Summaries of recently reviewed area restaurants, in the order in which they were reviewed, with the most recent at the top. To see previous Bill of Fare reviews on the Web, go to toledoblade.com and type "Bill of Fare" into the search box and click enter.
● Decades of perfecting Greek favorites by Joanne Arvanitis (at the former Theos Taverna & Greek Restaurant) and now with daughter Jami Arvanitis, result in scrumptious fare. Theos Mediterranean Cafe (840 N. Summit St.) a cute re-do of an old gas station, sets the standard for a little joint that’s primarily carry out. $, 4 stars.
● Kathy’s Confections, 4441 N. Summit St. (Lighthouse Landing), is a bakery/sandwich shop at the southern end of Point Place. Tucked behind a strip of stores, it’s a half-dozen tables and a little kitchen in one end of a hall that’s used for a Thursday afternoon farmers’/flea market. Breakfast and OK sandwiches are served, as are delish baked goods made off-site by the owner. $, 2 stars.
● On Tuesdays and Thursdays, food trucks rev up downtown's variety of lunch options, with everything from Cuban and Italian, to international sandwiches and some soul food inspired fare. On average, there are anywhere from four to six trucks each day, not including an ice cream truck and food tents with dessert and Chick-fil-a. No matter your preference, there’s something for almost everyone.
The Displaced Chef boasts a menu full of Cuban inspired meals, with dishes featuring ethnic spices, plantains, black beans and yellow rice. We enjoyed the Cuban sandwich ($7), ham, pork, swiss cheese, mayo and pickles tucked inside a Cuban bread and grilled. 3 stars, $.
Jo Jo’s Famous Chili Dog, Butter Burger, and Wings offers the most variety, with chili dogs, chicken wings, fried fish, salads and burgers, to name a few. We were pleased with the butter burger ($3.79 for a single) and the chicken philly cheese steak ($5.99). Accepts cash only. 3 stars, $.
Labaron’ s on the Move does a lot of things well, including it's popular Toledo wings ($5), lightly seasoned, deep fried chicken wings, dripping in a homemade sweet and spicy barbecue sauce that is the epitome of finger-licking-good. We also enjoyed the bratwurst, green beans and baked beans. 4 stars, $.
Rosie’s Rolling Chef food truck is an extension of Rosie’s Italian Grille restaurant. Its menu includes fresh salads with toppings such as salmon or chicken. Hot soups, pizzas, paninis and some of the restaurants dinner menu standouts, including baby lamb chops and lobster mac are also available. The lobster mac is a favorite amongst the food truck customers and sells out often. 4 stars, $-$$.
Ottawa Tavern’s Wanderlust Sandwich Co. serves up a variety of sandwiches, each named for a country or city and made with traditional ingredients from that region. All sandwiches are $8. 3 stars, $.
● Ciao Bella, 3880 Harbor Light Landing Dr., Port Clinton, is the recent culinary brainchild of Mel and Barb Ayers, who were already enjoying the successes of two Nagoya Japanese sushi establishments near Port Clinton and in Perrysburg. They do Italian right as well, with anything from classic lasagna and pasta dishes, to meat and fish dishes heightened to full flavor with fresh vegetables and herbs in the restaurant’s own garden. 4 stars. $$$.
● Zia’s Burger Bar, 805 N. Reynolds Rd., has mastered the art of the American classic. In addition to several great burger varieties, Zia's offers great beer-battered onion rings and outstanding grilled barbecue wings. $$, 3 stars.
● Burger Bar 419, 5125 Monroe St., Sylvania Township, crafts the American classic hamburger in a variety of ways, leading to burger bliss. Hamburgers are dressed with braised short ribs, BBQ sauce, hot peppers, a variety of cheeses, onions, bacon, and mushrooms. Locally sourced grass fed beef is consistently cooked to perfection. Salads, veggie options, and gluten free buns are on hand for the health conscious. $$, 4 stars.
● Smoke Bar BQ, 2556 Tremainsville Rd., gets it right when it sticks to dry-rub delicious barbecue: brisket, ribs, pulled pork, ham and bean soup, baked beans, etc. But it veers off the main course with weird takes on common side dishes such as potato salad and mac and cheese. $$, 3 stars.
● Firepit Grille, 7723 Airport Hwy., Holland, is an attractive venue with some good bones: long hours, a Sunday jazz brunch, TVs everywhere, and a great patio. But no surprises or delights in its standard-fare menu of sandwiches and burgers, a couple of steaks and seafood items. And the kitchen wasn’t on its game when we visited. $$, 2 stars.
● Jo-Jo's Original Pizzeria, 4336 Monroe St. Comfort food is the name of the game at this Italian-American eatery, which has been serving up pizzas and hearty pasta dishes since 1957. You can get everything from sandwiches to fettucine Alfredo in steaming portions. Scarcity of parking and limited dessert offerings are among the few blemishes. On the plus side, half price pasta dinners on Tuesday and half price pizzas on Monday and Wednesday keep customers coming back. $$, 3 stars.