Journey to the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll
–by Robert Alexander

Robert Alexander

Inspired by my new assignment to write a series of articles on rock ‘n’ roll for Boomers & Beyond magazine and to live the music, Stephanie and I decided to pack up the RV. With our traveling companion Chico, a 100-pound black lab, we hit the road to Memphis, Tenn., the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll.

Paul Simon said it: “For reasons I cannot explain there’s some part of me that wants to see Graceland. Graceland… Memphis, Tennessee. I’m going to Graceland.”

Not wind, nor rain or hail could keep us from our destination: Sun Studio, the forever home of the Million Dollar Quartet: Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. This corner in downtown Memphis is hallowed ground for rock ‘n’ roll fans.

Sun Studio in downtown, Memphis, Tenn.

Next, we visited Graceland followed by a short drive downtown to Soulsville USA, home of Stax Studios where Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers and Booker T. and the MG’s all recorded national hits. America in the 50s and 60s was a segregated society. Rarely did blacks and whites mix, date or marry, but at Stax Studio in Memphis, black and white musicians came together to create and record great music. Rock music matters because it helped break the color barrier.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Soulsville, USA

Less than a mile from Soulsville is Beale Street where a visit to B.B. King’s Blues Club is a must. I can tell you that the thrill is not gone. Like Marc Cohn’s song, “Then I’m walking in Memphis, walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale.”

Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Miss.

The next day, we headed south on famous U.S. Route 61 to Clarksdale, Miss., home of the Blues, where Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Sam Cooke were born. Legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to learn to play the Blues at the crossroads of U.S. 61 and U.S. 49. After a visit to the Delta Blues Museum, we crossed the alley and had a cold brew at Ground Zero Blues Club, partially owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

Robert Alexander and Chico relax outside of Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss.

After three weeks and nearly 3,000 miles on the road, we were excited to get back home and put some good old rock ‘n’ roll records on our stereo.

Here is my southern music adventure playlist. Have a listen, or better yet, take a trip down south and live the music.

  • “Graceland” – Paul Simon
  • “Blue Moon of Kentucky” – Elvis Presley
  • “Great Balls of Fire” – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • “Matchbox” – Carl Perkins (covered by the Beatles)
  • “Tupelo Honey” – Van Morrison …Tupelo birthplace of Elvis Jackson, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
  • ”Walking in Memphis” – Marc Cohn
  • “The Thrill is Gone” – B.B. King
  • “Try a Little Tenderness” – Otis Redding
  • “Soul Man” – Sam and Dave (covered by the Blues Brothers)
  • “Shaft” – Isaac Hayes, “Can you dig it?”
  • “A Change is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke
  • “I’ll Take You There” – The Staple Singers
  • “Southern Man” – Neil Young
  • “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • “Boom Boom” – John Lee Hooker
  • “Baby, Please Don’t Go” – Muddy Waters (covered by Them, lead singer Van Morrison)
  • “Cross Road Blues” – Robert Johnson
  • “Crossroads” – Cream
  • “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” – Bob Dylan


You’re Welcome.


Get the unexpected at Fangboner Farms
–by Jennifer Ruple


 Jennifer Ruple
Jennifer Ruple







1179 S. Crissey Rd.
Holland, Ohio

They say that opposites attract which seems to hold true when you meet the creators of Fangboner Farms Jan Aguilar and Roland Richardson. She’s a midwestern gal; he’s a southern boy. She’s urban; he’s rural. She’s spicy, and he’s sweet. Although, I think they are both pretty sweet.

Jan Aguilar and Roland Richardson with their 1944 Farmall tractor at the entrance of Fangboner Farms.

The all-natural herb farm, located at 1179 S. Crissey Rd. in Holland, Ohio, was planted in 2009. It’s the perfect blend of the couple’s passions – Aguilar’s love of cooking and growing culinary herbs and Richardson’s love of landscaping and farming. Their desire to meld the two created a truly unique and unexpected business.

Cynthia and Jim Nowak check out the candles at the Fangboner Farms open house.

“We’re not really sure how we came up with the idea, but we think it was over a bottle of wine,” laughed Aguilar. “We try to set ourselves apart from everyone else. Our personalities are very different too, and we take a different approach to our business,” she added.

At Fangboner, you will find dried herbs, spice blends, tea blends, soy candles, natural care products and unique gifts, as well as herbs and perennials for sale. “We have close to 40 varieties of perennials and everything is grown in our organic compost,” explained Aguilar. “We call it our Cosmic Compost because it makes everything grow out of this world,” added Richardson.

Soy candles are available in seasonal fragrances such as eucalyptus and lavender; sweet orange with hot chili pepper; and rosemary, mint and lavender

Fangboner Farms is open one weekend a month.
Each month features a different theme and delicious food and tea samples.

Upcoming dates are May 13-14 and June 10-11.
Hours are Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday noon – 5 p.m.


Spice blends and dried herbs such as basil and chives line the shelves at the farm.

Lemon Rosemary Loaf
Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices)

“I love the contrast of sweet and savory. And I love lemons. And sweet loaf breads. Add it all together and you get a yummy sweet and savory lemon loaf,” said Aguilar.

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground rosemary
½ cup 2% milk

½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, lemon juice and peel.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary; gradually stir into creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
Pour into a greased 8×4-in. loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Combine glaze ingredients. Remove bread from pan; immediately drizzle with glaze. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
These warm sugar cookies with cinnamon remind Aguilar of her grandmother. “I decided to change them up just a bit – Fangboner style. Lavender gives them just an extra special touch – perfect with a cup of tea.”

1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground lavender
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, lavender and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Jennifer Ruple is the author of the blog


Living Small to Live Large

Boomers Embrace Life on the Water
–by Mary Helen Darah

L-R: Chris and Diane Sackett and Steve and Lori Suffety live on their boats, docked at Bay View Yacht Club, year-round.

Chris and Diane Sackett and Steve and Lori Suffety have taken “downsizing” to a whole new level. The couples left their lives in suburbia to live full time on their boats, docked side-by-side at Bay View Yacht Club on Summit Street. “It all started when we joined Indian Hill Yacht Club,” stated Diane. “When we were at home, we wanted to go to the Club, and we didn’t want to go home once we were there. We were having cocktails with friends and they told us they have boats in the water year-round at Bay View. I told them to take us there.” Upon arrival, the couple met Steve and his wife Lori, who live full-time on their boat. “We began to pick their brains about their lifestyle,” recalled Chris. “We filled out an application for Bay View, decided to sell the house and buy a bigger boat. The rest is history.”

Steve and Lori have lived on their boat through two (thankfully mild) Ohio winters. Steve grew up on the water and loved it. “When Lori and I got married 20 years ago we got out of boating,” recalled Steve. “There came a point when I had to get back on the water. At first, it was just me and the kids. I asked Lori to spend time on the boat, and in 2015 we started spending our weekends on the water. In jest she said, ‘We ought to chuck the house thing and live on the boat.’ I felt like the luckiest guy in the world.” Lori feels their new life has made their relationship stronger. “I stayed home and took care of the house while my family was boating. Looking back, I think the house was keeping us apart. It was the perfect time for a major lifestyle change. The kids were getting older and we can now retire earlier while we’re still young,” she stated.

Some major changes and obstacles accompanied the couples’ new boating life. “I really miss having an attached garage and closet space—and that’s coming from a guy,” stated Chris. Both couples had to condense their belongings to fit their new spaces or lack of them. “We had an enormous estate sale and gave away oodles of stuff,” recalled Lori. “It’s a bit daunting to see your possessions go out the door,” said Chris. “The first wave of purging, we got rid of everything we didn’t want or use. Later we got rid of what was least important of what we had left. A third purge is still to come.” Steve and Lori tackled things a bit differently. “We filled up four storage units,” recalled Steve. “Six months later, we got rid of those things as well. It would have been a lot less costly to get rid of things right away. Lesson learned.”

The weather also plays a key role in their new lifestyle. “We had to take my daughter, who was visiting us over her winter holiday, to the airport last year,” said Lori. “The water was over the dock. People don’t realize that there is no stepping out onto dry land to get to the car. The cold water was brutal. There have also been times the wind has blown the water out of the lagoon and we are sitting in mud. Steve failed to mention these potential issues before we moved on the boat.

The four boat dwellers have also cut back on their TV viewing. “Our first year here we didn’t have a TV, and frankly we didn’t miss it,” stated Chris. “We have a TV now and watch Netflix and YouTube, but I find myself looking out the window at the water when the TV is on.”

Diane and Chris Sackett survived an Ohio winter on their boat and are ready for summer.

Support Systems
For the most part, friends and family have been very supportive of their decision. “My two girls were understanding when Diane and I sold our home in Perrysburg,” stated Chris. “My son thought it was pretty cool. He pops in quite a bit,” said Diane. “We get visited a lot. It’s not hard to get people to come for the weekend,” stated Chris.

Steve and Lori Suffety relax on their boat that has elements of their former life in the suburbs.

The Good Life
The side-by-side water dwellers are thankful they took the plunge to boat living. “The best part is not having to pay real estate taxes,” stated Steve. “It’s great not having to pull weeds, plant flowers or mulch before you can enjoy the day. You live life in the present.” His wife, Lori also feels the experience has brought them closer together. “I’m with my husband more than I have ever been,” she said. “Raising our children was wonderful, but I love this time with him more than taking care of a house.” Chris believes that if you have a strong relationship, you will become even closer—emotionally and physically—in a small space. “You need to be your significant other’s best friend or this isn’t going to work,” he stated. “Someday we may need a space for our grandchildren but there are hotels for that!”

The couples feel that it is vital to have a boat club that is another source of entertainment and activities. They feel they have found such a place at Bay View Yacht Club. “I think a few members wondered how long we would last but everyone has been extremely encouraging,” stated Chris. “It’s been helpful having a couple live next door or next ‘dock’ full time,” stated Chris. “We are living large, just in a much smaller place.”



Get Growing

Enhance your environment with easy to care for houseplants
–by Jennifer Ruple

48 S Saint Clair St
Toledo, Ohio
(419) 260-3532

Trendy succulents are planted in a hanging wire basket.

The popularity of houseplants waxes and wanes through the years, but this year they are a hot decorating trend in full bloom. Houseplants are so popular these days that the Pantone Color Institute deemed “Greenery” its color of the year for 2017. According to the institute, the color is “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.”

Audrey Ackerman, owner of Floral Pursuit, located at 48 South St. Clair St. in downtown Toledo, has created a space that will make any plant lover swoon. Her shop is a full-service florist that carries a plethora of interesting houseplants. “My goal is to make this space a hands-on environment. I want people to feel free to bring in their pots and use the potting station or make their own floral arrangements,” said Ackerman.

To help you get growing, Ackerman’s shop carries all the latest trends in houseplants. “Trending right now are snake plants, peace lilies, pothos and schefflera, which all purify the air,” she explained. “Cactus, succulents and air plants are also highly requested because they are low-maintenance plants that don’t need to be watered as often and are more drought tolerant.”

Pot your own plants at Floral Pursuit.

For those who are new to houseplants, Ackerman offers the following tips:

  • “The biggest mistake people make is overwatering. It’s much less risky to underwater than overwater,” she offered. “Wait until the soil is completely dry. You’ll know when it needs to be watered when the soil starts to come away from the sides of the pot.” Ackerman suggested to poke some holes into the plant’s soil, so the water doesn’t go straight through it, then give it a nice slow pour.
  • “Plants need good drainage, and make sure they don’t sit in water. If they haven’t soaked up the water after about two hours, discard the water.”
  • Now that the weather is warming up, you may want to transition some of your houseplants outdoors. “When moving plants outside, be mindful of how much sun the plants are getting. Plant them in containers that are easily portable, so you can move them inside during bad weather,” Ackerman suggested. “Remember, just moving a plant from where you purchased it to your home is shocking for the plant, so take baby steps when finding the right place for it.”
A variety of decorative items are available at Floral Pursuit in downtown Toledo.



Air purifiers include snake plants, peace lilies, pothos and schefflera.

To help provide her customers with the know-how, Ackerman holds workshops on potting plants, basic care tips, and bridal showers. “Some people want direction from me, but I also like putting it into their hands so they can personalize as much as possible. I love seeing what people put together.”


Revisit your fiscal and financial priorities each day
–by Jeff Bucher

Jeff Bucher
Jeff Bucher







Help Boost Your Retirement Savings with These Simple Tips:
No matter where you are in your life, saving for retirement is likely one of your most important financial goals. But, even if you have professional guidance and a clear strategy for your desired future, you could still be missing some straightforward ways to maximize your savings.

We are always here to help you address major life events and financial changes, but we also want to share some simple ways to increase your savings now.

Reevaluate Small Budget Items
Changing major aspects of your budget — such as your housing or healthcare costs — can significantly impact your savings potential, but may also take time to implement. To start saving more today, look at the little places where you spend money and see where you can trim your expenses. For example, do you eat lunch out every day or buy a specialty coffee most mornings? Do you have entertainment packages you aren’t really using, such as cable TV or online memberships? Saving a few dollars each day can add up to thousands of dollars over a year, which is money you can put toward your retirement.

Remember to Imagine the Retirement You Desire
Effective retirement strategies often focus on building a clear vision of how you would like to spend life after your career. As you go about your daily life and make financial decisions, how often do you reflect on this vision? Rather than only thinking about your retirement goals during financial reviews or major choices, start incorporating this picture into your regular decision-making process. For example, each time you make a purchase, ask yourself if you’d rather have this item or put the money toward the retirement you desire. You may discover that by grounding each purchase in this way, you spend less on items you don’t really care about — and have more money to put toward the retirement you’ve dreamed about.

Invest Additional Funds
When you receive a raise, bonus, tax refund, inheritance, or other financial windfalls, spending the funds can be very tempting. Instead, if you choose to invest this money into your retirement, you can boost your savings without affecting your current bottom line.

Saving for retirement is a big responsibility, but it does not have to be a burden. With these simple changes — and support from professionals who care about your future — you can focus on creating a lifestyle that matches your dreams.


Jeff Bucher is the President and co- founder of Citizen Advisory Group, a comprehensive financial planning company in Perrysburg. You can contact him at 419-872-0204; email at; visit at 770 Commerce Dr., Perrysburg; or visit the website at


Investment Advisory Services offered through AlphaStar Capital Management, LLC. AlphaStar Capital Management, LLC and Citizen Advisory Group are independent entities.

Take a Fresh Look at Your Goals

Revisit your fiscal and financial priorities each day
–by Jeff Bucher

Jeff Bucher
Jeff Bucher






Building a healthy financial life is an important concern that everyone should address with diligence and care. Rather than being a one-time event, evaluating your finances—and ensuring you don’t lose sight of your goals—requires timely, purposeful attention.

Imagine, for example, if you went to the doctor, created a thorough and personalized health strategy, carefully stuck to the plan, and then didn’t have another appointment for five years. You might have felt as if you didn’t need to go to for a checkup because your plan helped you make healthy life choices. However, the reality is that a lot can change in a very short period of time, such as medical advancements, new ailments, and more. Though you believed you were on the right path, you might have missed critical guidance and professional insight.

The same scenario applies to your financial life: your fiscal strategies and priorities evolve with you, and they require ongoing oversight for your financial wellness.

Crafting a thoughtfully designed strategy is only the beginning of your financial journey. To make the most of your opportunities, you should revisit your strategy and financial goals at least once a year.

Address life changes
Key question to answer: Have I experienced any major life events?

Your financial strategies should fit your life. So, if your life changes, your finances should change too. We recommend you talk to your financial representative about any events or experiences that might affect your financial priorities whenever they occur.

Revisit your estate plan
Key question to answer: Does my estate plan thoroughly and accurately reflect my wishes?

Creating a clear, airtight estate plan is a powerful gift you can give your family. You should revisit your estate plan once a year to make sure you have clearly shared your wishes, designated your beneficiaries and protected your assets.

Analyze your tax liabilities
Key question to answer: Have changes to tax laws or personal circumstances affected my tax liabilities?

Even the most tax-efficient, financial strategy still needs regular review to ensure it reflects current laws and your evolving life. By keeping up with the changing tax momentum—and revising your strategies as needed—you can help mitigate unnecessary tax liabilities and better preserve your assets.

Review your retirement
Key question to answer: Am I saving enough to comfortably retire when I desire?

Pursuing a satisfying, financially secure retirement is an important goal for many investors.

Each year, you should review your fiscal strategy and retirement plan to determine if you are positioning yourself for the retirement you desire—or if you need to make adjustments to get back on track.

Just like an annual checkup with your doctor, an annual review of your financial goals, priorities, and strategies is part of a healthy financial life. With this regular review, you’ll better keep your financial wellness in check and catch any problems before they become more serious pitfalls. This can help you— no matter what life stage you’re in.


Jeff Bucher is the president and co-founder of Citizen Advisory Group, a comprehensive financial planning company in Perrysburg.
You can contact him at 419-872-0204

visit at
770 Commerce Dr.

or visit the website at

Investment Advisory Services offered through AlphaStar Capital Management, LLC, a SEC Registered Investment Adviser. SEC registration does not constitute an endorsement of the firm by the Commission nor does it indicate that the adviser has attained a particular level of skill or ability. AlphaStar Capital Management, LLC and Citizen Advisory Group are independent entities.


Sharing the IKEA experience
–by Jennifer Ruple


 Jennifer Ruple
Jennifer Ruple







Four hours and nine minutes to be exact, is the amount of time co-editor Mary Helen Darah and I shared meandering the aisles of the mother-of-all home furnishing and accessories stores known as IKEA. With no time constraints (for once) and no regrets about it either, we donned our most comfortable walking shoes and set out to discover the latest in design trends, gather decorating ideas for spring, and enjoy a relaxing lunch.

Founded in 1943 in Sweden, IKEA is in 48 countries. The closest one to the Toledo area is just a little over an hour’s drive north in Canton, Mich., which makes the destination perfect for a day trip.

Colorful flags mark the entrance to home furnishings store IKEA in Canton, Mich.

Let the fun begin
As we approached the store, the large groupings of flags and the massive lettered parking lot evoked memories of childhood theme park visits. Only this time the thrills would be choosing which counter stools to buy. Upon entering the store, we each borrowed a big yellow bag to carry smaller items that we wanted to purchase while perusing the home furnishings department on the second floor. Up the escalator we went.

After a few runners’ stretches, we were ready to embark on our journey. Along the winding path, we were treated to vignettes for every area of the home from living rooms and kitchens to office spaces and bathrooms. There were even full home displays that show you how to live large in very small spaces. We checked out sectionals, ottomans, computer desks and armoires.

Lunch break
At the end of the path on the second floor is the IKEA Restaurant. Halfway through our adventure, it was time for a quick break. I opted for the iconic Swedish meatball platter with fresh veggies, mashed potatoes and a dollop of lingonberry jam, while my colleague chose the smoked salmon salad. We each selected a bowl of corn chowder which ended up barely lukewarm after one of us felt the need to capture the perfect photo of our lunches. The dessert bar was stocked and tempting, but we turned it down for other options later.

Swedish meatballs, lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes are served at the IKEA Restaurant.

The Marketplace
After refueling, we headed downstairs to The Marketplace where the accessories are located. Like two kids in a candy store, we filled our carts with pillows, tape dispensers, wooden spoons, napkins, candles, clocks and plants.

Jennifer Ruple looks over accessories in the garden section at IKEA.


Mary Helen Darah checks out a modern light fixture at IKEA.

Swedish Food Market
Our last stop before departing was the food market. Here we found items such as Swedish meatballs and salmon fillets, jars of lingonberry jam and mustard-dill sauce, and potato fritters and Swedish pancakes. Good thing we passed on dessert because it was time for a warm and gooey cinnamon roll. Two for the road, please.

If you go…

  • Visit on a weekday to avoid crowds and strollers.
  • Restrooms are conveniently located in the store’s entryway. Use them – it’s a long way till the next ones appear.
  • Wear comfortable shoes – the place is huge!
  • Secret passageways allow you to skip some areas of the store, but it’s best to stick to the path. You could become confused and lose all sense of direction.
  • Pick up a catalog. More than likely, there will be a few things you wished you had placed in the big yellow bag.
  • BYOB (bags). The only bags available at checkout are for purchase.

Jennifer Ruple is the author of the blog

Rock Matters – Hits that worried my mom the most

by Robert Alexander

By the time I was 13, rock ‘n’ roll was already in full swing. The Drifters had introduced strings and a Latin beat to There Goes My Baby, and Buddy Holly, age 22, had just died in a small plane crash, along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. Elvis was in the Army and Bobby Freeman’s Do You Wanna Dance started a dance craze for America’s teens. It was 1959, and Boomers lives were forever changed.

Parents were very nervous. This music would corrupt teens’ morals, rob them of their innocence, and set them on a destructive path. With its suggestive lyrics, gyrating performers, electric guitars, pounding pianos, yakety saxes, and driving beat, it was the devil’s music – loud and raw. Parents had every reason to be afraid, very afraid! It was the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.

I grew up in Philly, the original home of Bandstand, and much later I found out what Dick Clark always knew: that regardless of race, region or religion, this music could unite a generation.

Robert Alexander looks through the selection of albums at Culture Clash Records on Secor Road.

So here is my baker’s dozen playlist of early rock hits by the artists who worried my mom the most:

  • Maybellene, Chuck Berry, the father of rock and roll
  • Almost Grown, Chuck Berry
  • Rock and Roll Music (just let me hear some of that), Chuck again
  • Blue Suede Shoes, Elvis Presley/Carl Perkins
  • Young Blood, The Coasters, about an underaged girl?
  • Searchin’, The Coasters, remember Bulldog Drummond?
  • Tutti Frutti, Little Richard, title changed from Cutie Booty for obvious reasons
  • Keep A Knockin’, Little Richard (rock’s other father) at his screaming best
  • Breathless, Jerry Lee Lewis, rock’s original bad boy
  • Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Jerry Lee Lewis, no one could abuse a piano like Jerry Lee
  • Be-Bop-A-Lula, Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps
  • Peggy Sue, Buddy Holly, rockabilly at its best
  • Rave On, Buddy Holly, my favorite opening of any song
  • And one more… The Twist, originally released in 1959 by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters

No ballads, no doo-wop, no soul…not this time, just 50s’ rock.
What’s on your list?

Hard to Find. Impossible to Forget.

Pam’s Corner celebrates a milestone!
–by Mary Helen Darah


Pam Weirauch

It has been 15 years since Pam Weirauch found the courage to change her life. “I worked in a dental office for 24.5 years as a chair-side assistant,” she recalled. “I was the lady who took x-rays, impressions and was the hand holder for the practice.” Weirauch sold the first house she had bought when she was 32 years old and ventured into the unknown world of the food industry. She is now, as she says, the “chief cook and bottle washer” at Pam’s Corner, located at 116 10th Street in downtown Toledo. “I was told I wouldn’t make it in the restaurant business past the first year, so I sold my house and moved into my friend’s guest room,” she stated. “I lived there for about three years. I had read every book I could find on restaurant ownership, and I really thought I wouldn’t make it. I paid rent to my friends, cooked for them and watched their animals.” She is still in disbelief of her actions. “I had moved to Toledo to work in a dental office,” she recounted. “I think I went through a midlife crisis. I was the girl who needed to know where my paychecks were coming from. Obviously, I have gotten over that.”

Weirauch began her culinary career at the Erie Street Market where she stayed from 2002-2006. “Erie Street Market was an incubator where you could test your business and move on. It was a good start for me,” she said. “The city decided to go in a different direction with the building, and we were forced to leave. I was out of business for almost a year. I cleaned a friend’s house, subbed in dental offices and worked part-time as a cashier at The Andersons. I found out what I was made of. During that time, I also discovered what other people are capable of. After that experience, I never ask people what I can do for them. I just do it.”

Following an extensive search and an 11-month renovation project, she found a place that is ‘Hard to find. Impossible to forget.’ “People told me that this was a stupid location,” recalled Weirauch. “Yet, I was looking for specific things when I moved. I wanted a place with built-in clientele. If there is a snowy day, I am in walking distance of the library and other local businesses and there is ample parking. Most important, there was no bad ‘juju’ in this space. I can’t believe I have been in the business for 15 years and in the Davis Building for a decade. When we first moved here, the common space was painted bright purple right before the annual holiday stroll except for one spot outside my door. I was so upset. Paula Fall, former owner of Sophia Lustig, and her staff moved Christmas trees and decorations in front of my non-painted wall. I knew at that moment that I belonged here. We have such a caring community.”

Weirauch realized that 2017 was a big milestone year worth celebrating, but she historically has a unique ‘theme’ for every year. “It varies annually,” she explained. “One year’s theme was ‘Don’t say no to things you normally say no to.’ During her “Face your Fears” year, Weirauch, a woman afraid of heights, took a hot air balloon ride. Last year was her “Accept Praise and Positives” year. “At the end of the day, I had 20 people say wonderful compliments about my cooking,” she said. “One person said there was not enough salt in my soup. What do I remember? That there wasn’t enough salt in my soup. Why do we do that? I have yet to come up with a theme for this year but then I realized it was our milestone anniversary. I want to make it a big deal. I am open to suggestions.”

Pam Weirauch shares a laugh with
13-year employee, Steve Moss.

The entrepreneur equates many things with her success. “Part of my success is my staff. It’s the part of my business that has been my most challenging as well as my biggest reward. One gentleman has been with me 13 years. Building relationships, whether it be with staff or customers, is everything. Positive ‘word of mouth’ has always sustained and moved me forward. Customers continue to make me grow. One man told me he judges a restaurant on its club sandwich. At the time, we didn’t make club sandwiches. Now we do, thanks to him, and they are a big seller,” she stated. “I like to take care of the people that have been loyal to me.”

In addition to the eat-in restaurant, Pam’s Corner also offers boxed lunches and has hosted rehearsal dinners, anniversary parties and other gatherings. “We have a whole common space available for functions,” she stated. “The biggest party we had was when a police officer retired. We had three shifts of officers come through. I really enjoy the interesting events we have held here.”

Although the event has yet to be named, Weirauch is excited to celebrate the upcoming anniversary of Pam’s Corner. The celebration will be held on May 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. She states, “We will have entertainment, appetizers and prizes to thank the community that has been so greatly supportive.”

At times Weirauch still experiences disbelief that she left a stable job and followed her dream. “Many people think that my work in the dental office vastly differs from what I do now. It’s actually very similar. I have always been good at reading body language, and I can tell when someone needs a little extra assistance. I am blessed and feel grateful for the people that choose to cross my threshold. I hope to keep on keeping on and continue this journey,” she stated. “Although we may be hard to find, after 15 years, I hope we’re impossible to forget.”


Bring on Brunch

Brighten the buffet with springtime dishes
–by Jennifer Ruple

As the landscape becomes a bit greener each day and tiny crocuses make their seasonal debut, we can look forward to Easter celebrations and springtime entertaining. Liz Donaldson, assistant chef at Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee, created four fabulous dishes that will brighten up the brunch buffet for your family gatherings and help you welcome the new season.

Citrus Breakfast Salad
Servings: 6

2 ruby red grapefruits, segmented
2 pink or white grapefruits, segmented
2 navel oranges, segmented
2 Cara Cara navel oranges, segmented
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup honey
Fresh mint, chopped
1 piece fresh ginger
1 pint blueberries, rinsed
Toasted almonds, if desired

In a saucepan, heat the orange juice, honey, mint and ginger. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove the piece of ginger.

Place the segmented fruit in serving cups. Once the juice has cooled, pour it over the fruit and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Before serving, add the blueberries and garnish with nuts, if desired.

Breakfast Strata with Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta and Gruyere
Servings: 12

1 loaf ciabatta bread
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cleaned and quartered
2 shallots, minced
6 ounces pancetta, diced
6 ounces Gruyere, shredded
8 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a skillet, sauté the pancetta, sprouts and shallots over medium heat and cook until pancetta begins to brown. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the eggs and the half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper.

Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. 

Cut the ciabatta into 1-inch thick slices. Line the pan with the ciabatta. Top the ciabatta with the Brussels sprouts and the pancetta. Sprinkle Gruyere over the top. Pour the egg mixture over the top.

Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes or until the center of the strata is set.

Bananas Foster Stuffed French Toast
Servings: 12

4 tablespoons butter
3 ripe bananas
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup dark rum
6 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup sugar
4 large croissants, sliced in half
Powdered sugar for serving

In a skillet, melt the butter. Add the bananas, brown sugar and rum. Sauté mixture until the bananas are tender. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and sugar.

Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Lay the slices of croissants in a single layer. Top with half of the banana mixture. Repeat layers with remaining croissant slices and bananas. Pour the egg mixture over the croissants and bananas. Bake at 350 F for 35-45 minutes or until set. Dust with powdered sugar when serving.

Living Large Breakfast Sandwiches
Servings: 6

6 crumpets or English muffins, sliced
8-ounce package French Brie, sliced
8.5 ounces Dalmatia Fig Spread (orange or original flavor)
½ pound Applewood smoked ham, thinly sliced

Layer slices of ham and Brie over the bottom halves of crumpets. Brush a nice layer of the fig jam on the top halves of crumpets. Place both halves on a baking sheet. Broil 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.