2 Medina diners add menus in braille for blind customers

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Bobby Guzik, left, dines at Rudy’s with fellow Lions members, Billy Roman, Ann McElwee and Julie Roman. Bobby is using a braille menu. A friend and fellow member of Medina Lions, Billy Roman, urges all local restaurants to supply a menu in braille.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 24 May 2023 at 4:15 pm

MEDINA – A young Medina man, who was been blind since birth, can now order a meal at several restaurants in the area, with the addition of braille menus.

Bobby Guzik, 33, son of Laura Guzik of Medina, is also a member of Medina Lions, as is Billy Roman. Recently, Roman had the idea to encourage restaurants to have braille menus for blind customers. He mentioned it to Bobby, who said it would be so helpful if menus could be provided for the blind. Roman then approached Lion member Ann McElwee, who was a special education teacher and has been using braille for 25 years. She loved the idea.

“I had some blind kids in my class, so I got certified to teach blind kids,” McElwee said.

She also became a member of the Buffalo Braille Group, which translates menus sent to them in braille.

Previously, Bobby had to order his food through an app on his phone and have it delivered or rely on someone to read him the menu.

“I’m very happy about being able to go in a restaurant and read the menu,” Bobby said Tuesday night, while dining at Rudy’s in Medina with Billy and Julie Roman and McElwee. “I feel more independent. Now I can eat out more.”

Currently, Rudy’s and Captain Kidz have put braille menus in their restaurants, and McElwee just received the one for Darrell’s in Middleport and is working on the menu for the Country Club on Main Street in Medina.

McElwee takes the menus and, through an app on her computer, translates them into braille and sends them to the Buffalo Braille Group. They have an embosser who then prints the menu in braille.

Buffalo Braille Group also does books in braille for schools and colleges, McElwee said.

Roman is very excited about seeing this service for the blind implemented in local restaurants.

“Our district superintendent in the Lions is going to take the idea to the state level and propose they adopt the idea throughout the state,” Roman said.