Indie Toledo: PLATE 21

Part of a series about independent shops and restaurants in the Northwest Ohio area.

Cafes and coffee shops in Toledo can be hard to come by, especially if you’re not looking for a chain like Starbucks or Biggby’s.  As a student at the University of Toledo, I’ve been disappointed by what’s nearby.  We once had a spectacular local spot nearby on Secor called Caffeini’s, but it shut down in Fall 2010.

In the past year, though, a friend of mine from grade school introduced me to PLATE 21, where she invited me to meet her to catch up over lunch and coffee.  PLATE 21 is located at 3664 Rugby Drive in south Toledo.

Food & Beverages

PLATE 21 is what I would consider a cafe, serving both coffee and light food.

The main portion of the menu consists of coffee beverages, which include both an espresso bar and a regular drip coffee bar.  I have tried only one of the coffee drinks – my personal favorite, a mocha.  There are several other blended drinks and other familiar names on the menu.

In terms of non-coffee beverages, PLATE 21 serves a few different types of tea.  During my most recent visit with my sister, I tried out a green pear iced tea, which was on the board as a daily special.  I’m usually not one for iced teas, but this one was quite good.  My sister had a chai latte which she described as “just the right level of spicy.”

The shop also has a food menu, which ranges from morning pastries to specialty soups.  I have tried some of the soups before, which I greatly enjoyed.  This time, I had an order of oatmeal from the morning menu, which was fantastic.

The coffees and teas served at PLATE 21 are listed as fair trade and organic.

Additional Information

There’s more to it, though.  PLATE 21 also hosts events as well.  The cafe has hosted fundraisers, open mic events, musicians, performances, and even a Christmas Boutique this past December (2010).  There are often other events posted on their Facebook page.

Even if you aren’t interested in events, anyone is welcome to hang out at the cafe.  Apart from the main floor, which houses tables and chairs for patrons to eat lunch at and enjoy their drinks, there is also another section that contains lounge seating.  Get a drink, settle in, and spend some time drawing or writing in the comfortable space.  (I personally recommend writing there, especially if you need soft background noise to write!)

Critic’s Conclusion

I recommend PLATE 21 to those looking for a friendly coffee-house atmosphere.  The coffee is great, the staff is friendly, and the cafe is beautiful. Overall, PLATE 21 is a relaxing place to enjoy lunch or breakfast, making it one of my favorites.

In terms of actually consuming things, I recommend the coffee drinks.  I usually get a cafe mocha, but any of the espresso drinks are good.  The food is also pretty fantastic – I adore the soups the chef makes.

PLATE 21 is something a little different from what I usually like, but – as in many cases – different can be pretty amazing.

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