My Family’s Favorite Restaurant

Before children, my husband and I loved going out to eat on weekends. Now that we have a toddler, eating out as a family has become a bit more challenging…but not impossible. We still attempt it fairly often and usually invite friends with young ones. I think choosing the right place {and time!} is key. One of our favorite places to go is Ruggles Green in City Centre. We have gone there numerous times and have always had a great experience.

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First of all, Ruggles has plenty of outdoor seating. Any place that you can sit outdoors and eat is great for kids because you don’t feel bad when your child’s whine escalates to an inappropriate volume. Even in the summer months {thanks to their fans} it has not been too hot to sit outside.  And now that we are getting into some {slightly} cooler weather, sitting outside is especially nice.

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My favorite thing about Ruggles in City Centre is the big grassy area.  There is a very small window of time that my toddler will sit in a high chair and focus on eating. The lawn is perfect for her to get down and run around before and after dinner. Sometimes dinner feels so rushed because she will get fussy and we are just trying to get the check and control the flying Cheerios. We end up with very little time to actually talk and enjoy the restaurant.  The last time we went to Ruggles with friends, the daddies supervised the kiddos on the lawn while the mommies got to sit and talk long after our plates were cleared. It was such a nice and enjoyable time!


There are always lots of other kids playing, running, cartwheeling, and throwing balls, which makes for a very fun atmosphere. Often times there will be live music as well. Sometimes we will bring a couple of toys like a bouncy ball and bubbles. But I must warn you – this will attract more kids to you than tweens at a Justin Bieber concert!

They have a kids menu with some yummy options like organic cheese pizza or quinoa mac and cheese. Although we are cheap so we usually feed our toddler off of our plate or bring a few options from home. Because let’s face it – toddlers are unpredictable, and their acceptance of a certain food one day is no indication they will eat it again another day!

I would love to hear of other family friendly restaurants around town. What are your favorite places to go with little ones? Do you have any tips to keep restless toddlers occupied at a restaurant? Please share!

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11 Responses to My Family’s Favorite Restaurant

  1. Avatar
    Jenny September 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    I love City Centre!! I’m glad its getting a little cooler so I can take my girl out there more!!

    We love to go to Lupe Tortilla too because they have a play area!

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      Jana September 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

      Oh I LOVE Lupe Tortilla. We haven’t been there with our daughter since she was a baby but that is a good point about the play area – we should try it out. Is it a sandbox though? I am not sure how to handle sandy kids and cars but I think I need to get over that. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to have a nice dinner!

      • Avatar
        Kelly D September 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

        Uh…totally relate to the sandy kid thing! I am slooowly getting over it when I see Hayes’s eyes light up at the sight of a sandbox…and the chance it gives me to enjoy a margarita without a toddler crawling under the table!!

        • Avatar
          Jana September 29, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

          Glad I am not the only one Kelly! Even if I get over my sandbox fear, I will have to convince my husband. He definitely has a major phobia of messy things + cars!

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    Sara September 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    We take our little guy with us everywhere and have since he was weeks old. At our latest trip to Cheesecake Factory they brought out a “toddler plate” when they brought our bread. It was covered in banana slices and small slices of white and their delicious brown bread! Winston loved the fantastic treat!

    • Avatar
      Jana September 28, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

      Wow, that is so nice of them!

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    Meg O. September 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    It’s too bad that City Centre is 45 minutes from us! Ruggles Green is delish. We like taking the kids to Jimmy Changa’s because they have an outdoor play area!

    • Avatar
      Jana September 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Jimmy Changa’s looks fun! I just looked it up but there are none by us 🙁

  4. Avatar
    Breonna H September 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    We love going to City Centre! A few weeks ago we ate hot dogs at Coney Island and then walked down to the courtyard for the live music. So many kids, and parents, and even security. I love it.
    Another staple for us is Cheddars. We order for Addy as soon as we sit down and order drinks. This way she doesn’t get too antsy when it’s creeping in on dinner time.

    • Avatar
      Jana October 1, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      Good idea Breonna to order their food as soon as you sit down!

  5. Avatar
    Heather M October 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    I like restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings or Mexican joints that play loud music. That way if my little one gets a little loud, it doesn’t affect fellow patrons! These are some great suggestions!

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