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Small group dinner on N. Shore, picky friendly and kid friendly???

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I need help! Doing a small group dinner for 9 on the N. Shore. Looking for something that is-
- Kid friendly
- Moderately priced (entrees around $15-$25)
- Nice, but not too upscale/intimidating for casual diners
- And the most important thing... The food should be good quality but not too complex/unrecognizable. Have some picky eaters (meat and potatoes) in the group

Would prefer to stay on N. Shore but avoid Salem because of Halloween activities.

Not averse to chains.

Places I have considered but not set on - Burton's Grill or Cheesecake Factory at Northshore Mall. Antique Table or Blue Ox in Lynn.

I have searched the boards but have not landed on the right place. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

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  1. Cheesecake Factory is sort of designed to be generally acceptable to anyone, is kid-friendly, is mom-friendly, and affordable. The only intimidating things are the sizes of the lines to get in and the size of the massive menu. I'm not really a fan, but if you're not adverse to chains, it's a good option.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Boston_Otter

      I have found that the massive menu at Cheesecake Factory can actually put off people with simpler tastes. They're barraged with way too many choices and a lot of uppity sounding foods (panini?! Horseradish mashed potatoes?!)

      1. re: Chris VR

        I think that Not Your Average Joes could work for your group. Its in Beverly but right off 128 at 1A and has a very accommodating menu, I remember seeing a similar request here and that's where the person chose..The 99 in Lynnfield is very standard American food but a lot of family groups go there. the food is basic but consistent. I am always surprised at the quality of the seafood. but its not very chowish.

        1. re: chompie

          NYAJ is also in Burlington

    2. I brought my in-laws and younger children to Century House in Peabody (www.centuryhousepeabody.com) last year and it was a big hit. It's a throwback kind of place, with a relish tray and where your best bet is prime rib, but the servers were very pleasant with my kids and my meat and potatoes father in law was really happy.

      1. Antique Table and Blue Ox both sound good for your group. If you are willing to go a little farther north, Hale Street Tavern (Beverly Farms) and 15 Walnut (South Hamilton) probably would work for you. Hale Street, in particular, is very kid friendly. Much more so than Burton's, IMHO.

        1. A hearty recommendation for Three Cod Tavern in Marblehead from me. It is very unassuming from the outside, but head straight through the bar side to the restaurant side and you'll find a comfortable and casual room. I would imagine it'd be easy to tote along kids. Menu has lots of non-seafood options.

          We were just there yesterday for the Pats game on the bar side. Had their good crab cake (especially for New England; Marylanders might object), B went with their HUGE and fresh haddock sandwich on griddled bun, I with the lobster roll... lobster could've been fresher, but I was fine with it. No mayo, which makes me happy. Friendly service and the audio for the game. With 2 beers and 2 glasses of wine, we got out of there for ~$75 with generous tip.

          http://www.threecodtavern.com/menu.php

          1 Reply
          1. re: digga

            Three Cod Tavern is a good recommendation! Just make sure everyone can get there without going through Salem!

          2. Thanks to everyone for your input. Definately helped stir up some ideas. I ended up going with Loretta in Newburyport. Seems to check off all the boxes even though it is a smaller place.