Stix: A Gem in Downtown Findlay

. November 30, 2019.
Sake Fried Chicken
Sake Fried Chicken

The Short Course

Kid-Friendly: Maybe— depends on your kiddo and time of day.
To Avoid a Wait: Make a reservation!
Noise Level: Loud.
Bathroom Amenities: Clean.
Kids Menu: Nope.
Anything Healthy for Kids? Yes.
Food Allergy Concerns: Ask the server or chef for information on allergens.

After a brutal week with a non-stop schedule, dismal weather, and too much Halloween sugar, we were in desperate need of some quality bonding time. And for our family, bonding often means food. We visited Stix for Saturday brunch, when the atmosphere is more casual.

Located downtown, Stix occupies the space left vacant when Revolver closed its doors in 2012. Owner and executive chef, Renz Salanga, and his wife, La, breathed new life into the space, while drawing on their Filipino heritage, to offer a modern take on Asian fusion. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows line the front of the restaurant, flooding the small space with natural light, making it feel airy and spacious.

A bar divides the dining area from the kitchen, while also offering a glimpse of the magic. Modern and chic, the restaurant has white tables with mix-and-match blue and green chairs. Throughout the space, wood accents add richness and a natural feel without marring the crisp, clean aesthetic. During warmer months, the dining area extends outside where an outdoor bar, lounge area and tables offer diners a relaxed space to enjoy the weather along with Stix’ legendary flavors.

Innovative food in Findlay

Settling at our table while perusing the menu, the restaurant’s approach to flavors offers an array of options from Szechuan ribs, steaks, and a kobe beef burger for meat eaters, to oysters, Chilean sea bass, and poké for seafood lovers. Many appetizers are vegetarian while the hot stone bibimbap offers thirteen protein options, ranging from tofu to pork belly! For the daring, or indecisive, several eclectic appetizers can create a dynamic meal sampling Stix’ finest offerings. And speaking of appetizers, order the brussel sprouts. Just do it. Somehow, Salanga and his crew transform this childhood nemesis into sweet, savory and crispy beauties that must be tried to be believed. (A friend of mine has even dreamed about them!)

Since we were visiting at brunch, the selections of what to order were made more difficult as, along with the signature dishes, brunch has a few unique options including Fried Chicken and Waffles, Filipino Sausages, and Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast. Thankfully, Leland and Joey (ages 10 and 8 respectively) both opted for the French toast while Mae (age 5) chose the chicken and waffles. That left Jeremy and me free to sample other delicacies such as the Thai chopped salad (with or without grilled chicken or grilled mahi), chorizo con huevos, or steamed bao buns. I decided on my longtime favorite of Sake Fried Chicken while Jeremy chose the Filipino Sausages. As we waited for our meals, Jeremy and I sipped on a Bloody Mary and mimosa (visit during brunch for bottomless options!).

Bold flavors and artful presentation

The dishes arrived soon with a flurry of excitement. Joey and Leland’s eyes grew big at the site of the billows of whipped cream sitting atop their French toast. Syrup pooled around the bowl along with a dusting of powdered sugar while strawberries and blueberries added color. Joey noted that some bites were too sweet, and since she tends to prefer savory and sour flavors over unabashed sweetness, her report is credible. Leland, meanwhile, made quick work of the dish (a clear sign of approval) which isn’t surprising since his tolerance for sweet is off the charts. Mae quickly gobbled the fresh berries on her plate and eagerly chomped her side of bacon, but felt more wary about the unusual syrup that came with it. Our expert server returned quickly with traditional maple syrup, and Mae hungrily dug into her meal.

Joey

Jeremy’s rectangular plate featured three longanisa (pork sausages) combined with a side of garlic fried rice topped with a fried egg. Mixed berries offered color and a touch of sweet. My fried chicken sat on a bed of white rice surrounded by vibrant green beans and set my mouth watering. As always, the spicy tapatio-garlic aioli set my mouth aflame. I enjoyed the mixture of textures— soft rice, juicy and crispy chicken, and the crunch of the miso glazed green beans. Perfection. When I turned to Jeremy for a bite of his meal, he just looked at me sheepishly. The sausage, rice, and egg had disappeared! He reported that the mild sausage offered unique flavor that paired beautifully with the garlicky rice and egg, giving the meal a balanced combination of savory and sweet.

Grateful for the opportunity

As the brunch hours wound down, the restaurant was filled with diners of all ages. I felt grateful for the chance to introduce our children to a more formal dining environment in a way that still accommodated their ages. Parents often get bogged down with the drudgery of “kid-friendly food,” but Stix offers the opportunity for young and old to enjoy the robust flavors in a stylish atmosphere usually reserved for a bigger city.

Chef Salanga, who is also the genius behind Findlay Brewing Company’s fun pub menu, weaves each dish with eclectic flavor combinations to create meals that tempt more adventurous diners while still satisfying those with more traditional palettes. Stix is a place that jolts you out of your dull routine and adds color— or in this case flavor— to your life.

110 East Sandusky St., Findlay
567-525-3192 | www.stixfindlay.com
“Stix” on Facebook
Open Monday-Thursday: 11am-2pm, 5pm-9pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm
Sunday: Closed