Share brunch with your toddler at these kid-friendly restaurants.
When you choose to have a baby you know you're giving up many of the wonderful things Chicago has to offer – like drinking on a patio at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday or fully utilizing the 2:45 a.m. Saturday last call. But for many of us (much to many people's chagrin), one of the things we're not ready to give up on is brunch.
Chicago's brunching munificence is simply too great to turn your back on. But, how do you manage to keep a toddler calm for an hour without annoying the 20-something singles still enjoying their solitude? Well, for starters, you pick the right places.
There aren't many, but there are a few that really go out of their way to make families feel at home. Of special note is Curio Cafe, where a children's play area has been set up in the dining room. Ricardo Way (son of owner Lucy Alvarez) says that the restaurant wants everyone to feel at home.
"We make sure everyone feels like family. It's more like a daycare-slash-family restaurant," Way says. "The whole idea was to have a place that understands it's hard for families to go out and have a dinner without worrying about making a mess."
Here are some other tot-friendly brunch spots:
This Roscoe Village cafe is known for its delicious vegetarian cuisine. For health-conscious parents it's a great place to feed kids tasty food without worrying about how much sugar or fat is involved. Also, even though it's rather small, Victory's Banner is super family friendly and even has a small wall of toys in the back to keep kids entertained.
Tweet really has the toddler brunch down pat. First, when they see your youngster walk in the door, they immediately lay down a sheet of butcher's paper under a highchair – no longer do you have to fuss over what your two-year-old is throwing on the floor. When you're seated, the staff immediately sets down a small basket of books, toys and crayons. Within seconds a bowl of bananas is in front of your tot. Tweet also serves a great deal of organic and healthy food options.
The real beauty of this north Lincoln Square spot is that no one knows about it, but nobody is sure why. Especially once you find out their breakfast scrambles are only $4.50 – that includes toast and potatoes. But, because of this cute little corner joint's quietness, you and your child are treated with the utmost respect. Crema is also a bakery, so there are plenty of things that little ones enjoy noshing on.
What a dream come true for parents. It's a little off the beaten path, sure, but what distance wouldn't you travel to have your kid entertained so you can actually have a conversation over a cup of coffee? Or actually eat a warm meal? On top of the amazing idea of a play area, the restaurant also offers a great kids' breakfast menu. Choose from egg, potatoes and toast, mini pancake with whipped cream, French toast with banana, berry banana yogurt or egg and bacon on toast – each served with a juice box for only $3.95.
So popular is this sprawling diner with Lakeview families that there is now a separate area in the back of the restaurant reserved for adults only. Colorful and creative, this place serves up food kids love, like macaroni & cheese with black eyed peas. A nice bonus is that the place is so swamped with children that you'll never feel guilty for all the racket yours is making – plus the kids like making faces at each other from across the room.
This newish little bakery in Evanston is a great place for a toddler brunch. The food and baked treats are a hit with kids of all ages and the overall vibe is a little looser than some of the stuffier Evanston breakfast choices. The owner has a kids activity basket all set up and ready to go, which is always a good sign of a business that's open to kids.