Newsflash: Kids are annoying (not your precious little angels, though). And yet, parents like to eat at restaurants with them.
Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn't, for a number of reasons. Perhaps the kids are hungry, sleepy, they peed themselves, or are just tiny baby assholes.
Or perhaps the restaurant isn't appropriately kid-friendly and then it's the parents who are the assholes. Don't be an asshole. Take your kids to one of these nine kid-friendly establishments and stack the deck in your favor for a pleasant evening, devoid of angry stares from surrounding diners.
The Lot (above) This casual East Dallas spot, which much to some parents' surprise is not actually a daycare center, keeps it playful with tons of sand and other ways for kids to hurt themselves or others. We named it "Best Family Friendly Restaurant" for 2013.
Cane Rosso White Rock Yes, Jay, we know we should be watching/disciplining/leashing our kids so they don't get all up in your fire pits and water features. But on the other hand, well, we like your delicious pizza in our other hand. Now that we understand each other, we will bring our kiddos to your delicious pizza place and you will take our money. Capice?
Anything "Taco" or Tex-Mex (ex: Matt's, Mariano's, Taco Joint, Torchy's, etc.) The free chips and generally festive atmosphere at Tex-Mex restaurants makes them all feel pretty kid-friendly. The low price points don't hurt either. And singing mariachis tend to drown out wails of all kinds, drunken or toddler. Torchy's and Taco Joint (the Abrams/Mockingbird location) are both packed with kiddos every time we visit. Bonus: margaritas.
The Mecca/Barbec's Greasy spoons are great for kids because they're already greasy, so your kids can't make it much worse. Mecca was one of the first places we took our food babies, and we did it at 2:30 p.m. to prevent too many baby-less people from having to endure any dueling freakouts should one or both of them have chosen to freak out. They didn't (the angels), so perhaps next time we can attempt to eat at a normal time. We'll see. Bonus: Kids eat free all day on Wednesdays at Barbec's. Also, cinnamon rolls and biscuits.
Crossroads Diner Crossroads would be a greasy spoon if it were greasy or if the food wasn't sop damn good. And the even better news is that this breakfast, brunch and lunch-only spot is always packed full of families, so you can feel good about taking your kiddos there. Patience may be required, however, as brunch there often means a wait. Weekdays are much quieter.
Battuto Italian Kitchen The kids menu at Battuto was apparently designed by the one of the owner's kids and features macaroni and cheese pizza with bacon. Restaurants that have fun with their kids menus tend to be more kid-friendly. There's your Duh of the Day, folks.
Start For a quick (or even drive-through) bite, Start on Greenville Avenue features foods you'd make yourself if you had the time, ingredients and inclination. Problem is, most people only have one or two of those things at a time. My favorite thing at Start? The frozen yogurt and whole grain cookie sandwich. Shocking, I know.
Penne Pomodoro Another Italian joint, this one offers free dinner on Wednesdays (at the Lakewood and Preston/Forest locations) for kiddos up to 12. It's not the best Italian food in Dallas, but it's reliable, simple and has plenty of easy options for kids. (Editor's note: During a recent visit to the Snider Plaza location, kids out-numbered adults, and my 2-year-old worked hard to trash the place. No one seemed to mind.)
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The Truck Yard Everyone who goes to this new food truck and tree house drinking spot notices the plethora of not just kids, but infants all over the place. At first I thought that was odd, but now all I want to do is take my babies there. It's the hipster, outdoorsy restaurant all the cool parents south of 635 were waiting for. Recommendation: wear your baby so you can hold an adult beverage in one hand and a taco, ice cream or cheesesteak in the other.
Where else kid-appropriate have you taken your sweet baby angels lately? Let us know in the comments, and maybe I and my food babies will see you there.