April 2010

You’ve heard that old expression: “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  So, mark your calendars. Next Sunday (May 9) is Mother’s Day, a day to honor that special person in your life.  (The one who does so much for you.)  You could get up early and bring her breakfast in bed, but if you are like I am (challenged in the kitchen)–the best thing you can do is make reservations.   Take her out, throw in a gift, a spa package, flowers or just a card and it will melt her heart. 

Since Mother’s Day is traditionally a very popular day to dine out, better make your reservations early.  Many Dublin Ohio restaurants are offering special menus that are sure to be a hit with your Mom.  (Note: Most of these restaurants require reservations. Seating is limited.  All restaurants are located in Dublin, Ohio 43017 unless otherwise noted; 614 area code.)

  • Crowne Plaza Columbus/Dublin (600 Metro Pl. N. 760-7939)  10:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m.  Buffet featuring Chef’s carving station, omelet & crepe station, breakfast items, dinner entrées, children’s buffet and scrumptious dessert bar. ($24.95/adults; $18.95 seniors, 65+; Children 6-11 $14.95; Children under 6 – FREE) 
  • Columbus Marriott Northwest (5605 Blazer Pkwy. 791-1000) 11 a.m.-2 p.m.  This ambitious Mother’s Day buffet includes an assortment of soups and salads, seafood, fresh fruits/berries/vegetables, a breakfast station, carved meats, six different entrees and a dessert station.  ($29.95/adults; $22.95 seniors; $11.95 children, 6-12)
  • Digger & Finch (6720 Riverside Dr. 889-8585) 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  Appetizer buffet, pick your entrée (i.e. Rack of Lamb, Beef Wellington, Scallops with Lobster Risotto, Chicken Cacciatore and Honey Lime Mahi Mahi). Dessert buffet! ($24.95/adults. $12.50/children)  
  • Matt the Miller’s Tavern (6725 Avery-Muirfield 799-9100) 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Special buffet lunch for Mother’s Day includes carving station, omelet station, Eggs Benedict and flat bread assortment … along with their usual great Sunday lunch buffet.  ($18,95/adults, $8.95 children under 10)
  • J.Liu Restaurant & Bar (50 W. Bridge St. 718-1818) 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Brunch buffet with Prime Rib, ham, omelets, shrimp cocktail, Asian and Italian options and house-made desserts. ($25/adults; $22/seniors; $13/children, ages 4-11) Reservations required.
  • La Scala Italian Bistro (4199 W. Dublin Granville Rd. 889-9431) 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.  Buffet available from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Featuring assorted garden salads, Chicken Picatta, homemade raviolli, Penne pasta ala Vodka sauce, homemade sausage & peppers, scrambed eggs with bacon, Texas French toast with strawberries, truffle smashed potatoes, fresh green beans, fresh fruit and assorted desserts.  ($19.92/adults, $10.95 children under 10)
  • Windchimes Chinese Restaurant  (5742 Frantz Rd. 792-0990) Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mothers can enjoy a free dessert after their dinner.

Dessert ideas …

  • Graeter’s Ice Cream  (6255 Frantz Rd. 799-2663) Ohio’ s favorite French pot ice cream will be available on Mother’s Day weekend for $ 1 off all pints.

-Post by Andrea

(In the interest of helping Dublin, Ohio visitors find deals on kids meals and family friendly eateries, we are featuring a series of guest posts by Dawn Scheurle, creator of the popular site: www.kidseatout.com – “restaurant reviews from a mom’s point of view.”   This is part 3 in a 4 part series.  

If you are like me, you are always on the search for family friendly restaurants that deliver on that magic combination of great value, nutritious choices, good food, convenience and ability to cater to kids. Here are a few more of my top choices (approved by my kids) …

Bravo.  Bravo is one of my favorite places to go with or without the kids!  It is a little more on the upscale side compared to some of the others on the list–so if you have particularly rambunctious children, it may not be for you.  The kids menu is huge, with chicken fingers (if you must), to all kinds of pasta and pizza. The servings are quite large, so for little appetites–you may want to share. They offer “Grande Kids, Meals for Small Adults” for more mature tastes (think Chicken Parmesan and Grilled Salmon). They even have a “Sides and Salads” section on the kids menu! Bravo has one of the most impressive kid’s menus out there.  The kids menu does come with crayons and activities, but you might have to ask for the raw dough to play with, as sometimes the wait staff forgets to bring it out!

Bob Evans.  Bob Evans is known for its family friendly atmosphere. You’ve probably eaten there at one time or another for breakfast.  Try it with your kids for dinner.  The kids menu is varied, with a complete Breakfast menu anytime, but lots of other options too–many very healthy. Their sides include low-fat strawberry yogurt, mashed potatoes and gravy, cottage cheese, broccoli, salad, fruit dish, baked potato, plus seven more. I love that they have grilled chicken strips (in addition to the usual fried), turkey, pancakes, etc. Everyone should be able to find something they like here. (Bonus deal: Bob Evans is a partner in the Dublin Ohio Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Kids Eat FREE Columbus Zoo/Zoombezi Bay Getaway” package program. Book your online getaway and get FREE kids meal coupons to Bob Evans and up to five other restaurants!)

Noodles & Company. Noodles & Company is a great option when you are looking for something faster than a traditional sit-down restaurant but don’t want to do fast-food.  It’s in the fast-food category of restaurants, but that is where the connection ends.   For not quite two times what you would pay for a combo meal at another establishment, you can get a nice meal.  The restaurant recently added a selection of sandwiches too.

Instead of having a separate kids’ menu, all of the noodle bowls, soups and salads come in two sizes–small and large.  Small is great for older kids, and big enough to split between two smaller children.  Since every noodle dish is prepared to order, diners can customize–swapping or adding veggies and a protein like chicken or tofu. Mac ‘n’ cheese, buttered noodles and pasta with marinara sauce will appeal to picky eaters.  And be sure to ask for no spices or spices on the side for them too.  Food is served on real dishes and kids will love the colorful chopsticks holders.

Next….  The final 3.  Will your favorite be there?  🙂 

 -Guest post by Dawn Scheurle, creator of www.kidseatout.com


(In the interest of helping Dublin, Ohio visitors find deals on kids meals and family friendly eateries, we are featuring a series of guest posts by Dawn Scheurle, creator of the popular site: www.kidseatout.com – “restaurant reviews from a mom’s point of view.”   This is part 2 in a 4 part series.  

As I mentioned before, there are so many things to consider when you are going out to eat with the kids. These include cost, nutritious options, convenience, value and ages of the kids (to name just a few).  I’ve compiled a list 12 of the best places to take your kids out to eat in the Dublin area. (I was going to do a top 10, but cutting the list down to 12 was hard enough!)  So, here are options #4-6, offering a little Italian flavor…

Bucca de Beppo. Buca di Beppo is a great choice for eating out with the family.  They treat the kids well, even taking them on a tour of the kitchen if they like!   The atmosphere is warm and busy enough to not worry about the kids being too loud.  They serve food family style in two sizes: Small feeds 2 – 3 people, Large feeds 4 – 6.  So if the kids like what you like, there is no need to order from the kids menu.  That being said, they do offer a kid’s menu with Italian choices (no chicken fingers, fries or hot dogs) that are very generous in size and a drink is included.  It’s also an ideal place to go if you have a large family or are celebrating a birthday or anniversary with extended family.  They take reservations and have lots of big tables. And, when you are passing the big food platters around, you can share multiple courses (including dessert). It’s a party! 

Olive Garden. Olive Garden is a family favorite. It seems to be a lot of people’s favorite given the lines we usually encounter!  The laid-back atmosphere and generous portions, the unlimited yummy salad and breadsticks, the killer lasagna, and the fact that mommy and daddy can have a glass of wine or Limoncello lemonade, make it worth the wait.  The kids menu is what you would expect at an Italian restaurant. Pizza, pasta, macaroni and cheese, plus chicken fingers with the option of broccoli instead of fries. Each meal comes with a drink in a take-home cup with a lid, and little diners are encouraged to share the grown-up’s salad and breadsticks.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill. They seriously love your kids.  Just the way they word their kids menu with things like ‘Filet of fish lightly crusted in-house’ and ‘Juicy, grilled chicken breast’ and ‘crisp salad’ lets you know kids aren’t an after-thought.  ‘Grilled Certified Angus Beef Kabobs with fresh broccoli’?  We’re impressed.  And it doesn’t stop there.  Along with an activity filled kids menu, the table are covered in paper so you can play tic-tac-toe with crayons, and they give the kids raw dough to play with to keep them occupied while they wait for their meals.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy the warm peasant bread and your glass of wine. There won’t be any arguing about choosing fries as a side over salad or broccoli either…. they don’t offer fries!   So you can feel okay about them finishing their meal with vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce for $.99!  All Kid’s items include a drink.

 So if you’re in the mood for a some Italian this week, give these places a try with your family.  Share with us what you think!  And stay tuned. We’re half way through with our list.  Six more of our favorite kid friendly restaurants more to go……… 🙂 

 -Guest post by Dawn Scheurle, creator of www.kidseatout.com

(In the interest of helping Dublin, Ohio visitors find great deals on kids meals and family friendly eateries, the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau is featuring a series of guest posts by Dawn Scheurle, creator of the popular site: www.kidseatout.com: “restaurant reviews from a mom’s point of view.” This is part 1 in a 4 part series.)

There are a lot of things to consider when you are thinking of going out to eat with the kids.  And the things that are important to some, may not even be a consideration for others.  Cost, nutrition, convenience, value, alcohol (for you, not the kids!)–these are just a few.  If you have an infant or toddler, your needs are different than someone with a 10 or 12 year old.  So that being said…….

I have compiled a list 12 of the best places to take your kids out to eat in the Dublin area. (I was going to do a top 10, but cutting the list down to 12 was hard enough!)  After looking at a lot of factors, I decided to focus on those restaurants that welcome families, have at least a couple of healthy things on the menu and make our lives the easiest when we go out to eat. 

Have I been to every restaurant in the Dublin area?  No.  Do I think everyone will agree with the list?  No.  Am I making the list anyway?  Yes.  (Note: all of the restaurants on the list have high-chairs, booster seats and changing tables in the restrooms.)  Here are the first three, in no particular order….

Panera Bread.   I like places I can take the kids and not have to sacrifice my taste-buds.  Panera offers sophisticated salads, soups and sandwiches so adults can enjoy a ‘happy meal’ too!  Panera offers good, healthy food for the kids.  Okay, the mac n’ cheese isn’t all that healthy but–YUM!   All the kids’ sandwiches (grilled cheese, PB&J, deli meat) are served on light-colored whole grain bread.  Organic squeezable yogurt comes on the side.  Prefer an apple? Just ask!  Seriously consider getting a fruit smoothie.  They taste wonderful and you can just grab a couple of the courtesy water cups by the soda station and split it between you and the kids!

Jason’s Deli.  Jason’s Deli is a great place to take the kids.  Not only do they have great healthy options on the kids menu, but the price is the same–if not less than–fast food (including a drink)!   Their food is trans fat free and high fructose corn syrup free and their hot dogs are nitrate free.  They have many organic things on the menu too. Jason’s sides for kids include things like apples, celery and peanut butter, broccoli, carrots and ranch dressing.  No fries here.  The kids get a choice of organic white or chocolate milk or apple juice.  And the soft serve, self-serve, ice cream is free for kids and adults!  Jason’s offers a huge variety of food, from soups to salads, pasta to paninis, and tons of things in between–including a huge salad bar.  It’s a bit overwhelming so you may want to go on-line and look at their menu before you go, so you can figure out what to order!

CosiWith its high ceilings and cement floors it is fine to bring the kids to Cosi, as it is already on the loud side. Sandwiches and flatbreads are the dominant offerings, all cooked in an open-flame stone oven. Also offered are pizzas, soups and bagels.. The kids menu has a choice of 5 sandwiches or a flatbread pizza. The sides and drinks have a lot going for them, too. Baby carrots, fresh fruit or potato chips come with the kids’ meal; even the chips are a decent pick because they’re cooked in unsaturated oil. Kids have a choice of soda, a small apple-juice box, or a cup of plain whole or skim milk. The milk even comes with a straw that makes it taste like cookies and cream.

So … those are the first three restaurants on my list.  Remember, I have nine more to go–so don’t panic yet if your family’s favorite wasn’t mentioned!  Give these great places a try if you haven’t already.  I would love to know what you think!   Happy dining out until next time………… 🙂


-Guest post by Dawn Scheurle, creator of www.kidseatout.com

It may only be the first week of April, but we’re in a summer frame of mind at the Dublin CVB offices. Maybe it’s because we are just a five-minute drive to the #1 Zoo in the nation (and its awesome water park). Or maybe it’s because we are anticipating THREE world-class events that just happen to fall between May and August (PGA Memorial Tournament, Dublin Irish Festival and the 2010 Can-Am Police-Fire Games). For ALL of us who work in tourism, part of the excitement is summer=biggest TRAVEL season!

We’re just like you when it comes to travel. We’re addicted to it. There is something so exciting about exploring new places, meeting the locales, sampling the region’s cuisine and taking in new adventures. It’s memory-making at its finest when you can experience all of that with your family. We like a good deal, a nice play to stay, some great meals and—above all—a great value. The more days/nights we can get for our dollar, the better.

This year, travel forecasters are predicting that more of us will be booking our vacations online—and that we will be looking for special deals. No kidding. (I’ll bet you’re thinking what I’m thinking: I could be a travel forecaster.)  

As you are considering getaway options for this summer—be sure to check out our brand new Kids Eat Free Columbus Zoo/Zoombezi Getaway Package. This online build-it-yourself package offers discounted rates at 10 Dublin hotels (the closest to the Columbus Zoo), discounted tickets to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Zoombezi Bay Water Park plus FREE kids meal coupons to six Dublin area restaurants.  Want more? Some of the hotels offer a free breakfast, a shuttle to the Zoo (saving the $5 parking fee) and goodies for the kids.  Got your calculator out? Yep, that’s a deal.

Now I’m putting on my travel forecaster hat and checking my crystal ball. I’m seeing polar bears, manatees, giant water slides, free food and ice cream for the kiddies, parents with their toes in a hotel pool (and a cool drink next to them). I’m seeing sunny weather and lots of smiles.  And I’m predicting that this summer’s really intelligent Ohio travelers will be checking out the Dublin OH Convention & Visitors Bureau’s  Kids Eat Free Columbus Zoo Getaway.

-Post by Mary