Doug Schmucker, the current owner of the staple Toledo diner, is pointing out customers in the dining room: “Jerry comes in every Monday. He always orders goulash. Joann, on the other hand, gets two eggs and toast— lightly buttered. Some regulars come in Monday through Saturday.” But like the diner, regulars also take Sunday off— the day Schmucker’s is closed.
For many, the North Reynolds Road diner is a staple of the Toledo landscape. Its’ classic diner fare and legendary pies have been a Glass City culinary tradition for almost 70 years, with generations making Schmucker’s a part of their lives.
“It’s an authentic, family diner where you get to feel like part of the family,” said Doug. “We serve good, homemade food, mostly made from scratch. We peel our own potatoes, chop our own french fries, and our hamburgers are portioned and pattied daily. Even our gravy is made from the drippings of our slow cooked roast beef.”
In 1948, Doug Schmucker’s grandfather, Harvey, decided to take a chance. He borrowed $20,000— not exactly chump change at the time— from two of his brothers and opened Schmucker’s Dairy Bar, originally more of an ice cream and pie shop than a diner. The menu items were all completely homemade, literally— Harvey’s wife Nola would make the pies in their home down the road. While pies are now made in the restaurant, a lot of the basics from that original menu are still intact all these years later.
“My father worked here his whole life, before passing away in 2000 at age 68,” said Doug. “He was 16 when Grandma and Grandpa opened this place and he was a mainstay. My mother was also a staple here and made the pies for many years.”
When Doug started, he was 12; 48 years later he and his wife Patty own it. “We have stayed true to our roots,” Doug explains. “Grandpa believed that if you provide quality food at a reasonable price, and make sure that the customer didn’t leave hungry, they would be back. I’ve never lost focus of that.”
Walking into Schmucker’s can feel like traveling back in time. The same stools that were installed in 1948 still sit at the counter. “We are who we are and we want to stay true to that, so there has been minimal change over the years,” Doug explained. “And people love that. They come in and say, ‘I moved away 30 years ago, and I’m so glad that this is what I remember. It hasn’t changed at all.’”
A few small concessions have been made to modern sensibilities— a flat screen TV, a book rack selling modern tomes— are all that breaks the spell of being surrounded by old school Americana itself. Schmucker’s is a classic and it exudes the aura of comfort food.
Don’t expect anything fancy on the menu, or come for culinary excitement— a visit to Schmucker’s delivers more like a hug. From breakfast offerings like a classic Sunrise Special (one egg, home fries, bacon and toast) to lunch and dinner fare, such as hamburgers or a classic Ribeye steak, the fare is mouth-watering, belly-filling, and never too expensive.
And then, there’s the pie— oh, the glorious pie— with a dizzying variety of fresh-made pies offered every day: Lemon Chiffon. Blackberry. Chocolate Chip Pecan. Strawberry Banana. OH-IO Buckeye Pie. Each flavor tantalizing. Every recipe a closely guarded secret.
“With today’s fast food and our fast lifestyles— to step back and get that warm, nostalgic feeling of the way that things can still be— offers a good feeling full stomach,” Doug said. How true.
Grandma Nola Schmucker’s Meatloaf
10 lbs. Hamburger
2 lbs. Sausage
5 Cups Bread Crumbs
4 Cups Oatmeal
1 1/2 Cups Ketchup
1/2 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
3 Cups Tomato Soup
18 Lg. Eggs
2 lbs. Diced Onion
1 cup Diced Green Peppers
2103 N. Reynolds Rd. | 419-535-9116