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Sep 29, 2006 04:57 AM

Joe's or Lilly's (Abbot Kinney, Venice) for brunch with kids?

I'm scratching my head, trying to come up with a weekend brunch destination in Venice that can accomodate six 'hound adults and a couple of toddlers. Looking for excellent grub and an environment where the kids won't be unwelcome. I'm not a parent, so I'm not sure what constitutes a kid-friendly place...but the menus at Joe's and Lilly's appeal to me.

Any cautions or recommendations? Other brunch restaurant rec's in the greater L.A. area welcome. Prefer not to go to chain restaurants, and I'm not keen on pricey buffet-type brunches.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. for food, hands down JOE's.

    we held a party on the patio and had three kids. there's a little runway back there with a mini-waterfall (but no pool). also, if one acts up, there's an easy escape hatch out the back gate.

    ask for the table on the patio closest to the gate and let them know you have kids.

    they have no child's menus.

    1. Axe is also a great brunch place and it's kid friendly...

      1. I'd say Lily's over Joe's. Joe's, even with the expanding remodel, is small and the tables are tightly packed. There is no place to roam if a toddler needs to stretch his/her legs. Unless you can reserve the whole patio in back. If you have to share the patio, it's no better than inside, too crowded!

        Lily's is a good choice, ask to sit outside in their patio. They are a bit more low-key as to table fanciness and there is more room between the tables. There may not be a kids menu at either one, but Lily's will have a better selection of things to pick and choose a kids meal.

        Axe will have pancakes, but the surfaces are VERY hard in that place. It's all concrete edges and a toddler's voice can bounce around quite well against all those hard surfaces!

        Would love to know of other good food, non chain restaurant, brunch with kids spots on the westside...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Vickie McCorkendale

          BlackboardEats sent out a 30% off dinner coupon for Lily's? Would you say that it's worth it more then? I thinking about trying out Lily's because of the coupon--I've been to Joe's and thought it was great, but I won't set my expectations too high for Lily's.

          1. re: mstinawu

            lilly's is on my regular rotation.
            obviously i will use the dinner coupon.
            i doubt that they will allow the op to use the coupon for brunch, though.

            joe's used to be on my regular rotation, but, years ago, after experiencing a series of really poor dinner experiences back to back, i moved on. have never looked back.

          2. re: Vickie McCorkendale

            26 Beach is great with kids, believe it or not. In addition to excellent brunch food, they have booths (inside, not on the pretty patio). But the real asset there is the waitstaff -- the busboys in particular are fantastic with children (all older men, quite likely fathers.) They also have highchairs. I would recommend reservations, as the wait can be long on a Saturday or Sunday. They also serve breakfast everyday until 3 p.m., (double check this) and have a full bar.

            26 Beach
            3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

          3. Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll go scope out Axe and the other two places this weekend to get a feel for them.

            I'm not concerned about a kids' menu so much as just being in a place where we can relax and enjoy good food, without disturbing other diners. The last time we all got together at Rockenwagner (RIP) for brunch, one of the kids brought along his toy hammer, and set to work on the tabletop. bang...bang...BANGBANGBANG. Oh, my.

            I plan to pat down both parents and kids for noise-making devices this time, though. ;-)

            4 Replies
            1. re: LicketySplit

              Joe's, Lilly's, and Axe are all more laid back and kid friendly than Rockenwagner. I have taken my two rugrats (5 and 2 years old) to all 3 places and felt perfectly comfortable. I love Rockenwagner but would hesitate to take my kids there. Main Street (where Rockenwagner is) is 10-15 years more gentrified than Abbot Kinney. So it looks promising for you this weekend; you can't go wrong on Abbot Kinney.

              My two cents:

              Joe's is by far the best for food. I strongly recommend reservations, unless you plan to show up at 2 o'clock or something. Absolutely no pretension for a place regarded almost universally as a top ten place in LA for food. Good chance of seeing a B-list actor there, for better or worse. Joe's was packed years before Abbot Kinney was transformed into a retail/restaurant destination.

              Lilly's exists mainly because of its location (next to Joe's). The food is decent, and the $10 weekend brunch is an unbeatable value. But a true chowhound goes to Lilly's when reservations at Joe's were forgotten.

              Axe is uber-trendy. It will close sooner or later. But you might as well go enjoy the of-the-moment concrete-chic decor while you can.

              The good thing about Rockenwagner is that you can walk to Ben and Jerry's afterwards, and a little bribe -- er reward -- for good behavior can go a long way to keeping the kids in line. For the grownup 'hounds, go a little further south on Main to Chocolat for dessert (Belgian chocolates/truffles).

              Other places to consider on the Main Street corridor:
              *Rose Cafe
              *Omelette Parlor
              *farmers market (Sunday until about 1PM)
              All are kid-friendly and have acceptable food, nothing fantastic. They have pony rides at the farmer's market (...again with the bribe thing)

              1. re: bakersjoe

                Thank you for the low-down. Your insider advice is much appreciated. Pony rides as bribes...diabolical! I am jotting that one down. ;-)

                Rockenwagner on Main Street is no longer with us. I enjoyed some very good meals there back in the day, and the warmth of the service was one of its charms. We were treated graciously during our last brunch there with kids, even though the SUV-sized strollers and various kiddie accoutrements must've created a hazard for the waitstaff.

                I am a big fan of Chocolat. Probably because the proprietress (la mere) usually sticks a few extra chocolates in the bag. (Is that a grown-up variant the pony-ride bribe? No matter; it's charming.)

                It sounds like Joe's might be the call, with a request for an outside table. I haven't eaten there in, gosh, ten years, so I'm long overdue.

                1. re: LicketySplit

                  You see this is what happens when you have toddlers. I didn't even know Rockenwagner on Main was closed. Haven't tried to go there for a few years. Rockenwager still has a stand at the farmer's market every Sunday, so I assumed the restaurant was still open. Please tell me Chinois on Main is still open. Geesh I need to get a babysitter.

                2. re: bakersjoe

                  As noted, Rockenwagner is long closed, it is about to be something called Yose, or Jose, or something (pronounced "yo-say"), anyway, it'll be Asian Fusion (!)

                  Axe is not closing anytime soon. That place is packed every meal, and has been since moving from their Santa Monica Blvd location (which was also packed, every meal). VERY loyal following - the likes of which I rarely see in LA.

              2. (Oops, meant to reply under yogachik's post.)

                Yet another Asian-fusion joint? Eek! I've had it up to my ears with wasabi mashed potatoes and seared ahi. Sigh.

                What does Main Street *really* need, that would work well in that space, I wonder? Hmm. Maybe a superb, high-end Chinese or Japanese restaurant? Or how about something along the lines of Primitivo? THAT would be a great addition to the 'hood.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LicketySplit

                  you may not agree,
                  but i'll bet the owner of shima on abbot kinney would say that the area already HAS a high-end japanese restaurant.