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Published: Friday, 5/10/2013

Toledo restaurant merger a blend of nightlife, cuisine

BY KRIS TURNER
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Co-owners Joe Skaff, left, and Moussa Salloukh, who have been friends for more than 20 years, say they are ready for today’s opening of their new Burger Bar 419 Monroe St. Co-owners Joe Skaff, left, and Moussa Salloukh, who have been friends for more than 20 years, say they are ready for today’s opening of their new Burger Bar 419 Monroe St.
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Burger Bar 419 is movin’ on up to the west side and is receiving the star treatment.

The popular Toledo restaurant is merging with Star Bar & Grille to open a location on Monroe Street in Sylvania Township. Located in the former Star Bar, the restaurant will blend the bar’s nightlife with Burger Bar’s cuisine, said Moussa Salloukh, one of Burger Bar’s owners.

The original Burger Bar 419 at 4400 Heatherdowns Blvd. will continue to operate as usual.

After being closed for renovations earlier this week, the new restaurant — dubbed Burger Bar 419 Monroe St. — opens its doors at 11:30 a.m. today. It will have the same address as Star Bar: 5215 Monroe St. in the Beverly Hills Plaza.

“They can expect the same great food, local art on the walls, and fresh ingredients,” he said. “It’s the stuff that put us on the map and made us original for what we do.”

The idea to blend the two venues came about one night when Mr. Salloukh was out with Star Bar owner Joe Skaff. The two, who have been friends for more than 20 years, agreed that the distinctive menu at Burger Bar would establish an identity for the former Star Bar.

Star Bar was open for about a year and a half, and Burger Bar 419 has been open for about 2½ years. Mr. Skaff also operates the successful Star Diner chain, which has multiple area locations.

“The bar business, since day one with Star Bar, has been fantastic. It’s more than I ever thought we would have,” Mr. Skaff said. But he added that although the bar did well, people weren’t sure if it was a bar, restaurant, or both. “Even my regulars there at [Star Diner] didn’t know if I had food or I was a bar or whatever. I needed an identity, and I think burgers are here to stay.”

The new Burger Bar 419 Monroe Street has the same address as Star Bar: 5215 Monroe St. in the Beverly Hills Plaza. The new Burger Bar 419 Monroe Street has the same address as Star Bar: 5215 Monroe St. in the Beverly Hills Plaza.
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The new location will offer 16 craft beers and a much larger bar area than the original Burger Bar.

Mr. Salloukh declined to disclose the amount of money spent to transform Star Bar, but did say the plans have been in the works for quite a while.

The new space will have a more casual feel than Star Bar, Mr. Skaff said. It should appeal to all types of people, he said.

Eventually, the restaurant plans to cook food on its patio and grill. The second location is all about taking the best pieces of two successful businesses and adding in a few new elements, Mr. Salloukh said.

“The nightlife is still a big part of that in conjunction with coming together on this,” he said. “We’re bringing our food to the table and we want the nightlife to be the way it was.”

Contact Kris Turner at: kturner@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.



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