REYNOLDS GARDEN CAFE

S. Toledo cafe takes standard fare up a notch

8/22/2013
BILL OF FARE
Smothered chicken omelet.
Smothered chicken omelet.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Pretty much everyone from health professionals to parents can agree on that point.

The trouble is, with relatively few food options to choose from (bacon and eggs, hot cereal, cold cereal, pancakes), over time breakfast can become unexciting and one of the dullest meals of the day.

With this in mind, we were excited to see that the Reynolds Garden Cafe offered more. The restaurant on Reynolds Road near Airport Highway delivers imaginative twists on old standbys. It also serves a decent lunch.

MENU: Reynolds Garden Cafe

Chicken stir-fry.
Chicken stir-fry.

In addition to all the staples (pancakes, french toast and oatmeal), the breakfast menu boasts 20 omelets ($4.50 to $7.95), waffles, and pancakes with fruit and/or nut toppings ($2.50 to $5.95), fruit-filled crepes ($5.50 to $6.50), and steak and eggs ($7.95 to $9.95).

We ordered the smothered chicken omelet made with egg whites and with hollandaise sauce on the side ($7.50), silver-dollar pancakes from the kids menu ($3.50) and a jumbo Belgian waffle with blueberry topping ($5.95).

The omelet was delicious, filled with thick chunks of grilled chicken breast, green peppers and mushrooms, smothered in swiss cheese and wrapped in a fluffy egg white. The silver-dollar pancakes were stiff, over-cooked, and tasteless. We hope this isn't an indication of what the regular-sized pancakes are like.

While the menu says the waffles are topped with fresh blueberry topping and whipped cream, we're almost certain that ours was covered with canned fruit sauce, much like the cranberry topping we spread on the pancakes, but, nonetheless, the waffle was tasty. It was thick, but not heavy and the batter wasn't as sweet as we would have liked.

 Reynolds Garden Cafe

★★★

Address: 1220 S. Reynolds Rd.

Phone: 419-381-9000.

Category: Casual.

Menu: American.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. 

Wheelchair access: Yes.

Average Price: $

Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.

Web site: rgcafe.com.

We dined with the kids on our first visit, and used their picky practices to gauge service. Our waitresses worked together to explain the menu and service our table and they were accommodating when we ordered items that were not on the menu.

The interior is an expansive room, sunny and cheery and the walls are decorated with paintings and family photos around the cash register. A full bar is along the back wall. While the menu is bright and colorful, the outside coverings were ripped, worn, looked dirty and didn't instill confidence in us as new diners.

However, they didn't seem to affect business much. During both visits, the place was busy, with most diners visiting during breakfast hours.

We stopped by a second time, and ordered from the lunch menu which features 20 different sandwiches, salads, lasagna, surf and turf, and more. We ordered chicken stir-fry ($7.95), chicken quesadillas ($7.25), and a tuna melt ($5.95).

While the quesadillas were standard, the portion was hearty. Like the stir-fry, the quesadilla could easily feed two or three people. The stir-fry was a mix of pea pods, broccoli, water chestnuts, and rice medley in a brown sauce, most likely a soy sauce. If it hadn't been for the huge portion, the dish would have been forgettable.

The tuna melt was tasty. With a choice of white, wheat, or rye bread, the sandwich comes with a generous helping of tuna that's made with chopped red onion. The bread was grilled perfectly.

Service was a bit sketchy the second time around. Our waitress was forgetful, coffee cups were left empty for extended periods, and she wasn't knowledgeable about the menu. Overall, it seemed she was spread thin, considering just one of her many tables was a group of about 15 people.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com.