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Durham, NC Nice dinner with older kids

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Hey RDU Hounds - we're meeting our oldest friends in Durham in a few weeks for an overnight visit and dinner. They're celebrating their 20th anniversary, and wanted us and their two kids (girl age 14 and boy age 12) to join them. Any suggestions for a nice place that won't be too much of a palate-shock for the kids? They're not extremely picky, but they also haven't been exposed to much yet, food-wise. They live in a fairly small town and don't go dining out much. We'd all prefer someplace semi-formal, so it feels like we're paying the proper respect to the occasion.

Thanks for the help!

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    1. Blu is good, and both Vin Rouge and Piedmont should work. Vin Rouge has lots of very simple things like roast chicken and salad (and fries - what kid doesn't love fries?) while Piedmont has pastas, which most kids like.

      1. I've found that teenage kids like Parizade [http://www.ghgrestaurants.com/parizad...] too. It feels "grown up" but there is a lot of choice. And Tosca, a bit more expensive [see http://www.bluecorn-tosca.com/tr_menu...] is always useful, as Italian is "familiar" for teenagers.

        1. Try Watts Grocery. One of the best restaurants in the area, yet has a casual and low key vibe. Piedmont is also good. The best restaurant in the area (by almost all accounts) is Magnolia Grill. Great for an anniversary dinner. Most nights you can find some pretty tame things on the menu but its a little more adventurous than the others.

          1. I'm going to second LulusMom's recommendations. Vin Rouge also has a nice mac & cheese. If it's nice out, it's the best place around for outdoor dining. I have a 14-year-old and he really likes it there. While I like Piedmont, if you go to there with kids, they'll try to stick you upstairs, which is not as nice, and now that I think of it, Vin Rouge definitely has a better range of kid-friendly stuff than Piedmont. I've been to Vin Rouge a few times lately and it's currently my favorite place in Durham to eat and hang out a while, with or without offspring.

            2 Replies
            1. re: suse

              Hey Suse, I've seen you mention the Piedmont upstairs with kids scenario before. In fact, they try to keep the upstairs/downstairs on a pretty tight rotation so that all of the servers get equal seating. Babies they definitely put upstairs (for obvious reasons), but with kids over 4 or so, it's just the luck of the draw. If you ask for downstairs I'm sure they'd be happy to seat you downstairs with a kid (especially a teenager) unless there's something wacky going on like the last five tables that walked in asked to be seated downstairs.

              As far as food for kids, everyone mentioned above should be able to come up with something great for a kid's palate. They all make everything from scratch and have excellent chefs that will happily make something special for kids.

              1. re: taleggiho

                Just had brunch at Piedmont today with our 6-year-old and we were offered our choice of 2 downstairs tables. No mention of upstairs at all. Families with children seemed pretty well distributed between the two.