LaRoe’s Restaurant

Mature Concerns

Accessiblility: There are short steps at the front entrance, patio and women’s bathroom. Wheelchair accessibility is inconvenient but available through the back kitchen door and public outdoor bathroom.
Specialty diets: Pescatarians will be happy, vegetarians are limited, diet followers will be challenged.
Clean: Yes, nicely maintained.
Lighting: Just right. Dark enough for ambiance, light enough to see and read the menu
Noise level: Not a problem; can easily have a conversation.
Children welcome: Yes.
Parking: Free, on the street.

My husband and I took a scenic autumn drive to Grand Rapids, Ohio for a lazy walk along the Maumee River amidst the changing colors of autumn. We meandered to the historic canal town’s Main Street for lunch at LaRoe’s Restaurant, a charming establishment with an impressive history.

Making Main Street

At first glance, you might assume that LaRoe’s is more than a century old, and you would be partially correct. The building has a long, legendary history that began in 1880 as a dry goods business. A devastating fire, a few floods, and a handful of decades later, University of Toledo graduate David LaRoe purchased the run-down property in 1977 (despite the town having a less than a 50-percent business occupancy).

The property’s weathered history is a thing of the past. With hard work and a persistent vision, David LaRoe transformed the buildings, and the town, into a vibrant community worthy of a being deemed a destination. In 2017, then-Ohio-Gov. John Kasich gave LaRoe’s a congratulatory award, with a certificate proclaiming: “This unique restaurant was instrumental in the revitalization of the village, and we commend Dave LaRoe and all the staff of LaRoe’s for their commitment and dedication to making Grand Rapids a stronger, more vibrant place to live, work and raise a family.”

Today, LaRoe’s is a charming, full service, cloth napkin restaurant with an outside deck along the flower-adorned canal, a casual bar-restaurant area, and an upscale dining room.

Du jour

A 30-minute drive from Toledo, I had it in my mind that I specifically wanted to go to LaRoe’s for their soup. They boast nine different homemade soups. The “du jour” soups ($5.50 per bowl) and signature soups ($7.25 per bowl), or cups ($3.50/$4.25). Lobster bisque, in its own league, sells for $5.50 per cup and $9.50 per bowl. For the indecisive, LaRoe’s offers a flight of five 3oz selections.

A bowl of the Mushroom Brie soup was as fulfilling as it was thick and creamy, with a bit of thyme, mushrooms pieces and just enough Brie. I enjoyed my soup, eating every last bite despite the large portion.

My husband studied the menu, filled with appetizers (try the Kraut Bites for something different), salads (seven choices), sandwiches (eight options, including, fish, BLT, burger, Reuben and deli meats), platters (shrimp, fish, chicken, liver & onions), dinners (nine— ribs, steak, fish, spaghetti and more) and desserts (cheesecakes, pie, parfait, etc). Ultimately, he decided on the charbroiled bologna sandwich, a 3/4 inch thick slice of bologna, with perfect char marks, served on a toasted bun with grilled onions and melted cheese (the toppings were requested additions). The sandwich was fabulous.

Sweet seasons

We plan on returning in December when LaRoe’s is decorated for the holidays. Apparently, the decorations are lavish and beautiful. We will make reservations and enjoy a nice bottle of wine. If the tasteful Halloween decorations, including the gold skeleton taking seat #1 at the bar, are any indicator, the December decorations will be beautiful.

Each December, LaRoe’s offers dinner theater shows featuring the Villagers of Friar Tucksput.

Take the easy and beautiful drive to Grand Rapids, Ohio. LaRoe’s is a worthy destination.

LaRoe’s Restaurant
24138 Front St., Grand Rapids, OH.
419-832-3082
grandrapidshistoricalsociety.org/laroes-restaurant.html

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