by Christine A. Holliday
No restaurant manager likes to hear complaints. But at Glendale Garden Café, manager Muhittin Akdeniz doesn’t mind. “The only complaints we get are that customers are too full to have desserts. That’s a good thing . . . it means they are enjoying our food,” he explained.
And there is plenty to keep diners happy. The 11-page menu gives the long-time chef a chance to excel in several categories: pasta, chicken, international favorites, steak and BBQ, as well as breakfasts, soups, salads and appetizers. Homemade desserts, from pies to cakes to puddings and baklava, are the perfect top-off to meals eaten in-house or ordered for carry out.
A Senior menu offers a variety of favorites with the option of an extra plate to split a meal ($1) and an extra side dish ($1.95). Golden Buckeye cards are accepted anytime, except during weekday lunch hours, 11:30-1:30 Monday-Friday.
Akdeniz notes that 70 percent of the regular customers are seniors who choose to eat several meals each week—in some cases, two meals a day—at the restaurant. “It’s meatloaf on Mondays, ribs on Thursdays, weekends, prime rib dinners on Friday and Saturday. Our customers appreciate that there are no canned or instant foods on our menu,” he said.
Nancy Heaney comes once or twice a week with her husband Fred and their friends Sharon and Dave Mall. Nancy comes for the “melt-in-your-mouth” Swiss Steak, and Sharon can’t resist the liver and onions special on Tuesdays. Their husbands joke that there’s no reason to cook at home when they can come to GGC, get good food, and have enough to take home for another meal. All four say they like supporting a local restaurant, and after 20 years, appreciate their personal relationships with the waitresses. “If they see us coming in the door, they have our favorite beverages at our table before we sit down,” Fred Heaney says. “That’s good customer service!”
The variety of foods has drawn Burt and Glenda Cousino to the restaurant twice a day since it opened in 1994. Burt appreciates that the restaurant is kind to senior citizens. “I tell the owner that he wouldn’t have any customers if he outlawed walkers, canes and wheelchairs,” he laughed.
The owners, Mustafa Ilgin and his wife Candi, also own the Reynolds Garden Café at 1220 S. Reynolds Road. While the GGC is open seven days a week throughout the day, including dinner, the Reynolds Road location is open for breakfast and lunch only, including a Sunday breakfast buffet. The menus at both locations tell of Mustafa’s love of cooking, a love that was developed in his mother’s kitchen in Turkey. The diners’ smiles, the number of return customers, and the popularity of the catering from each location indicate that he learned well.
The Glendale Garden Café is at 2521 Glendale Avenue near Detroit Ave. 6am-9pm Monday-Thursday, 6am-9pm, 6am-10pm Friday and Saturday, 7am-3pm Sunday. 419-382-1011, gardencafe.com.