So-o-o-….it’s been awhile. I have been writing like mad for GreenBook, (GO ON! go give it a LIKE for me!) and will talk all about that ASAP. Right now I am thinking about a conversation I recently had with someone I’ve only spoken to over the phone.
In this phone call, I mentioned an article I recently wrote for Capital Gazette newspapers. It covered Family Friendly Dining. Originally inspired by a “Best Of” list I saw in a large regional paper that listed only 1 ONE!!! place in a 40 mile radius of where I live, I was motivated to write it because I wanted to showcase all the really wonderful places the kids and I go, not a single one of which is a chain, and very, very few of which are those sorts of places so devoid of creativity and any connection at all to a childhood palate that the line cook is forced to turn out PB&J with carrots as the Main course on the “kids menu”, or grilled cheese on the Specials day.
Let me say it here: I am so over the “Kids Menu”.
Get rid of it!!! Out! Gone! Boring! Terrible nutritionally! Gross! Cheap! Panders to the kids! Dumbs food down to the lowest denomination. Patronizes children’s ability to be flexible, creative, healthy, good eaters! D.O.N.E!
Well, this person I was speaking to vehemently disagreed with me. They LOVE the one place I didn’t include. They think it is so cool kids can write on the walls and that hot dogs are a hot item on the menu there. They are one of those people more than a little irritated when they hear babies crying, toddlers tantruming or kids fighting in a restaurant.
But guess what folks: we all acted like that at some time in our lives, and our parents made us get over it. Eventually, we all have to learn how to behave at the table, whether that is at home or in a restaurant. I am not going to sacrifice my taste buds and my desire for a decent meal to my children’s poor behavior. Full stop.
Here’s the fact of the matter: I am not going to pay good money to stuff my kids full of unhealthy, gross shit that would cost me a fraction of the price to serve them at home.
But 10 is an impossibly short list. Here are a few others I had in mind.
- Wild Country Seafood, Eastport (Best fresh seafood right off the boat and wonderful place to picnic)
- Pirate’s Cove, Shadyside (Such great memories here. Chesapeake traditional with gorgeous sunsets, docks, plenty of parking)
- Adams Ribs, (now Adams TapHouse & Grill) Severna Park, Eastport and Prince Frederick. BBQ. Man that stuff is so good, so filling, and I love the way that place SMELLS! The Kent Island location is too sterile for me. I like the old school Prince Frederick location best.
- Saigon Palace, Edgewater (Vietnamese)
- Iron Rooster, City Dock. I haven’t had a sip of the Iron Rooster KoolAid everyone seems to be drinking. My kids go here and still want the pancake and bacon. And it really bothers me that they don’t serve homemade jam!! They have those horrible little packets on the table. I want a crock of homemade butter (maybe even a honey butter for my pancakes too), I want some fresh jam from local berries, maybe in an old fashioned glass jar, and I want some real maple syrup. Not too hard folks! BUT, if you are a family that wants the basics without the mess at home, Iron Rooster is THE place to go. Try the tacos. Not bad!!! I also won’t pass up the biscuits and fried chicken with raspberry jam….
- Kabob House, Edgewater (oh lo-o-o-o-rd. Love it. Sometimes I buy the simple kebabs and fancy them up at home alongside a nice rice pilaf and a quick salad of cucumber and tomato. Super quick and easy weeknight dinner.)
- Davis Pub, Eastport (best chili, fries, burgers, hometown ambiance)
- Boatyard Bay & Grill, Eastport. (they love the kiddos there. Airy, bright. Everyone knows your name)
- Ann’s Dari-Creme, Glen Burnie. (Insane hot dogs. Good gawd the calories, but old fashioned goodness)
- Willie’s Kitchen, Glen Burnie. (old school food and atmosphere, but so fresh, much of it organic, local and rib-sticking wholesome).
- Gary’s Grill, Severna Park. (everyone loves it for a reason. Grab a coupon from several area publications. Dinner and breakfast pricing is great when you have it).
- The Point Crabhouse and Grill, Arnold Listed as “Best Of” on just about every list for a reason. Short, but good menu.
- Deep Creek Marina, (for brunch), Arnold
- Royal Kabab, Gambrills. Pakistani and Indian food. Awesome.
- Royal Karma, off Riva Road. Relatively new Indian restaurant with a great buffet
- Lima Chicken, off West Street and Chinquapin Round Road. As close to Peru as I am going to get any day soon. Definitely NOT the same, but at least the chicken is juicy, the plantains are sweet and the yucca fries are tasty. Try the spicy side sauce. I could drink that stuff!
- Bella Italia, Friendship and West Annapolis locations. This food isn’t different than anywhere else, frankly, but they are just so nice and so accommodating. My daughter once accidentally tipped over a table so they cleaned it up and gave her a piece of molten chocolate cake she has never forgotten. RESTAURANT MANAGERS: its this kind of thing that gets families coming back to you over and over!!!
There are so, so many other great places that are casual enough to bring the kiddos but good enough you don’t mind forking over the cash, but I am not Yelp.
What are your favorites??? Let me know in the comments below.
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