It’s the perfect time to take a stroll through downtown during lunch hour to fill hungry stomachs to discover Hotbox Bistro, a Cajun-style eatery owned by Toledoan Keitha Sheares, which opened in January on Erie Street near Adams.

Evolution of business

With 15 years in the food industry, a Master’s degree in restaurant management, and previous experience as a restaurant owner (Sheares opened the now-closed My Own Soul at age 25), she is confident in this location and concept.

“I did a lot of market research in the area and (reviewed) other restaurants’ menus. I created my menu based on what (downtown) was missing,” she explained. “We serve very culture-based ethnic food. I’m tailoring to people who want that.”

Hotbox was originally only a delivery food app—“I wanted to bridge technology and the restaurant,” Sheares said— and used the restaurant’s current location as a kitchen for catering, orders through the app and a brick and mortar location, transitioning from the food truck she had for a year.

Tastes of home

The menu focuses on variety, offering daily specials and a plenty of Southern and Soul Food favorites. Find classics like Gumbo, Cajun pastas, baked mac n cheese, steak tips with gravy and fried chicken wings—served in hot, lemon pepper and sweet and spicy sauces—as well as more typical lunch fare like salads and sandwiches. A favorite, the pineapple bowl—fried or steamed rice, sautéed veggies, sweet or spicy teriyaki sauce, served inside a pineapple and topped off with grilled pineapple slices—is both savory and sweet.

Ingredients are fresh and everything is cooked to order, served steaming hot after sizzling on the grill. Our boxed-up leftovers were still warm even after a short walk back to the office.

Right at your fingertips

Download the app, “HotBox Food Order App” to order your food for pickup or request business delivery. Delivery, with a $25 ticket minimum, serves commercial businesses all around Toledo.

Hotbox Bistro | 332 N Erie St
Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, in addition to Friday late night hours from 10pm-3am.
419-690-4990 |