I was strolling out of The Flying Joe at Levis Commons last week thinking: Welcome summer! Hot days, and cold drinks. I think about visiting my favorite coffee shops more when I need to take refuge from the frigid Ohio winters; visiting with friends over something nice and hot. But what about brunch on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning? Or an ice-cold treat made just for me? Those are just two of the reasons I made the stop by The Flying Joe that morning. From the very best locally sourced ingredients to the friendly, kind baristas The Flying Joe is the perfect place to stop when you want to sip hot chocolate while looking at christmas lights, and the perfect place to enjoy a sunny brunch and a Frozen Joe.
Becky and John Ohm, both United States Air Force pilots who pine for the dreamy-romantic 1940s culture of air travel, opened The Flying Joe (FJ) during the initial expansion of Levis Commons in order to put their love of service to country and community into new life. The shop opened in 2007 and was well received by the people of Perrysburg. The drinks were good and the prices competed with the nearby Starbucks. Yes, they built small business coffee shop near one of the busiest Starbucks in the area. To me, that screams volumes about the passion and commitment the Ohms’ have to their venture. Now, nearly ten years later The Flying Joe continues to serve the people of Perrysburg, caring for the customer with a newfound care for what they are eating and drinking.
While sitting down with the lovely manager of the FJ, Bri, gave me the full scope of the tremendous changes made in how they care for and serve their customers. While offering many of the beloved favorites, the FJ turned their focus to the ingredients going into their food and drinks. The FJ uses as many locally sourced, organic, and simple ingredients they can reasonably obtain. Coffee at the FJ is from regional coffee roasters such as Actual Coffee (roasted right in Toledo), and Populace Coffee (roasted in Bay City, MI). Serving all locally made or housemade baked goods was a natural move for the shop; from Holey Toledo Doughnuts, and All Crumbs Bakery to local raw honey and Toledo-made apparel. The dairy products served are sourced from the Hartzier Family Dairy Farm in Wooster Ohio, where milk is taken from all grass-fed cows, who have not been exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides. After Restaurant Week Toledo 2015, the FJ began offering lunch to patrons, making all of their own sauces for the sandwiches they serve.
Serving brunch gave the Flying Joe a way to meet the needs of their customers in a whole new way. Upon the decision to offer brunch, the Joe needed a proper cook to prepare the type of food they wanted to serve. They placed a want ad stating they were looking for someone to fulfill this role and along comes a letter from Debbie. A food lover, a world traveler, a dabbling (but never professional) cook, Debbie’s letter expressed her desire to cook for the Flying Joe. Her personality and passion were so evident in her correspondence that it became an easy decision to bring Debbie into the FJ family.
The presentation is a good as the taste. With traditional choices such as a variety of quiche, baked oatmeal, salads, and a weekly parfait, brunch also incorporates an elegant and rustic flare offering vegetarian/vegan options as well. Every week the most seasonally available choices are used to build the brunch menu. Hand selected produce from the Perrysburg Farmers Market, fresh local dairy, and fine, imported spices and goods from around the globe are fused together to bring an unmatched meal. This past week I had the chance to order the special menu item of the week: Farmer Mark’s French Radish Breakfast-Gone-Wild. [Now let me just say, I do not like radishes, I trade them out every time I get them in my CSA bag, I olive oil roast the heck out of them if i have to keep them, or I just give them away! Anyway, back to Farmer Mark’s Wild Radishes:] Debbie took a traditional French breakfast made with fresh local radishes, a ball of Burrata Mozzarella drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil, part of whole grain baguette, a side of French butter, Marcona almonds, and flakes of Sal de Mer (French Mediterranean sea salt). Honest to Betsy, It Was Delicious! I kid you not! This dish was full of great flavor, so smooth, not bitter. The combination of the lettuce, olive oil, salt, and yes, the radish, made a simple set of ingredients come to life and was full of flavor. And that Burrata Mozzarella. Fantastic! It spread on the baguette like butter. A vegetarian option on the brunch menu that pleases all palates.
We also ordered the parfait, and with rhubarb and strawberries in season, they happened to be the ideal choice. Now was my husband’s turn: despises yogurt and nuts (in the homemade granola). Well, he too was very pleasantly surprised! And ate the whole thing. Sweet, tart, fresh, and filling. The toasty, crunchy homemade granola, the creamy Greek yogurt, layered with the completely local strawberry-rhubarb compote, drizzled with Turkish honey, made for the perfect combination for this gourmet parfait. I don’t expect him to start eating yogurt at home, but it’s quite a compliment when he says he would order it again and practically licks the glass clean. Every dish that came out of the FJ kitchen was lovely, had a beautiful presentation; from quiche to baked oatmeal, the portions were generous.
One thing I always appreciate when I walk into the Flying Joe is the unpretentious, unassuming, welcoming atmosphere the baristas cultivate. While sitting down with Bri, it was immediately like talking to a friend I had know for years. Whether you are stumbling in for the first time hunting down some Holey Toledough Doughnuts, or just want to try something new, the staff is very warm and friendly and work with you to build you your ideal drink. Their focus is to serve you well both with kindness, and what’s going into your body. The coffee connoisseur has a good variety of coffees and brewing methods to choose from. The Nitro Cold Brew is great for the hot summer weather. With an impressive assortment of teas and non coffee beverages, the FJ is not just for the coffee lover. Fresh, local juices, and organic smoothies, plus one fan-TASTIC hot chocolate! Stop in. Eat brunch. Try a new drink. Know that you are being cared for body and tastebuds. Be Local.