Dining out with children and my new favorite restaurant

I thought it was hard to compete with McDonalds when it came to an enjoyable meal out with 4 children. Who knew that there was a decent restaurant, with really good food, with decent pricing, without a playland, that could provide a pleasant dining experience for both the adults and the children! There is such a restaurant!

A few weeks ago some friends of ours met us for dinner at this little Mexican restaurant in St. Charles called El Tio Gera. The food was good, the hostess/waitress was fantastic and the place wasn’t crowded. The waitress noticed that I was having trouble dining with a 6 month old baby, so what did she do? She asked if she could help me out by holding the baby…and she did. She took Miss Maggie back to the kitchen, to the counter and Maggie became a waitress for 10 minutes, helping to pour water and soda, while I enhaled my dinner. I don’t know if any of you remember the TV show called Dinosaurs, but the little dino always refered to the Daddy as “Not the Mama”. This is the stage we are in with Maggie. She LOVES LOVES LOVES her Daddy, but not for long if Mama is anywhere nearby. He is “Not the Mama”, and that’s okay, because we all know that in 2 years time I won’t be the parent in favor…that’s just how it works (ask Liam).

So, we decided to go back to this little family run restaurant last evening with the four littles. Imagine our surprise when we walked in and this lady recognized us, remembered Maggie’s name, and had kept the toy that we accidentally left there during our last visit. What a great way to start off! So we sit down and she brings us extra chips and bowls so that Mr. That’s Mine – Liam – wouldn’t fuss, and so that Dustin who sat at the end of the table wouldn’t have to reach over everyone…or scoot down. She brought Maggie an empty bowl and spoon to play with, and treated Dorothy like a big kid. When Liam tore up his lid on his cup, a new lid showed up! Towards the end of the meal, the friendly waitress again asked if she could hold onto Maggie, and of course Maggie was all too happy to be picked up and carried around while we finished eating.

Yes, there are cheaper restaurants with good food, but this is one of the only places I’ve been to in recent years where I didn’t feel like the children were a nuisance to the server, they could relax, John and I could relax, and where the environment was family friendly without chicken nuggets and a playland.

Two thumbs up to El Tio Gera – the new family favorite place to dine!