George C. Zilba Sr., 75, of Ottawa Lake, Mich., is a managing member of Parkway Catering LLC, which owns and operates the banquet halls of Parkway Place in Maumee and Cambridge Place in Toledo. Zilba’s family emigrated from Damascus, Syria and Batroun, Lebanon to northern Ohio in the late 19th century, settling in the towns of Bucyrus, Clyde, and Tiffin.
TAKE THE SURVEY: Mideast in the Midwest
Eventually, the family made its way to Toledo, drawn in by work opportunities and the city’s growing Arab American community. The Zilba family has had a long tradition of owning restaurants in the Toledo area. Zilba’s grandmother owned a restaurant on Galena Street in North Toledo’s historic Little Syria enclave. And his family owned Giuseppe’s Pizza, O’Banion’s steakhouse, and the Franklin House on Monroe Street, near Franklin Park Mall. Zilba’s father, George F. Zilba, also owned and operated Olivia’s Banquet Hall, on Hill Avenue.