Looking for casual (non-chain) dining for friends and infant...North Reading area
Lately, we've been venturing out to restaurants with the new baby...and it's been generally a good experience (good to get out of the house...baby seems to enjoy staring up at the ceiling...etc etc).
Last night, however, some friends (who live in Lowell) wanted to grab a bite to eat and we all, collectively, panicked and ended up at...sigh...Chili's (in the parking lot of the massive Jordan's off 128). Sigh.
Anyways, don't want that to happen again...so...does anyone have any suggestions for casual places to grab dinner with friends and our baby in the North Reading/Reading/Stoneham/north-ish area? Some place that has a comfortable vibe and won't mind if we tote in a baby in a car seat (who, so far, hasn't had a major melt-down). Booths also tend to be nice for more discrete nursing, if needed.
We've had good luck with the Bluefin in Middleton...but other than that, locally I am drawing a blank.
Horseshoe Cafe in North Reading is a good option- we've brought ours there and they have booths, crayons and friendly servers.
If you want to try a place that is very casual yet has very good food I would syggest the Swanton Street Diner in Winchester. It is very easy to get to off Rte 93 and it is very family friendly. They have a variety of food for just about anyone's tastes all at reasonable prices. They range from seafood (all of which is very fesh), meats, pastas, sandwichs and salads. I am sure you would be OK bringing and infant. It is right on Swanton St and I feel that they should change the name to something like the Bistro or Cafe rather than diner because it is really much more that what you think a diner is. Give it a try I think you will enjoy it.
Congrats on the new baby! My wife and I long for the days when we could tote our little one into restaurants in his car seat... he's now 3 years old and we mostly eat in!!
Anyhow, we really like Ristorante Molise in Wakefield center. Pretty large place with an extensive menu run by two sisters. *Very* nice people. It gets ridiculously crowded during prime time (Friday and Saturday nights) but otherwise would be a good choice.
For decent pub food, Dailey's pub in Middleton is pretty good. Don't expect gourmet, but a comfortable place to hang out.
Much more casual places for decent food, though cafeteria style, are Brother's Deli in Wakefield (pretty good, though not as good as the Salem MA location) and Capri Pizza (they do have more than just pizza!) in Reading. Both very kid friendly and food that is better than the chain restaurants.
Hope this helps!
PS. At the risk of being berated :^) ... *I* would not mind hitting Kitty's in North Reading.... I grew up in Wilmington and the only place my (working class... ie POOR) family would go out to eat was at Kitty's.... that was 30+ years ago... and the place hasn't changed a bit.... grouchy waitresses... mediocre food... but it does have a place in my heart!
I would agree with Horse Shoe CAfe. I would avoid Kitty's and Daniela's in North REading. There is a Portugese Restaurant in Wakefield that is good- Portabello's on Main Street in the Greenwood section of Wakefield. It is usually quiet on weeknights, and the food is great. Also- Mario's in Norht REading used to have really good pizza. I have not been there in years, but I serve dinner, too.
re: Chris VR
I go by the big dog a lot, but have never stopped in. For some reason, I thought it was a dive!! Have absolutely no basis for that thougth!! I will have to try it some time!!
And you are right about protabellos- never gave a thought to how long dinner takes- no more little ones areound!