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Celebratory Dinner with Kids (5 and 2)

Kilgore Feb 18, 2011 09:35 AM

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???

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

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  1. Michael Florey RE: Kilgore Feb 18, 2011 10:16 AM

    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.

    410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

    Cafe Levain
    4762 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

    1. katebauer RE: Kilgore Feb 18, 2011 11:31 AM

      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.

      Cafe Maude
      5411 Penn Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419

      1. AnneInMpls RE: Kilgore Feb 18, 2011 04:05 PM

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


        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).


        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. mtullius RE: Kilgore Feb 19, 2011 04:45 AM

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

          Punch Pizza
          3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

          1. bob s RE: Kilgore Feb 19, 2011 10:58 AM

            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.

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

            1. m
              MayrMN RE: Kilgore Feb 20, 2011 06:46 AM

              We have been taking my daughter to Al Vento at least once a year since she was 3 months old (3.5 now) and as long as your toddler is not loud or gets up and wants to run around, I have found that they are very accommodating. They will prepare a simple dish of pasta or we've even taken more toddler friendly food from home. I can't remember if they have milk available. They open at 5pm and you can make reservations and explain what your looking for.

              Al Vento
              5001 34th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

              1. k
                Kilgore RE: Kilgore Feb 20, 2011 09:37 AM

                Hey everyone, thanks for the replies. I got some good ideas, both for this dinner as well as just fun, more casual type places. I should mentioned that I was told to go "some place nice" and take the entire family.

                I think that we'll probably go to Al Vento. It's not too far away and we always wanted to try it. I mentioned it to my wife yesterday and she liked the look of the menu on the website. We'll go early in the week and as early as we can - around 6:00 or so.

                I was seriously thinking about Cafe Maude until we read the Heavy Table post and comments. Thanks for pointing that out.

                Cafe Maude
                5411 Penn Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419

                Al Vento
                5001 34th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kilgore
                  MayrMN RE: Kilgore Feb 20, 2011 05:23 PM

                  Ask for a table in the back at Al Vento. The tables up front are REALLY close together and that could make you uncomfortable. We found the ones in back were best for us with kids in tow.

                  Have a great time. The caesar salad is great and the focaccia is addictive!

                  Al Vento
                  5001 34th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

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