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Celebratory Dinner with Kids (5 and 2)

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My boss, who is from Chicago, asked me to take the whole family out for a nice dinner on the company. I'm looking on suggestions on where to go.

The five year old is quite well behaved, but the toddler is, well, a toddler. She does fine at places like Highland Grill, but we were looking for a step up from that. We considered Cafe Levain. On several recent visits we've found it to be pretty empty early in the week, but I don't want to put out other diners.

Any ideas???

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Highland Grill
771 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

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  1. Cheeky Monkey is very casual, lots of kids, but the food is pretty darn good, as is the wine/beer list. More comfort food, but very well executed. Or . . . .

    Get a babysitter for your toddler and go to Meritage or Cafe Levain.

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    Meritage
    410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

    Cafe Levain
    4762 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

    1. We've gone to Cafe Maude with our 2 year old and it's been great. They even host a "family hour" in addition to happy hour. I was also recently at Blackbird and noticed that they had highchairs.

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      Cafe Maude
      5411 Penn Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419

      1. Jill Lewis of HeavyTable has written a handful of "Take the Kids?" articles. The most recent is on Cafe Maude - with some interesting comments.

        http://heavytable.com/author/jill/

        And have you seen the "Waiter! More Crayons" article by Dara? It's three years old, but has some good information. However, it seems to be mostly the "step down" places that you're not looking for (this time).

        http://www.citypages.com/2007-10-31/r...

        I don't have any specific suggestions, but I wanted to let you know that Cheeky Monkey can be a very quiet place, especially in the evening. And it's one smallish room - not even any nooks and crannies - so a slightly exuberant toddler would be immediately noticed by all patrons. The food is great, and it's quite casual, but if you go, go early.

        1. Brasa St. Paul. Or Punch Pizza, right next door. Both have TONS of families with kids every night.

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          Punch Pizza
          3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

          1. When our kids were younger, my son's favorite restaurant was the Loring Pasta Bar. There's lots of things for younger kids to look at and it's lively enough that your kids won't be a distraction to other diners.

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            Loring Pasta Bar
            327 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414