ISO Downtown Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Have a friend (and her kids) coming down from Sacramento, and we're looking for a restaurant that is relatively affordable - kid-friendly (read: burger & fries fare) but still has a decent adult menu as well as cocktails.
EDIT: If it helps any... the kids are around 10 & 14.
If you really want to do it on the cheap Carls Jr. on Main and Olympic, and the one in the Macy's Plaza both sell beer.
Being serious though, Cole's is not really a resturant. You order from a buffet line and then pay at a cashier. I am one of the people who live above it in the PE Lofts, and I would not take kids there for dinner. The area has improved a bit, but the place still atracts some shady characters. Not to mention I don't think your 10 and 14 year old want to watch people get loaded while they eat sandwhiches in a dark corner.
The best bets mentioned so far are Petes Cafe, Pitfire Pizza, and Weiland's Brewery. My personal choice would be Weiland's.
Places not mentioned are La Bella Cucina on Figeroa for Italian, and I am blanking on the name but Little Tokyo also has a good reasonably priced Italian food place.
Maddalena, the resturuant attached to the San Antonio Winery is a good choice as well and an awesome experience, but it if you want dinner there preopare to eat early. Its got short hours.
Sunday - Tuesday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Well, that all depends... [see "lunch or dinner" question above]
For lunch, I say go for it! There are thousands of familes [and single mothers pushing strollers] that shop the adjacent toy and fashion districts daily, not to mention the Broadway retail corridor. If you're worried about some of the unsavory activity that has plagued the area in the past, then it's up to you. But know that people are actually living in the PE Lofts above Coles and that alone has made a noticeable difference on the street level. If you and the fam can navigate Little Tokyo with its panhandelers and parolees, then add Coles to the list of DT possibilities.
As far as taking kids "into" Coles... I've seen many familes - locals and tourists alike - eating [lunch] there. There is lots of [family friendly] seating near the actual "buffet" where the sandwiches are made... even a few dining rooms outside of the actual bar area itself. I think it has a Restaurant and Bar designation, as well as some "historic/landmark" status so I don't know if there's ever been any issue with hounds under 21 eating there.
I haven't been during evening hours in a while. Someone else may need to chime in about dinner [and the area] when night falls.
A few more ideas that might be fun for these not-so-little kids.
If Mexican food would work, how about La Parrilla on Wilshire (across from Good Samaritan Hospital) or La Golondrina on Olvera Street--although both have their occasional detractors around here, the food is good overall at both (IMO La Parrilla's better, and the grilled stuff can be really good), and both are fun.
If Chinese is a possibility, Empress Pavilion will work just fine for adults and kids. Sure, there are better Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, but compared to Sacramento--unless things have changed dramatically recently--well, it'll be a standout.
A little bit more upscale, still potentially fun: Traxx, in Union Station--especially if you sit in the front of the restaurant right on the concourse. (Just might want to call ahead to make sure they can serve their very good lunch-time burgers and sandwiches for kids at dinner.)
The 14-year-old would probably like The Standard, not as sure about the 10-year-old.
By the way, Weebie, can you really take kids into (or even close to) Cole's these days? Maybe things have cleaned up down there since I last visited--if so, I'd love to know, it would add to the possibilities for our own downtown family trips. (We usually end up in Little Tokyo, most often at Señor Fish or Suehiro, but neither of these really fits the OP's parameters.)
Good luck with this. I don't think I've ever seen a child in a downtown restaurant, this includes dinner time.
That being said, Daily Grill might be a good bet, as referenced above, if you don't mind the horridly grotesque humungous portions.
Another option is Casey's, an Irish pub. Don't recall if they have burgers on the menu, I'm sure they must; they have a pretty large menu as I recall. And of course, beer, plus a full bar.
For lunch or dinner?
For burgers, cocktails and more in Downtown the first places that come to mind are:
- PETE'S CAFE
- ENGINE CO.
- MORTONS [They may only serve the burger at lunch]
- WEILAND BREWERY [Little Tokyo]
- The FOX SPORTS SKYBOX [sports bar and grill inside Staples Center] might be fun for the kids - but they're probably KINGS fans...
- French Dips and a full bar can be found at COLES
- For pizza, pasta, salads, w/ beer and wine: PITFIRE PIZZA CO. * Note that there are also a few Downtown CPK's that serve drinks too.
Daily Grill has a wide range of options on its menu - cheeseburgers and quesidillas to steaks and salads. Martinis and cocktails included. It's also pretty much in the heart of downtown. Here's their website. The menu has prices, too. =) http://dailygrill.zgraph.net/location.cfm?subsections_id=51
Roy's, as another poster mentioned, is another option to consider. It's Japanese fusion, so you'll mostly see seafood and beef. Very good though. http://www.roysrestaurant.com/roy.asp
Finally, the Standard Hotel downtown has a very modern lounge outside the restaurant (1st floor) and inside, quite chic. The menu can be found here: http://www.standardhotel.com/download...
You'll find breakfast items, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, hordeurves, desserts, and of course and most definitely, drinks. =) Better yet, it's 24 hours and very, well, LA.
Prices at Smitty's are very reasonable, most everything is under $30 and is generally on par with the prices you would find at Luna Park.
Also, if you want to dine in Downtown, perhaps also consider Roy's, which can be a fun atmosphere and the drinks are great, but it is significantly more pricey than either Luna Park or Smitty's.