S. Toledo cafe sure knows how to draw a crowd
Located at a busy intersection and surrounded by brick structures sits a small diner with big business.
On most nights, the parking lot of Glendale Garden cafe is packed with cars. The foyer is usually crowded with patrons paying bills and waiting to be seated. During both our visits we had to wait a few minutes for a table because the place was filled. There isn't much space for maneuvering in the small restaurant, but the staff makes it work.
We visited the diner's sister restaurant earlier this year and wanted to compare the two. The menus almost mirror each other, with the one at Reynolds Garden Cafe emphasizing breakfast items and the Glendale cafe more heavy on dinner options. (The Reynolds location is open for breakfast and lunch only.) Both serve decent food at a decent price.
Address: 2521 Glendale Ave.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
Wheelchair access: Yes
Average Price: $-$$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: ggardencafe.com
The menu at Glendale is pretty lengthy. For dinner, we settled on the smothered fire chicken ($9.95), shrimp basket ($7.50), and the grilled chicken sandwich ($7.25). The shrimp were what you'd expect at any restaurant that doesn't specialize in seafood — frozen, breaded, and deep-fried. The entree came with plenty of shrimp, two sides, and a dinner roll.
The grilled chicken sandwich was simple, but tasty. Served on a warm bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion, the chicken was bland, but juicy and nicely grilled. The menu says the sandwich comes with two chicken breasts, but we're certain our sandwich only had one.
Listed as one of the restaurant's specialty dishes, the smothered fire chicken was a nice surprise. We weren't impressed by the appearance, but the flavor was excellent. The entree featured three chicken breast patties, deep-fried, topped with onions, peppers, and mushrooms and smothered with swiss cheese. The crunchy coating surrounding the chicken was spicy and meshed well with the sweet cheese.
Side dishes included potatoes — baked, mashed, hash browns, or french fries — salads, and fresh fruit. The menu also boasts a wide variety of other meal options, everything from Shepherd's pie ($7.50), veal Parmesan ($8.95), several cuts of steak, ribs, and vegetarian dishes. In addition, the restaurant offers several salad and sandwich options.
Like it's sister site, the Glendale Garden Cafe offers a breakfast menu loaded with variety — Belgian waffles, pancakes, steak and eggs, and 17 omelets. We settled on a bacon and cheese omelet ($6.50), a mound of fluffy eggs stuffed with American cheese and bacon chunks. The french toast ($3.95 for a half order) was thick and moist, with a slight hint of cinnamon flavor.
Service was as decent as the food. Our waiters on both visits were pleasant and attentive. However, we had to ask for a coffee refill at breakfast and weren't offered a refill on our almost $3 soft drinks at dinner.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.