By the time we got to the last course, my four-year-old was a food critic in training. did.
The cookie was Piecé de Resistance from Tyria’s Children’s Tasting Menu. This is a three-course set meal that encourages little ones to eat with adults in a very grown-up way.
My child started with a cheese plate. A slice of sharp cheddar and apple and a bowl of smooth peanut butter for dipping. I ordered shrimp with fermented black beans and chili sauce. For our entrees he tried the fish and chips. I enjoyed the petite tenderloin. I ate my weight. My meal came to $55. He was $12.
This was youth dining at its best.
It was nothing like the children’s meals that have become the norm on restaurant menus: pizza, hot dogs, macaroni, cheese, heaps of French fries, unlimited ketchup and, when the weather is nice, fruit cups. is the usual choice.
It’s easy to see why. Kids’ menus offer smaller portions, lower prices, and are usually guaranteed to be eaten by kids. For many people, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets are a far more appealing option.
But lately, more Twin Cities restaurants are catering to a different kind of eater: foodie kids. Or, at least, foodie parents who want their kids to eat their favorite flavors.
“We love eating out, so it was important to us that our daughter was interested in her options.
Kvenvold co-runs Minneapolis restaurants Tilia and St. Genevieve with her husband, chef Steven Brown. Their daughter was four years old when she opened Tilia over ten years ago. From day one they strived to offer a children’s menu that complemented the more upscale cuisine of neighborhood restaurants.
“We didn’t want it to be on every menu, nor to the point where it was undesirable,” said Kvenvold. “It doesn’t help you as a parent either.”
Tilia’s 3-course meals for children took off after the pandemic when the restaurant changed its entire menu from a la carte to set meals. And so far it’s been very popular. Cheese plates are particularly popular, says Kvenvold. “We have a lot of kids who want to order off the adult menu. There are a lot of adventurous people out there.”
But while some restaurants have pivoted to reach the next generation of taste buds, the majority still serve surprisingly similar menus of butter noodles and plain cheese quesadillas, and they’re both parents and nutrition experts. It irritates both of us at home.
“I think restaurants often assume that children only eat chicken nuggets or hot dogs or hamburgers. Their own expectations of what they should eat and how it should differ from adults. “I feel like we’re really doing them a disservice,” said Alyssa Northrop, a Minneapolis-based nutritionist and parent of children ages 10 and 12. .”
It comes down to expectations — false ones, says Kelly Kunkel, a Mankato-based health and nutrition educator at the University of Minnesota Extension.
“Part of it comes down to the idea that kids want bland food, need bland food, don’t like spices, don’t like fiber, or don’t like fruits and vegetables. “But if you look at other countries, children are fed the same food that their parents and caregivers are fed and they are doing well.” I’m not sure that you want a bland meal.”
To be fair, children can be identified. Chalk it up to the development stage, Kunkel said. What you disliked in early childhood may come to like in preschool, or may come back when mixed with different ingredients.
But things are changing, Kunkel said. School lunches have diversified their offerings over the past decade. This is the impact of her Healthy, Hunger Free Children Act of 2010, which allowed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reform school feeding programs. What Americans consider “children’s food” is expanding.
Additionally, children can grow to love the food that adults eat with a little encouragement.
“It’s really important to keep serving food without pushing it, but you have to watch you eat it,” Northrop said. They’re learning how to eat from you.”
Northrop suggests ordering at the restaurant with the intention of sharing everything. That way, kids don’t get the message that they don’t deserve to enjoy the food grown-ups eat.One of her favorites in the family’s style of dining is Ethiopian food.
“I like the idea of ordering platters in the middle of the table and everyone eating injera by hand,” she said. “Children don’t necessarily expect their parents to hand-feed, so the fact that everyone does levels the playing field and opens the door to new experiences.”
But even when the kids eat well, dining out can still be difficult for young families. You may find yourself tense just waiting for a number of events to occur.
Recently I took my kids to Kyatchi and they offered a kids menu with 5 great choices. My eldest son chose the Tsukune Don. And I ordered a combo for her 18 month old. This gives kids new to relatively new foods: rice balls, sliced sweet eggs, Japanese potato salad, chicken skewers, and the big hit – hollowed-out orange peels filled with orange segments. While my baby experimented with chopsticks, I mentally counted the number of wipes needed to clean the floor before leaving.
As I was packing to leave, the woman at the table next to me pulled me aside. She made eye contact with me several times during our meal.
If improved kids menus and child-friendly restaurants keep it up, the next generation of foodies will have great taste.
great kids meal
A-Side Public House
A kid-sized charcuterie board ($7) with salami, Munster cheese, berries, almonds, and crackers is one option on this fun kid-friendly menu that also includes gluten-free chicken nuggets.
754 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, 651-756-1351, asidepublichouse.com
Broder’s Pasta Bar
Named after Broder’s first grandson, the Kit’s Menu features a kid-size Caesar salad ($4) and a build-your-own pasta dish ($8) with your choice of noodles and sauce.
5000 pen average. S., Mpls., 612-925-9202, broderspastabar.com
Sometimes kids just don’t want to touch their own food, and Bull’s Horn fills the bill with cafeteria trays that keep food separate. Dishes are kid-friendly with pizza bread, grilled cheese, or mac and cheese (all $6.50) with applesauce, pudding, and vegetables.
4563 34th Av. S., Mpls., 612-208-1378, bullshornfoodanddrink.com
Common Roots Cafe
In addition to morning scramblers ($6) and lunch grilled cheese ($7), kids at this lively Lindale café can get wild rice burgers ($8). Dessert is soft cream. Additionally, most of the cafe’s sandwiches, including kid-sized ones, can be made with gluten-free bread.
2558 Lyndale Av., Mpls., 612-871-2360, commonrootscafe.com
high low diner
This striking retro diner in Longfellow expands its comfort menu to include the kids. The panda cake includes chocolate swirls and egg sprinkles ($7), while the grilled cheese ($7) is made with French his toast and can be stuffed with breakfast meats or avocado.
4020 E. Lake Street, 612-353-6568, Hi-Lo Diner.com
Hora arepa/hi hi
Both Christina Nguyen and Birk Grudem’s restaurants offer kid-friendly fare with a twist on house specialties. Niños Arepa includes yuca fries and toppings ($7). At Hai Hai, kids can choose between rice bowls with ground pork or mock duck ($5). Or the Coconut Chicken Thigh on Rice and Kale Salad ($7).
3501 Nicollet Av., Mpls., 612-345-5583, holaareapa.com2121 University AV. NE., Mpls., 612-223-8640, haihaimpls.com
Kids bento ($8) can be customized with main courses ranging from California rolls to grilled salmon and two sides (edamame is always a fun option).
Location near Ridgedale and Eden Prairie Center Malls, Konagrill.com
Five choices for kids include chicken noodle ramen, meatballs with rice and yakitori sauce, specialty house hot dogs, or combos ($7-$13) featuring the restaurant’s vegetable sushi or rice balls.
3758 Nicollet Av., Mpls., 612-236-4429, catch.com
Mill Valley Market
The menu at this Theodore Worth Park kiosk has plenty of items that kids love, but some of the kids’ menus include a scaled-down breakfast burrito ($8) and a waffle with fruit and cream ($8). are always available.
1221 Theodore Wirth Parkway, Mpls., 763-316-4948, mill valley market
The Mediterranean restaurant inside Ridgedale’s Nordstrom offers a range of options beyond buttered noodles, including seared wild salmon and roasted chicken breast ($8.75-$12).
12441 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka, 651-900-6810, Nordstrom.com
Stephen Brown’s Linden Hills Gem offers a three-course set meal menu for kids for $12. Young diners can choose from cheese plates, chips and salsa, or hummus and vegetables. Fish and chips, pasta, or cheeseburgers for mains. Dessert is a chocolate chip cookie.
2726 W. 43rd St., Mpls., 612-354-2806, tiliampls.com
toma mojo grill
Just a stone’s throw from Ridgedale, it’s a great place for a family stop after shopping or on the way home. Kids can choose chicken breast, pulled chicken, pulled pork or veggie sausage, a choice of sides (a crowd favorite, fries), and a $7.25 drink. Kids will have a little more control over their food and find it a little healthier than the drive-thru.
12977 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka, 952-405-9179, tomamojogrill.com