The Savvy Sylvanian — 06.20.17

finds space at Central Storage Depot
–by Mary Helen Dara

Skip Aston, owner of Central Storage Depot, in front of the newly acquired 100% steel storage units.

Perhaps it wasn’t a wise choice for the overly sentimental Savvy Sylvanian to visit the Central Storage Depot, located on 8534 W. Central Ave. The facility offers safe rental spaces for all your needs. The Central Storage Depot can store your precious things until you need them or, as is the case with yours truly, come to terms to letting go.

The family-owned business has been in operation since 1996 and anyone who enters their doors has a chance of meeting owner, Skip Aston, and a guaranteed encounter with the woman who has kept things running smoothly since day one, manager Pat Parker. “We met in church 30 years ago,” recalled Aston. “People just love her. I can’t count the number of people who say they miss Pat when they no longer rent space from us.”

Today the business continues to flourish yet that wasn’t the case in the beginning. “I had an opportunity to buy just the property or to also buy an additional seven acres, which I chose to do,” stated Aston. “After I bought the place, it was discovered that the property sat a little lower than Central Ave. The Sylvania Township made me bring in filler dirt at the cost of $60,000. I thought it was stupid. Normally, I do not like government intervention but the Township knew what they were doing. We are now prepared for the 100-year flood. Frequently in the first year of owning a business, you feel that you have made a mistake. Our first year, only two units were rented, after spending an extra $60,000. Now we have 80% occupancy. It just takes patience and persistance.”

According to Aston, people use the storage facility for a variety of reason including the loss of a house or going through a transition such as divorce. “We have people who store their cars for the winter, furniture and items from a departed loved one and even retired attorneys who are legally required to keep records for a specified amount of years. We have had people whose parents have died store their items here because they can’t throw them away,” stated Aston. “After paying storage fees for a couple of years, they can. It’s a process I like to call ‘storage therapy.’”

Recently, the facility, that maintains its status as the only commercial storage facility in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan to have indoor and outdoor storage, added 20 secure storage containers made of 100% steel. “They are wonderful,” stated Parker. “The units are high and dry and a cheaper alternative to regular storage. The units are weather tight with insulated ceilings, ventilated and ready to be filled by someone in need of space.”

I found it interesting to learn that over half of Central Storage Depot’s renters are women. Once again, Aston sings Parker’s praises. “I know my wife of 42 years is at times a bit directionally impaired,” he said. “Pat (Parker) makes everyone feel comfortable and has formed nice working relationships with our clients. One person she has known since we opened. It’s nice knowing she is here to help assist, guide and direct our customers.” That was music to his ears of this logistically challenged Savvy Sylvanian. I hope to purge some of my belongings after a recent downsize but just in case I have difficulties letting go, it’s nice to know there is ‘storage therapy’ available on Central Avenue.

Pat Parker, left, has been assisting clients with their storage needs since the opening of the facility on West Central Avenue that is greatly appreciated by owner Skip Aston.



Sizzle Simmer Sauté Sylvania — 06.20.17

  Make it a red, white and blue-tiful celebration
–by Jennifer Ruple

 Jennifer Ruple
Jennifer Ruple

It seems like just yesterday that the kiddos were finishing up their school year, and here we are knocking on the door of Independence Day. Summer sure does fly by, and that gives us even more of a reason to make it a festive and fun holiday for all ages to enjoy.

Take the fun outside, and plan a patriotic party with red, white and blue decorations and a coordinating food buffet. Here are a handful of décor and recipe ideas to make your Fourth of July a red, white and blue-tiful celebration.

Don’t forget the hot dogs and sparklers!

Create a patriotic centerpiece with colorful blooms.

Start with the Centerpiece
Create an All-American table display with one large or a few small cobalt blue vases.
Fill each vase with red and white flowers such as mini carnations, daisy mums, snapdragons, gerbera daisies, stock or ranunculus.
Add a small American flag to each arrangement and a little something sparkly.
Anchor the arrangement on an American flag table runner.

Cherry and Blueberry Cheesecake Desserts

Cherry and Blueberry Cheesecake Desserts
Satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth with individual-serving cherry and blueberry cheesecake desserts.
Serve these tasty treats in canning jars, and they’ll be a hit with adults and youngsters alike.
Servings: 8

Eight 8-ounce canning jars
Two 3.4-ounce boxes of cheesecake flavored pudding
2 cups cold milk
⅔ cup graham cracker crumbs
⅛ cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Cherry and blueberry pie filling
In a medium bowl, whisk pudding mix and milk together for two minutes. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Spoon even amounts of crumb mixture into canning jars.
Divide pudding among canning jars.
Top with cherry and blueberry pie filling.

Serve a light, refreshing fruit salad.

Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad
Keep it light and healthy with a colorful and tangy fruit salad.
A coating of this sweet and tart dressing enhances the salad by helping to keep the apples from browning, and the fresh mint adds a cooling element to the dish.
Servings: 10

1 pound strawberries, sliced
6 ounces blueberries
3 cups watermelon, cubed
1 apple, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon mint, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, toss together fruit and dressing. Chill until serving.
(Recipe adapted from

Dress up drinks with iced fruit cubes.

Iced Fruit Cubes
Keep your beverages chilled with iced fruit cubes.
Fill ice cube trays with an assortment of fresh berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries – any combo will do.
Freeze, and then add them to individual water glasses. The fruit not only looks pretty, but it adds a nice infusion of berry flavor into your drinks.


Art to transform utility boxes in downtown

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

The Sylvania Community Arts Commission is seeking artist submissions to transform six electric and utility boxes throughout downtown Sylvania and the Red Bird Arts District into beautiful vinyl wrapped displays of colorful and inspiring work by local and regional artists.

The SCAC will accept applications for this call for art through June 23. Applications should include complete, partial or modified images of already-created works or works created specifically for this public art project. Modified work must be original and appropriate.

The committee will accept up to three artwork submissions per artist, with one image file for each work of art. Submissions should be two-dimensional. Artists should keep in mind the shape of the utility boxes and how their work will look on a three-dimensional surface. The art will wrap around the boxes of various sizes and shapes.

The design must be submitted as a .jpeg and
accompanied by a $5 entry fee for one design or
a $10 entry fee for up to three designs.

Online applications can be found at (under Public Art) or at

Submissions must be received by 11:59 EST on June 23 for consideration.



Inside the Five Brewing Company to open next spring

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Chris Morris, Katie and Brandon Fields will open Inside the Five Brewing.

Inside the Five Brewing, located at
5703 Main St.

plans to open in downtown Sylvania in the spring of 2018. Brandon Fields, along with his wife Katie Fields and friend Chris Morris, plan to convert the space formerly known as Treo, into a brewpub.

The Fields grew up in the Sylvania area and moved to Florida where he was the punter for the Miami Dolphins for eight years. What began for him as an off-season hobby quickly turned into a passion that he now wishes to share with the community. Brandon and Katie have returned to Sylvania to open Inside the Five Brewing Company with Chris, a six-year NFL lineman veteran and native of nearby Temperance, Mich.

“I first fell in love with craft beer after having Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale,” said Fields. “Since then, I have spent a lot of time brewing with and learning from Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, Fla. I have always enjoyed it when friends and family would come over to our house and try the newest beer creations.”

When I was first asked to be a part of the brewpub, I was unaware of the craft beer revolution that was taking place in this country,” Morris said. “Sylvania will be the perfect location to foster the enthusiasm for unique, locally-crafted beers.”

Fields, the head brewer and CEO will work closely again with Morris, a former Michigan State teammate, CFO, and his wife, Katie Fields. Mrs. Fields will manage and plan all events at Inside the Five. “We want people to learn something about beer, take a tour of the on-site brew house and try something new,” Mrs. Fields explained.

Inside the Five will offer a variety of unique beers on tap to pair with their creative food items. Guests should expect a very casual and welcoming environment that is both family-friendly during the day and social at night.

“In football, when a punter is able to pin the opposing team inside their own five-yard line, that is the best result achievable. Our goal as a brewing company is to create the best recipes for our customers, striving to keep our beers inside the five!”


Local Realtor takes ‘The Art of Neighboring’ to new level

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Jim Hiltner

As a realtor, Jim Hiltner deals with issues facing homeowners. He has seen first hand how important neighbors can be and how many problems can be solved when people in neighborhoods know each other and are friendly. “My wife and I have lived in the same neighborhood since 1990. However, at the time, we moved in thinking we would only be in the home for a year or two. Even so, our neighbors were very friendly and welcomed us, which led to long-term relationships,” he said. “But this scene doesn’t always work that well,” he added.

“I deal with many homeowner association board members,” he said. “It seems that many of them spend most of their time policing problems between neighbors,” he pointed out. “When people don’t know each other, they are less likely to discuss problems between themselves and more likely to involve their homeowners association or even the police, creating even a bigger situation,” he said.

When Hiltner heard Dave Runyon, the co-author of The Art of Neighboring, a guest speaker at McCord Road Christian Church on March 12, the message resonated with him. Hiltner bought into the program and decided to incorporate the Art of Neighboring in his business.

“One of the ways I have found to foster good neighboring is to encourage homeowners to host a block party. I have a list of suggestions on how to organize such an event. I also donate a case of bottled water for the party,” Hiltner explained. “This is a fun and easy way to get to know all of your neighbors,” he promised.

“And, on the practical side, neighborhoods that offer a strong sense of community and friendliness adds value to each home, as well,” Hiltner said.

McCord Road Christian Church Outreach Coordinator Betty Basset noted, “This year’s outreach focus at McCord Road Christian Church is to ‘Serve Sylvania,’ so concentrating efforts on the art of neighboring is very appropriate and part of our broad purpose.” After researching the subject, she found “The Art of Neighboring,” a book written by Runyon and Jay Pathak.

“This is something everyone can do,” Bassett reflected. “We all have neighbors and the art of neighboring is a simple concept. If you know your neighbors, you can have a dialog with them. Those conversations lead to understanding,” she said.

The Mouse Trap — 06.06.17

–by Janice Weber

Janis Weber 2010
Janis Weber








What Internet Speed Do You Really Need?
The internet providers are always shouting that you need more and more speed and they are the only company that can give you the service and speed you require. Take your statement from Buckeye, Frontier or whoever you pay for internet. Someplace on that paper is a number indicating what internet speed you are paying for and the price. If you don’t see it or are confused, pick up the phone and call them (Buckeye is 419-724-9800). Ask what internet speed you are paying for. This is mainly the download speed, which is what downloads information from the internet to your computer. There is also an upload speed but that is how fast you can send information up to the internet or email. There is a vast difference in the numbers.

Now you should search for a website that will measure what speeds you are really getting for the download and the upload. You care most about the download! Here are some suggestions:, speed test.buckeye or They all work equally as well as the other. You do not have to use your provider’s page to do the test. Although they all look different they all have a start button and some animation with the number results for download and upload.

Still with me? Great (if not, go back). Jot down the numbers then compare them to what you are paying for. They should be very close although never exact. Remember, knowledge is power. Now, let’s consider how many devices you want to use in your home at a time. I am talking about your smartphone, smart TV, tablets, reading devices, gaming consoles and music through a Bluetooth speaker. Wow, the 21st century sure has changed the way we connect with the world.

Now we ask ourselves if we ran them all at the same time would they function or behave erratically? There is your first clue that your speed is not high enough. Most homes can survive on 10-12 mega bites per second (mbps). If you have a lot of square footage in your home or the router (internet antenna) is not in the center of the building then you will not get great reception. You can move the router to a better location, get a more powerful router and, of course, pay for faster speeds from your provider. 25-50 mbps is more than enough. Sometimes your wallet makes the decisions. There is something else called a repeater or booster that multiplies your signal throughout the house.

If you want to get someplace faster get a bigger engine in your car. It will cost more, but this is comparable to the internet speed. Slow connecting is annoying, but also beware, you may be paying for too much. I have seen that and explained how to call and lower the speed to meet the minor needs of the household. So, you see it goes both ways. Thanks for hanging in there and reading this whole passage. 

Computer Classes Are Available:
MS Excel Spreadsheet Basics will be held on
June 27 and 28,
1:30-3 p.m.
At Sylvania Senior Center
Call 419-318-9112 to register.

MS Word Basics will be held on
August 22 and 23 1:30-3 p.m.
Call 419-885-3913 to register.

There is a small fee. Microsoft Word and Excel will be offered in the fall. If you prefer personal tutoring, that is my specialty.
It’s just you and me.
Call 419-530-8570 to register for classes at the UT campus.

If you prefer personal tutoring; that is my specialty. It’s just you and me.
Contact me personally for patient/knowledgeable tutoring 

Group Training in Your Home or Facility:
Would you like to have a mini informational get-together? Recently I have been teaching PC and iPhone/iPad classes anywhere that has Wi-Fi. Informal and informative. We all use the same local Internet. We will pick a topic using open discussion. It is amazing how many different issues are solved. Bring a list of questions. Let’s get started. Got a small business? I can customize a class for your staff.

I Make House Calls:
I will come to your home or office and help you with almost any predicament including repairs, upgrades and general software or hardware issues. I can be your resident “Geek.” I have an endless amount of patience and knowledge with years of experience. Give me a call at 419-318-9112. References and rates are always available upon request. Don’t forget to sign up for my free newsletter at Subscribers will get a copy of this article plus added hints, tips and trusted/valuable web-links.

Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor at UT and Lourdes University. All classes are offered through the Eberly Center at UT with free parking. Email any specific questions or comments to or contact her for assistance at 419-318-9112. Public classes are listed on her website The classes at UT offer inexpensive and totally nonintimidating. Call 419-530-8570 to register. Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call or email away.

Township Topics — 06.06.17

–by Mike Jones

Road Resurfacing
The Sylvania Township road department is finishing its first large road resurfacing project of the season and will soon begin another. Crews have been in the St. James area primarily south of Regents Boulevard between McCord Road and Wimbledon. That job included resurfacing Parliament Square. The project covered 1.3 miles.

The next resurfacing project to be tackled this season will be in Westchester Meadows. The streets to be resurfaced are Wood Lake, Wood Brook, Wood Meadow, Meadow Lake, between Central and Fantasy, San Luis Rey and Forest Brook. Total mileage for that project will also be 1.3 miles.

Contract Approved
The Sylvania Township trustees have approved a contract with Teamster, Local 20, covering 11 employees in the township road department. The contract calls for two percent raises in each of three years beginning this year and running through 2019. The settlement concludes a round of contract bargaining with the larger labor groups representing township workers.

Rob Nash, manager of the road department, said employees there will also be allowed to accumulate compensatory time. Under those terms, employees can opt against being paid for overtime but “bank” those hours with the ability to use them as time off in the future. He added there is a limit of 40 hours in each calendar year. He noted that has been a feature of the police and fire department contracts.

Permits Issued
The total number of permits issued this year by the Sylvania Township planning office has increased somewhat this year but the value represented by those permits has nearly doubled. Through the month of April, the department had issued a total of 126 permits last year, compared to a total of 13 in 2017.

Last year that number represented slightly more than $10 million in value. This year the permits represent construction of things valued at nearly $30 million. Permits are issued by the office for everything from construction of new commercial buildings to fences and signs.

Daryl Graus, manager of the office of planning and zoning, said there is no single large project in the township, which is responsible for the increase in valuation, rather increases across the board. He gathered some information through mid-May. Just in the construction of decks, the number of permits had increased from four in 2016 to seven this year. The estimated value of the total went from over $33,000 last year to more than $86,000 this year.

Through mid-May last year, the total number of permits issued for signs was 43, at an estimated value of $107,000. There have been fewer permits issued so far this year, at 27, but the value had jumped to $167,000. In his report to the most recent meeting of the Sylvania Township trustees, Graus noted that permits for construction of single-family homes had risen from 28 last year to 34 this year.

The number of those permits has been rising slowly, but steadily for several years now, but this year has shown a spike in valuation. Through April of last year, the estimated value was about $6.5 million, generally in line with the totals of recent years. This year, through April, that valuation jumped to $12.25 million.

Graus noted that in that time period last year, one permit had been issued for a house valued at $500,000 or more. In the same time period this year, there have been seven, with two of them valued at a million dollars or more. Those prices resulted in a jump in the average value of a new, single-family home in Sylvania Township from $232,142 last year to $360,294 in estimated value this year.

Although there may be no specific reason which can be pointed to explain the increases, it’s clear that there are a lot of people looking to move to Sylvania Township or in one way or another expand and increase their stake here.


Looking Back — 5723 Main Street

–by Gayleen Gindy

As a longtime member of the Sylvania Area Historical Society, I wanted to let everyone know that this year the group has decided to focus on buildings in Sylvania that are 100 years old or older. Historical Society members are welcoming property owners of these structures to share with them any information that they have about their historic buildings, which will be placed in the files for future generations. They are also looking at a plaque program, where property owners could order plaques for their Sylvania historic homes, to be mounted on the front of the home or building and it would display the year that it was constructed. These plaques would be uniform and would commemorate and honor the history of the buildings.

For property owners that own buildings that are 100 years or older in Sylvania or Sylvania Township, who do not have any historical information about their structures, the historical society would like to help these owners research their structure. They have prepared a complete list of “How to Research Your Structure” to help those interested.

As an example of the history that could be found on your structure, over the next several months, I will continue to share some of the histories of various structures throughout Sylvania. To begin this series I will start with my 100-year-old house on Erie Street. Our house is located at 6526 Erie Street (north side of Erie Street between Main and Summit streets). It was constructed exactly 100 years ago in 1917. The house is what is called a catalog home, and the blueprints and complete structure were ordered from a catalog. The materials to construct this house, inside and out, were delivered on the Toledo & Western Railway, which was on South Main Street where Sautter’s is located today. On the day of delivery, the owner or his designated builder would pick up the materials. Catalogs suggest that the materials for the home could be delivered in up to three boxcars depending on the size of the house. In 1917 it was probably picked up, requiring several trips, and brought to the property that had already been purchased and prepared for the construction.

As I looked through the various old home catalogs that are available online, I found that the closest thing to my house was through the Home Builders Catalog Co., of Chicago. The catalog picture shows the house with the bay window on the opposite side, a fireplace, which our house does not have, a wood-sided front porch and ours is made of cement blocks. The catalog does say that features such as this could be modified on the blueprints for a nominal fee.

In the search for the history of our house, the first thing I started with was the list of owners from 1917 to current. Some homes that are 100 years old have quite a list of past owners, but in our case, we only had a couple past owners before we purchased it in 1991. This is what I found through the records of the Lucas County Auditor’s office:

Dec. 2, 1916 to April 6, 1981 – John C. and Martha Iffland

April 6, 1981 to Jan. 29, 1990 – Martha Iffland

Jan. 29, 1990 to Oct. 16, 1991 – Mark D. and Mary E. Edwards

Oct. 16, 1991 to current – Sam and Gayleen Gindy

Once you have a list of past owners, you can start looking into their lives. In my case, by the time I started searching for John and Martha Iffland, they had already passed away. From their obituary notices, I found one of their sons, still living in Sylvania, and I contacted him. He came over and told us many stories as we showed him around the house where he grew up. He shared with us a photo of his mother and father when they were married on June 26, 1912 in Riga, Mich. and a photo of our house shortly after it was built. He said that his dad first took a job at the Riga State Bank, and that was where Martha and John met. They were married and then had a house built in Riga, Mich. By 1916 John was offered a better job at the Sylvania Savings Bank. At that time they moved to Sylvania. However, Martha had said that she would only move if she could have the same house they had built in Riga, built in Sylvania. Her wish came true, and somewhere in Riga, Mich. our house has a twin.

After a couple of years, John was again offered better pay and took a job with the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Sylvania. That bank had just constructed a beautiful, new building on the northeast corner of Main and Monroe streets. He stayed there until 1940 when the Farmers and Merchants Bank merged with the Sylvania Savings Bank.

John’s son told us that one of his father’s most memorable events while working at the bank was the bank robbery that occurred on May 5, 1930. This was the day that the notorious “Pretty Boy” Floyd and his gang drove into town and robbed the Farmers and Merchants Bank. John was the head cashier, and as the crooks came through the front door yelling, he instinctively shut the door to the bank vault. Needless to say, by the time the robbers approached John and demanded money from the vault, he informed them that the vault was shut and would not open. This infuriated “Pretty Boy,” and he gave him quite a beating as a result, which surprisingly didn’t kill him. In the end, the robbers were only able to get a limited amount of cash from the teller windows, and John was the hero of the day.

After the two banks merged in 1940, John retired from the bank business and entered the insurance business full time selling as “J.C. Iffland Insurance.” He retired in 1955. He also served as the clerk of the village of Sylvania from 1941 until 1949. He had his insurance office in our basement here on Erie Street, and many of the old-timers tell me they remember coming through our back door and looking down into the basement to see if “Iffy” was down there.

While living in this house, the Ifflands had three sons. I was told that all were born in this house: John Jr. was born in 1921, Charles in 1924 and Harold in 1927. The three boys attended elementary and high school in Sylvania and graduated from Burnham High School. All three went on to college, obtaining BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering.

In reviewing the building permits that were issued, we found one from 1941 when J.C. Iffland obtained a permit to remove the stucco siding from the house and replace it with wood siding, which still exists on the house today.

John Iffland died in 1980 after living in this house for 63 years, and Mrs. Iffland died in 1989 after living in this house for 72 years. The next family purchased the house and only lived here a year and a half. We heard that the owner obtained a job outside of Sylvania and was forced to sell and move.

When we purchased the house in 1991, the kitchen was a scene from the 1950s, but everything else had pretty much been updated. In 1999, we had the kitchen gutted and updated. Today all the original beautiful hardwood oak floors, oak staircase, French doors, window framing, bay window and dining room built-in still exist in the house, and they have never been touched by paint. We had the 1922 garage removed in 2013 and a new 2-1/2-car garage replaced it, matching the house, along with a new driveway.

We have lived here for 26 years and raised two children in the home. It’s a good sturdy house, and we have enjoyed it. There is so much more I could tell you about the house, but there just isn’t space here. These are the things I will be documenting and sharing with the historical society for their files, for the next generation.


What’s growing in downtown Sylvania

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Pat O’Brien, of the city of Sylvania Parks and Forestry Department, begins the task of beautifying Main Street.


Shoppers and visitors will find several new varieties of foliage growing in the large curb-side pots on Main Street this season. According to the city’s Parks and Forestry Superintendent Patrick O’Brien, this year alternating pots are filled with “Gold Star” dracena, “Zig-Zag” fish bone cactus, creeping jenny and orange sunpatiens, which he says work well in different light levels.

The other pots contain “Xanadu” phellodendron, “Bewitched”sweet potato vine, licorice plant, lilac sunpatiens and purple shamrocks.

The bridge pots contain wave petunias in purple, sky blue and orange, along with creeping jenny.

O’Brien and his team have also planted parking lot pots with a mixture of petunias “Toffee Twist” ornamental grass, “Dr. Brown” Hawaiian ti , and “Regal Shield” alocasia.

New Concolor Fir Tree Planted

A new Concolor Fir has been planted in Maplewood Park to replace the Colorado Blue Spruce that was used as Sylvania’s Christmas tree for so many years.

“We had to replace the tree as it had fungal disease which attacked and left the tree unsuitable as a Christmas tree,” O’Brien explained.

The Savvy Sylvanian — 06.06.17



visits Sundown Cantina Southwest Grill
–by Mary Helen Dara

Executive Chef Daniel Tankoos, of the Sundown Cantina Southwest Grill at Mayberry Square, offers guests unique Mexican fare and traditional American cuisine.

Executive Chef at Sundown Cantina Southwest Grill Daniel Tankoos is celebrating the restaurant’s sixth year at its location in Mayberry Square. The St. Francis de Sales graduate found his niche after a time of uncertainty following college. “I went to Ohio University,” he stated. “When I finished, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. A friend of mine had family in the restaurant business. I worked with him to make money. It surprised me that I really enjoyed it, and I was good at it. I decided to attend culinary school in Chicago. I had a cousin who went to the same school, as well as people who went to Ohio University.”

Chef Tankoos cooked in Chicago while in school. When he completed the year and a half program, he moved back to the Toledo area. “I always knew I was coming back,” he recalled. “I was single just before I moved to Chicago. Two months before I left, I ended up meeting my future wife in West Toledo. She is a graduate of St. Ursula. We dated the whole time I was in Chicago. We have now been married five years and have two kids, a 3-year-old and 1-month-old.”

Upon his return to the area, Chef Tankoos began work at Saba’s Bistro and in the kitchen at Chuck’s on Monroe Street. “My background is American bar food and Italian cuisine. I was looking to get into more upscale food,” he recalled. “I began cooking at Rosie’s Italian. I was there for two and a half years until my brother, Robert (Tankoos), found this place. My brother was working with my dad (Bob Tankoos) in the printing business but was always looking for opportunities especially knowing I could cook. We grew up in Sylvania and didn’t know this place existed. We are the fifth or sixth owners of this place. At one point it was a steakhouse, a Mediterranean restaurant, and a Mexican restaurant for a short while. The owners we bought it from named it the Sundown Cantina. We liked the name and kept it.”

The duo also liked the physical setup of the facility. “We knew we needed a patio and bought the place after learning we could add an outdoor area. The only things we didn’t like were the margaritas and the food,” stated Tankoos. “We bought it and changed everything on the menu. I had never cooked Mexican food before, but I was confident I could learn how. The Sundown Cantina wasn’t closed for even a day. We bought it Tuesday morning and I was cooking Tuesday night. We kept on the original staff, and we still have two of the original staff members. We went to work and gradually changed the menu as I taught myself how to cook Mexican food. I instantly added more American food because that is my background.”

Former and new patrons frequent the restaurant. “You see the same people in here because we are a neighborhood place,” said Tankoos. “They don’t want to eat Mexican every night. Therefore, our menu is split down the middle. We do a really good hamburger and a New York strip steak. I can never take them off the menu for I have 15 regulars who love them.” Some of the menu items include a ‘build your own quesadilla’ and their latest item is a ‘build your own taco’. The menu also features a wide variety of appetizers ranging from soft pretzels served with warm, white queso dip to Southwest chicken egg rolls. “I have to bring the egg rolls to family parties, or I get yelled at,” stated Tankoos. “We have an eclectic mix of items that will satisfy a wide range of needs and ages. We have burgers, wraps, hot dogs and even seafood and a Reuben sandwich. We also have kids meals which is why we sell as many tater tots as we do refried beans. We are very kid friendly.”

The Sundown Cantina also has one of the Savvy’s favorites … dessert. A favorite of many is the skillet cookie with fried ice cream. The warm cinnamon fries are also worth a try as are the calories.

Chef Tankoos and his brother have expanded to North Carolina and own the Sun Up Cafe’ there. In addition to the two restaurants, offsite and onsite catering is available. I am happy to report that the sun will not set on the Sundown Cantina and Southwest Grill anytime soon. “We truly are a family business. My sister, Ashlee Mitchell, was a server when we first opened, my brother, Robert, ran the front, my dad is our unofficial word-of-mouth marketer and my mom, Dianne, does payroll and the books. We have great regulars we enjoy serving and are located in a wonderful community. We just love it.

“The plan is to be here for a long time,” stated Tankoos.