On the Town Survival Guide: Fine Dining

On the Town Survival Guide: Fine Dining

- in Food

In the next installment of the On the Town Survival Guide, which is meant to minimize stress and maximize fun when out and about with your kids, I’m tackling fine dining.

There are a lot of fabulous restaurants in Cleveland and you don’t have to wait for a date night or exclude your kids from special occasions. But like most things with kids, some research and planning go a long way.

Check out the Menu

When taking your kids to a new restaurant, especially one that is not necessarily designed to cater to their age, take the time to check out the menu online. If there isn’t a kids menu specifically offered, a lot of restaurants (such as The Greenhouse Tavern) will modify full menu offerings to be child appropriate. Just make sure there’s something on the menu your kids will enjoy before you make your reservations! 

Timing is Everything

Speaking of reservations, make them. Fine dining tends to take longer than a meal at The Winking Lizard (a perennial favorite in our family,) so the last thing you want is having to double your entertaining/please stay well-behaved time by having to wait for a table. And waiting at the bar is a tad more awkward with your kid in tow. 

When making your reservations, consider that it will take a bit longer at a nicer restaurant to get your food and that you’ll probably want some extra time to ensure eating at your child’s usual dinner time. Also, keep in mind that as the evening gets later, the restaurant will get busier, noisier, and service more taxed. Dinner at an early time ensures happy servers and happy diners both in your party and the restaurant as a whole.

Bring the Fun

Come prepared with ways to keep your kids entertained if they are not at the age where your witty dinner banter will keep them enthralled. But keep the toys quiet, small, and not too numerous. If electronic devices are your kids’ jam, make sure the volume is set appropriately. There’s no harm in letting your kids play, but keep in mind your server and the other diners too.

Be a Good Guest

Messes will sometimes happen with kids, but try to aid in the clean-up efforts when they do. And of course tip your server well for their extra attention and care to your family.

We’ve taken Jeffrey to family birthday and anniversary dinners at places such as The Capital Grille, Red the Steakhouse, and Nuevo Modern Mexican.

I promise that it’s more than just doable, it’s entirely enjoyable with a little planning, the right location, and the flexibility that comes with being a parent.

Check out my other On the Town Survival Guides:

Cedar Point

Cleveland Indians Game

And let me know what other Survival Guides you’d love to see!

From Cleveland that I Love,


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