Actually, it was my granddaughter Maggie who first told me about this place. She went to work with her daddy in Huntsville several weeks ago, and he took her to lunch. At her next piano lesson, she said,”Grandmomma, daddy and I found a place to eat that you would LOVE! It’s very different and fun, and the food is great.” Recently, a friend and I had an opportunity to check it out, and I have to say that she was exactly right.
You’ll find ToyBox Bistro at 511 Jordan Lane NW. When you take the Jordan Lane exit off of I-565, head toward University Drive. ToyBox Bistro is at the end of a strip of shops on the lefthand side, right at the Holmes Avenue intersection. Don’t look for sleek and modern. Think eclectic, homey, and unexpected.
The ToyBox slogan is “Eat, Drink and Be Nerdy,” certainly a reference to the hundreds of engineers and engineer types who live in Huntsville. As a matter of fact, the present owner’s husband was a Boeing Engineer, who died 8 years ago. While he was living, he had a toy-collecting obsession that resulted in the accumulation of 10,000 little people/toys/figurines, many of which have a Star Wars connection. His wife Michelle, who is now the owner, sold off half of the collection to fund the restaurant, 500 pieces are on display around the walls and suspended from the ceiling, and the rest are still in storage. I can see why engineering brains are drawn in, but go ahead and take your kids. Where else can you see a Monopoly game on the ceiling or be handed a bucket of Legos for your table while you wait??
ToyBox Bistro opened in March of 2016 and actually has no specific demographic. Frequent diners include nerds to be sure, but also families with kids, visitors from all over the country who have come into the Rocket City for work, ATF and FBI folks, whose offices are nearby, and random grandmothers like me.
ToyBox is closed on Sundays, but is open from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. the other 6 days of the week. Saturday nights are said to be the busiest, and, according to our server, Saturday brunch (10:30-2:00) is “off the chain” both in its popularity and in the delectable items that can be ordered. Make a note, too, that Taco Tuesdays also bring out the creative juices of the kitchen crew.
In addition to the menu choices, 2 different daily specials are offered that depend almost entirely on the whims of the cooks. All the meat is said to be fresh-never-frozen, and the roast beef is roasted for 12 hours.
My friend and I chose to share a Roast Beef Panini and a side of Grilled Potato Salad. Both were extremely delicious! Comfort food at its best. The potato salad consists of potatoes, sour cream, chives, and bacon baked in a cast iron skillet, resulting in a few crunchy edges.
I NEED to go back to sample their Chicken and Waffle Sliders, PB & Yay Burger, Roast Beef Sundae, C3PO and Mish’s Pot Pie, to name a few.
The whole staff is friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable about the menu and the history of the restaurant. Give it a try. It’s fun!