My husband and I are big time foodies.
We love to cook– but more importantly, we love to eat. And we still love to go out for a bite– it’s just a little more challenging now with a baby in tow. I have often wondered, ‘Is XYZ the sort of place where I can bring Malcolm? Can I get my stroller up the stairs? Will people there be annoyed if the baby fusses?’ I’ve wished for someone to rate the local cafés and restaurants based on kid-friendliness…. And then I thought, maybe that someone could be me.
I collaborated with several friends who also have kids, and here are the criteria we determined for rating family-friendliness:
Bathrooms = Is there a changing table, or at least enough counter space to change a diaper? Is it clean?
Seating = Is it comfortable and spacious enough? Can chairs and tables be moved around to accommodate car seats and diaper bags? Do they have high chairs or booster seats available?
Accessibility = Is it close to parking? Can one get in and out in a reasonable amount of time, or is there usually a long wait? Can a stroller easily access the building? Is there room for the stroller once inside?
Atmosphere = Is it loud and active, or quiet and serious? Casual, or high end? Are there other families there? Are staff and patrons accommodating (or at least tolerant) of children?
BONUS Points = Does the restaurant cater to families? Is there a kids’ menu? A play area? Kid-tailored events and/or fun things to do nearby?
To start things off, I thought I’d review Mirabelles on Main Street.
A girlfriend and I went there a few weeks ago on a Friday for an early lunch. My ulterior motive was the dessert counter, because I’m a hopeless choco-holic. Scones, muffins, cookies, tarts, decadent cakes, colorful macaroons– for me, the real highlight of Mirabelles is dessert. But I ate real food first (a popover with eggs and a side of fruit), and that was good too.
Parking can be an issue for any downtown eatery, so unless you luck out with a spot right out front, you’ll probably need to park in a garage and use a stroller. It was noisy and crowded inside, so when the baby whined and fussed, nobody seemed bothered by it. There isn’t a ton of room, but the booth we sat in had enough space for the four of us. It was busy (there was a 15-minute wait for the lunch crowd), so I’d recommend getting there a little before the lunch rush, like we did, or going during an off hour.
The only real negative was that the hostess was a little short with me: I rolled the stroller over to my friend’s table to unload my son and his diaper bag, and as I was doing that, the hostess snapped at me “You can’t put a stroller there.” I explained that I can’t very well fold up the stroller while my son is still in it, and if she’d kindly give me a second, I’ll get it out of the way. The waitress, on the other hand, was very nice and accommodating. When the kiddos started to fuss, she even offered to wrap up desserts for us.
I would certainly recommend Mirabelles for family eating. Rating: B-
Would you like to suggest a place for me to review? Drop me a line and let me know what you think. [email protected]