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Jun 11, 2008 09:45 AM

Need Durham recs for foodie Family

Yes, I'm off on yet another soccer weekend extravaganza. Can anyone suggest a kid friendly place for dinner Friday night for a foodie family? My kids are 6 & 9 yrs old. They eat just about anything. I'd like to find a place where they wouldn't disrupt other diners. In other words, I know folks sometimes take kids to restos where it's just not appropriate.

Any cuisine and adult beverages are a plus. ;-)

Also, should we check out Locopops? I've never been but have read a few articles about them and they sure do sound tempting!

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  1. The simplest thing would be to go to Wimpy's, a hamburger stand right across from the original Locopops, but they have few seats and no adult beverages.

    You could go to Tyler's in American Tobacco Center. That's family friendly with a great beer selection. Others can chime in with better selections.

    Definately go to Locopops.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tom from Raleigh

      Wimpy's has NO seats - not even a picnic table beside the building. And they close at 2:00 p.m.

    2. Easiest answer to a question ever!

      Yes. Go to Locopops. Don't even think twice about it.

      For cheap Mexican food, Chubby's Tacos on Ninth Street is really good. Chai's Noodle spot on Erwin is good, too. (I like it; some others don't care for it) Not sure about alcohol at Chai's.

      The Palace International on Broad St. serves African cuisine, if your children are so inclined. I haven't yet been to its new incarnation.

      Slightly more upscale: Pop's at Brightleaf should be pretty accommodating and fun.

      I'm sure others will chime in.

      6 Replies
      1. re: peetoteeto

        Thanks for the recs, y'all. Let me ask u... we have a friend affliated w/ Piedmont in Duham and we've never been. If you're familiar w/ it, would it be an okay place to take two kids for an early dinner?

        1. re: lynnlato

          If it's an early dinner, I think it will be okay. They'll probably stick you upstairs - they did that to us when we took our 14-year-old and we were next to a table with a baby. Plenty of room downstairs. Kind of irritated me a bit since our 14-year-old is well-behaved and it was super early. I've been with kids at the Federal in the back room (no smoking) - not sure how the other hounds feel about this. I'd be curious to know. The Federal has delicious food using local ingredients and a nice beer selection. Tyler's is boring for foodies, seriously. I feel like you got pushed in that direction just because you have kids. I wouldn't take my kid to Nana's or Magnolia Grill or anything like that, but you can do better than Wimpy's or Tyler's. We also have taken our kid to dinner at Rue Cler and Von Rouge. Vin Rouge has the best mac & cheese. Again, I think it's fair game if it's early.

          1. re: suse

            Thanks so much, Suse! I went to The Federal's website and it looks like an interesting place too. Holy beer list, Batman!

            1. re: suse

              I think Piedmont and Vin Rouge are wonderful, and wouldn't have a problem taking our 2 year old to either one (especially at a fairly early dinner hour). If your kids are well behaved, I think these are both great choices. Rue Cler is also really nice, but small, and they don't take reservations, which can be a problem when planning.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Thanks LM. It's nice to have some foodie parent input! We're looking forward to dinner. I'll be sure and report back.

              2. re: suse

                I've taken 3 - 6 yo's to the Federal numerous times. Always a success in the back room. Usually a success up front, when the back wasn't open. I only had a problem once up front when, in mid-afternoon, a customer one table over used the "f" word about 3 times per sentence, every sentence, fairly loudly. In other words, my kid was fine. The adult customer was misbehaving.

          2. Maybe Pop's might be a good place for adults and children.

            I haven't been in a while, but we used to go there for casual get togethers.

            1. Thanks everyone, for the recs and input. We had dinner Fri. nite at Piedmont. It was good. Interestingly, we arrived at 5:30 when they open for dinner and we were the first guests. We were relegated to the 2nd floor. No big deal for us tho. We started w/ the cheese course. A local cheese, new moon w/ blueberry compote, mimolette w/ pistachios (stale), and ribiola w/ fresh honeycomb. The cheese were nice but they served them w/ a toasted raisin bread which I found odd and distracting. 2nd course was glazed pork belly w/ a warm potato & shallot salad. The salad was perfect but the pork belly was mostly fat. The little bit of pork that was there was yummy. SO had the lamb sausage w/ olive risotto & braised rapini. Very nice. I've never had lamb sausage before. I had the cheese raviolis w/ braised (?) radicchio and an orange red wine reduction. Nice but a bit sweet. Kids split papparelle w/ bolognese sauce. Lovely ribbons of light pasta in a meaty sauce. No time for dessert but the green apple granita was tempting. Oh, and a gentleman came in w/ his teenage son and was seated upstairs also. Ha! Apparently the 2nd level is kid-ville.

              Locopops rocks! Had the Mexican chocolate (spiced w/ cinnamon), mojito mint & sugarfree passionfruit mango. We brought home in a cooler the lime thai basil, mango chile and blueberry lemon thyme. YUM!

              Oh, and for lunch today we had the food bar at Whole Foods. It's always a safe place to get some fresh & healthy eats. However, there are so many other places I want to try. Vin Rouge, Nana's, Elmo's Diner and that taco place - is it Tubby's? Anyway, I look forward to returning soon.

              p.s. Had lunch at the Museum of Art in Raleigh. That was not as good as my other food experiences, I'm sorry to say. I ordered the eggs benedict. It had potential - poached eggs over carved ham over cheddar scallion biscuits w/ hollandaise & roasted potatoes. Sadly, the eggs were rock hard inside. And the rest was unmemorable.

              6 Replies
              1. re: lynnlato

                Great to get your feedback. I knew it! The second floor IS kidville. I think if we ever go back with our 14-year-old I'm going to pointedly ask to sit on the first floor. I just think there's no need to be so afraid to lose your hipville status at the early hour of 5:30. If you're back in town and you're going out for an early dinner again, don't be afraid to try Rue Cler. I think you'd like the food. It's not too fancypants, but delicious and there's plenty for the kids. If you're up for a burger - while I like Dain's Place on 9th St. a lot - if you're with kids, AND it's a nice day for sitting outside, you may want to take Tom from Raleigh's advice and go to Tyler's. It's a fun place for kids to run around outside while you have that second beer. I don't think Nana's is a great place for kids.

                1. re: suse

                  And Magnolia pointedly doesn't have high chairs (and has a sign in the window saying something like "voted the best place to eat without your kids"). I've seen kids in the main floor of Piedmont, but it is true that normally they're upstairs. I guess everyone assumes the worst when they see them walk in, which is sad.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I'm actually okay with some places not welcoming little kids. There are times when I go out when I don't want to even see a child, much less a baby. Places like Nana's and Magnolia are just not places that need highchairs. Let's face it, no wee one who still fits into a high chair is predictable enough to ensure that there won't be some kind of meltdown. Places like Piedmont and Rue Cler should be okay with kids old enough to behave and when I bring a 14-year-old at 5:30 I don't need to be shoved into a corner. I think with Piedmont it's a matter of image. When our son was smaller we took him to all kinds of places, except for the ultra fancy pants restaurants.

                    1. re: suse

                      Agreed, Suse. Thanks for the other recs too. Hopefully I can get back to your area soon - and not for the purpose of a soccer tourney. Just to explore!

                      1. re: suse

                        Yeah, I agree too, but if more parents were pro-active, it really wouldn't be an issue.

                        We took Lulu to the Lantern last year (we had friends in town and our babysitter cancelled at the last minute) and they didn't have high chairs, which surprised me a little - it just isn't that fancy a place.

                      2. re: LulusMom

                        And Magnolia Grill is one of my favorite place to eat when we have a sitter for the evening. Sometimes you just don't want to see/hear ANY kids when your out, well behaved or not. I remember the our first dinner out alone after our oldest was born. 411 West and we were seated right next to 2 women that both had infants in carriers with them LOL!

                  2. I see you've already come and gone and had a good experience at Piedmont. Awesome! If you're back in town with your kids give Elmo's a try. It certainly isn't Piedmont but it was our default family joint for many years. They even have decent inexpensive wine choices. We also used to go to Torero's at Brightleaf a lot: cheap, decent Tex Mex delivered quickly (ice cold Dos Equis draft a plus). There are so many other authentic Mexican options now, though. I've heard good reports about Chubby's on 9th St. Regarding Tyler's, I would go there for the beer rather than the food.