Restaurant boom attracts visitors to downtown Toledo

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – Local residents have seen an increase in the number of restaurants in the downtown area recently. Several new businesses have popped up, and business owners and city officials see this as a positive change.

The Registry Bistro is located in the old Secor Hotel at Superior and Jefferson. The new eatery joins other recently opened restaurants such as Weekdays on Adams Street, Bleak House Coffee on Madison, Lazeez Mediterranean on north Saint Clair, and the Ye Old Cock and Bull that opened last week by Fifth Third Field.

Sam Salami is the owner of Lazeez behind the HCR Manor Care building. Salami used to work at a downtown cigar shop, and when his customers told him they loved Lebanese food, he couldn't resist. He and his father opened Lazeez one month ago, featuring shawarmas, their homemade version of gyros.

"So far it's been great, the lunch crowd is amazing. You've got people, different people every day, different reviews, different things, it's going pretty good so far," said Salami.

Lazeez caters to the lunch crowd and seems to be finding success one slice of meat at a time.

Bill Thomas, executive director of the Downtown Toledo Improvement District, says the new eateries represent a vitality that hasn't been seen downtown in years.

"So the more people that we can get down here then the better off that everybody is going to do because each location offers something different in the way of food and entertainment and character," Thomas said.

At the Registry Bistro, they say they will be targeting the after work crowd when they open in two weeks. Located next to the Secor Art Gallery, they also have artwork on display. They say they feature fine dining and cocktails for people out for a night on the town.

"I don't think it's really competition. I think that we all feed off of each other. I think that the more the merrier. People are going to come down if there's more options versus it just being on an island, alone," said Registry Bistro Head Chef Erika Rapp when asked about whether or not downtown competition is a bad thing.

Two big reasons for the restaurant explosion have been rumored to be the fact that the Huntington Center brings people downtown all year long, and new downtown condos and apartments are filling up.

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