My wife and I celebrated our 15-year wedding anniversary this week by dining out with our children. Not the most romantic way to celebrate I know, but we’ve never let the fact that we have children interfere with one of our most cherished activities, dining out. The key of course has been to find restaurants that cater to kids. This doesn’t mean Chuck-E-Cheese’s or McDonald’s; it has to appeal to the adults as well. Rather, the key ingredients to a good kid-friendly restaurant are atmosphere, menu and the speed in which the food is served.
That being the case and with deference to the 651.com foodie Juleana Enright, here is my first foray into listing kid-friendly restaurants for families looking for dining ideas Saint Paul:
In the case of our anniversary dinner, we chose Sakura in downtown Saint Paul. This may not be the kind of restaurant that comes to mind for family dining, but they do meet most of our kid-friendly requirements: large open space with plenty of booths and windows, fun food like Edamame, miso soup and bento boxes, served quickly with chopsticks, and free boxes of cookies for desert. We often add a stroll through Rice Park after dinner as a part of the experience.
The Chatterbox Pub
The key to The Chatterbox in Highland Village as a kid-friendly restaurant is obvious the moment you walk in the door, games. With throwback video games from Atari and Nintendo, plus classic board games like Battleship and Sorry!, it’s easy to see the appeal for kids. The kid’s menu includes strawberry lemonade and home-made mac and cheese, big favorites. Coupled with a funky decor and staff, this eatery is always near the top of the list for our kid’s choice of restaurant.
All Champps are relatively kid-friendly, but Tuesday’s are Kids R Kings night at the Champps located on West 7th Street. Not only do kids 12 and under eat free (with the purchase of one adult meal), but Fred the magician roams the restaurant performing magic tricks and making balloon animals, all while telling jokes. Plus, there’s bingo with prizes from Creative Kidstuff. Popcorn, free desert and helium filled balloons all add to the over indulgence.
Day by Day Cafe
A favorite breakfast spot, the Day by Day’s appeal for children is in the buckets of toys lining the shelves of this funky West 7th Street restaurant. Most of them appear to be broken and discarded by other children, but our kids can’t resist sorting through them as if they’re treasured favorites. The menu features the venerable Mickey Mouse pancake. Warning, there may be a short wait for a table on weekend mornings, but your kids will appreciate what’s inside.
That’s it for now, stay tune for future recommendations.