BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — The word caper can have several different meanings: a Mediterranean spice, a playful skip or dance, a far-fetched story or an escapade. For the Meadows family in South Toledo, it’s the latter.
Caper’s Restaurant & Bar, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on Saturday, May 20, serves what it considers the best pizza in Toledo to the people of Northwest Ohio.
Sue and Jim Meadows first opened the business in 2003, after running another Italian restaurant. They realized they wanted a new adventure and a chance to own their own restaurant.
“A caper also means an adventure in some ways, so they thought it would be an adventure to open up a restaurant,” their son, Jim Meadows, added.
Jim now helps run the restaurant and has worked with his parents in the industry since the beginning.
“I enjoy doing it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely rewarding,” Jim said. “After I was done with school, I decided to hop on board. My favorite part is being your own boss – in some ways.”
Being the boss can mean difficult decisions and long hours, though. To keep the family-run business open, the family dedicates much of their time and energy to taking care of the accounts, advertising and actually running a business.
One of the things the staff makes sure to spend extra time and energy on is the homemade pizza dough.
“I think we’re known for our pizza just because it’s homemade crust. It’s always better that way,” Jim said.
While the restaurant might be known for its many pizza options, those are not the only things on the menu.
“We have everything from French fries to lasagna, salads, pizza and sandwiches,” Jim said. “Our lasagna is really good. People talk about it a lot.”
Also available are several different kinds of appetizers, including meatballs and cheese, potato skins, Reuben skins, Brussels sprouts, a pretzel and an antipasto platter.
“Saturdays we have half-off appetizers, too,” Jim said. “It’s great if you have kids and want to bring them in and hang out.”
The restaurant, which expanded in 2005, has two sides. One serves as more of a hangout area and bar space with games for kids. The other side is the sit-down restaurant.
“The original side is the restaurant and the other side is more of a bar atmosphere,” Jim said. “You have your choice.”
The more open space isn’t just made for dining with family or hanging out with friends. The restaurant also allows customers to host events.
“If you have parties coming up – birthdays or retirement parties – the space over there is perfect for it. We also offer different food packages,” Jim said. “We even do work staff parties.”
The restaurant partners with organizations and schools interested in fundraising, too. The groups can get in contact with the restaurant to learn more about the partnerships.
Jim said the business is always looking to hire employees to help and be a part of the Caper’s community. Interested applicants can apply in person or by sending a message on Facebook.
“I’d also like new customers to come in and give it a shot,” Jim said. “We have the best pizza in Toledo. You have to try it at least once. When you come in, you’ll have friendly faces at the bar. If you’re from South Toledo, there’s a good chance you’ll know somebody here.”
That’s part of the reason current customers have been visiting the establishment. According to Jim, prior to being the home of the family-owned restaurant, the 2038 S. Byrne Rd. location used to house a video rental store where people from the neighborhood would come hang out.
“Our main customer base is all neighborhood people,” Jim said. “This is the place we all used to come and rent videos. It’s kind of fun we have a restaurant where we all used to come.”
Along with the friendly neighborhood feel, Jim also credits the staff – and the food – for Caper’s repeat customers.
“Our employees like to engage in conversations and keep in touch with people, so they have fun when they come in and our food is good,” Jim said.
To see a friendly face and join in on the anniversary celebrations, the Meadows family is inviting everyone to stop into the restaurant on Saturday, May 20, during extended hours from noon to 11:00 p.m.
Many activities, including a pizza-eating contest, raffle, music and more are planned for the day.
The business will also be fundraising for Project iAm, a local organization that supports families affected by autism, Sue said.
The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and those interested can also check out the website at http://caperstoledo.com or visit the Caper’s Restaurant & Bar Facebook page.
“I would just like to thank our customers for their business,” Jim said. “We’re all working hard to keep everything as they would like it.”