We welcome guest bloggers Stefany and Lisa Lavik. These lovely ladies are the people behind Happy Parents BC. They are on a mission to make eating out accessible and affordable for young families. They believe in the importance of the family meal, and aren’t willing to sacrifice on flavor or fun. Join them to find more ways to “drink in the moments” of family life in and around the Fraser Valley! You can find them on Instagram and at www.happyparentsbc.ca
Before kids, eating out is simple. You’re free to go where you please, when you please. But have you thought about where you’ll be able to eat when your little bundle arrives? Are you destined for a life of take-out and “traditionally kid friendly” restaurants? Eating out with your baby may be a daunting thought for you, but we’re here to put your mind at ease. We’re Stef and Lisa and not too long ago we were right where you are, but we’ve discovered that although parenthood changes many things, there’s no reason you can’t still eat incredible food at fun, cool places. Here are a few of our baby-approved favourites to get you out of the house, and feeling like your old self again:
The Raving Gamer
Food, games, fun, family. That’s what the Raving Gamer’s all about, and that’s why it’s the perfect place for a meal out with your new baby! In fact, this should be the first place you go if you’re feeling nervous about baby being baby at a restaurant. Here’s why!
First, Kathy. She’s an owner, manager, server, and host. But more importantly, she was a preschool teacher for 25 years, only leaving to pursue the dream of Raving Gamer with her husband, also chef, Ken. Kathy has a soft spot for the little ones and welcomes them with open arms. She’s spared no detail to make families comfortable. She’s even customized 2 high chairs to fit exactly at table height so your baby can be part of the fun. There’s adjustable booster seats to grow with your baby, special toys and blocks for little ones to enjoy (sanitized after every use for the next set of grubby hands), a great kid’s menu with some healthy options, and of course a change table.
Still nervous that your baby will fuss, or make too much noise? Fear not! This isn’t just a restaurant; this is a gaming café and being a little on the loud side is absolutely acceptable (some games demand it). They’ve got a massive selection of games to play, and will recommend a fit for your family and walk you through how to play (so don’t let the baby brain stop you!). This saves so much time and energy and if you are anything like us… it prevents a few arguments. 😉
Eating out in a comfortable environment for your new family should not require you to sacrifice good food. This is where Chef Ken step’s in. He’s passionate about family’s unplugging and connecting over a board game and a delicious, locally sourced meal. He takes his job seriously and has created a menu that pleases foodies and families alike (PS the fryer is gluten friendly and the entire menu is completely nut free). You know a chef means business when they have their own in-house smoker! We highly suggest anything smoked on this menu. Try the margarita pizza with handmade crust and smoked tomatoes, the juicy Water Buffalo burger (locally sourced from Abbotsford) with double smoked bacon, or smoked tomato soup… you get the idea. Next visit we’re trying the smoked olives.
Just looking for a drink and a snack? They’ve got a full bar stocked with locally sourced beer, wine and spirits and just recently started a happy hour. For snacks we highly recommend the 1,2, or 3lb hand cut fries with “butta-shoyu” sauce and Japanese seasoning-it is oh so good. Or how about a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies?
It won’t be long before your baby will be ready for their own meal, and you’ll be happy to clean up any leftovers here! The kids “I don’t care” Mac & Cheese is most definitely baby approved, and is made with real cheese sauce. Mom and Dad will have to fight to get a taste (seriously). The “I don’t know” grilled cheese is ooey, gooey perfection. We may have stolen a bite from our baby to dip in the smoked tomato soup. The kid’s menu also has a wonderful healthy “I’m not hungry” grilled chicken breast option with salad or fries (FYI kid’s fries don’t have the spicy seasoning unless requested-but our kids love it!).
Give yourself a break and try out The Raving Gamer. Thanks to Kathy, Chef Ken, and their amazing team, you’re sure to have a great time.
Cultivate Cafe is an amazing local spot that is rooted in family values. Husband and wife team, Cam and Peggy have created a place where family, community and quality all come together. From the original art work of small customers lovingly displayed by the baking case, to the fresh crayons that are supplied to create these masterpieces, to the food Chef Cam prepares, and the experience Peggy and the staff provide, quality is apparent in all aspects of this Café, and you will know as soon as you walk through the door that you are welcome and in for a treat.
Open for breakfast and lunch this spot is a perfect place to venture out with baby. Everything you need is here. Highchairs are available and there are cushions and booster seats for the little ones that are almost table height. The super clean washrooms are down the hall just past the counter. The second washroom is the family washroom, equipped with a change table.
The food is amazing. It’s fresh and vibrant, and show cases locally sourced ingredients such as produce from Black Bird Farm. Chef Cam adds unique touches to all his dishes and includes vegan, veggie, and gluten friendly options on his menu. We love the vegan hash! The eggs Benny is spectacular, and with three different varieties to choose from you’re sure to find something you’ll like, but we highly suggest you try the PORK BELLY! If you’re feeling more like lunch then go with the Pork Belly Bahnmi sandwich (trust us, you won’t be disappointed!). Each hand-held option comes with your choice of a side. Choose from the daily homemade soup, slaw (oh the slaw is so good!), potato or pasta salad. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices. The Power Ensalada is beautiful and a great choice for a lighter meal, or add chicken to really fill yourself up. Don’t forget the amazing assortment of baking delights available in the case upfront. Try the carrot cake, you will thank us!
The kid’s menu is thoughtful with healthy options that are affordable, like veggies and dip, and apple slices. For the little one just starting out on their food journey the Mac & Cheese with Hawkins Cheezies crumbled on top (so fun and so good!), and the pancakes are great choices.
Cultivate Cafe is a place where new parents and babies will feel welcome and comfortable. Being parents themselves Cam and Peggy truly understand what families need when eating out. In fact, they exceed expectations. Cultivate Cafe is an open, comfortable space where you can hang out and play a board game, or sit and soak in the sun on the patio, or through the huge windows on a cool day. Enjoy a well-made gourmet coffee, beer or a glass of wine and cultivate your family connections.
Do you think of Wings as a late-night spot to drink pitchers and eat fried chicken? That’s pretty much what we used to do there, but since having families we’ve realized that they’re so much more than that! In fact, Wings is a great family friendly restaurant. It has a casual, laid back atmosphere, and the staff are very welcoming to families. You won’t feel awkward walking in here with your baby. There is lots of space, and they have everything a family would ever need including high chairs, booster seats, and a change table.
Wings is a great choice if you’re saving money for diapers, bottles, car seats, etc! Go between 11am-2pm for their daily $10 lunch special, or go during happy hour and eat, relax, and connect with your friends while someone else does the dishes. With so many options, and specials you can work around your baby’s schedule and still get a great meal in. Try it out. You won’t be sorry!
Townhall Public House
Townhall Public House is a favourite for many single people, but does it surprise you that it’s also on our family favourites list? They have a lot to offer young families. Hear us out! Go for their weekend brunch and enjoy two free-run eggs, sausage or bacon, toast and panfries for just $5! They’ve got hot coffee, the life-blood for new parents, juices, and of course a fully loaded bar (for those days you just need some “help”).
You don’t need to feel strange, or worried walking in with your baby, and all the stuff that your little bundle requires. During weekend brunch there are loads of families hanging out, enjoying themselves and there is plenty of space between tables. Plus, the music and ambience is a perfect volume so you don’t need to be concerned about every peep your baby makes. If your baby needs a break from the table, then take a walk to the arcade games and watch the shiny lights and interesting sounds. Easy!
Brunch runs on weekends and holidays until 3pm. If that isn’t working for your baby’s schedule, then you can always check out their daily happy hour between 3pm-6pm. This is their slowest time, so you can choose a table away from the crowd and just relax with a few appies while you contemplate how your life has changed, but your food hasn’t! Trust us, this is a place worth going. It’s easy on the wallet, and you’ll enjoy your time out in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.
Earls might not be the first restaurant you think of when considering where to eat out with baby… but we’re here to change your mind.
Earls has always been known as a more upscale, business/young professional kind of a spot, however, over the last few years Earls has become a lot more family friendly. This family owned Canadian establishment has grown with its clientele. The young millennial’s that used to visit for late night cocktails are having families of their own and Earls has noticed. The Langley location is a great example. Equipped with highchairs and a unisex bathroom with a change table, everyone is welcome.
For us, we love to visit with baby at Happy Hour. The dining room is usually uncrowded (most people during this time are in the lounge) which is wonderful because it gives you and the family a lot of room to breathe. Plus, the Happy Hour menu is amazing! It’s extensive with great prices and something for everyone. They even offer full meals at a discounted price if you feel like more than a snack. FYI Earls also offers coloring to help keep little hands occupied. Give them a whirl next time you’re out and about with baby.
That’s it! We hope these five ideas will give you the confidence you need to get out of the house and enjoy a much-deserved break once baby arrives. Local family friendly goodness is just around the corner. Which spot will your family choose first?