Some people would rather drive nails up their arms then go out to eat with all of their kids by themselves. Usually I don’t venture out alone with all of the kids for dinner or lunch – it’s just not worth it. However, there are some times when the thought of making a meal at home is just too much to bear and we just have get out of the house – or our schedules are just wacky enough that dining out is a better idea than dining in. On those days or nights, there are only a handful of restaurants I will patronize – my “Safe Place” restaurants.
There are only two “requirements” for me to take all four of my kids alone to a restaurant – alone meaning just ME. No other adult to assist (mom, friend, husband, etc):
- We ALL must like something on the menu – that means I’m not eating dinner at Chuck E. Cheese and they’re not eating at Sushi 101. My kids aren’t adventurous eaters so don’t expect to see any swanky restaurants on my list.
- It must be no farther than 7 minutes from my house – 3-5 minutes is actually better. I am not risking one of the kids getting a 11:30 am or 5:00 pm power nap in the car.
So what made my “safe restaurant” list? Here it goes:
- Chick-fil-A – This one is a no-brainer. They make it SO easy to dine out with kids alone. We all love Chick-fil-A, and the sweet ladies who help us to our seat are my best friends. This is the one restaurant I would go with a newborn, the rest of the kids, and just me. It’s that safe. Turning in the kids’ meal book for a free ice cream is a major bonus. Love the caffeine-free Diet Coke. My only wish is that they would make a vegetarian option – maybe a hummus wrap?
- Nothing but Noodles – Their salads are ironically delicious, and my kids love their noodle dishes. The wait staff is super helpful, and you can easily grab your drink and keep an eye on the kids – not too many blind spots in the Stonecrest location. Plus, I love the fact that they are so generous with local sports and schools.
- Cabo’s – This is a little Mexican restaurant in Carmel Commons. Note: it’s not “fast” food but with the chips basket and kids’ activity placemats, the kids are easily entertained while the food cooks (which is usually fairly quickly). Plus, it’s loud enough and the wait staff is SO sweet.
- Brooklyn Pizza – I love how you can order pizza by the slice (and kids’ cut!) – I can get a veggie, and the kids can get cheese or pepperoni. Plus their buttery noodles are my kids’ favorite. The wait staff buses your table, too. Major points. TCBY right next door is also a great bribery tool (not that I’ve ever had to bribe my kids to eat Brooklyn Pizza).
- Charlotte Cafe – Great kids menu plus I love the home-cooked feeling – makes me feel a little less guilty that we’re not eating at home.
My requirements really limit us geographically speaking, and I know you all have SO MANY ideas from your own neighborhoods – what’s your go-to restaurant for dining alone with kids?