The handsome brick building at the corner of Monroe Street and Erie Street downtown has new life thanks to a man returning home to his roots.
Michael Stancati opened Hannon's Block restaurant this week on the first floor of the building with the same name, the former home of Black Cloister Brewery. Stancati and his wife are from Ottawa Hills and they recently returned to the area after living in Chicago for 13 years.
Stancati cooked and managed restaurants in the Windy City.
"It was always my goal to do a spot for myself one day," he said. "We came back and I saw that space downtown, and it was the right space at the right time, so we just went for it. The best part is the city, the people and the relationships we have helped us deliver exactly what we wanted."
The building was erected in 1874 and was the first downtown to have electricity. Despite a thorough renovation years ago, it still has its original charm.
Stancati said it was important to maintain the classic, mid-century modern look and the exposed brick.
The menu takes a similar simple, yet classy approach. The classic American fare is made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
"It's about common menu items fresh from local purveyors we trust," Stancati said. "We want to provide true quality that goes along with simplicity. Same thing with the cocktails. We use fresh citrus, no mixes behind the bar or high fructose corn syrup.
"We’re focusing on items and products that don’t travel across the country to get to us."
Sandy Spang, Toledo Commissioner of Business Services, said it was a pleasure working with Stancati to find a home for his restaurant.
"His focus on locally sourced foods will support other small businesses in our area as they recover from the losses of the last year," Spang said. "Hannon’s Block is yet another exciting addition to the dining options for everyone working, living or visiting in downtown Toledo."
Stancati said the Block burger is poised to become a hit, and also highlighted the king crab toast with avocado on brioche bread from Michigan. He said Hannon's Block makes their own bacon.
Opening during the pandemic has brought its challenges, but Stancati is confident indoor dining will come back strong.
"We’re focused on what could come out of all this with restaurants being pushed to the brink," he said. "We want to bring people back into the experience of dining. They’ve missed it and they’re looking to break free from some of the grasps they’ve been under."
Hannon's Block is open Wednesday and Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4-11 p.m., and Sunday 4-9 p.m.