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Published: Saturday, 6/11/2011

Budapest Restaurant to close

Hungarian menu featured since ‘59; last day is June 26


A longtime Toledo eatery, long known for its ethnic food, will close its doors this month unless a buyer can be found.

The Budapest Restaurant, which has been serving authentic Hungarian food to Toledo’s Hungarian immigrant populations and others since 1959, has announced it will close its doors for business on June 26.

Co-owner Robert McMahon said his business partner, Robert Johnson, is leaving town for another opportunity elsewhere. “When you are a two-person restaurant, it makes it tough to continue with only one person,” Mr. McMahon said.

The two men reopened the Budapest, in the 3300 block of Monroe Street, in 2005 after it had been closed for five months when its previous owner died.

“We’re certainly not happy that something that’s been here for 52 years as the Budapest has to close. A number of our customers have been coming since the 1930s, but with an aging customer base, the business hasn’t been the best, so finding someone that wants to invest has certainly been a challenge,” Mr. McMahon said.

The building in the Auburndale neighborhood has been a restaurant of one sort of another since a Jewish deli opened there in 1931.

It housed four other restaurants between its opening and when the late Louis and Barbara Szodi opened the Budapest on the site in 1959, catering their menu to the town’s large contingent of Hungarian immigrants — most of whom lived across the river in the city’s Birmingham neighborhood.

“It was never a Hungarian neighborhood around here,” Mr. McMahon said. “The folks that have been loyal to the restaurant have remained loyal, but the number of people [of Hungarian descent] that come in still is dwindling.”

Mr. McMahon said he has put the restaurant up for sale, but pending a buyer, it will close its doors for good on June 26.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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