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Jan 21, 2010 03:17 PM

Baby friendly in Cgy?

My husband and I were once avid restaurant goers....and then we had a baby! She is six weeks old now, and I would like to hear about any experiences people have had with "baby friendly" restaurants. I am a native Calgarian and been pretty much everywhere, just not with a baby. Obviously, I know places like Capo are out of the question. On the other hand, I don't want to eat at Boston Pizza. We went to Belmont for brunch and they were very nice ...any other ideas? Thanks.

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  1. We never seemed to have a problem with our daughter. Start them right away I say then it seems normal to sit through a meal in a resaurant.

    Once at Earl's on 4th avenue S.W. my wife met her mom for lunch and got some attitude from the staff. "We don't have a kids menu." We have heard stories about being refused entrance with kids but never experienced it.

    Our Son is 3 right now so that puts a damper on things a little. We need to get a sitter if the place is nicer. Our 6 year old daughter is good though two recent examples are "Cattle Baron" just before new years and the Calgary Tower's "Sky 360". When the little guy was younger and behaved more consistantly we all had brunch at the Calgary Tower just after they renovated and changed the name.

    So short answer is chucky cheese, but we couldn't bare not going to most of the places we liked. My wife warns Asian places are particularly poorly set up washroom wise.

    1. Congratulations on your new baby! My daughter has eaten out all over Calgary in her 15 months. Mostly we go out for brunch/lunch and have found Dairy Lane, Eat Eat, Pfanntastic Pannenkoek House and Cora's excellent. The ladies in the Pannenkoek House and Eat Eat have even offered to hold our baby while we eat our meal! We have eaten dinner with her at Marathon, Niko's, Globefish and Pulcinella's in Kensington - all had high chairs and were very open to having her there. We've also brought her to lots of Indian and Vietnamese places around the city as well, never a problem. The only places I would not bring her to are one where there is a long line up (where you have to wait there, like Galaxie Diner, as opposed to Dairy Lane where we can bring her for a walk while waiting, or the obviously higher end ones like Muse, River Cafe etc). Having said that, we brought her to Maple Leaf and Bison Mountain Bistro in Banff over Christmas as I refused to eat in chains every night! Maple Leaf worked well because it was early and we were in a quiet corner, Bison Mountain Bistro was not so great because it is a very busy space and noisy, but there is a corridor by the washrooms where we took her to walk around and chill out when the noise got too much. Overall I find Calgary is a wonderful place to bring kids out to eat - we spent some time back in Ireland and Italy last year and while people were open to having her in the restaurant they were not so great at having highchairs etc. I really agree that it helps to start bringing them out young and they will get used to the whole setup and hopefully behave well in the future - plus you get to keep eating out!

      1. While she is still sleeping lots and in her bucket try going to the Kasbah. There are comfy booths with lots of pillows and cozy corners where you can feed her easily. You can enjoy a nice long dinner and feel very comfortable. My husband and I took our daughter there about that age- get out right away before these days go. After about 4 months there will be no more nice dinners out until you get a babysitter!

        1. Oh yes and another place is the McKay place near Millerville. They have always been SO good to me. They don't have highcharis for those of you with slightly older babies and toddlers so take a booster with you but they are GREAT! The ladies walked around with my daughter, couloured with her and otherwise accommodated us beautifully! Very great!

          1. I have been out and about with girlfriends and our babies a lot over the past 6 months. We have really enjoyed:

            - sitting on the patio with food from the market in Mercato.
            - sushi at Ichizen at 130 Ave. Great service and high chairs!
            - coffee and lunch at DeVille Coffee
            - lunch at Wildernest Cafe in Inglewood
            - brunch at the Belmont in Marda Loop (high chairs here!)

            Good luck! We have had some looks about bringing babies into some places, but we have mostly been out for coffee or lunch and in there during non-peak hours. Enjoy eating out while they are still young and sleeping in their carseat! It is a bit harder once they are moving around and need a high chair.

            5 Replies
            1. re: petitamour

              Make your kids restaurant friendly and you won't have to figure which golden arches to go to. I would take mine to "The River Cafe" or some other high end casual place if it were the kind of place we went often. We have taken them to GlobeFish they were 5 and 2. Our daughter went to the revolving restaurant in Aukland Tower when she was just under 3 and it's pretty nice.

              Seriously, you just teach them how to behave when you take them out and they are able to do it. Start before they can talk back, set the standard high. Talk to them like they are capable of understanding in a loving way. They can understand way beyond their capability to communicate back.

              Today I took our daughter 7 whom I'll take anywhere and her brother 3 that's a typical boy that age without back up, that's right, I was the only adult, to his favorite place for lunch, not high end also totally not a kid place. Our daughter marveled at being the only kids in there and the waitress commented, "They're so well behaved."

              Pretend going out to eat is normal but you have to sit in your seat and behave. Making a table appropriate toy bag is a good plan. Our daughter loves to draw and we have a pair of nintendo DSs. I didn't take toys today but they had my undivided attention.

              When they're small and flip out, take them outside and calm them. When they are older and can comunicate, they will challenge you, warn them they will have to wait in the car if they don't sit nicely. If they can't behave after the second warning one of you has to take them out and sit while they figure it out. It's important you never bluff or it can turn into the, "How much can I get away with? game." If that's what you're into just scoff at me and enjoy your take out when you can't get a sitter.

              For us it worked best if it's the Dad taking them out because they would rather hang out with Mom. Sometimes a surprise attack where Mom takes them outside is a good thing to throw in the mix there.

              It was much more difficult with the boy and trying to coordinate two of them adds a level of difficulty. Make sure the expectation is allways the same and sometimes you need to take them to a playground after to run around like kids. I believe it's really important that kids are allowed to be kids, just not when we go out to eat. They can do it.

              There will be times when someone missed a nap or something where all bets are off but I take pride when my kids sit quietly in their seats and their cousins 5 at the time tell them, "We don't have to sit because we have different parents." Even they know our kids are expectated to behave eating out and they are not.

              1. re: The Gut

                I agree that as they get older you can teach them how to eat in a restaurant, but when you have a young baby that cries, you want to be in a place that is baby friendly. Loud places are always nice!

                At this point your little one probably sleeps a lot so take advantage and go out lots :)

                1. re: petitamour

                  If we had a baby that never stoped crying it would go see a doctor.

                  If one of our babies started to fuss in a restaurant we'd pick it up and try to settle it before crying started. Sometimes, but not really that often they will be upset and have to have a cry while we cuddle them. If that was the case one of us would take the baby for a walk outside.

                  One of the things we still tell them if needed is, "Other people come to a restaurant to have a nice quiet meal. You need to be quiet and sit so they can do that. If you need to we can go sit in the car." Obviously you're right that can't be said to a baby.

                  Preperation is important. A baby should be dry, clean and fed before entering the restaurant and be ready to feed them again, after all even if they are not eating solids yet, once everyone else is eating they will naturally want to eat most of the time.

                  The origional poster's baby is ready to start eating food now as she was in here in January. I highly recommend after the cereal stage, starting with veggies you like to eat and blending themwith a hand blender. My wife made a regular batch then froze small containers. You'll have to look up what to start with and when to introduce the next thing. Nuts, strawberrys and some other things needed to be avoided or at least limited until 2 or something. I think there was some thing to do with introducing a new colour veggy every week or something. Our Doc said meat was ok way before we had done it because of some study.

                  Things change all the time and you'll be able to find mountains of conflicting info.

                  The best thing is if you're not comfortable with something, you're probably right, you know your self and your baby better than anyone. There's lots of great advice out there but there's so much now there's lots that may not be good for you. Everyone including the babys are unique, they are just little people that can't speak yet.

                  1. re: petitamour

                    Oh, my two points should have been.
                    1 We never fed our kids things we wouldn't eat. I dare you to dig into a jar of storebought baby food.
                    2 Just keep going out lots with them and they will grow into it.

                    1. re: The Gut

                      Just so people don't think we're just lucky and have angels. My wife had to escort our son from Safeway on saturday. He just couldn't stop twirling. The rules for grocery stores are much looser but bumping people and nearly knocking things off the shelves are not allowed. Most of the time they're good.