“Do you want to meet up for an early dinner after we get done at the Discovery Museum?”
The husband and I get this text a lot, as weekends for our friends revolve around dance classes or music lessons and trips to the playground or the museum. As the good aunt and uncle that we are, the response is almost always, “Sure, what are you hungry for?”
Now, I will admit right up front, the man and I are foodies. We plan vacations around restaurants or regional specialtiesl so, a trip to Seattle meant oysters, and a weekend in New York almost put me in a food coma. There is a place in Willows, Calif., off the 5 that I want to go for a single piece of lemon meringue pie, and don’t even talk to me about San Francisco – I’m hungry just writing about it.
The great thing about Reno is the food scene; it keeps getting better and better. So, when the kids are hungry, we’ve got lots of choices, and those choices might not be what you would normally call “kid-friendly” dining. That doesn’t stop us from asking for a table with room for booster seats and highchairs for the three little ones, ages 2, 3 and 6. It is all about planning and making sure there is a snack on the table as soon as the little ones get there. Because we completely understand crying over food when you are hungry. Trust me, I’ve done it.
Some of the nicer restaurants we have been going with the nieces and nephews lately are Brasserie St. James and Campo. Both have great, inventive menus, an extensive bar and can cater to the little ones easily, as recent visits have shown us.
Brasserie St. James is perfect for late afternoon dining. The big booths give you plenty of room for sticker books, iPads and small toys, or the downstairs patio gives the little ones a place to work off some energy before working through the menu.
A few weeks ago, we ordered a number of choices from their pub fare and pizza menu. The Portobello Fries take mushrooms to a new level, and the Brasserie Poutine takes their fantastic fries and smothers them with a mushroom brown gravy and cheddar cheese curds. Messy, but worth the napkins and wipes. If you need ketchup with the kids’ fries, make sure you ask for plain ketchup; their housemade version is so good, but too spicy for little ones. The Margherita and the Saint pizzas come in smaller sizes for smaller appetites. Plus, they have a special kids menu. I’ll let you in on a little secret: their noodles and cheese side dish for kids will give you order envy. I keep thinking I need to go sit at the bar with a glass of Malbec and an order of those noodles for a night of adult comfort food!
Speaking of adults, don’t miss their Basque Mussels with plenty of bread for soaking up with garlic, wine butter sauce and a pint of their house-brewed beer or a glass of wine. You can share your fries with the kids.Or for a celebration, go big with the Buenos Aires Barbecue with grilled chicken, sausages, lamb chops, skirt steak and more. Plus, on the weekends, their brunch menu pairs their Dixie Chicken with waffles and housemade syrup, as well as offering specialty egg dishes. You can stop by after a class at the museum for a snack on that patio.Campo’s reputation is well known, and is a great choice for snacks on the patio after the lunch rush and before the dinner crowds descend. Their late lunch menu has small bites for the little ones, from their renowned pizza to some simple veggie sides, like roasted cauliflower and herbed potatoes or maybe just meatballs in sauce. If you have a more adventurous eater, try the cheese plate. The cheeses are often locally sourced and served with some nice chutney and honey. Or maybe you just want a bite of something sweet as a special treat; I have to admit, sometimes I dream about their Caramel Budino.
Campo is a great choice before heading down the block for the concert in the park or an early evening showing of Monsters University or Despicable Me 2 at the Riverside movie theater across the street. And, if the kids get fussy, a quick walk by the river can help get the sillies out before the pizza is out of the oven.
Reno moms, what are your favorite restaurants to take your little ones to, either because of the food or because of the atmosphere?