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West Toledo: Jeff Schaaf

University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts

Brunch Sunrise pizza at Gradkowski's

Bar 145

Ottawa River - Wildwood Metropark

Jeff Schaaf is the Toledo Region Brand Manager for the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was born and raised in the Toledo area and earned a business degree from the University of Toledo. He comes from an entrepreneurial family with a small business background, and has also been involved with Epic Toledo which focuses on attracting and retaining young talent in the region and engaging them in the community through social networking and various activities. When the Brand Manager position with the Chamber opened, it seemed a natural fit for him with his combined business and community experience. His job is to share the story and promote the assets of the region to attract and retain businesses.
The Great Outdoors 
Jeff lives in West Toledo. With its proximity to the University of Toledo, West Toledo has a college town feel with plenty of opportunities for young professionals to socialize and be active. The University/Parks Trails are 13 miles of hiking and biking trails that connect different areas of West Toledo to the University, and the Wildwood Preserve Metropark connects with those trails with others in the region west into Sylvania. Ottawa Park is a golf course that has public running trails and a free Frisbee golf course where anyone can go and pick up a quick game with others.
Dining and Drinking
For dining and drinking, Jeff recommends Fusion Bistro, a sushi and martini lounge known for being a stylish hangout. For some classic watering holes, Jeff suggests Arnie's and Nick & Jimmy's.
Because the neighborhood is near the University, there are a ton of nightlife attractions for college-age students and recent graduates. Jeff says that there are many bars and restaurants in the area. For live local music, check out Basin Street Grille and Bar 145.
If you're looking for a few good places to grab a quick bite to eat, Jeff promises Barry Bagels is the best bagel joint you'll ever go to. For Mexican food, El Camino Real is the real deal. Beirut offers authentic Lebanese cuisine, while Jo Jo's Pizza has half-off pizza deals and $1 beers.
The recently-opened Gradkowski's Restaurant, located on the UT campus as part of UT's Gateway Project, is an upscale offering from former UT quarterback and NFL star Bruce Gradkowski. It's a sports bar featuring fresh, made-from-scratch dishes including pastas, steaks, specialty pizzas and burgers, as well as an extensive selection of wines by the glass from small vineyards around the world.

For sports fans, there's plenty of action to find. Check out a UT's women's basketball or Rockets football game to support the local teams.
Other major attractions in the area include the Westfield Franklin Park shopping center and the Huntington Center downtown, which brings in a lot of national touring acts. There's also the Hollywood Casino and ECHL hockey league the Toledo Walleye.  "There's a lot of different cool things that you can do in Toledo that people might not expect," Jeff says.
As far as livability, West Toledo offers affordable housing, great neighborhoods, and easy access to the highways. "Living here is kind of like you don't realize what you have until you start talking about it," Jeff laughs.
For more information and additional resources for young professionals, check out toledoregion.com and epictoledo.com
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