This post comes from guest blogger Dawn Scheurle, creator of www.KidsEatOut.com — a great resource for finding kid friendly restaurants in Central Ohio.

Although Spring signals the beginning of my all-time favorite Patio Dining Season, Fall brings me home.  I don’t mean inside my home (although it does that, too), I mean thoughts of home … being comfy and cozy with family, friends–and of course, food!  Fall food is the stuff that makes you warm inside, brings back memories and makes you want to take a nap in front of the fireplace afterward.

Here are a few of the places and foods that confirm to me that Summer is indeed over and Fall has arrived:

  • There’s a little gem we have frequented for years, but we just recently discovered their donuts.  Jacquemin Farms offers warm (if you time it right) sugar coated pumpkin donuts – grab one before you hop on the hay wagon to go out to the fields to pick your pumpkins.
  • La Chatelaine’s Cream of Tomato Basil Soup. (Don’t skip the croutons and cheese!)  The bakery atmosphere and warm cozy dining room with the stone fireplace make it the perfect place to be on a Fall day. I have to admit to eating this in the Spring on their patio, too. 
  • They say appetizer, I say entrée.  To each his own.  Matt the Millers Shrimp and Grits are absolutely crave-able.  Just writing about them makes me want to jump in my car and go.
  • An age old way to warm up: Bravo Cucina Italiana offers hot Apple Cider with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum–and a new trendier way–their Apple Cider Martini.  They also offer a seasonal Pumpkin Crème brûlée.  It’s hard to improve on the traditional kind, but it is Fall after all.
  • Sunny Street Cafe’s Pumpkin Pancakes.  Think sweet cream sauce and butter with walnuts and cinnamon to top it off.  Breakfast and dessert have always been interchangeable in my mind anyway!
  • A Featured Dish for the chilly months at Kogen’s is called Beef Pho. (This is pronounced Beef Fuh–as in … “Uh, let me think about that.”) Traditional Vietnamese Pho (Beef Noodle Soup) is a hearty soup of Beef simmered for more than 8 hours with onions and spices. It is served with a side of vegetables and sauces that can be combined to create a custom flavor.  
  • The Morgan House serves warm Kendra’s Creamy Chicken Pot Pie.  It’s topped with puff pastry and served in a fun terra-cotta pot.  The hot mulled cider is very nice, too.
  • Something fancy?  Although you can get it year-round, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse will warm you up with their Steak Kosar.  It is a 7 oz. or 10 oz. filet mignon over bordelaise crowned with lobster and bearnaise; asparagus and mushroom caps.
  • What is Fall without Mac-n-Cheese?  And NOT the boxed kind.  Homemade style Mac-n-Cheese.  Hoggy’s Mac-n-Cheese is made-from-scratch and finished under the broiler so the top is slightly browned and crispy, but the inside is smooth and creamy. In my picky family, the kids don’t like ‘the brown stuff’.  Lucky for me, I do!  Yum!
  • Did Scotland invent comfort food?  It seems like everything on Digger & Finch’s menu says “come on in and get comfy.”  The two standouts for me are the Guinness Stout and Cheddar Soup and Scotland Yard’s Shepherd’s Pie.  The pie is made with ground chuck, lamb and pork simmered in cabernet, with carrots, onions and peas baked in a cheddar potato crust. You can start your diet tomorrow!
  • Just in time for Fall, Rusty Bucket has added some new menu items including three new wing sauces–mild with teriyaki, spicy with sriracha sauce and chipotle in the middle.  They also have added some new comfort foods including Short Ribs, Sloppy-Joes, Pork Wing Tacos and Shrimp Grilled Cheese. 
  • Traditional Fall comfort food, maybe not, but Gooseneck Tavern has added a few new ‘spicy’ dishes to their menu that are sure to warm you up. Boom Boom Shrimp, Willow Noodles, and Grilled Andouille Sausage and Shrimp all have a bit of a kick!

I haven’t found my favorite place to get chili–which is almost the very definition of comfort food.  Well, I have, but my mom doesn’t own a restaurant. 

There are so many great restaurants in and around Dublin that I could go on for a while here.  And surely I haven’t been to them all.  Do you have a favorite Fall restaurant dish? For more ideas, visit the extensive list of Dublin Ohio restaurant listings here.

 ~Post by Dawn Scheurle, creator of www.KidsEatOut.com

In the interest of helping Dublin, Ohio visitors learn more about popular local family friendly eateries (and good deals), we periodically feature guest posts by Dawn Scheurle, creator of the popular site: www.kidseatout.com. This is part two of a post on great local patio dining.

I love patio dining. Fortunately, the Dublin area offers plenty of pleasant patios for those of us who prefer outdoor restaurant dining. Here are some of the best (in my opinion) …

  • Max & Erma’s (Frantz Rd. location) ~ This patio is tucked behind the restaurant and is surrounded by a split-rail fence separating it from the pond. The kids will be entertained watching the geese and little birds that come to snatch any food that happens to fall on the ground.
  • La Chatelaine ~ This great street-side patio with it’s flower boxes along the wrought iron fencing is a perfect compliment to this French inspired cafe, bistro, bakery. Bonus: great location for people-watching in Historic Dublin.
  • Brazenhead ~ Great casual bar/restaurant patio in Historic Dublin alongside North High St. (Dublin Rd.). It always seems to be buzzing with a lively bunch of patrons. Bonus: Wednesday night is $3 burger night! (Get there early. It fills up quickly!)
  • Bravo ~ Another favorite. It’s on the parking lot but raised up with pretty landscaping and trees to separate it so you don’t really notice. It is on the west side of the building so you get the afternoon sun which can be good or bad depending on the temperature!
  • Las Margaritas ~ We love to eat our chips and salsa outside! (Not to mention sip our margaritas!) The stone half-wall separates this patio from most street noise so you can sit back and enjoy.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings ~ Nice large patio with trees for shade rather than umbrellas. The casual atmosphere makes this a great place to take the kids too!
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise (Hilliard) ~ We like this patio because it makes us feel like we are on vacation! It is connected to the restaurant which has open walls, music, palm trees and a Jimmy Buffet casual island feel. The kiddos enjoy it as much as the grown-ups!
  • Sunny Street Cafe (Hospital Drive location) ~ New! They have just added a little patio out front of the restaurant on the walkway. It’s on the parking lot so you do get traffic going by but it’s kind of a fun place to sit and enjoy your coffee and breakfast!
  • Hoggy’s (Sawmill Rd) ~ Covered patio along the sidewalk of the strip mall. A nice place to enjoy your BBQ al fresco!
  • Joe’s Original and American Pub ~ Right around the corner from Hoggy’s but on the sunny west side of the building. Nothing fancy, but who needs fancy all the time?  🙂
  • Joe’s Crab Shack ~ You are in the middle of a strip mall parking lot but it doesn’t really feel that way. They have a  playground for the kids to keep them busy while you wait for your food! Very casual and relaxed.

There are a few places that offer outside seating for you once you have picked up your food. These include: Potbelly Sandwich Works, Noodles & Company, Bruegger’s Bagels, Panera, Einstein’s Bagels, Chipotle (Sawmill Rd) and Tuula’s European Cafe.

If there’s a great patio out there that I missed, please share! There’s a whole lot of patio season left to go!

-Post by Dawn Scheurle

(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