If you know a girl about to reach her preteen years and the end of her youthful innocence, take her to American Girl Cafe for sugar and spice and everything nice. Located strategically on the second floor of the American Girl store, the restaurant offers the ultimate tea party for girls and their dolls, with moms and grandmas with their pocketbooks in tow. Whether you come for afternoon tea, a birthday party or just lunch, expect a big to-do—so big you'll need to make a reservation up to six months in advance for brunch.
To make the experience special, everything coordinates—from the black- and white-striped, doll-size teacups to the polka-dot napkin rings that double as hair-scrunchy souvenirs. A miniature chair slides into the table, and a host will even assist your doll comfortably into her seat. If you forget your doll and want one to join you, the host keeps several on hand.
At tea time, mini sandwiches named after the dolls adorn a two-tiered serving dish, and petite scones await butter and jam. The experience commences with individual chocolate mousse flowerpots sprouting plastic take-home daisies. A bonus for grown-ups suffering from doll overkill: You can order wine and champagne, but you'll pay for it, of course.
Expect traditional fare for the $18-per-person brunch, including pancakes, French toast and sun-dried cranberries and cheese quiche. For the "gimme more" Veruca Salts in your life, live harp music and breakfast pizza are available for an extra charge. The daily lunch ($20 per person) and dinner ($22 per person) dish up fun treats like a Tic-Tac-Toe pizza and heart-shape pasta.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Maria Raynes