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    Post #1 - February 23rd, 2005, 3:18 pm
    Post #1 - February 23rd, 2005, 3:18 pm Post #1 - February 23rd, 2005, 3:18 pm
    I have a four-year old that I'd like to teach the fine art of food to. I'm not expecting any great results yet - I'd just like the exposure. Any suggestions for particularly kid-friendly restaurants? :roll:
  • Post #2 - February 23rd, 2005, 3:37 pm
    Post #2 - February 23rd, 2005, 3:37 pm Post #2 - February 23rd, 2005, 3:37 pm
    Hi,

    I guess we should really begin with the kid, your kid, is he generally well behaved? If he is squirmy and mouthy, then maybe he isn't up to speed yet. I have heard of parents doing fine dining at home to educate the kids.

    Carlos in Highland Park was the location for a child-oriented etiquette class. I sent my nieces after one dinner out, when the youngest crawled across the the table to get what she desired rather than ask. Of course, the final was tea where you invited your parents. Since my sister is divorced, this meant Mom and Grandma. The children learned to make introductions, which evolved in a funny situation:

    Let me introduced you to my Grandma. This is my Grandma, her name is ... very long pause while child thinks fast ... Grandma!

    Truthfully, you need to evaluate your child frankly. You need to make sure they have had a nap, aren't showing up starving or running a fever and will not interfer with other diners. If they begin to act up, then either you take turns eating or just go home early. Remember you have been a diner next to kids who were misbehaving. It doesn't matter if it is McDonalds or Carlos; its unpleasant.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - February 23rd, 2005, 6:42 pm
    Post #3 - February 23rd, 2005, 6:42 pm Post #3 - February 23rd, 2005, 6:42 pm
    The key thing, IMO, is to keep the experience BRIEF. No child of 4 wants to sit for 3+ hours eating a meal NO MATTER HOW MUCH *YOU* ARE IMPRESSED WITH IT. When the child becomes bored, the restlessness begins. And when a child is restless, everyone else in the restaurant seems to notice it before the parents do.

    There are a whole lot of food experiences, especially in ethnic restaurants, that a small child can enjoy in an hour or less. I would take my nephews to the West Side Market in Cleveland to look at the pigs heads at the various butchers. Then a stop at Lozado's for some goat stew or some Caribbean specialty. Or to the pita factory for a tour and some zahtar bread and other Mediterranean specials enjoyed on the plaza at Jacob's Field.
  • Post #4 - February 23rd, 2005, 7:49 pm
    Post #4 - February 23rd, 2005, 7:49 pm Post #4 - February 23rd, 2005, 7:49 pm
    Big Bowl is great for kids. We also like Mity Nice Grill.
  • Post #5 - February 23rd, 2005, 9:12 pm
    Post #5 - February 23rd, 2005, 9:12 pm Post #5 - February 23rd, 2005, 9:12 pm
    I'm assuming you mean restaurant eating generally, rather than fine dining -- am I mistaken? Because obviously you have many more options if you're looking to find good, but not fancy, food. We have found that ethnic restaurants work well, for various reasons: first, we have so many great ones to choose from here in Chicagoland, of course, with so many types of cuisine to explore. Usually, too, you can get interesting food that you'll like and still find things even little ones will eat: rice and noodles at Asian restaurants, rice and beans and quesadillas at Central and Latin American restaurants, rice and more rice at Indian restaurants (I'm noticing a disturbing pattern here en re my kids' preferences.) But we've also found that ethnic restaurants are often the friendliest places for families, as that's often who their customers are. We started our kids really early going to Indian restaurants on Devon, where even as infants they were warmly welcomed. (Lunch time buffets make things especially easy there.) But some rules apply, wherever you go, which you no doubt know and that make for happier dining for all: go early or for lunch so you're not disturbing people without kids (and yours will be too tired at 7 p.m. for a good time, anyway). Be prepared to eat quickly, and pack things up and leave if prolonged screaming occurs. Understand that you'll waste lots of money on food that will go uneaten because it doesn't taste or look like Kraft macaroni and cheese. But perservere nonetheless -- our kids now are pretty much game to go anywhere and an important benefit, here in Chicago, is that they've come to know much of the city by exploring its many neighborhood restaurants. And tell us where you're located. With this info you'd probably get more advice about specific restaurants.
    ToniG
  • Post #6 - February 23rd, 2005, 9:13 pm
    Post #6 - February 23rd, 2005, 9:13 pm Post #6 - February 23rd, 2005, 9:13 pm
    The Lao Sze Chuan in westmont is obscenely family-friendly. We went there a month or two ago with a 10 month old to find every table with one or two kids (and often a grandparent or two).

    And the food is damned good to boot.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #7 - February 24th, 2005, 12:01 am
    Post #7 - February 24th, 2005, 12:01 am Post #7 - February 24th, 2005, 12:01 am
    I can certainly understand your being eager to open the fabulous world of food to your child. I was, and still am, the same with my two boys who are 13 and 17. However, at 4 neither of them was terribly restaurant-friendly beyond Steak N' Shake and a few places of that ilk. My solution was to expose them to what was available through my cooking it at home. Since I enjoy cooking, it was just a natural thing to do for me and it helped open new doors for them. As they got older, of course we started taking them to more and more restaurants to help educate them in proper behavior and etiquette, but I think if they already have a clue as to what French food is like, or Chinese food, etc. the experience goes a bit better as opposed to walking into a place and them being faced with the food for the first time. I do agree that ethnic restaurants are good places to take kids because they are so family oriented.

    Patience with them and the whole situation is a must. The older they get, the more enjoyable dining out with them will be.
  • Post #8 - February 24th, 2005, 9:24 am
    Post #8 - February 24th, 2005, 9:24 am Post #8 - February 24th, 2005, 9:24 am
    We have an 18 month old who is fairly well behaved for an 18 month old. We've found goose Island to be THE most kid friendly place. On saturdays and sundays you will see evidence of that in the dining room - just about every table has and under 2 y/o. They have a great kids menu, you can have a good beer and relax and it's not too expensive.

    I will also second the recommendation on ethnic restaurants. We have a couple in our neighborhood where we are regulars and are always welcomed. La Oaxaquena is more than happy to make a small arroz con pollo for my daughter and we enjoy first class Enchiladas en Mole and Ceviche. We're not ready to feed her Thai food yet (no peanuts), but Siam Taste noodle doesn't mind us bringing her dinner along.

    My only warning, some places are short on high chairs/boosters. We keep our Fisher Price Portable high Chair in the car - it's more for grandma's but if there's ever an issue - we always have a spot for her.

    These are the only ones that come to mind, though we do eat out fairly often. Did you have a cuisine in mind?
  • Post #9 - February 24th, 2005, 9:43 am
    Post #9 - February 24th, 2005, 9:43 am Post #9 - February 24th, 2005, 9:43 am
    teddybear wrote:I have a four-year old that I'd like to teach the fine art of food to. I'm not expecting any great results yet - I'd just like the exposure. Any suggestions for particularly kid-friendly restaurants? :roll:

    Teddybear,

    Not a restaurant, but you and your child might enjoy the Kids Activity Corner at the Family Farm Expo, Navy Pier, Sunday March 6th.

    More info available Here and Here

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #10 - February 24th, 2005, 9:44 am
    Post #10 - February 24th, 2005, 9:44 am Post #10 - February 24th, 2005, 9:44 am
    kafein,

    Is your 18 month old allergic to peanuts or are you just worried about them as a potential choking hazard? If it's the latter then don't count out Thai just yet. Once my younger son discovered satay he was willing to eat Thai anytime, anyplace. He loves the way the chicken is seasoned, but the peanut sauce is the main draw. Both my boys have always been big fried rice fans as well and it's a good way to get some veggies in them.
  • Post #11 - February 24th, 2005, 11:00 am
    Post #11 - February 24th, 2005, 11:00 am Post #11 - February 24th, 2005, 11:00 am
    gleam wrote:The Lao Sze Chuan in westmont is obscenely family-friendly. We went there a month or two ago with a 10 month old to find every table with one or two kids (and often a grandparent or two).

    And the food is damned good to boot.



    I can't speak for the Westmont location, but LSC in Chinatown is also very, very child friendly. I actually don't see much of my 11 month old when we eat there, as he's being carried around by the waitresses for most of our meal.
    Although some of the larger chain restaurants (Big Bowl, etc) may seem child-friendly, I would be worried that the noise level in those places could be too much, especially for a smaller child. The dining out experience can be exciting and overwhelming enough, and sometimes the circus-like atmosphere of a big, busy place can be, well, too much. We've had the most success dining out with our son at small to medium sized ethnic places. If they don't have a high chair, we just keep going.
    The other tip I'd offer is to go at off-peak hours. I find the middle of the afternoon to be the best time to eat out with my son - he's had a nap, the wait staff isn't frenzied, and there are usually very few customers to bother if something does go wrong.
  • Post #12 - February 24th, 2005, 11:06 am
    Post #12 - February 24th, 2005, 11:06 am Post #12 - February 24th, 2005, 11:06 am
    Our pediatrician recommends no peanuts or shellfish until after age 3 to avoid allergenic reactions. I know we're probably over reacting, but it's easily avoided. She does like fried rice - nothing too salty though.

    She is not a picky eater (she ate Champiniones en Guajillo when we were in Cozumel - a whole cazuela of them - we almost fell over).
  • Post #13 - February 24th, 2005, 11:07 am
    Post #13 - February 24th, 2005, 11:07 am Post #13 - February 24th, 2005, 11:07 am
    Kwe730 wrote:Is your 18 month old allergic to peanuts or are you just worried about them as a potential choking hazard?


    Some pediatricians recommend waiting until a child is 3 to give them peanuts, because of the risk of allergy (not to mention that it is, indeed, a choking hazard). Apparently, exposure to peanuts at a young age can sometimes trigger a peanut allergy.
  • Post #14 - February 24th, 2005, 12:29 pm
    Post #14 - February 24th, 2005, 12:29 pm Post #14 - February 24th, 2005, 12:29 pm
    I agree with all the advice given above: go to Mexican, Middle Eastern, and other small ethnic restaurants where the staff and other patrons are likely to love kids; go at lunch or off-times, when your child is rested; be prepared to leave quickly if your child has a meltdown. I'd add, too, that it's a good idea to lug along a whole set of supplies: snacks like crackers, in case nothing on the menu appeals; a drink like apple juice or lemonade, in case there's nothing on the drink menu he or she likes; toys, paper and crayons, etc.

    We've gotten in the habit of ordering food for our 4 year old as soon as the server comes to ask about drink orders, so he doesn't get hungry and impatient. Of course that means he's done eating long before we are, so the toys and all are important to give him something to do. And again, the small ethnic places that are relatively uncrowded are great if your child decides to get up and dance to nortena music on the juke box or sits on the floor playing cars.

    Regarding the peanut allergy issue: as mentioned elsewhere, we were shocked to discover a few months ago that our son has a potentially life threatening food allergy (tests a couple weeks ago confirmed he is allergic to every tree nut except pine nuts and chestnuts, and also to peanuts). We learned from the allergy clinic that the number of children with peanut allergies has doubled in the last five years. It must be something in the environment contributing to this -- various theories have been proposed -- but no one knows for sure what it is and the food allergy issue is definitely something to be aware of.
  • Post #15 - February 24th, 2005, 12:44 pm
    Post #15 - February 24th, 2005, 12:44 pm Post #15 - February 24th, 2005, 12:44 pm
    In addition to ethnic restaurants, which are a great resource for kid dining, there are a lot of places that you wouldn't expect to be kid-friendly as long as you go at the right time. I will give some of my favorite restaurant experiences we've had with our one year old.

    Sunday dinner at Avec, which opens I think at 3:00pm, when the hostess gave my son her silver bracelet to play with.

    Thor's first birthday at Tournesol. Rabbit, spaetzle, a tiny sip of 2000 bordeaux, and a smash brulee that the restaurant gave to us with a candle on top.

    Dinner this week at Kaze sushi. The chefs love my son and the staff never seems to mind the hand roll he makes of the rice on the edge of the paper tablecloth. His first introduction to miso.

    Other child friendly spots include Mia Francesca, Bistro Campagne, Turquoise and erwin as long as you go early when it's not too busy.

    Finally, on the subject of introducing children to good food and dining, a group of us have submitted an application to Slow Food USA to form a family/child friendly convivium to be called Slow Food Family Chicagoland. Our intention is to have events that focus on children, farm visits, dinners at child friendly spots, cooking classes, and food-focused tours. If you or anyone else is interested in joining us, please send me a PM and I can provide more information about our organization.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #16 - February 24th, 2005, 1:18 pm
    Post #16 - February 24th, 2005, 1:18 pm Post #16 - February 24th, 2005, 1:18 pm
    I agree with Melissa that fancier places can handle kidz extraordinarily well. I think, but am not positive, that Smith and Wollensky is my kidz favorite restaurant. We have never taken our rather rambunctious daughters to any of the top, top joints, the Tr's, Le Francais or something, but they have been around--Frontera, Hugo's, the aforementioned S&W. I think to a certain extent, children bring their behaivor to the surroundings not the other way around (or did I say that backwards). Put them in the McPlaypen, and they act like McTerrors. Put them in a nice restaurant and they are little darlin's.

    The bigger issue, I think with child dining is what to serve them. It's not just a question of will they really enjoy foie gras with carmelized quince marmelade and seared ahi tuna. It's, do you want to lay out a bunch of money on food they may or may not like. So, I evaluate places by what can the kidz eat for not a lot of money. For instance, Carson's Ribs serves a children's steak for about $9. It's certainly more than the typical kids meal, but one daugher, high roller that she is, loves steak (and lobster and stone crabs), and that Carson's steak is an exceedingly great deal for $9 (plus, they get potato, salad and all the chopped liver they can eat). Thus, Carson's to me, is a great family restaurant. On the other hand, there are places, nothing comes to mind right now, where there is just no good cheap option.

    Another caution. My kidz love Thai and Chinese food, but not exactly the same foods as Mom and Dad. We actually have stopped going for Thai with them, because by the time we get the satay and mee krob and stuff for them, the night's dining budget is ruined. So, if you want to take your kids to a place where you share food, make sure you like to share the same stuff.

    But on the opposite principle, buffets work well. Most of the buffets on Devon, especially my fave, Sizzle India, charge less for kids. Grota on Sunday past charged only $4 per kid.

    Rob
  • Post #17 - February 24th, 2005, 1:25 pm
    Post #17 - February 24th, 2005, 1:25 pm Post #17 - February 24th, 2005, 1:25 pm
    I think to a certain extent, children bring their behaivor to the surroundings not the other way around (or did I say that backwards). Put them in the McPlaypen, and they act like McTerrors. Put them in a nice restaurant and they are little darlin's.


    Amen. Now there are always exceptions, but I think that the parents who complain that can never eat out because of their kids have just never invested the time into showing their kids how to act in a restaurant. Granted, this is less important to most people than it is to us, but I think automatically blaming the child is a cop out.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #18 - February 24th, 2005, 10:13 pm
    Post #18 - February 24th, 2005, 10:13 pm Post #18 - February 24th, 2005, 10:13 pm
    MAG wrote:I think automatically blaming the child is a cop out.


    I couldn't agree more, and in fact, rarely do I blame the child. Only so much can be expected of small children! It is the parents' responsibility to judge when and where it is appropriate to bring children so as not to inflict annoyance on others (and to be prepared with something to entertain the young ones). Leisurely multi-course dinners that begin at 8:30, for example, are not for toddlers!

    When we take our son out, we try to do so when he is rested and not completely starving. We bring toys and snacks, sometimes order all the food when the server comes to take drink orders, and have even had entrees wrapped to go once when we realized we were in over our heads after appetizers and salads (live and learn!).

    I've tried to confine our dining out with the boy to casual and ethnic places, but my family insisted that we go to the Drake for the brunch buffet in December. He was then 13 months old and we knew that we might have to eat and run, but he seemed to really get into the buffet setup, and just kept eating (as we all did) for close to an hour and a half! The highlights for him were the fresh fruit and the cheese selection. I was thrilled that he was pleasant in the high chair for such a stretch.

    MAG wrote:...the parents who complain that can never eat out because of their kids have just never invested the time into showing their kids how to act in a restaurant.


    Often our enjoyment of meals out is seriously compromised by bringing him along, as entertaining, cutting food (and not long ago feeding), and cleaning up after him are simply not the same as going out without him, but it is important to us to expose him to eating in restaurants for all that we can't offer him at home--the foods and the experiences.
  • Post #19 - February 25th, 2005, 4:58 pm
    Post #19 - February 25th, 2005, 4:58 pm Post #19 - February 25th, 2005, 4:58 pm
    Now there are always exceptions, but I think that the parents who complain that can never eat out because of their kids have just never invested the time into showing their kids how to act in a restaurant.


    Yes and no. When we just had one we would take him a lot of places (if not to, as VI puts it, the Tr's). Aim for early dinner when it wasn't that busy, and he would charm the staff. This is easy, I thought.

    It's a different ballgame now that we have two. They don't play to the staff, they play to each other. They are rambunctious. They throw things. They stick chopsticks in their noses. I like to think the day is not so far off that the younger one can be persuaded not to unleash anarchy everywhere he goes, for at least the first half hour, but 3 is not the age where that happens. Yet.

    That said, I strongly second the recommendation about ethnic restaurants. They are family businesses, sometimes they even have kids around, they certainly understand, much better than some 19-year-old college kid who'll be your server this evening in an upscale place. (Here's one experience I had.)

    I think teaching good restaurant behavior is an important thing, and I am doing it with the older kid when I can (he is much better solo, not least because he's excited to have a privilege that the other one isn't getting), but I have just come to accept that right now, I'm just teaching the excitement of a broad palate.
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  • Post #20 - February 25th, 2005, 5:15 pm
    Post #20 - February 25th, 2005, 5:15 pm Post #20 - February 25th, 2005, 5:15 pm
    Now, Mike, I would certainly not put you in the category of someone who says that he can never eat out. In making my statement, I'm thinking of the person who only takes their kids to Chuckie Cheese, McDonald's, etc. and claims that it is because he/she can't take their kids anywhere else, when in reality, it probably has more to do with their limited willingness to explore other options.

    This story may give some perspective on my statement. One time we were at Avec, we were seated to an Italian couple with their 7-8 year old son who had a DVD player. Initially, I was suspicious, but then I saw that the parents interacted with him, he ate and he was quiet. Later that evening, I was at a party and I relayed the story to my neighbor at the table, a father of two children - a pre-schooler and a child under one, expressing my initial suspicions and presenting, what I thought was a feasible explanation - that the couple was visiting from abroad and had preferred to take their son with the pacifying DVD player as opposed to leaving him with an unknown hotel babysitter. I was flabbergasted when the father of two informed me of his very strongly held opinion that children shouldn't be in restaurants (other than the Chuckie Cheese/Rainforest Cafe ilk), period. The conversation got rather heated, so much so, that I actually changed my seat with the poor wife of this oh so charming fellow who when she saw my consternation told my husband "oh boy, he's on the restaurant kick again, this is why we never go out."

    I've actually been meaning to post this story and get people's opinions on it as it made me very hot under the collar, something I don't ordinarily do in social settings, and I'm wondering if I overreacted.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #21 - February 25th, 2005, 5:21 pm
    Post #21 - February 25th, 2005, 5:21 pm Post #21 - February 25th, 2005, 5:21 pm
    No, I take them out a lot, but I wouldn't take the two of them to a fairly quiet and intimate place like A Tavola or She She, which I did take the older one to when he was smaller and solo. I definitely want a certain basic level of background noise and activity before I feel that the kids will blend in reasonably.

    There's also the issue of how clued/clueless I think the waitstaff will be (no, do not light the candle and set it front of the baby, do not give the toddler a steak knife).

    I guess what I am teaching, even so, is that you do not get candy-flavored food like McD's or Chuck E. Cheese (which I refuse to go to; the nanny takes them occasionally) everywhere you go. And they have come to accept a lot of things and be proud that they know Indian, Japanese, South American and many other foods. You are absolutely right that the issue of timidity of taste is driven by the parents much more than the kids. It's similar to when we invite somebody to a silent film screening, say, or put on the Little Rascals or something, there's often some hesitation from the parent ("I don't know if he'll watch black and white") that the kid simply has no idea about and couldn't care less about; all they know is, Funny.
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  • Post #22 - February 25th, 2005, 5:34 pm
    Post #22 - February 25th, 2005, 5:34 pm Post #22 - February 25th, 2005, 5:34 pm
    Years and years ago, on another food forum, I relayed the tale of a failed dinner at Pasteur. Pasteur had only just re-opened after fire and wrong locations and stuff. This was the new, tres chic location on N. Broadway. As it was in our new hood, we decided to try, but because we were with two youngish kidz, we made our own compromise and went on a Monday and early, before 6 PM I believe.

    Our younger daughter was in a high chair still, and I believe she was mildly acting like a kid in a high chair, you know th urge to bang what's in front of you. Nothing else, no crying, no running around the restaurant, no chopsticks in the nose. And what did we get in return? The cold shoulder. We waited and waited and waited to order. As mentioned already in this thread, ordering early is a way to MANAGE the kid experience. So, the longer it took, the more we feared our well behaving kidz would not be so well behavin'. Long story short. They wanted us out. They actually confessed, one of them, when we left, that they did not want the kids. They feigned it was others customers, but I found that hard to believe. And it was Monday freakin' night.

    But here's the main part of the story. In my anger, I get home, dial up the ol' Internet (and believe me, in those days we were a-dialin') and told my story. And you know what. By about an 8-1 margin, the online crowd was against me. My anger at being dissed for the mere idea of taking the kidz along was now fodder for every loud kid at a nice restaurant story immaginable. Pretty much no one saw things from MY side.

    Nice how times change.

    Rob
  • Post #23 - February 25th, 2005, 6:06 pm
    Post #23 - February 25th, 2005, 6:06 pm Post #23 - February 25th, 2005, 6:06 pm
    Oh, and by the way, as I said before, my son was absolutely TERRIFIED by his one and only visit to Rainforest Cafe (aka to this day "the place with the scary gorillas"). But they love the rituals of Japanese food now. So what we think they'll love often scares the bejesus out of them, and what we find pedestrian, they love.
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  • Post #24 - February 25th, 2005, 6:10 pm
    Post #24 - February 25th, 2005, 6:10 pm Post #24 - February 25th, 2005, 6:10 pm
    I especially like your son's reaction to the Chocolate Shoppe dressed up for Halloween. When I was there last week taking pictures of the Oz decor, the scooper remembered his reaction months later.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #25 - February 25th, 2005, 6:32 pm
    Post #25 - February 25th, 2005, 6:32 pm Post #25 - February 25th, 2005, 6:32 pm
    MAG wrote:I was flabbergasted when the father of two informed me of his very strongly held opinion that children shouldn't be in restaurants (other than the Chuckie Cheese/Rainforest Cafe ilk), period. The conversation got rather heated, so much so, that I actually changed my seat with the poor wife of this oh so charming fellow who when she saw my consternation told my husband "oh boy, he's on the restaurant kick again, this is why we never go out."

    I've actually been meaning to post this story and get people's opinions on it as it made me very hot under the collar, something I don't ordinarily do in social settings, and I'm wondering if I overreacted.


    Holy smokes! I don't think you overreacted. At what age did this person think it was appropriate for children to go to (real) restaurants? And then what sort of awkward experience would it be for them? What a drag.

    I may well be deluding myself now and things will change when my son (and sibling on the way) are older, but it's fine with me if they never know Chuck E Cheese, et al. exist! I have no plans to take them to such places unless or until they hear about it somewhere else and ask for it. And then I don't know what I'll do. Hopefully, they'll believe me when I say the food is not good and they'll decide they'd rather get Indian or dim sum anyway.
  • Post #26 - February 25th, 2005, 8:35 pm
    Post #26 - February 25th, 2005, 8:35 pm Post #26 - February 25th, 2005, 8:35 pm
    We started taking our niece out to restaurants when she was three. Our first dinner out was Japanese. We put rice in her miso soup and with the soft tofu she loved it and the small spoon was perfect for her. When she saw us eating tempura, she wanted a green bean, sweet potatoe and then a shrimp. I think when she sees us enjoying our food so much she has to have it to. When she saw Grandma enjoying her sushi dinner and how pretty the plate was, she wanted a piece of California roll with fish egg. She didn't care for it, but thats okay at least she tried it. Next was tuna nigiri, we didn't know if we should give her raw fish but Grandma said it was okay, she's been eating raw fish all her life in Japan. Well she couldn't get enough. We never brought toys with us and tried to make dinner fun and exciting . With the small pretty plates and putting milk or water in the tea cups and bringing a rubber band for the chopsticks, she was never bored. Well that was four years ago and it seems like yesterday, where does the time go? We can take her to any restaurant and she will try anything. Our big mistake was having her try crab legs, lobster tail, ribs, and filet. So dinners can get pretty expensive when we take her out . But thats okay, I think we get a bigger kick out of it then her. No kid menus for her. Don't get me wrong she still likes her Hooter wings med, Super Dawg, Johnnie's combo juicy, sweet and a happy meal once in a while. But for some reason, hates pizza. ( Strange Kid!).
  • Post #27 - February 26th, 2005, 11:22 am
    Post #27 - February 26th, 2005, 11:22 am Post #27 - February 26th, 2005, 11:22 am
    The number of kids issue is very important, I think. Our son was an only child for his first 5 1/2 years, and we could take him anywhere, and still can if he is by himself. We had twin daughters, who are now 5, and we are only now beginning to take them out to nicer places ( they love Sushi Kushi Toyo), they are still unable to handle anything longer than about 45 minutes. Our son is now 10, and can handle anything, in fact he has more patience at a multi course meal than my wife. But bring along a friend for him, and it just doesnt work at any nicer place. They are loud and very impatient, so when he has a friend, we stick to kid oriented places.
    While I think it is important to expose kids to lots of different restaurants, parents do have a responsability to other diners. If your kid is out of control, you have to either leave or take him outside for a while. While few kids are complete angels, I find it very annoying at nicer places when parents refuse to reign in their kids when they are disturbing everyone else's meal. There have been times when I have given parents the evil eye, and they have responded that their kids are just having fun and are being kids, when they are running around yelling and bumping into the staff. This may be fine at Chimpy's, but it is unacceptable at nicer places.
    -Will
  • Post #28 - February 26th, 2005, 12:11 pm
    Post #28 - February 26th, 2005, 12:11 pm Post #28 - February 26th, 2005, 12:11 pm
    Japanese restaurants have long been a favorite of my sons as well. The first time we took them to one, they were a bit suspicious mainly because I don't think they believed me when I told them that there would be other things on the menu besides sushi. However, our server (a family member of the owners) was nice enough to suggest some things to them that her kids liked and that won their confidence. They also love when we've dined in tatami rooms and are big fans of shabu shabu.

    Since we're discussing it here, also count me among the those of you who have never taken their kids to a Chimpy's, Chuck E. Cheese or Rainforest Cafe.

    Kim, I had to laugh when you mentioned that there is a slightly negative side to introducing your child to lobster, crab and filet. We were at a restaurant recently and after we had all done our inital scan of the menus, I asked my older son what he was going to have. His very nonchalant answer was "surf and turf". We told him to pick again.
  • Post #29 - February 26th, 2005, 7:25 pm
    Post #29 - February 26th, 2005, 7:25 pm Post #29 - February 26th, 2005, 7:25 pm
    Is there really a restaurant called Chimpy's? I thought that was a joke in a previous post. Do the waiters all have to wear ape suits or something? Is there a animatronic singing gorilla?

    Another point: though I'm obviously in the school that supports taking kids to restaurants (see post above) I will say that bringing children to fancy places sometimes ruins the experiences of those who most need an evening away from little ones -- parents. When our youngest was an infant, on the occasion of my birthday, we finally secured a babysitter and went out for what we hoped would be a quiet, calm and elegant adults-only evening at Spiaggia. We went early (I think at 6:30), because at that point we had to be in bed ourselves by 10 or so or we'd keel over. (Actually that remains true, sadly.) After we'd happily settled in for a bit, a party was escorted to an adjoining table that included a young boy of about 7 or 8. I will say he was well-behaved for someone his age -- no throwing food, no crying -- but he did talk loudly and incessently, about earth-moving equipment if I recall correctly. We couldn't really complain because he did nothing wrong, really, and that we were unhappy certainly wasn't his fault, to concur with what was said above. But this was a case of parents making a bad choice about where it was appropriate to bring a child, even a well-mannered one.
    ToniG
  • Post #30 - February 28th, 2005, 3:45 pm
    Post #30 - February 28th, 2005, 3:45 pm Post #30 - February 28th, 2005, 3:45 pm
    Chimpys is a chuck-e-cheese clone on milwaukee ave in libertyville. Not a recommendation, though the pizza isnt horrible.
    -Will

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