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May 15, 2012 05:19 PM

San Diego foodie moving to Bowling Green, Ohio

Hi chowhounds,

I'm making a work related move from San Diego to Bowling Green, Ohio and I'm looking for some recs for delicious places to eat- from hole in the wall on up. I'm an omnivore who eats fairly veggie-centric. I love ethnic food, seafood, and local farm to table, but am open to everything. Also I'm looking for a grocery store or food co-op that sells and prioritizes local organic produce. I've tried to look on google for some recs.

Will drive for food.

Thank you!

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  1. Unfortunately, I think you'll have to drive to get much of anything. BG is a pretty small town, and really doesn't have much in the way of restaurants, much less ethnic or seafood. Toledo is slightly bigger, and you can find some ethnic grocery options there. But most likely, you'll be driving to Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, or Columbus for anything above mediocre.

    Detroit is probably closest, about an hour from BG. A fair amount of ethnic restaurants and markets, local farm-to-table, greengrocers. Even for something like a Whole Foods, I think you'll have to drive to metro Detroit and/or Ann Arbor.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jjspw

      Thanks, jjspw, this is what I figured. I think that the plan might be to try out Bowling Green for a few months and then perhaps move to Ann Arbor where there will be food and a doable commute (I am moving from Southern California after all)

      I did find out about the Toledo Farmer's Market which I'm excited to check out once I arrive. I'm just starting to feel nervous about fresh produce in the winter...

      Thanks again!

      1. re: ilovetoeatgoodfood

        As someone who once lived with my then-fiancee in Toledo, and commuted to Ann Arbor, I would recommend against moving to Ann Arbor. Toledo is ~35 minutes to Ann Arbor; BG about ~55-65 minutes. Traffic on US23 isn't normally that bad, but there is ALWAYS construction on US23, every April-October, without fail. Driving in the snow is also an issue, especially if you don't have much experience with it.

        Ann Arbor is also very expensive (I suppose you're accustomed to that in SoCal), but you can find very reasonable housing in Toledo. You'd have a shorter commute, and it wouldn't be far to go to A^2 for dinners or weekend day trips. You could probably manage with the Toledo/BG dining and shopping scene during most weekdays, but take every Saturday and dine/shop in A^2 or metro Detroit. Honestly, the ethnic dining options in metro Detroit FAR EXCEED those in A^2.

        You also mention fresh produce in winter. Fresh LOCAL produce in winter is scarce, indeed. But if you're not opposed to buying at grocery stores, their produce aisles certainly don't sit empty November-March. Also, this conversation has some good chit chat about shopping at Detroit's Eastern Market in the winter:

        1. re: ilovetoeatgoodfood

          At the risk of stating the obvious:

          In addition to AA:BG being a lengthy commute, you have the added [cough] pleasure of
          completing tax forms for both Ohio & Michigan.

      2. I have enjoyed several very good meals at Revolver, in Findlay. It is ~40 mins south.

        When visiting friends in Toledo, we always end up at Mancy's Blue Water Grill. Toledo has a large Muslim population, so I expect that you will have a selection of middle eastern and med cuisines.

        I expect that the choices in in BG will be mostly franchised, and target the BGSU student body and those traveling I-75.

        If you happen to find yourself in Lima, consider visiting Kewpee burger ...

        Spend a bit of time with Google, looking for sites the specialize in roadside stands for fruits, berries and veggies. I expect you may find a few pick-your-own farms. Perhaps your new co-workers can provide tips.

        Otherwise, driving will be your new hobby. New username? ilovetodriveforfood

        1 Reply
        1. re: rainsux

          lol, rainsuz. "ilovetodriveforfood" priceless!

          I really appreciate your insights and suggestions. Based on my own research and the responses from you and jjspw, I may have to become "ilovetodrivetowork" and move to a more food-friendly location.

          The tip for roadside stands is such a great idea. I'll be moving mid-summer which is right at the harvest beginning--seems like I'll definitely be able to make many delicious meals from the fall harvest. I'm just nervous about winter produce and dining out options in a close radius.

          Thanks again!

        2. I recommend the Happy Badger in BG. It carries Zingerman's Bread (Ann Arbor) and Calder Dairy products. In Toledo, the closest thing to Whole Foods is the Fresh Market (much much smaller but equally as pricey). A new and wonderful Vietnamese restaurant just openened in Toledo. Its name is Amango and is located on Monroe St. Beirut is my favorite Lebonese restaurant. For very fresh Indian food, I recommend Deepam in Central Ave. Welcome to the area!

          1 Reply
          1. re: J in Toledo

            thanks, J in Toledo! These all sound like yummy recommendations that are definitely on my "to eat" and "to shop" list. I'm assuming Happy Badger is a grocery store/market?

            I love Vietnamese, Lebanese and Indian food so cannot wait to try your recs.

            Thanks again!

          2. I believe Revolver closed. The chef/owner took a position at Inverness, a private club in Toledo. I would recommend Beirut on Monroe St. in Toledo for great Lebanese. We love Indian Jewel of Toledo on Airport Highway near the expressway, so easy from B.G. They have some terrific vegetarian dishes. Also, Seva in Ann Arbor is a wonderful vegetarian spot.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sammyo

              Squeakers, In BG (imagine that), is a decent vegetarian/vegan option on the North side of downtown. You should check that out, iltegf.

              Bowling Green actually has plenty of non-franchise restaurants, especially on Main St. (State Route 25.) It's a small town, but a college town with the bit of variety that goes wth college towns. You may want to check out Call of the Canyon, also "downtown." Easystreet Cafe and Sam B's are also worth trying. For pizza, Pagliai's (pronunced polly eyes) and Myles's are the go-to places.

              1. re: Fibber McGee

                Thanks Fibber for the local BG recs, I will definitely have to check them out, especially Squeakers, that might be my first BG restaurant destination!

                1. re: ilovetoeatgoodfood

                  Squeakers is more of a grocer with a decent-sized menu. Not mucn seating that could see, but I only carried out. Lots of organic groceries.

            2. Warning: Do not set foot in any Mexican restaurant in Ohio. You will be sorely disappointed. I spent 12 years in Arizona/California and I've only found one 'taco truck' in Ohio that knows how to cook Mexican food.

              5 Replies
              1. re: J in Toledo

                J, Have you tried San Marco, the grocery/restaurant on Summit by the high level bridge? I'm no expert but lots of folks think it's pretty authentic. Also, my wife and I had dinner at the new Vietnamese place on Monroe Street. I beieve it used to be called Charlie's. The food was quite good we thought..

                1. re: sammyo

                  I should add that the grocery store still stocks some great items.

                2. re: J in Toledo

                  Ohio is a big state. Where have you gone? Here, in Dayton, we have at least four places that do a great job doing more than your typical gringo Mexican.

                  As for as BG/Toledo/Perrysburg, I would agree, though.

                  1. re: Fibber McGee

                    You are correct, I should have said avoid all Mexican restaurants in northwest Ohio. I'm intrigued by the new Imperial restaurant in Ferndale , MI. It is described as serving LA-style street food.

                    1. re: J in Toledo

                      I actually grew up in the Detroit area and lived in San Francisco for awhile before I moved to SD, all to say that I never really liked Mexican food until I moved to SD. I love the Socal style Mexican food that predominates in SD and LA. Sadly, I'm always disappointed with Mexican, not just in the midwest, but in NorCal, in NYC, and pretty much everywhere else. I would actually really like to try Chicago Mexican food at some point.