For families with young children, dining out is often a way to escape the routines of everyday life, avoid the hassles of preparation and clean-up, and maybe teach little ones a few life skills, such as ordering for themselves and placing a napkin on their laps. If the meal goes smoothly, it might even feel like a mini vacation.
To achieve such loyalty results, finding a restaurant with food and atmosphere sensitive to the needs and wants of both parent and child is key. Here are three options in Plymouth:
Fish crackers for kids. Craft beer for adults.
Locally owned Rock Elm Tavern welcomes kiddos right in with free fish crackers and activity sheets. Parents can order from a large selection of craft beers and specialty drinks. Fresh, high-quality twists on classic tavern burgers and pub sandwiches are at the heart of the adult menu. The kids’ menu includes all the tried-and-true items for the traditionalists, but for the maturing palate, Rock Elm also offers a 4-oz flat iron steak for $8, which includes fries, fruit cup, and beverage. As an alternative, kids can request smaller portions of some adult menu items, such as the “grown-up” house-made macaroni & cheese, smothered in five different cheeses and sprinkled with pretzel dust. Follow it up with a dish of Honey & Mackie’s ice cream from the dessert menu and everybody goes home happy. 16605 County Road 24; 763. 208.4451.
Grill your own food. Or not.
For a unique and active family dining experience, Sakana now offers a Japanese barbecue in the back of the restaurant, replacing its former hibachi table grills. Japanese BBQ allows customers to select their own fresh meats, seafood, vegetables, and marinades and grill it all themselves. They can grill their own s’mores, too. Each table has two grills and seats up to 12. Food selections are available a la carte or as group entrees for two, four, five, six and 10 servings that include appetizers, soup and salad, ranging in price from $75 to $268 depending on group size. Reservations are recommended.
Prefer to kick back and let others do the cooking? Take a seat in Sakana’s front dining room and order from the regular menu, specializing in sushi and Asian cuisine. For the kids, complete hibachi junior meals that feature chicken, shrimp, scallops or steak are available for $9.95- $11.95. While waiting for food to arrive, parents can enjoy a cocktail, while kids color or try to push the marble stopper into a bottle of Japanese soda, which will rattle around as they drink. It comes in refreshing flavors such as grape, melon, orange and bubble gum. 4345 Nathan Lane N. Suite O; 763.559.0755.
Did somebody say free?
If it’s Tuesday evening, head over to Green Mill, where customers 12 and under eat for free with a paid adult entree. Mom and Dad might even enjoy a few minutes of adult conversation while kids enjoy an activity sheet where they can help Chef Pete find his identical twin brother or unscramble pizza toppings. The kids’ menu is usually $5.49 and includes, of course, personal pan pizzas, but also pasta and meatballs, chicken quesadilla, and other classics that come with garlic bread, salad, fruit or steamed veggies. Beverage options for kids are plentiful—ask your server about their Coca Cola freestyle creations. Super fruity smoothies are available, too, with kids’ meals for an extra $2.99. For adults, the sky’s the limit with everything from artisan flatbreads to garlic lobster chicken served with Northwoods wild rice. Gluten-free items are also offered including hand-made burgers, specialty salads, and pizzas. 2705 Annapolis Lane N.; 763.553.9000.