Thursday, April 14, 2011

Parent's magazine top ten family restaurant for 2010

I read Parents magazine's 2011 list of top restaurants for families with relish.

Well, not relish. I don't like relish.

 (from Parents magazine's website)
Parents analyzed the calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium on both the kids' and adult menus of more than 150 national restaurant chains. For the places with the most healthy options, we also scrutinized the quality of the ingredients such as whether there was organic milk or antibiotic-free chicken. Then we considered conveniences like call-ahead seating, online ordering, crayons to keep kids busy, and high chairs and boosters.

To my disappointment, not all of the restaurants are local, but most of them are...
Here's the ones that Foodie Baby and I have checked out, written about, or just want to go to.

Jason's Deli

There is only ONE Jason's Deli in California and it is less than a half-hour away on the borer of Moreno Valley and Riverside.

 I've been to Jason's Deli several times, but only once with Foodie Baby being able to partake in some of the menu, so I have as yet to do a post on the Jason's Deli.
The last time I ate there I gave Foodie Baby items off my salad bar plate as well as the snacks I had packed him (impromptu trip) but the portabello mushroom wrap is my favorite item on the menu right now.

The Souplantation on Hospitality Lane in San Bernardino is another place where Foodie Baby has eaten off of my salad bar plate.

When he was small, I was thrilled to discover car seat-style seats that rolled along as you picked out your items from the bar, letting a baby see what you're doing and making it more manageable than a car seat. Regrettably I've forgotten how big of a child they hold, but I'm sure a small toddler could fit.

For a Souplantation trip I recommend having more than one adult around for a small one- you still have to juggle a tray and seating after you pay, but I had a very helpful employee wank my stuff to a table for me before.

We haven't been to the Hospitality lane Red Lobster for a long time either, but Foodie Baby has had a kid's menu meal at another location and they give a sturdy lidded kid's cup with the meal He also had a helpful employee let him interact with a lobster (this was months ago, I'd love to see what he would do with one now!)

I haven't been to a Chipotle in a million years- there was a time where I happily got a burrito and ate it for 2 meals straight (anything a thousand calories needed that treatment!)

Mexican is an easy pic for Foodie Baby (as long as it isn't really spicy) and their kid's meals are free until May 1 on Saturdays and Sundays with select adult purchases

I avoid Red Robin for some personal reasons but know several people that love their burgers! You can get a balloon on the way out of the Lugonia Ave. location- we all know how cool a balloon is!

I was going to write one about Mimi's after a not-so-great experience but hesitated when I saw they were on the list. Sadly, many of the things they mention in the Parents article didn't happen (they even brought everyone else's drinks and left Foodie Baby's for last!) so I decided to give them one more chance.
If you have a light eater a muffin may be all you need there, although Foodie Baby did enjoy his chicken and veggies plate.

I've written about Panera Bread before and we love it. I recommend it, especially to eat the mac n' cheese.

The closest P.F.Chang's is in Riverside at the Galleria at Tyler but Foodie Baby hasn't eaten there yet. Like my beloved Thai places in town, it encourages family eating, so if you have an adventurous eater, they may be happy sharing a plate with you.

Do you agree that these places are the child friendliest?
Have you had any experiences at one?
Do you have a restaurant you would add to your personal 'best of' list?


  1. I haven't eaten at a number of these. My experience with Mimi's has been hit or miss - they're either great with the kids or not at all. The one time we took little man to Red Lobster in Riverside it did not go well, so I haven't been back, but it may have just been that particular location or night. I had a good experience at Red Robin, and balloons are always cool. A local place that I've had really good experiences with that's also reasonably priced is the Green Onion Mexican Restaurant in Moreno Valley (not far from the Jason's Deli I haven't eaten at yet). Their kids meals come with Jello, so that's cool.

  2. I can see why Souplantation is kids friendly. The workers don't have to do anything! And I agree about Mimi's, it can be hit or miss.

  3. When we say family restaurant, everything must suit everyone in the family, especially the little kiddos. My little nephews actually enjoy burgers, and I’m thankful for diners that provide nutritional information on what they are serving. With this sheet, I am relieved of over-thinking about the health value of what I’m letting the little monsters eat.

    Berenice Ponder