How To Take Your Crazy Toddler To Restaurants

The look of shock and horror that people have when we say we take Chloe to restaurants is hilarious. Yes! We have been teaching her how to be in public while dining out since she was 3 months and it works perfectly….for about 50 minutes and then we gotta go cause ya know…toddlers and their crazy-ass selves. 
waiting to order

We have always been on-the-go, adventurous, and foodie-type people before the baby. Pre-parenthood we decided we would work hard at ‘training’ our kids to be able to go out to eat at restaurants with us. Not all babies and toddlers are perfect and we aren’t saying Chloe is. But we’ve worked at it and she’s pretty damn good- just to toot our horns here. But you also must know your kids. Invest time and attention. We know Chloe usually gets extra sassy at about the 44 minute mark at dinner, so we now request the bill before we finish (and also let the server know it’s not them- it’s us). 
waffles at Homegrown Bistro

Distractions are key with our almost 2 year old. Books, coloring, and simply handing her one of our menus keeps her occupied. If there’s bread, we take it. Keep it comin’, Ryan the server. We pack snacks and move away anything within her flailing reach. We show her things at the table, get her involved, and let coloring the heck out of that kid’s menu happen until it’s on to the next thing. It’s a constant flow of being prepped with the ‘next best thing’. It has come so natural now that it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ or that we can’t relax.
*We have chosen not to have tech items to keep her occupied for personal preferences but we know some families find it’s best for them.
dinner at Zambistro

Knowing your child is the most important, in our opinion. There are some kids you just can’t take out. We get it. But we also know there’s kids that can be trained and exposed to that side of life that can nail it just as well. Before, I mentioned the time limit. It took us two dinner visits to figure out Chloe’s signs of the end: trying to grab anything besides what’s in front of her, throwing a crayon in front of her, or not scarring down her food anymore. Simple signs that your toddler may go Godzilla on you at any moment. Figuring out the signs will help you determine a timeframe of what is average for you while out. Try heading out earlier like 5:30pm in exchange for the old 7:30 pm date time.

I grew up with my parents taking me out to restaurants all the time. It has been part of my life for as long as I can remember! Beau and I knew that by taking Chloe out and about it would expose her to different foods, interact with all types of people, stimulate her senses, and teach her how to develop manners and etiquette. And yes, we still have to try several times for her to try more veggies!
We haven’t hit up every restaurant, but we can tell you the ones we have been at that have highchairs, crayons, and changing tables in the restrooms. This list focuses on where you still can have a date night and not have to go to something you usually consider ‘kid-friendly’.
Read on to see some places we’ve taken the baby in WNY and what Chloe likes to eat there:

 

Sonny Red’s: snacks, French fries, and meatballs.

Yoshi: fried rice, all the way.
Jack Devine’s: chicken fingers and Daddy’s French fries, if lucky.
The Griffon (all locations): grilled cheese
Fresh Catch: anything we order- loves the rice, cucumbers, and pineapple.
Lloyd Factory Williamsville: any innards of burritos and tacos, cut up crack-ed potatoes.
The Grange: brisket…yes, you read that right. And the pita.
Juicy: chicken fingers and sneaking Daddy’s fries.
Prima Oliva: anything out of our bowls- blackberries, tomatoes, mushrooms, and avocado. Also drinks the Hydration Twist juice.
Poppyseed: chicken souvlaki.
Panorama on 7: sweet corn bisque, sweet potato mash, and anything off Daddy’s plate.
Eckl’s (both locations): mainly snacks that were packed and sometimes will try what’s on our plates.
Swan Street Diner: the whole menu.
Elm St. Bakery: any of the pizzas, bakery items, and mac n cheese.
Zambistro: chicken fingers.
New York Beer Project: seems to like those pretzels!
Deep South Taco (all locations): chips and salsa, smoked cheddar quesadilla, and packed snacks.
Roost: whatever is lookin’ good during seasonal menu change.
100 Acres Kitchen at Hotel Henry: anything carb-based and off our plates.
Squeeze Juicery: pretty in pink smoothie and any fruit-based bowl.
Pasquale’s: ham & cheese with French fries; bread obviously!
Homegrown Bistro: waffles!
Curly’s: anything on our plates!
a frequent fav: Squeeze
Brunch at 100 Acres Kitchen
‘I spy avocado at Prima!’
‘ordering’ at Roost

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