Dining out with young children can be…interesting. So it was with great trepidation that I accepted an assignment requiring me to dine in public with my offspring.
At first glance, Cedar Valley looks fairly average both inside and out. The interior is pretty neutral, but once we were settled into a booth, I noticed the beautiful, intricate lamps hanging above each table. More unique decorations were placed around the restaurant – little items of interest that punctuated the simple interior.
Selecting our dinners from the wide array of Mediterranean and American options was hurried along by our children’s hunger, but I recommend taking time to explore the variety offered by Cedar Valley (how did I miss the falafel?!). My husband ordered a traditional lamb gyro and the chicken shawarma sandwich to share. Our very hungry 7-year-old son ordered a burger and fries while our 3-year-old selected macaroni-and-cheese (big surprise!). Our middle daughter, 6, chose sides of chicken and hummous as her meal. I ordered the spinach pie with a side of rice and chose lemon rice soup to start.
A Family Restaurant
Our server brought my soup – a thickened yellow broth with rice. Though unassuming in appearance, the soup packed a flavorful punch! First, a lemony zing followed by peppery spice. My husband and I both loved it, remarking that it would be amazing anytime, especially in lieu of the traditional chicken noodle soup when sick.
As we each tried the soup, one of the owners, Jihad Shaheen, stopped by our table. He and his brother, Mohamad, and their families had lived in Findlay for decades as longtime Cooper Tire employees before deciding to open a restaurant. Seven years ago, as they neared retirement, the brothers decidec to open the restaurant and Cedar Valley Café was born. When asked how business is now, after seven years, Shaheen smiles, nods and says, “Good. Very good.”
And with good reason. The shawarma was delicious. Who knew chicken, pickles, and a garlic sauce wrapped in a pita could be so yummy? My husband, a big fan of gyros, reported that unlike the typical gyro, Cedar Valley’s version wasn’t greasy and had a lighter, homemade flavor. He’s picky so that’s high praise. My (huge portion of) spinach pie had great flavor and could only be made better by a crispy top. In fact, it was so good that my son ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day! The American dishes were typical and pleased my children, but the real winner was the chicken and hummous that my daughter ordered. We all picked bites off her plate.
The Best for Last
The highlight of the meal, however, was the dessert. We ordered the traditional baklava and pavé along with a piece of chocolate cake. First, a disclaimer: I typically disregard all desserts lacking chocolate as a main ingredient. But that night, I almost ignored the huge, chocolatey-delicious cake and instead devoured the baklava and pavé. The baklava had a perfectly crispy top with buttery, nutty-sweet filling. My husband and I had a standoff over the pavé – a trifle-like dessert with layers of biscuit and pudding. It was divine. I think the kids ate some dessert, too, but I was too busy mmmm-ing through another delicious bite to pay much attention.
The Short Course
Kid-Friendly: Yes (They even have a drive-thru window for carryout orders!)
Noise Level: Average (Our loud bunch was welcomed!)
High Chairs and Boosters: Yes
Got Milk? Yes (our kind server even spelled c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e and saved us a battle!)
Kids Menu: Yes ($3.99-$4.99)
Food Allergy Concerns: Ask your server about specific dishes and accommodations can be made.
Cedar Valley Café
1132 Tiffin Ave. Findlay
Hours: Open Daily 11am-9pm
“Cedar Valley Café” on Facebook
Dine in, carryout and catering available.