well to them. We add a new dish every few months. Many of our sandwiches are named after customers who invented them.

How has Grumpy’s been able to succeed in a franchise heavy market like Toledo for over 25 years?
We’re consistent like a franchise. Aunt Jenny’s been in the kitchen cooking the same dishes with the same consistency since the beginning. Customers expect to come in every week and order their favorite dish and for it to taste the same each time. Our goal is for hungry patron’s to know that eating at Grumpy’s is a no-brainer!

What advice do you have for a new restaurateur opening a restaurant in a franchise heavy city?
Know the customers you have and the customers you want. You’re not going to appeal to the whole city so work hard on appealing to your desired audience. For example, our customers are mainly business professionals and lawyers so we offer them delivery and catering service as well.

What would you like to see the city do to help local restaurateurs such as yourself succeed?
Continue to foster the “local concept” through organizations like Toledo Choose Local. Making Toledo a destination spot because of the restaurants we have. There are some very unique restaurants here that people would encourage people to visit Toledo for a weekend just to eat there. One example is Tony Packo’s on the east side. That place has some amazing history. There are buns on the walls signed by famous people who have eaten there. Very cool place.

What city events is Grumpy’s involved in?
I’m personally involved in Toledo Choose Local. We are members of the Toledo chamber of Commerce, the Warehouse District, and the Museum of Art. Grumpy’s is also a Business Council Member for the Toledo Museum of Art. We participate in Taste of the Nation as well.

By the way- Just in case you can’t get to Grumpy’s for breakfast or lunch they do occasionally hold dinner services. On Valentine’s Day, they’ll be open and accepting a limited number of reservations. Visit their Facebook Page for more information on the Valentine’s Dinner as well as what’s happening there.

Mon-Fri / 8 am- 2:00 pm
34 S. Huron, Toledo Ohio, 43604
Phone (419) 241-6728 / Fax (419) 241-6716
Twitter: @GrumpysDeli

10 Tips to Ensure You’re Purchasing the Right Restaurant Equipment

It’s a restaurateurs worst nightmare. You’ve spent months (perhaps years) preparing for your grand opening. You’ve selected the theme of your restaurant, picked the perfect location for success, and created a killer menu. While these are all vital steps in opening a restaurant, many owners overlook the importance of selecting the correct equipment. This oversight can lead to failed inspections and delays in your opening.  Here are 10 ways to make sure that you do not fall into this situation.

1- Talk to Your Local Health Inspector! Have a firm understanding of  the laws in your area and purchase accordingly. Customers always ask if a particular item needs to be under a hood- they shouldn’t be asking us. They need to ask their local health inspector because it depends on where they are located and what specific health laws need to be obeyed.

2- Talk to a Consultant! By communicating your needs and your business specifications your Consultant will verify that the equipment is the correct size and has the correct connection requirements. You may know what you WANT, but do you know what you NEED? That’s where a Consultant will come in and walk you through the steps to ensure a perfect transaction.

3- Follow the Instructions! If the instructions say “Professional Installation is Required” please heed this. So often we find out that equipment has been damaged making the warranty void because an owner thinks they can save a few dollars by installing the equipment themselves. (This also means do not hire an unlicensed handy man!)

4- Consider Your Usage!  While sometimes a lower priced product is just a lower price product, often it is a light duty piece of equipment that was never intended to withstand the rigors of a demanding restaurant kitchen. A product that may be a bit more expensive, on the other hand will generally be of comprised of better quality components and offer longer warranties. Know your usage and purchase accordingly.

5- Inspect Your Delivery! Would you take possession of a car without inspecting it for damages first? Of course not! We hope you’re doing the same when you accept a True® Refrigerator from a freight company. It is extremely important that you OPEN THE PACKAGE and inspect the product for package- don’t just inspect the outside of it. According to the policies of many carriers, once you sign for your shipment you are releasing them from all liability pertaining to the delivery of the package. So PAY ATTENTION and don’t feel rushed by the deliverer to just sign off without inspecting first. You can also ask your Consultant about insuring your shipment that will protect you from concealed damage (damages that you cannot see but occur as a result of the shipping)

6- Know Your Utility Requirements– Electric, Gas or Propane! Before you order a Range or Walk-In Cooler, ask your building contractor what voltage and phase your building has. It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we get asked “Should I purchase a gas or electric unit?” The right question though is- “Does your building have a gas or electric supply?”

7- Understand the Function of the Equipment! An ice bin is not the same as an ice machine. The former holds ice and the latter makes ice. It’s small assumptions like this that can cost a restaurateur big bucks in the long run, so read the product description and ask your Consultant for more information if you are still unsure. Make sure the product is capable of holding the necessary capacity. Remember, it is always better that the equipment has a larger capacity than a smaller one.

8- To Warranty or Not to Warranty! Warranties are important but do not assume that anything that can go wrong with a product will be covered. Read the fine print, follow instructions, and take the proper steps to ensure that if there is a problem with your product it can be covered by the warranty. Generally a manufacturer offers a one-year warranty but you can upgrade to a long-term one that will cover the product for up to 5 years.

9- SPACE! Please review the spec sheet and measure the space where you will place the product. A fraction of an inch is all it takes to keep it from perfectly fitting. Another thing to consider is, do you have room for the equipment? You may want a new Espresso Machine for your Italian Bistro, but where will it go? You can do one of two things: Pick a product then designate a space for it OR Designate a space and then pick out a product that will fit.

10- Accessories! Accessories! Accessories! What accessories will you need to optimize the functionality of the equipment. For example when purchasing a griddle, you should also purchase a grill scraper to help you clean it. It is a very large scraper and therefore will cover a larger surface area than your standard grill scrapers. This simple accessory will give you a quicker turn over and therefore allowing you to make more money!  If you are purchasing a new Fryer, it is also recommended that you purchase a new gas hose to go with it. Specifically a “quick disconnect.” It is a simple accessory that is preferred by health inspectors in order to improve the functionality and cleanliness of the product.

We  hope you will consider these 10 factors before purchasing restaurant equipment. They should help mitigate the risks of having to make a product exchange or return. After all, the last thing you want is to delay your opening because you need to reconfigure your kitchen.

Did we miss any important tips? Don’t keep them to yourself! Share your comments below please!

January is National Oatmeal Month

It’s the first month of the year. The month you decide to make a resolution (and swear you’ll stick to it too!). So, while there are many National Food holiday’s for the month, we’ve decided to select a healthy one that’ll be a hit with your customers as they begin their resolution to lose weight.

January is National Oatmeal Month. Remind your customers that starting their morning with a healthful bowl of oatmeal will help lower their cholesterol as well as reduce the risk of heart disease. With knowledge like this, how can they resist a bowl of the good stuff? At home the average consumer will probably heat up the instant variety of oatmeal, but when they come to your restaurant they expect something more wholesome and chichi!

Here’s a recipe for preparing simple, Steel Cut Oatmeal. Serve the oatmeal with a “buffet-like” variety of healthful toppings so your customers can add-in their favorite ingredients.

Simple Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe (Serves 16)four-bowl-of-oatmeal-all-diffrent-kind


  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cup steel cut oats
  • 12 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup milk, preferably whole
  • 2 cups plus 4 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
Equipment You’ll Need
  • 14 Qt Aluminum Sauce Pan
  • 8-ounce Ladle (perfect for portion control!)
  • Southbend Gas Griddle Range (one of our favorite stove/oven combinations)
  • Deep Rim Bowl (we love the Cancun line because you can pick your color)
  • 2 1/2 oz Ramekin Bowls


  1. In a large sauce pan, melt butter and add oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast.
  2. Add boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes. DO NOT STIR.
  3. Combine milk and half of the buttermilk with the oatmeal. Stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Ladle oatmeal into a serving bowl and top with remaining buttermilk, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Now that you have the recipe add mix-in options, served in separate ramekin bowls. Below is a list of different healthful options you can offer your customers to mix with their oatmeal, but we encourage you to be creative and come up with your own. (Don’t forget to share them in the comments section below!)

  • Fresh fruit- strawberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, peaches, blackberries, mangoes
  • Chopped nuts- walnuts, pecans, macadamia, almonds
  • Dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, dried cherries, dried mangoes
  • Spices- brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves,
  • Chocolate chips, peanut butter, granola, almond butter, 100% pure maple syrup, shredded coconut, honey, and jellies.
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