Rules and Recs for Local Family Dining

I live in a food town.  I’m NOT a foodie.  In case you haven’t been paying attention, it’s embarassing to call yourself a foodie.  Everyone in the industry IS making fun of you.

I digress

toddler-1326097_1920.jpgWhen you have 1-5 kids, you want to go somewhere that can accommodate your group, has some freedom of movement, has some food that is appropriate for kids, and is on the quicker side-no 5 course meals and Prix Fix.  Honestly, you also don’t want the staff to look at you like you’re some sort of out of control bunny rabbit who couldn’t control their reproduction JUST for walking through the door.  Yes, I have kids.  We’re hungry.  We intend to pay you AND tip accordingly.  Don’t be an asshole.

I have been treated well, and horribly as I stroll in with my 4 year old and my twin infants.  So, I’m going to share those experiences with you.

But first, a couple tips on how to NOT be an asshole parent:

1.) Timing

Don’t go to dinner when you are at threat level: Midnight.  Don’t go at 8pm when bedtime is 7.  Don’t skip breakfast and go to lunch at 11 hoping it will be fine.  Think about your meal times.  Restaurant staff should be kind, but it’s not their job to manage your schedule.  Don’t rush them because YOU didn’t plan ahead.

2.) Feed your kid

See rule #1.  don’t wait until your kid has been at a festival and had cotton candy, fried dough and a fucking bloomin’ onion and THEN run to a restaurant, order a burger and get mad that it’s not immediately available for your little gremlin.  PACK SNACKS, folks.  This is parenting lesson number one.  When you were pregnant, you packed snacks.  Just because your kid is on the outside, doesn’t make it ok to abandon the granola bars, apples and trail mix at home.

3.) Bring your own activities

It is NOT the job of ANY restaurant to provide you with coloring, games, puzzles, and a waiting area.  See rule #2.  You are the parent, bring your own activities.  If you can’t handle that, go to Amazon and buy a kindle.

4.)  Don’t be THAT parent

Just because you’re walking behind your child doesn’t mean they are safe.  It doens’t mean they are being cute, and it doesn’t mean they aren’t driving other guests bonkers.  Find an area that is safe and appropriate for walking/running (hint: not near service area) and stay there until your food comes.  If you need help with this, ask a server.  They will be ECSTATIC that you arne’t letting your kid run near the kitchen door and walking behind them, giggling.

Ok, so if you follow those rules, you are the ultimate parental guest.  Restaurant folk are HAPPY to wait on you, you are amazing.

Here’s a list of places in the area that I take my kids:

1.)  ‘Wich Please (food truck)

This is a food truck placed next to buoy park in Rockland.  The food is approachable, fairly priced and my kid can run while she waits.  I can walk, sit in the sun or shade, or I can keep all the kids in the AC of the car while we wait (don’t jump on me, they’re never unattended…goodness)  He also runs a pretty sweet blog.

2.)  The Landings

So, because my parents literally own this business, feel free to go there with your kids. Follow the above rules, and blame me for letting your entire squad of kids run around on the adjacent deck.  Be respectful of other diners, and follow the above rules (did I say that already?).  The kids menu is great, they give your kids books, and I’ll see you there.

3.)  Brass Compass and Archers

Lynn is the baby whisperer.  If your baby cries, go knock on the door to the kitchen.  She will hold your baby and you can eat.  to hell with everyone else,.   I’m kidding, but she’s really amazing.  She makes everyone feel like family and her staff has never, once, has made me feel like I was taking up space, too loud, or inconvenient for them. Brass Compass is Breakfast and Lunch.  Archers is lunch and dinner.

4.)  Rock City Coffee

Recommended These guys are amazing.  They are super kind to my daughter and support me with holding the door, answering my silly food questions, and letting me take up a lot of space with my double stroller.  I totally appreciate them and, as long as you follow the above rules, recommend them to any parent.

5.)  Cafe Miranda

This is a great family spot if your adult to kid ratio is about 1:2.  It’s a small spot and there isn’t a lot of room for kid movement.  The menu, however, is amazing.  Everyone can find something.  They have a great kids menu and there’s a ton of stuff to look at.  After dinner you can walk Main Street and check out Lulu’s Ice Cream next door.

6.) Park Street Grille

Noisy, Chicken fingers, tacos, lemonade and two turtles named Clyde and Duke.  This is a totally amazing spot for kids and families.  And, honestly, anytime I can have a margarita while my kids eat tacos, I’m happy.

Rockland has a ton of places that are family friendly.  These are NOT in order.  If you have questions, it NEVER hurts to call and say “I have a plethora of children, do you have enough booster seats to accommodate us?”  their reaction will usually  give you an idea.

Do you think your restaurant should be added to the list?  Contact me!

I’ll apologize or I’ll tell you why you’re wrong…either way!

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