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Jan 21, 2007 12:03 AM

Fun Family Friendly Spots-St. Louis

Anyone have any good ideas for places to take our reasonably well-behaved kids? We've done all the usual suspects (Blueberry Hill, Fitz's, Bottleworks, etc.) and are looking to break out of the mold. Mid county and city locations would be most highly appreciated!

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  1. If you have done the usual suspects, then you probably have already taken your kids to the Crown Candy Kitchen...
    1. If they like french fries, take them to Yemanja Brazil to try the yucca fries.
    2. In warm weather, take them to Gus' Pretzels, which only sells takeout, and go over to Benton Park to eat your pretzels.
    3. The Venice Cafe serves dinner in the courtyard in warm weather; you can spend hours looking at all the decorations in the place.

    1. Shannon,
      Our kids are teens now, but they always did well in Indian restaurants (Rasoi in the CWE & House of India on Delmar at McKnight)-a mango lassi and a paneer and garlic stuffed naan, along with some basmati rice held them just fine until they got more adventurous.

      MaiLee, at Delmar and McKnight, is child friendly. A bowl of pho can be shared by a few kids-they love the noodles and the pile of fresh crunchy bean sprouts on the side.

      For breakfast, the Majestic Cafe in the CWE has worked well since my son was 2 weeks old. Blueberry pancakes (get the full stack and take the extras home) and a glass of milk. Non-smoking seating is in the back. Always semi-mayhem on Sun. a.m.

      For a fancier breakfast, or a light lunch or dessert, LaDolce Via, at Taylor & Arco in Forest Park Southeast, is very child friendly, as well as delicious and affordable. They always have a fresh fruit juice, as well as good hot cocoa, and incredible brownies. There is even a play area with a toy kitchen.

      Hartford Coffee Co., south of Tower Grove Park on Hartford, also has a great kids' area and delicious organic milk.

      Raccanelli's has good pizza (although not by the slice on Euclid for dinner-it tends to have sat around too long by then);

      Il Vicino in Clayton has table service, their kid's pizza is a good deal (I eat them for lunch), and they welcome dusty little leaguers; down the street, Zuzu has decent, non-lard laden Mexican (i.e. healthier, but not authentic); House of Wong across the street is very good and child-friendly. I would try to avoid prime weekday lunch hour (come before 11:40 or after 1:00ish) at all of the Clayton restaurants, however.
      Good luck! p.j.

      1. Kid-friendliness probably depends on the day of the week and the time. Is it a foodie-friendly place with a kiddies' menu you're after? I assume the chain-restaurant-with-everything-from-the-fryer isn't what you're after?

        If you avoid peak Friday/Saturday evenings, Michael's on Manchester in the city near Maplewood might fit the bill. Rich & Charlie's, Talayna's, Pasta House for informal Italian, maybe? Does a good deli work? Protzel's on Wydown is really good. I have heard favorable chatter about McAlister's baked potato deal. Cafeteria style Mex, like Zuzu's, Moe's, Qdoba (I've given up on Tomatillo) ought to take the sting out of service issues. Lots of kids at the Chinese buffets, don't know it, but the one at Woodson & Midland has been recommended to me. Penn Station for french fries.

        1. I've been living in Clayton with my three kids (ages 3 months to 8 years) while going to grad school for the past 4 years and have been writing restuarant reviews of my favorite restaurants for a my school paper. I've put all the non-chain ones on my site:
          My kids have accompanied us on each trip and haven't always been fine, in other words, no one has looked down their nose at us. One that I haven't reviewed but I always enjoy is Culpepper's in the CWE. Not only do they have great food, but they always put our family in the basement where there are only a couple other tables and the restrooms are nearby, which is always handy with kids!

          1 Reply
          1. re: DavesCheapEats

            I had to smile when I read your post because for many years in the 80's and 90's, Culpepper's in the CWE had, pasted on the front door at eye level, a paper sign that read " we prefer not to serve children under the age of 8." (It might have said 12, I don't remember) I talked about going in with my kids' food in hand, so they wouldn't have to "serve" them, but I wimped out.
            Decided not to go at all. Nice to know that they are now serving kids, but are consigning them to the basement.
            Again, thanks for the trip down memory lane. p.j.

          2. I was just looking through my stack of restaurant menus, and came across a favorite oldie that I don't get to anymore due to lunchtime job constraints.
            However, if you are interested in lunch on a Wednesday, you have to try The Cedars at St. Raymond's Parish Center, just south downtown, across Chouteau from the old Ralston-Purina H.Q.. This is a Maronite Catholic Lebanese church hall. The church ladies make wonderful traditional foods including stuffed vegetables, kibbi, cabbage & grape leaf rolls, tabbouli, hommos, pita, etc. The trick to staying on the cheap side is to not ask for one of everything as you go through the cafeteria line. Arrive before 11:30 a.m or after 1, as the line will snake through the entire lobby in between those hours. Enjoy the local politician/ celebrity sightings as well. Carry-outs available: 314-421-9151.

            1 Reply
            1. re: p.j.

              These are all such great suggestions! My kids do love Culpeppers. Primarily for the "wicky sticks," the little toy they hand out with the crayons and kids menu.