Grumpy’s is an institution By Jeff Glick
Those of us who have been in and around downtown for a while remember the quirky sandwich shop on Broadway in the Horn Hardware building. The line was generally long and the faces familiar. The move to Michigan near Washington was short-lived; the long narrow space leaves me with memories of the din of conversation and kitchen noises, and the familiar faces remained. Now, and for almost 16 years, Grumpy’s has been nestled in the Warehouse District at 34 Huron St., equidistant from the ballpark and the Erie St. Market. It has a light and airy feel with tall ceilings and brick walls adorned with art and some collectable knickknacks, harkening back to the quirkiness of its former Broadway incarnation. (Toledo’s Broadway, that is.)
Jeff Horn, along with his wife, Connie, maintained the eatery, working with their daughters, Jennifer Shemak and Sara Bauman. Grumpy was, reportedly, a reference to Horn’s demeanor. And while I do not recall him as cranky or abrupt, as a casual visitor I never saw him effusive or bubbly either. In 2010 the Horns passed ownership to their daughters Jennifer and Sara, and grandson, Dustin Hostetler, who was involved until 2013. Changes have been few, but they are welcomed. They’ve added breakfast hours and expanded their reputation to now encompass carryout and catering.
The menu is inventive for both breakfast (8 to 10:30am) and lunch (10:30am to 2 pm) — weekdays only. If you are hankering for eggs and brunchy items, you had better arrive before 10:30; they are serious about the cut-off time for the first meal. But make an effort to get there for the early meal as the offerings are interesting and uncommon. Definitely try the Magpie, with its toasted sourdough served with pesto, roasted tomatoes and two eggs, over easy ($8) or the world-class morning buns, billed as cinnamony, buttery, sweet and flaky ($5), along with a variety of other egg dishes and wraps.
Serving a friendly variety
The places exudes a friendliness and a feeling of security, what with the kitchen staff warding over the dining room from their loft perched several stairs above. The service is pleasant, always with confidence in both the product and the staff’s ability to meet the diner’s needs.
The quintessential breakfast-lunch crossover menu item is the Monte Cristo ($11), an egg-battered sweet French toast sandwich with ham and Swiss that can satisfy the breakfast craving–even after 10:30. Attractive on the plate, it has sandwich menu company with various grilled chicken, tuna, cold sandwiches and burgers, many with names calling back to the eatery’s roots at Horn Hardware.
The salad parade is highlighted by the Garbage Salad, a must-try, and reportedly the most ordered item on the menu. It’s a combination of chopped mixed greens, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, grilled chicken, raisins, provolone, mozzarella, feta and fresh parmesan, all tossed with poppy seed dressing and topped with croutons and bacon bits. I ordered the small, which was plenty. The larger version would require an appetite more ambitious than mine.
For dessert, the cookies are as good at the table as they are to nibble on on the way back home or to the office. Either way, they are a must. Remember the cookies your mom or grandma made? These are similar but they don’t skimp on the nuts, raisins and chocolate chips, depending on their breed.
Don’t let the trip downtown deter you. Grumpy’s is a short drive from anywhere in town and parking is both easy and close by. Make it a point to stop in and expect the place named Grumpy’s to make you smile.
Breakfast 8-10:30 am Monday-Friday | 10:30 am-2:00 pm Monday-Friday | deliveries also available, 34 S. Huron | Toledo 419-241-6728 | food truck locations at grumpys.net.
Grumpy’s Carrot Cabbage Slaw
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped red onion
Mix together with Grumpy’s Delicious award winning Poppy Seed Dressing.