(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 4 in a 4 part series.)

We have almost finished our list of the best local eateries for families. As you’ve probably figured out (if you’ve been reading the previous posts on this subject), it isn’t an easy task for a restaurant to make this list.  Not only does a restaurant have to be kid friendly and affordable, but it has to offer good nutritious food. That, in itself, is no easy feat.  Here are our final three …

Max & Erma’s. Max & Erma’s has what it takes to make a family dinner out fun for everyone. They serve just about anything you want, welcome the kids, are very reasonably priced and have great hamburgers!  The atmosphere is fun and family friendly, but also grown-up, with a bar area, dark wood and brass tables and Tiffany type fixtures. The Dublin location has a nice patio overlooking the pond with ducks and geese to entertain the little ones eyes.  Did we mention the sundae bar?  What a fun way to end the meal!  (Although I personally prefer the warm chocolate chip cookies!) 

Chili’s Grill & Bar. Everyone is welcome here.  It’s casual, it’s festive, colorful and fun and welcomes all ages.  The food is Tex-Mex and the bar is full of people watching sports on the TVs.  Three sides on the kids menu (corn, mandarin oranges and pineapple) have been added recently to the seven options it already had. We will warn you though–aside from the grilled chicken, the sides are the healthiest things you will find on the kids menu.   But, hey, we don’t go to Chili’s for their ‘light’ menu options so if we splurge once in a while, we think the kids can too!   They do offer nutritional information on all the kids meals on their web site. 

Uno Chicago Grill.  Uno’s has a “Chicago warehouse” look that is warm, busy and energetic.  Although a lot of people still only associate it with pizza, Uno’s may surprise you with all the things on their menu.  Recently the restaurant chain began offering lighter, flatbread pizzas and a kids’ menu that features grilled chicken, whole-grain penne and health-minded sides like broccoli, apples and mandarin oranges. Kids can even put on an apron and make their own pie using flatbread dough, sauce, cheese and toppings, which are brought to your table. Then the pizza is baked and returned with the rest of the family’s order.  The atmosphere lends itself to energetic little munchkins.

So there it is.  I’m sure there is at least one thing you disagree with–or that I’ve missed one of your family’s favorite places.  To that I say GREAT!  Please leave a comment, idea, agreement or disagreement.  We would love to hear about more great places around Dublin, Ohio!

 -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 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