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Best GNRs for kids

Best GNRs for kids
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  • Best GNRs for kids

    Post #1 - February 11th, 2010, 2:24 pm
    Post #1 - February 11th, 2010, 2:24 pm Post #1 - February 11th, 2010, 2:24 pm
    I wanted to start taking my kids on some dining adventures---two boys 6 and 4. What would be the best GNRs to visit? Hopefully within a 15 minute drive---from Lakeview.
  • Post #2 - February 11th, 2010, 2:35 pm
    Post #2 - February 11th, 2010, 2:35 pm Post #2 - February 11th, 2010, 2:35 pm
    I wont limit my list by mileage, we drive anywhere.

    The GNR's my 3 y.o. daughter loves:

    1) Cajun Connection
    2) Sun Wah
    3) Tank Noodle
    4) Coalfire
    5) Double Li
    6) Nuevo Leon
    7)Shui Wah
    8 Fredhots
    9) Fabulous Noodles
    10) Naf-Naf
    11) Klas
    12)Cemita's
    13) SSGS
    14) Hae Woon Dae
  • Post #3 - February 11th, 2010, 2:36 pm
    Post #3 - February 11th, 2010, 2:36 pm Post #3 - February 11th, 2010, 2:36 pm
    What, exactly, makes a restaurant good for kids?

    Just asking, no offense intended.

    Is it just a matter of whether there are other families with kids there? Is there something about the food, or the atmosphere, that makes it particularly appealing for kids?
  • Post #4 - February 11th, 2010, 3:26 pm
    Post #4 - February 11th, 2010, 3:26 pm Post #4 - February 11th, 2010, 3:26 pm
    Jim's Coalfire suggestion is a good one; the last time I ate there, a bunch of tables were pushed together for a dozen or so of (what looked like) 6-7-year-olds and their chaperones, for a birthday party. The staff were totally friendly to the kids, and the kids, in turn, seemed to be enjoying themselves and going to town on the pizza.

    Just recently, some friends of ours took their 1-year-old son to Coalfire for his first restaurant meal. They said the staff cooed & smiled at the li'l anklebiter and made them feel genuinely welcome.
  • Post #5 - February 11th, 2010, 3:35 pm
    Post #5 - February 11th, 2010, 3:35 pm Post #5 - February 11th, 2010, 3:35 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:Jim's Coalfire suggestion is a good one; the last time I ate there, a bunch of tables were pushed together for a dozen or so of (what looked like) 6-7-year-olds and their chaperones, for a birthday party. The staff were totally friendly to the kids, and the kids, in turn, seemed to be enjoying themselves and going to town on the pizza.

    Just recently, some friends of ours took their 1-year-old son to Coalfire for his first restaurant meal. They said the staff cooed & smiled at the li'l anklebiter and made them feel genuinely welcome.



    thanks,

    all I listed have one or more of the following things going for them: an attentive/understanding staff, gregarious owners, fun menu options for kids as well as good options for the adults, or laid back patrons & an atmosphere that accept that kids will be kids.

    I havent taken my daughter to Marie's, but I bet it would be good for kids as well. I know I like it alot.
  • Post #6 - February 11th, 2010, 3:42 pm
    Post #6 - February 11th, 2010, 3:42 pm Post #6 - February 11th, 2010, 3:42 pm
    Others that I have been to that were kid friendly but we dont go to anymore for one reason or another:

    Smoque
    Honey 1
    Vito & Nicks
    Lao Sze Chuan


    Not a restauarant but my daughter loves Peoria Meatpacking almost as much as her old man. She always wants to pet the pig heads. :twisted:
  • Post #7 - February 11th, 2010, 3:51 pm
    Post #7 - February 11th, 2010, 3:51 pm Post #7 - February 11th, 2010, 3:51 pm
    jimswside wrote:I wont limit my list by mileage, we drive anywhere.

    The GNR's my 3 y.o. daughter loves:

    1) Cajun Connection
    2) Sun Wah
    3) Tank Noodle
    4) Coalfire
    5) Double Li
    6) Nuevo Leon
    7)Shui Wah
    8 Fredhots
    9) Fabulous Noodles
    10) Naf-Naf
    11) Klas
    12)Cemita's
    13) SSGS
    14) Hae Woon Dae


    Interesting list. If I had little ones still, I'd take them to Klas because it's kind of like a fairy tale castle, food is simple and cheap, and the place probably won't be there much longer (because, you know, it's later than we think).
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  • Post #8 - February 11th, 2010, 3:52 pm
    Post #8 - February 11th, 2010, 3:52 pm Post #8 - February 11th, 2010, 3:52 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    Interesting list. If I had little ones still, I'd take them to Klas because it's kind of like a fairy tale castle, food is simple and cheap, and the place probably won't be there much longer (because, you know, it's later than we think).


    She really did like Klas for the reasons you mention. Plus who doesnt like dumplings and gravy...

    Plus, can you tell we & she especially likes Asian food? especially rice and noodles. :D
  • Post #9 - February 11th, 2010, 4:46 pm
    Post #9 - February 11th, 2010, 4:46 pm Post #9 - February 11th, 2010, 4:46 pm
    We've had good experiences with our toddler at Semiramis, Salam, Hot Doug's, Coalfire, Marie's, Lao Sze Chuan, and Kuma's — with the caveat that we avoid peak times.
  • Post #10 - February 11th, 2010, 5:37 pm
    Post #10 - February 11th, 2010, 5:37 pm Post #10 - February 11th, 2010, 5:37 pm
    Part of our group this evening at Burt's is a friend's one-year old daughter. Sharon had no problem when I told her "one high chair". I have a sneaky suspicion that Burt and Sharon are pretty good with kids. Will report back later.
  • Post #11 - February 11th, 2010, 5:45 pm
    Post #11 - February 11th, 2010, 5:45 pm Post #11 - February 11th, 2010, 5:45 pm
    jimswside wrote:I havent taken my daughter to Marie's, but I bet it would be good for kids as well. I know I like it alot.


    I took Sparky and one of his buddies to Marie's and they loved it. In particular, they loved walking through the liquor store to get to the restaurant - quite an adventure for two then eight-year-olds.
  • Post #12 - February 11th, 2010, 6:36 pm
    Post #12 - February 11th, 2010, 6:36 pm Post #12 - February 11th, 2010, 6:36 pm
    Brown Sack, for sure. There have been days where they weren't too busy and even put on kids music for us. Though it may have just been Phish. :wink:
  • Post #13 - February 11th, 2010, 7:10 pm
    Post #13 - February 11th, 2010, 7:10 pm Post #13 - February 11th, 2010, 7:10 pm
    Here are some that we have tried that my kids (8 and 6) love:

    1) Sun Wah--they loved the duck and having it carved tableside
    2) Hae Woon Dae--they love sitting in a private room, the pillows on the floor and helping daddy grill the meats
    3) Klas--loved playing "eye spy" and getting a look into the private rooms on the top floor
    4) Smak Tac--the love getting their own drinks out of the cooler (polish juices like apple mint) and the potato pancakes
    5)Burt's Pizza--again, another popular "eye spy" place that just so happens to serve great pizza
    6) Sabatinos--flambe anything...the kids adored it. Next time we will request the private cubby room.


    All of these with the exception of Burt's pizza and Klas is 15 mins from Lakeview.

    edited to add Sabatinos and that Klas is more than a 15-min drive from Lakeview.
    Last edited by CM2772 on February 12th, 2010, 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #14 - February 11th, 2010, 7:46 pm
    Post #14 - February 11th, 2010, 7:46 pm Post #14 - February 11th, 2010, 7:46 pm
    We have a 5-year old daughter and if you ask, she will tell you that her favorite restaurant in the whole world is Sol de Mexico. Although it doesn't seem as obviously kid-friendly as someplace like Hot Doug's, the staff is very friendly and accommodating and they have caramel lollipops by the door. We get her a side of rice and she shares my entree (usually salmon or tampiquena). She also loves the chips and the apple soda. I have seen several other families with kids there too.

    We also love Hot Doug's, but the line is a bit challenging, so we haven't been in a long time. Spring World is another favorite-- again the staff is wonderful with kids, very sweet. Coalfire was also a hit-- one advantage is that if your kid is hungry, they can blast you a pizza in that oven in minutes. We've also had good experiences at the Brown Sack and at Smoque.

    Great question, I look forward to hearing others recommendations.

    Jen
  • Post #15 - February 11th, 2010, 8:00 pm
    Post #15 - February 11th, 2010, 8:00 pm Post #15 - February 11th, 2010, 8:00 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    jimswside wrote:I wont limit my list by mileage, we drive anywhere.

    The GNR's my 3 y.o. daughter loves:

    1) Cajun Connection
    2) Sun Wah
    3) Tank Noodle
    4) Coalfire
    5) Double Li
    6) Nuevo Leon
    7)Shui Wah
    8 Fredhots
    9) Fabulous Noodles
    10) Naf-Naf
    11) Klas
    12)Cemita's
    13) SSGS
    14) Hae Woon Dae


    Interesting list. If I had little ones still, I'd take them to Klas because it's kind of like a fairy tale castle, food is simple and cheap, and the place probably won't be there much longer (because, you know, it's later than we think).

    thanks for the tip dave , i am looking forward to going there
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  • Post #16 - February 11th, 2010, 9:06 pm
    Post #16 - February 11th, 2010, 9:06 pm Post #16 - February 11th, 2010, 9:06 pm
    This thread has inspired me to take my kids to Klas this weekend. I hadn't thought about that spot in ages but I really think they'd love the place- and yes, it's later than we think. :D
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  • Post #17 - February 11th, 2010, 11:06 pm
    Post #17 - February 11th, 2010, 11:06 pm Post #17 - February 11th, 2010, 11:06 pm
    My kids (6 & 9) are partial to Manny's. Cafeteria style is very kid friendly - instant gratification, see exactly what you are ordering - and the pay-as-you-leave set up makes it particularly easy to make return trips for extra servings of newly-discovered foods. And don't forget the self-service water in the really cool cone cups!
  • Post #18 - February 12th, 2010, 6:36 am
    Post #18 - February 12th, 2010, 6:36 am Post #18 - February 12th, 2010, 6:36 am
    For what it's worth, we typically go to Hot Doug's on a weekday shortly after opening. Yesterday, it was more than manageable, with no line at all, from at least 10:30 to noon. Maybe the rush started right after that, but regardless, especially when dealing with smaller kids, lunch most definitely doesn't have to wait until noon.

    My dining companion then exclaimed, after we had fed our monkeys, "we should all go to the hamburger place next!" I then explained to her that, no, Kuma's is not particularly kid-friendly, at least not smaller kids. I was mostly thinking of the wait, but I was also thinking of the Goblin Cock. :)
  • Post #19 - February 12th, 2010, 8:47 am
    Post #19 - February 12th, 2010, 8:47 am Post #19 - February 12th, 2010, 8:47 am
    My 2.5 yr old loves the Vienna factory store on Fullerton/Damen. He loves a hot dog and is often given a special hello.
  • Post #20 - February 12th, 2010, 8:54 am
    Post #20 - February 12th, 2010, 8:54 am Post #20 - February 12th, 2010, 8:54 am
    Dan Serafini wrote:My 2.5 yr old loves the Vienna factory store on Fullerton/Damen. He loves a hot dog and is often given a special hello.


    Vienna Factory store is a neat place, but not a GNR.
  • Post #21 - February 12th, 2010, 9:04 am
    Post #21 - February 12th, 2010, 9:04 am Post #21 - February 12th, 2010, 9:04 am
    Nuevo Leon is so kid-friendly that when we took our then-infant (now 3yo) son there for the first time, our waitress picked him up and fussed over him and then disappeared with him for several minutes, taking him all throughout the dining room and showing him off to everybody. A little disconcerting but well-intended I think.
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  • Post #22 - February 12th, 2010, 12:50 pm
    Post #22 - February 12th, 2010, 12:50 pm Post #22 - February 12th, 2010, 12:50 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:What, exactly, makes a restaurant good for kids?

    Just asking, no offense intended.

    Is it just a matter of whether there are other families with kids there? Is there something about the food, or the atmosphere, that makes it particularly appealing for kids?


    I'd go where I was interested. I think an easier task might be to list GNRs not so good for kids. It's a pretty short list.

    Of those I've been to:

    Avec
    Bar DeVille
    Great Lake
    Hop Leaf
    Katsu
    Schwa
    Sweets & Savories
    The Violet Hour

    Haven't been, but might hesitate:

    Gaetano's
    a tavola
    Vie

    Sabatino's is borderline only because the waits can be long, but staff and kids both handled it well on my visit.
  • Post #23 - February 12th, 2010, 12:58 pm
    Post #23 - February 12th, 2010, 12:58 pm Post #23 - February 12th, 2010, 12:58 pm
    Oddly enough, I actually have taken my kids to several of those:

    —Took them to Avec on Super Bowl night a few years back. Wouldn't on a normal night. Just barely enough things they'd be willing to eat, and of course the crowd on a normal night would be a pain.
    —Great Lake, sure, a couple of times. But always early, when we were first customers of the night.
    —Katsu: did this just because a relative was in town and really wanted to try this place I'd raved about. We did okay, but generally a frustrating experience, simply because of the cuisine.
    —A Tavola: we took Myles to this before Liam was born but it proved to be so hushed that I wouldn't have dared with two kids. He was very good, but I wouldn't recommend it and it's one where I'd genuinely feel my kids' presence was unfair to other diners seeking a grownup place.

    In general, Mexican can always be made to work though it's hardly worth it at the higher end places (I'd wind up spending a lot of money at a Geno Bahena place to get three little masa boats which they'd scrape the good stuff off of); Italian always works; middle eastern is generally fine, they both like falafel and schwarma; they'll do Indian though it's possible the younger one will subsist entirely on naan; Chinese can be made to work. Other Asian gets harder, I've pretty much given up on Thai with them, too, because it's so hard to find something that fits their definition of acceptable food.
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  • Post #24 - February 12th, 2010, 1:21 pm
    Post #24 - February 12th, 2010, 1:21 pm Post #24 - February 12th, 2010, 1:21 pm
    I'll add that we've taken Sparky to Sweets & Savories a couple times - the first went very well, the last (when he was older) disastrous - at least, for us -because he was in a horrible mood and decided to sulk for the entire meal (the staff handled everything graciously and he wasn't so rude as to bring down the whole room, or we'd have left.) It really depends on your kids and how they are that day - with littler kids, I agree, places where they're expected to sit still and wait can be difficult for them. For this reason, in general, most of the reccomendations given on LTH for kids are for ethnic or more casual places where atmosphere isn't a strong part of the experience. Not to say you can't try the more upscale places, but you'll need a plan.

    We've done Kuma's with Sparky and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We went when we could sit outside, but I realized at the time that there's so much to look at inside that he didn't even register that some of the artwork was risqué.

    Of the places Aaron listed, Hopleaf, Bar DeVille and Violet Hour are primarily bars. I know Hopleaf doesn't allow children at all, and I can only assume the other two don't either.
  • Post #25 - February 12th, 2010, 1:32 pm
    Post #25 - February 12th, 2010, 1:32 pm Post #25 - February 12th, 2010, 1:32 pm
    Aaron Deacon wrote:GNRs not so good for kids.

    Patty's Diner? :twisted:
  • Post #26 - February 12th, 2010, 1:37 pm
    Post #26 - February 12th, 2010, 1:37 pm Post #26 - February 12th, 2010, 1:37 pm
    Vie participated in Kids' Restaurant Week Last year.

    As far as where I wouldn't take MY kids...



    Hopleaf - no one under 21 allowed, ever.
    The other bars
    The Indo-Pak spots
    Paramount - too hipster bar-ish for us. We can have similar food at Kitsch'n and better at Kuma's
    Maybe Moto.

    Other than that...we've either been to the GNR's or their similar counterparts. (Hey - let's start the Happy Chef v Shui Wah debate!!)

    I like family owned restaurants because families are often working there. If your kids are at all well behaved - they'll be fine.
  • Post #27 - February 12th, 2010, 1:38 pm
    Post #27 - February 12th, 2010, 1:38 pm Post #27 - February 12th, 2010, 1:38 pm
    geno55 wrote:
    Aaron Deacon wrote:GNRs not so good for kids.

    Patty's Diner? :twisted:


    1. They have stuffed animals in the window
    2. They've never been anything but lovely to my children or anyone else's children of various 0-5 ages I have brought.
  • Post #28 - February 12th, 2010, 1:40 pm
    Post #28 - February 12th, 2010, 1:40 pm Post #28 - February 12th, 2010, 1:40 pm
    Why not the Indo-Pak places?

    I might actually take Myles to Moto someday. I was telling him about some of the weird science food in The Fat Duck Cookbook, and he was really digging that. He might be the perfect Moto diner right about now.

    Mine have enjoyed Patty's just fine, and been treated just fine... it's Dad who's not so in love with the place...
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  • Post #29 - February 12th, 2010, 1:47 pm
    Post #29 - February 12th, 2010, 1:47 pm Post #29 - February 12th, 2010, 1:47 pm
    The Indo-Pak is just that the kids share their dad's curry aversion - and there's not much getting around the smell.

    They barely tolerate me ordering Panang Curry.
  • Post #30 - February 12th, 2010, 1:59 pm
    Post #30 - February 12th, 2010, 1:59 pm Post #30 - February 12th, 2010, 1:59 pm
    Depot Diner is a favorite for my family. The kids love the "secret" back booth or sitting at the counter. Everyone can find something they love on the menu with dipping donuts for the finale.

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