Taking kids out to eat can be challenging to say the least, especially if your kids are young – say, preschool age.
But as parents, it gets old quickly when you want to go out as a family but your choices are limited to fast food joints.
Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going to these well-known places with play areas on occasion, of course. But sometimes it’s nice to get a little variety. Plus, it can be fun to see how the little ones react and enjoy themselves while trying something new.
An entertaining place to take kids is a restaurant with a built-in “show” surrounding meal preparation. If you’re in the Cedar Rapids area, think along the lines of these locations: HuHot Mongolian Grill (at the Lindale Mall on Collins Rd), Osaka Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (on 1st Ave SE), or Genghis Grill (at one of two locations on: 1st Ave SE, or 2330 Edgewood Rd SW).
Restaurants like these are great because you can watch your food being prepared right in front of your eyes, sometimes with a bit of flair and showmanship (like the utensil-flipping show at Osaka). Kids like trying out chop-sticks at these places, if they don’t have much opportunity to use them at home.
And at a place like HuHot Mongolian Grill or Genghis Grill, you can take your kids through a buffet-like line where they can help you pick out what ingredients they want in their meals. This will make them feel like they’re in charge of their own meals; if they feel like they have responsibility for their meal prep, they just might be more inclined to eat, and not just pick at their food (or complain!). The little ones really enjoy having responsibility.
Plus, it’s fun for them and for the adults to hand over that bowl of ingredients that you picked out yourself, and watch it being cooked up on a huge, sizzling grill.
As an added treat at HuHot Mongolian Grill, you can even make your own s’mores for dessert! What kid (or grown-up kid) wouldn’t like that?!
If you order the s’mores, your server will bring out a tray of all the necessary ingredients: the marshmallows, graham cracker squares, chocolate bars, and skewers. They’ll also have a little “grill” with a flame going, so you can toast your own marshmallows just the way you like them. It is such a great gooey, chocolatey treat. Kids and adults love this; it is so tasty – and messy.
So the next time you’re taking the family out to eat, think of taking them somewhere with a meal and a “show” for a change of pace.