|Please don't eat the babies|
Note: As this post goes live, Fat City blogger Jonathan Bender and his wife are awaiting the birth of their first child.
The prevailing wisdom is that once you have a baby, you'll never eat out again. Or on those occasions when you do eat out, you can forget going anywhere but a chain restaurant. Well, in an effort to debunk that myth, Fat City set out to find some family-friendly joints where everything didn't come from the fry-o-lator and you didn't have to settle for chicken fingers off the kid's menu.
9) Waldo Pizza, 7433 Broadway. Every other table usually has a high-chair. Kids and pizza are a natural combination and here is one restaurant where it seems like the servers enjoy entertaining your kids.
8) Five Guys Burgers & Fries, 14965 W. 119th Street, Olathe, Kansas. An assembly line approach cranks out grilled burgers for a headache-free meal. It's a chain (with more than 300 locations in 25 states), but kids are part of its targeted market and that means families are just another customer.
7) Bo Lings, 4800 Main. The lobby looks like a day care during Sunday Dim Sum. A spacious dining room ringed with booths is a big draw for families. The food is available as soon as you sit down and you're supposed to eat with your hands -- the very definition of a kid-friendly restaurant.
6) Room 39, 1719 W. 39th Street. Chef and co-owner Ted Habiger's wife Jacquie recently gave birth to this couple's second son, so although this intimate little bistro may seem too small for noisy children, the staff is very child-friendly.
5) Rudy's Tenampa Taqueria, 1611 Westport Road. This popular Westport Mexican dining spot is almost always loaded with families, which is a good indication of its popularity among youngsters. Besides, what kid won't eat a taco?
4) Galvin's Dinner House, 6802 South 22nd Street, St. Joseph. There used to be an American tradition that on Sundays, right after church, Mom and Dad piled the kids into the car and took a little day trip -- not too far, mind you -- to a restaurant that served family-style fried chicken dinners. St. Joseph's Galvin's is that place (but it does require reservations, particularly for Sunday). The pan-fried chicken is served with soup, salad, muffins, corn, green beans and freshly baked bread. Desserts too! The youngsters will doze off in the back seat on the drive home, giving the grown-ups at least thirty minutes of peace and quiet.
3) Fritz's Railroad Restaurant, 250 N. 18th Street, Kansas City, Kansas. Several generations of toddlers have been wowed by the "Skat Cat" system created by this restaurant's founder: a little train mechanism that tootles along from the kitchen to directly above the tables, where baskets of food -- burgers, hot dogs, tenderloins -- are lowered via a hydralic lift. It's even exciting for adults!
2) The Melting Pot, 450 Ward Parkway. When food becomes a tactile experience -- in this case, dipping meat into a hot broth or bread and vegetables into bubbling molton cheese -- everyone can get into the act. For kids, it's more play than dining.
1) T-Rex Cafe, 1847 Village West Parkway. If dinosaurs and meteor storms can't force fussy little diners to eat, nothing will.
(Image via Flickr: dannybirchall)