Mother Road Market:
Eating Out with Kids Made Easy
I remember the phase of parenting when I avoided eating out with my kids, a six-month stage when they were around two and three (and I was a single parent), when going to restaurants risked provoking a meltdown that was most likely going to be mine! My kids didn’t want to sit still to eat, they wanted to run and play, which is a normal behavior for toddlers but an annoying distraction for fellow diners. Maybe I was a chicken, my kids outnumbered me and I feared they had a secret pact to stage a coup, a public takedown where toddlers took over the world--or at least the restaurant.
Thirty years later, the kids are grown and I’ve virtually abandoned cooking. My grandkids will never reminisce about grandmother’s cooking but instead will have memories of restaurants we frequented. I’ve gained reinforcements (my husband), so the adults outnumber the kids, and we feel brave enough to take our almost two-year-old grandchild out to eat, but we do carefully choose kid friendly places. This past Saturday was our monthly “Grands Sleepover," a time we all eagerly anticipate. After a fun afternoon at Gathering Place we were all starving and decided to head down Route 66 to Mother Road Market. We chose Mother Road Market (as we often do) for several reasons which I’ll list in order of our personal priorities:
1. The inside play area- They have a great little play area perfect for toddlers! There are tables right next to it, so we can eat while he plays and occasionally runs over for a bite. Yes, I know parents would enforce rules for him to sit and eat and then play, but that’s the joy of being a grandparent: we’re not the rule enforcers, we’re the rule benders!
Our grandson loves the play area at Mother Road Market
2. The outside play area- When the weather is nice, we head outside to the patio area! There are tables, comfortable couches, a fake grass area where kids can run free, and a miniature Route 66-themed golf course. This area is partially open air, but it has a fence so toddlers can’t escape and a roof so a few sprinkles won’t dampen your fun.
He seemed to get the general concept of miniature golf, or at least he had a good time trying
3. Food choices- There are so many food choices, enough to meet any dietary requirements or preferences. When we go as a family, we have three vegetarians, a vegan, a gluten-free and a toddler plus a couple of omnivores, and we’re all able to go to the food vendor of our choice and then meet back up to eat together. Between the seven of us, we have now gone to every food vendor and not one complaint amongst us, except the time I didn’t understand the spiciness scale at Chicken and the Wolf and had to pass the delicious but scorching chicken on to my husband (hint for the wimpy: ask for no spice). Click here for a list of all the merchants of Mother Road Market.
There are lots of healthy dining options at Mother Road Market, but this time around we went with lots of delicious carbs!
4. Family friendly atmosphere- There’s no need for shushing or worry about your toddler’s lack of table manners here. The atmosphere is very laid back and family friendly. Every time we’ve been, we’ve seen a wide assortment of people: families, singles, young and old. Shirt and shoes required but beyond that anything goes.
Mother Road Market has a casual, family friendly atmosphere
5. Clean bathrooms- This may seem silly, but this is an important area for me, especially the availability of changing tables in the bathroom. You might think that’s something you can assume but sadly, there have been a few restaurants I’ve had to stop going to when I’m with my grandson because they lack changing tables. Call me high maintenance, but I’m not willing, or on some days able, to get down on the dirty floor in a public place to change a diaper. I appreciate the clean bathrooms with a nice changing table at Mother Road Market.
Mother Road Market 1124 South Lewis (on Route 66!)
HOURS OF OPERATION