The Grass is Greener at Shady Grove

. July 30, 2015.

Shady Grove Restaurant and Golf Course

15733 U.S. 224, Findlay


Hours: 11am to 9pm everyday.

Takeout and some catering available

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Yes, yes, yes!
To avoid wait: Lunch is typically busiest between 11:30am and 1:30pm, so come at an off time.
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom: Clean and adequate
High chairs: Yes, and booster seats
Got Milk? Yes
Kid’s menu? No, but many kid friendly items such as peanut butter and jelly, chicken strips, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and more.
Food allergies: The ice cream is not gluten-free but it is low-fat; it is the same mix they have used for years, co-owner Lisa Malloy said. Sprinkles for ice cream are never mixed with peanuts. Shady Grove uses canola oil, not peanut oil for cooking. Let them know of your allergy and they will try to accommodate.

We in Findlay are so fortunate to have Shady Grove Restaurant and Golf Course, a treasure of simple summer wonderfulness. Shady Grove is a little grassy corner where time has seemingly stood still, one that invites you to slow down and revel in the past to make memories of the present.

I didn’t grow up in Findlay, but somehow Shady Grove reminds me of my childhood. Maybe it’s because it’s full of all of the best summer things: Picnic tables, a classic indoor dining area, good food, open grassy areas for play, ice cream, mini-golf, a driving range and a Par-3 golf course. The set-up just begs for families to soak in summer’s glory and just play.

In the family

Lisa Malloy, co-owner of Shady Grove with her husband, Scott, for 26 years, said they have tried to keep the site as timeless as possible. Clarence Fornes, Scott’s grandfather, was one of the early founders of the site. Scott, a PGA professional at the golf course, said the mini-golf and golf course originated in the early 1960s, while the restaurant, which was first a dairy bar only, was opened earlier. There also used to be ground-level trampolines for patrons to jump on, and the back nine of the Par-3 golf course was once fully lighted.

Our family has faithfully visited Shady Grove many times over the years, and this was our first trip of the summer. Visitors can eat inside at diner-style tables in the air conditioning, or sit in the shade, as we did, at picnic tables outside. We ordered, then headed out where the kids played under the trees – we usually bring a ball.

A mean for everyone

I ordered the Shady Grove Club with cheese sticks and found them to really hit the spot. The sandwich was delicious with chicken, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato and honey mustard on what I think was potato bread. It was a great mix of juicy, fresh, salty tastes. The cheese sticks were classic – crisp on the outside with gooey cheesy goodness on the inside, and tasty marinara sauce for dipping.

Anyone want to guess what my kids ordered? Anyone?

Ok…here’s the big shocker: Chicken strips and fries. Those at Shady Grove might be proud however, to know that my kids, the chicken strip connoisseurs of the world, ranked their chicken at No. 1. That’s right folks, my 9-year-old gave them an, “A+++++ times 100,” and my 6-year-old daughter heartily agreed. (Insert wild cheering here.)

Shady Grove doesn’t have a kids menu, but they do have all kinds of kids’ choices, such as peanut butter and jelly, hot dog, chicken strips, grilled cheese, and they leave their sandwiches “undressed,” so that you can decide what you want on them. My 9-year-old can pack it in pretty well and he couldn’t come close to finishing the chicken or really getting to the side salad he ordered. If you have two crazy chicken lovers like me, I recommend splitting one order between them.

 As far as sandwiches and wraps go, Shady Grove has 24 on the menu, to name a few, the chicken salad wrap, barbeque beef, an energy wrap, tuna melt and several vegetarian options. They serve many burger types including black bean; various hot dogs; several salads, including greek, chef, and cobb; and a whole host of sides such as breaded mushrooms; chili cheese, regular or curly fries; fried pickles; baked beans and more.

My husband ordered a double cheeseburger with fries and remarked that the ingredients were fresh, and that when you can sit outside at a picnic table, it makes the burger taste that much better. He finished eating well before us and decided to hit a few golf balls at the driving range, which, from our view, provided us additional entertainment.

Ice cream, of course

I am confident Shady Grove’s menu can provide temptations for any diner, yet it is best known for its ice cream. You could just about come back every day of the summer and try something different. (As a person who is prone to stints of eating ice cream everyday, I will sacrifice and “ride into the Danger Zone” just for you, when I closely examine this menu. Think of Maverick…or Kenny Loggins if you prefer…and then me reading the ice cream menu). 

Shady Grove offers cones or cups of ice cream with toppings; several sundaes and specialty sundaes, such as the dough monster, salted caramel and buckeye; banana split; slushes, shakes, malts, and floats; and I am not kidding: THIRTY-SIX types of flurries! Malloy said she and her mostly teenage employees come up with the flurry ideas. Some unique ones are Drumstick, German chocolate cake, birthday cake, banana cream pie, key lime pie, and cinnamon roll, though they have all of your classics as well.

 Throughout dinner, my daughter had inched closer and closer to me, her little rear slowly sliding down our sloping picnic bench. By the end of our meal, she was smashing me – another reason to love picnic tables. Space infringement and dinner complete, we walked over to play a round of mini-golf. (Watch out for number 15. It requires launching the ball over a gaping pit – I ended up with a 9 and couldn’t stop laughing around stroke 4. The kids each took about a 15 on that one.)

To wrap up our day, we headed back in for some ice cream. I enjoyed the Drumstick flurry while the kids gobbled up chocolate and vanilla ice cream in a cup with sprinkles. Delicious.

New as of last year, Shady Grove now accepts debit and credit cards. They are typically open from late April to late August, so don’t let your summer slip away without a trip to Shady Grove. I guarantee your kids will love it – and so will you!