By Tom Konecny
Five years have passed since the opening of Toledo’s first gastropub – Bar 145 – and if you haven’t tried their inimitable combination of made to order food and drinks in a relaxed setting, you’ve been missing out. The 145 in the name refers to the temperature of a perfectly cooked medium rare burger, the warm pink center and slightly crispy outside providing an amazing contrast that is hard to resist.
The gastropub concept was born in England in the 1980s, when neighborhood pubs, generally offering only drinks and snacks, began to offer food, giving rise to a new concept. Here in America the gastropub is now known as a place for hand-crafted, often locally sourced, food in a bar setting.
Burgers & bourbon
Living up to its slogan, “Burgers – Bands – Bourbon,” Bar 145 cranks out a menu that succeeds by keeping things simply gourmet. Among its celebrated Signature Burgers (each accompanied by an order of truffle fries) are the Simpleton, piling thick cut bacon, cream cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions atop a hand formed beef patty on a toasted onion roll ($11.99) and the popular Balsamic Bleu burgers with stella blue cheese, balsamic glaze, and arugula on a toasted pretzel roll($11.99). There’s plenty of others: kimchi burger, pork belly burger, and bison burger, or build your own with over 23 toppings, from roasted red peppers to peach habanero chutney, and 14 house-made sauces to choose from.
Other menu items rotate regularly and during my recent visit they offered street tacos – beef cheek, pulled pork, salmon or duck confit tacos ($3.50 -$4 each) were authentic with a fresh and wholesome twist.
You can’t go wrong with Bar 145’s zesty sriracha fries as a side dish and we also enjoyed (okay, fought over) the mega-popular pretzel bites, served with cheese fondue (10 for $6.99). The bourbon selection is impressive — try over 40 of them — plus pick from over 40 draft beers.
Jeremy Fitzgerald, co-owner and founder, brought the restaurant concept to Toledo following his food service experience at Put-in-Bay, where his family owned several restaurants.
“I just knew Toledo needed something nicer to cater to the business crowd,” said Fitzgerald. “I wanted high-end scratch bar food taken to a higher level. We take bar food and put our own twist on it.”
Fitzgerald also appreciates a good band and brings many P-I-B favorites to Toledo and to his nine Bar 145 locations in Ohio and beyond. Fitzgerald launched the hip, playful Reset arcade bar – connected to Bar 145 which offers plenty of post-meal fun with old-school arcade games.
Employees wear sweet kicks – red Converse Chuck Taylors – a vivid reminder of the Bar 145 culture clash: high-end food on white china served in a relaxed, spirited setting, delivering the gastropub experience.
11:30 am-2:00 am every day 5305 Monroe St. | Toledo 419-593-0073 | bar145toledo.com
- 1 bag pasta (6 oz)
- 3 oz roasted mushroom
- 1 tsp black truffle
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (halves)
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1/4 cup spinach
- 6 oz. heavy cream
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup micro greens
In a sauté pan heat a tablespoon of butter and oil. Next add all the vegetables (including the black truffle). Lightly season with salt/pepper about a teaspoon. Next add the pasta. Toss all ingredients together. Now add the heavy cream. Let the cream come to a boil and then the parmesan. Toss the pasta together to allow to thicken. Top with micro greens.