Gradkowski’s is a restaurant located on the edge of the University of Toledo campus. Owned by NFL player Bruce Gradkowski, the restaurant has a nostalgic, hometown feel mixed with an intimate dining environment.
Gradkowski’s dishes are made-from-scratch using ingredients sourced through local food purveyors and growers. The items offered are unique and ever-changing with the seasons. If you take a look at the menu, you won’t see a separate gluten-free only menu because a majority of the dishes can be prepared gluten free upon request.
I have visited Gradkowski’s on several different occasions. They have various meals to choose from to suit almost every mood, from gluten-free pizza to a New York strip steak! The drink menu is also very unique, making it the perfect place to stop during a night out with friends.
On my most recent visit to the restaurant, I was with my mother (also gluten free) celebrating a personal achievement. We arrived at the restaurant at around 5:30 p.m. on a Friday evening, just before the crowd started to filter in. We were both extremely hungry so we ordered somewhat of a shmorgishborg of food to split between the two of us.
First off, my mom ordered the Bleu & Ginger Picked Walnut salad – Bleu cheese with ginger-pickled walnuts and sliced anjou pears. Served atop frisee lettuce tossed in a white balsamic & maple syrup vinaigrette. For me not being the most salad-loving person in the world, this was pretty darn tasty. My mom especially loved it. I prefer Gradkowski’s apple cider vinaigrette dressing instead, which comes on their Bleau Apple Bibb salad. I raved about the dressing so much during a past visit to the restaurant that the server gave me an extra serving of the apple cider vinaigrette in a to-go container! (P.S. the staff is super nice at the restaurant!)
Next up on our celebratory meal menu was the gluten-free Smoked Margarita pizza – smoked buffalo mozzarella, sweet basil, plum tomato sauce. I failed to snap a pic before I dug into it, so I apologize for the half-eaten pie shot below. The gluten-free pizza at Gradkowski’s is delicious and not overpriced like other places. They don’t even upcharge for the gluten-free crust – it’s pretty much awesome. Oftentimes we order the Ultimate Pepperoni pizza, enjoying what my mom calls “The best gluten-free pizza in Toledo” for only $8.90 (compared to the usual $15 charge for anything that combines the words gluten-free and pizza)!
After we enjoyed our appetizer of pizza (weird, I know – but we were REALLY hungry), we were ready for the real treat of the evening.
We ordered the Pat LaFrieda Dry Aged New York Strip Steak. The menu description states Master butcher Pat LaFrieda’s dry aged 40-day bone-in New York strip steak, grilled to preference. Served with sautéed brussel sprouts & butternut squash, finished with a bacon vinaigrette and truffled boursin mac’n cheese. As you probably guessed, we didn’t get the mac’n cheese with the meal, but replaced it with DELICIOUS gluten-free garlic mashed potatoes.
To make a long story short, the steak was off the chain. The plate pictured above looks pretty intimidating, but my mom and I split it, enjoying every last bite. (Literally, I don’t think there was any meat left on the bone.)
This meal was only one of the delicious experiences I’ve had at Gradkowski’s. One of the things I love most about this restaurant is that I do not go and always get the same things. There are so many options to choose from that each visit brings a new dining experience, which is sometimes hard to come by in the gluten-free world.
If you are in Toledo and looking for a restaurant to have a great gluten-free meal at, Gradkowski’s is the place to go!