Former UT Rocket quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, who plays in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals, wanted to open the restaurant as a way to give back to the Toledo community where the Pittsburgh native calls home.
“It’s going to be a place where everyone — people at UT and the community — can feel comfortable,” said Gradkowski, who played for the Rockets from 2002 to 2005. “We want it to be a special place on campus where you can relax and enjoy great food and great company.
“It’s almost been a dream come true. I love UT, and the idea of tying my name to this campus for years to come just seemed ideal for me and for the University.”
The restaurant, which seats 172 people inside with additional outdoor patio seating for 80 in warmer months, serves contemporary dishes with twists, said Mike Graber, Gradkowski’s business partner.
Sure, they serve pizza, he said, but they offer one with scallops and pecan smoked bacon with a lemon pepper cream sauce. They have burgers on the menu too, but they are made of specialty dry-aged beef and have unique flavor combinations such as peanut butter and pancetta. The full menu includes a dozen appetizers, hand-cut steaks, pastas, pizzas, burgers and desserts.
“We have the spot right now in Toledo. It’s worth coming out,” Graber said, adding that the warm atmosphere is great for a family dinner or to watch a game with friends.
Gradkowski’s opens at 11:30 a.m. each day for lunch and serves dinner until 10 p.m.
For more information or to make a reservation, call 419.725.2836.
Gradkowski’s is located on the north end of the Gateway, which also includes Barnes & Noble, Great Clips, Jimmy John’s, YogurtU, Rice Boulevard and Wireless Zone.
For more information about Gateway at The University of Toledo, visit gatewaytoledo.com.