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RSS icon Comments on Smith: Kids Eat Freely


Dinner at 6:00. So that's how it starts. If you are like my parents, in 25 years you will be dining at 4:30 (and at Macedonian rib shacks playing an endless loop of Johnny Cash's progressive pop cover album - but I digress - but this could be your future).

On the other hand every child deserves to be introduced to poutine at an early age, if only to have a reference for *curds*.

Posted by kinaidos | November 9, 2007 6:21 PM

Every child deserves a Jaegerbomb and a Guinness.

Posted by Gomez | November 9, 2007 6:33 PM

"the perfect after-Sunday-services spot for harried parents."

Dan? Is that you? You sound like the Seattle Time's society reporter ;-)

Posted by catalina vel-duray | November 9, 2007 6:41 PM

do they serve kids at Qwest Field?

Seriously, I feel like I'm right there. . .though I'm at Bruno's.


Posted by bill | November 9, 2007 6:51 PM

Wasn't that W. C. Field's line about restaurants "serving children"? Are you actually typing at Smith, Corona in hand?
Ask someone who Smith is. And his first name. Could it be Lock?

There is nothing more rewarding than for a kid to be treated as an equal by going out with the adults and learning cocktail nomenclature. Good for DJ.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | November 9, 2007 6:55 PM

There was a time (around 1860 when Seattle's population was 75) when the MSM would never have let a hot hot hot story like this slip through the cracks. Thank you Slog! God bless you, Mr. Savage!

Posted by elenchos | November 9, 2007 6:58 PM

Well, now I know!

...and knowing is half the battle!

Posted by Packratt | November 9, 2007 7:10 PM

Oh honey, put the laptop away and enjoy dinner with your son already.

Posted by janette | November 9, 2007 7:20 PM

I just left Smith. Your son was totally chill & really cute.

Posted by Katie B | November 9, 2007 7:25 PM

That kind of made me sound like a stalker! I just happened to recognize you.

Posted by Katie B | November 9, 2007 7:26 PM

you made him eat beets?

Posted by me | November 9, 2007 8:28 PM

Poor kid, a prop to his gay dads.

Try those places that are kid FRIENDLY and FUN for kids.

This issue is not booze, but boredom.

Some adults have such ego they think the kids are having fun when forced to be around nothing but adults. Sorry, no.

Take him to a toy store tomorrow with 200.00 to spend, TOTALLY his choices. He deserves it. He earned it.

Posted by Mary | November 9, 2007 8:50 PM

Mary: Little boys love touching animal carcasses. I bet he had the time of his life at Smith.

Posted by jamier | November 9, 2007 8:54 PM

THEY SERVE CHILDREN!?! finally a place where i can eat children without being judged. i prefer my children served medium rare with a little salt and pepper. no sauces or marinades — that would only mask the delicious flavor of children.

Posted by teddy b | November 9, 2007 9:16 PM

I've been taking my daughter out dining forever. She's now 12, has a great appreciation for a lot of different kinds of food, and is very well behaved in restaurants... always has been. If she wasn't, we left. So I do understand about the irritation of being around kids who don't behave and parents who don't address the issue. It's called socialization... learning to operate in social situations. A good lesson to be teaching kids. And their parents.

Posted by M | November 9, 2007 10:09 PM

Isn't that sweet. Dan and his partner trying to be a normal family. Good luck with that.

Posted by Yuckers | November 9, 2007 10:35 PM

from the sounds of all this, do you not have restuarants which serves alcohol and admits kids?.... Im a regular reader but im pretty damn far from seattle, kinda curious why people care about this

Posted by Wurm | November 9, 2007 11:07 PM

To DJ: Some good advice from your great aunt, Mae West: considering your antecedents - "When you're young, keep a diary; when you're old, it will keep you."

How were the devils on horseback - better than a general with or without his privates?

Posted by MAE WESTWARD HO! | November 9, 2007 11:24 PM

Okay Dan, the Final Countdown:

You, Me, the kid, and the Public Intern (as witness)

We'll all try the "Trotters and Brawn"

and report back here.......

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 10, 2007 12:13 AM

i've been meaning to ask, dan: how much is linda paying you?

Posted by niche | November 10, 2007 1:56 AM

Hi Dan,
Although I don't really care about burgers and such, je t'aime!

I thought you would be interested in this:,0,724444.story?coll=chi_tab01_layout

'"This attack is particularly directed against bishops and priests, since the most effective way to scatter the flock is to attack the shepherd," he told worshipers in Grand Rapids. "We must also use our religious discernment to recognize that the principal force behind these attacks is none other than the devil."

'"I'm not saying the plaintiffs in that case or the lawyer were acting demonically," he explained later. "I'm saying it is in a sense a diabolical consequence when you can no longer provide a charitable service."'

Posted by Callie | November 10, 2007 3:09 AM

Mary @12 MUST be joking. Right? Rewarding your child for doing something totally normal that should, frankly, be totally expected of a kid? Some people astound me.

Posted by Michigan Matt | November 10, 2007 5:32 AM

Mary, if she has found someone to reproduce with, is probably the kind of mother who thinks that children should only go to "family" restaurants. This leads to adult children with no social skills, who live lives of dull boreishness.

The sad thing is that women like Mary are usually the type who get pregnant by deception, because they are desperate to have a baby: They feel it legitimizes their existence, and purpose as a woman. Then, when the child brings no purpose, her bad parenting skills and the mutual resentment between her and her child, creates yet another burden for society.

Places like Southcenter are full of women like this, plodding from store to store, screaming at their children, and buying crap. Afterwards, they retire to an Applebees or Cracker Barrel or Old Country Buffet where "kids can be kids" - meaning they can scream and fight with all the other brats while she gorges herself on fats and oils, desperately trying to fill the void in her soul.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | November 10, 2007 7:51 AM

#22 -Honey, as I am sure you have no children, you missed the point.

Kids do not enjoy adult stuff, even if it strokes the ego of the adult big time.

One in a while take the kid to the feeding stops that CATER to kids, they love them, and then once in a while take the kid to a really fun adventure, buying toys of choice with a decent spending level.

Fun is the criteria.

Not obidience. You have confused children with dogs AND/OR suitcases.

Sorry if you had a horrible childhood.

And, if you are serving wine and beer, mixed drinks at home, the kid is well instructed. What strangers do is of no real impact vs. the dads in this case.

Posted by # 12 here - Mary | November 10, 2007 7:53 AM

@16 - Isn't that sweet? Yuckers has been reading up on "wit" and thought he/she would give it a whirl. Good luck with that.

Posted by Wowza | November 10, 2007 7:55 AM

@12/24 Mary--

$200 at a toy store is a "decent spending level??" In what overindulgent, brat-incubator world was this? When I was a kid, once in a blue moon I would be allowed to spend $5, maybe $10 at a toy store. And I knew it was exceedingly rare, and cherished it for that reason. At the art supply store or the book store, I was sometimes allowed to spend $20-$40 dollars as an extra-special treat--because things from those stores were actually, you know, good for my creativity and learning.

$200, crap.

Plus, your argument that "Kids do not enjoy adult stuff" and that exposing your children to a normal adult world will turn them into black holes of boredom? A self-fulfilling prophecy. If you take that attitude, of course your kids are going to approach "adult stuff" as some sort of horrible burden for which they are entitled to a reward. If, on the other hand, you take your kids to things like art museums, libraries, and restaurants, they may actually grow up to enjoy that kind of atmosphere and even--gasp--intelligent adult conversation.

Posted by lymerae | November 10, 2007 8:41 AM

Mary, what is this toy buying crap about? When I was a kid, my mom gave me empty medicine bottles and yarn to play with. Also plastic jars I could use to catch grasshoppers. What the fuck is the point of taking a kid on a triple-digit shopping spree for fucking toys? Why are you polluting the world with more entitled, insufferable brats? Teach your kid to use its imagination. Toys suck.

Posted by oljb | November 10, 2007 8:45 AM

Smith or starve, kids. With Rainbow gone and QFC undergoing a massive multi-week redesign, the children of Capitol Hill need that hearty tavern fare.

Posted by jseattle | November 10, 2007 9:17 AM

@22--I didn't miss any point, dearest. So save your "I'm a parent" self-righteousness and achingly bad parenting tips for other folks, mmmkay?

Sweet Jesus, Mary. I cannot BELIEVE you honestly think that eating dinner together as a family is a hardship for a kid and that the hardship merits a $200 spending spree. Do you really believe that? Because that's what Dan's post is about--one meal at a neighborhood restaurant. For all you know, Dan's son spent his entire after school time playing with friends. And maybe he'll have oodles of fun this weekend that might involve snowboarding or hanging out with friends--a hell of a lot better than spending $200 on poison plastic from China.

Read your post again. You say that simply b/c he went to dinner with his dads at a restaurant without loud bells, screaming whistles, cardboard pizza, and depressingly horrendous "characters" dressed up to "entertain" that he needs a spending spree? And I'M the one with issues?

Hell, when I was 9 my idea of a fun birthday party was to invite a few of my friends, dress up, and go out to dinner at a nice restaurant in my little rural Indiana town. But I'm a queer.

Posted by Michigan Matt | November 10, 2007 9:33 AM

Just because being a parent is your chosen hobby doesn't mean you have to burden the rest of us.

Posted by dirty girl | November 10, 2007 10:30 AM

I'll bet Dan's kid is solidly behind the "gimme $200" idea.

Posted by Fnarf | November 10, 2007 10:32 AM

@12 my son had the burger, and when asked by linda, was very polite about how much he liked it.

he also had a couple of bites of my venison, which he loved. in fact today we're going on a search to find a butcher that sells venison.

@18 i make devils on horseback at home, so he's already had those. i use salumin pancetta and d'auverne bleu from DeLaurenti's.

@19 next time we're both excited to have the duck tongue with marmalade.

@12 (again) he is an adventurous eater, always has been. we've been eating sushi with him since he was a little kid and he's traveled the world with us eating regional fare everywhere. whether that means early morning walks in paris for fresh bread, which he loves, leberkäse in bavaria at a monastic brewery, sausage and grapes from tuscany, or fresh tamales in Mexico. he loves Pho and Thai and can carry a conversation about which pizza in town is best, and why. (but believes new york has "the best")

he's a smart kid. he was really jealous that he wasn't able to go to smith. now he's been and he thought it was great.

(though he did say that the pot de creme wasn't quite set up in the middle, and i have to agree, it was still delicious though!)

Expect to see him there regularly.

Posted by dan's Boyfriend | November 10, 2007 10:34 AM

Mary, my parents took me and my brothers to nice restaurants at a very early age, with no trouble whatsoever, and didn't need to bribe us with insane toy spending sprees afterward.

Granted, our parents encouraged us behave like humans during dinner at home, too, so basically the only difference being in public was that you had to dress a little better.

End result is that we're perfectly comfortable in a 5-star restaurant, unlike the vast majority of our fellow 20-somethings. Plus, we're not terrified to try new things, culinary or otherwise.

Of course, having this sort of maturity in your kids actually requires treating them like more than brainless blobs, so there you go.

Posted by Megan | November 10, 2007 10:42 AM

Catalina vel-duray, please marry me. And never be on my bad side.

Posted by klee | November 10, 2007 10:51 AM

And also: I'm pretty sure Mary's a troll, and if not, why bother?

Posted by klee | November 10, 2007 10:52 AM

For the record: we "travel the world" in coach, stay with friends, and eat adventurously but cheaply.

But I'm with Catalina and Michigan Matt -- "family" restaurants are hell. I'm proud to say that I've never been in a Chuck E. Cheese. It's not about being a snob. It's about avoiding unpleasant garbage. And since DJ hasn't had much of it in his life, he doesn't miss it, beg us for it, etc.

And guess what else? We don't order chicken fingers or mac 'n cheese off the children's menus for DJ either.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 10, 2007 10:58 AM

I always order chicken fingers and mac 'n cheese, and I'm 32.

Ok, I gotta run for my lunch date at Chuck E Cheese.

Posted by Medina | November 10, 2007 11:07 AM

Is 'pot de creme' not the most embarassingly lame phrase ever?

Posted by johnnie | November 10, 2007 11:09 AM

As someone who would love to take her ten-year-old son to Smith (but live two states away, so it's just not possible at the moment), I say holy hells. Avoid the Chuck E. Cheese's and take your children someplace where they'll still respect you in the morning. Good God.

Glad DJ enjoyed the meal, and if you need a recipe for good pot de creme, email me, I even know how to make it so that it is firm all the way through. :)

Even have a variation on it for that all-american tradition. Pumpkin Pot de Creme. Mmm.

Posted by Mary Potts | November 10, 2007 11:16 AM

So I was totally with the "just take your kids to fun places and they will come to like them" argument- because that's what I often do with my 6 and 9 year olds- until Dan wrote:

"'family' restaurants are hell. I'm proud to say that I've never been in a Chuck E. Cheese. It's not about being a snob. It's about avoiding unpleasant garbage. And since DJ hasn't had much of it in his life, he doesn't miss it, beg us for it, etc."

Really? DJ has never been to a CEC? None of his friends have ever had a birthday party there? Because, you know, they have video games and airhockey and play tubes and dancing robotic moose and stuff like that there. You know, the kind of stuff kids like. I wouldn't expect you to get a frequent eaters card there, but don't you think he might have a totally awesome time there once or twice a year?

Do you believe that parents should sometimes (note: sometimes!) do stuff just because it would give their kids a thrill?

"And guess what else? We don't order chicken fingers or mac 'n cheese off the children's menus for DJ either."

Ever? Why not? Fried food bad for your son? I guess I'm having problems with your absolutism in this post. We take our kids wherever we like to go. Sometimes my kids find something exotic that they like, and when they don't, chicken fingers and mac'n'cheese serve as an awesome backup. At Blue C Sushi, for instance, the breaded chicken is the centerpiece of what my kids eat (because wonder of wonders, raw fish doesn't appeal to them.)

Side note- posters who think Dan shouldn't talk about parenting: fuck you. Stop reading this thread if you don't like it.

Posted by Big Sven | November 10, 2007 11:32 AM

Oh, DJ has been to CEC -- I wrote that I've never been to one. A couple of friends' birthday parties, and before that my mom took him to one in Illinois because DJ was curious.

We're not dour killjoys. We do sometimes do things -- often -- just for DJ. We take him to Gameworks, for instance, which gives me a migraine. And theme parks, shows for kids, etc. We let him eat whatever he wants at the ballpark. But regular visits to CEC? Rain Forest Cafe? McDonald's? We never made a habit of taking him to those sorts of places and, consequently, he has no real taste for 'em.

But, yeah, at Blue C in Fremont DJ can have the breaded chicken. He also eats the inari, shrimp, edamame, and tuna.

When I slag off kid's menus, Big Sven, what I'm coming out against is, say, going to a Mexican restaurant or a Thai restaurant or an Italian restaurant for Mexican, Thai, or Italian -- 'cept for the kids, who order pizza, hot dogs, mac 'n cheese, or chicken fingers off the ubiquitous kids menus. All that bad, beige food -- what's the point? Kids will eat what adults eat -- and should eat what adults eat -- but the adults in their life have to teach 'em to do it.

Most of the people I see letting their kids eat off the kid's menu are just lazy. It takes some effort, at least at first, to get your kid to try a new food, give it a chance, see if he likes it, etc. Of course we let him express food preferences. He tied salmon, doesn't like it, we don't make him eat it. Terry doesn't eat tomatoes, I don't eat oranges. It would be hypocritical of us to force him to eat things he's given a chance and decides he doesn't like.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 10, 2007 11:50 AM

I remember when my folks took me to Chuck E Cheese(Showbiz, at the time) with my three older siblings when I was a kid. It was great! This was of course in the late 70's early 80's, and video games were this cool new thing. Pac Man, Frogger, Centipede, ski-ball, and that weird ball pit were awesome. I was happier than Richard Curtis in Club Z. Of course we also went out to eat at nice adult restaurants too, and I liked that too, and my parents would let me taste wine once in a while.

It sounds like your son is pretty well adjusted, it wouldn't hurt to take him to Chuck E Cheese for his birthday, once or twice, while he's young enough to enjoy it. I have no idea what the place is like nowadays though.

Posted by Showbiz rocked | November 10, 2007 12:06 PM

Oops, I posted before I read your comment in @ 41.

Posted by Showbiz rocked | November 10, 2007 12:08 PM

He's been once or twice already -- are we spared additional visits then? He gets his video arcade fix at Gameworks, his junk food fix at the ballpark, his pizza fix at Hot Momma's and Pag's...

Posted by Dan Savage | November 10, 2007 12:09 PM

Yeah, Gameworks is probably better than CEC nowadays anyway. Plus you can have a pint there if you want.

Posted by Showbiz rocked | November 10, 2007 12:14 PM

How are kids supposed to learn how to be a grown up if they are always taken to "kid-friendly" establishments? Kids have the ability (after a certain age) to act appropriately. Also, just because a place is deemed "family friendly" doesn't mean that it is ok to let your child run around like a feces-throwing monkey. As parents, it is our job to prepare our kids to be successful in this world. It is not our job to give them everything. When I was growing up our society was not as kid-centric as it is now. My parents would take me to nice restaurants and my sisters and I were expected to behave. Now, with baby boomers spending thousands of dollars just to concieve, kids have become the new hot fashion accessory. It is disgusting.
Dan isn't doing anything new. Take your kids out to a nicer restaurant, have them try something new. They may like it, they may not. But for god's sake...teach them some manners and self-control before you even think about taking them anywhere. Oh, and don't forget...your server is not a babysitter, put down that wine and make your kid behave or go the fuck home. People at Chuck E Cheese shouldn't even have to deal with that.

Posted by waitress | November 10, 2007 12:15 PM

@42-- After having been to a child's birthday party recently at Chuck E. Cheese, I think it's safe to say that it's changed. I don't recall decent video games. In fact, I don't remember any. I just remember inane "rides" and silly games. But I could have been overwhelmed by the animatronic stage show (!!!) with blaring TVs encouraging everyone to HAVE FUN and to ENJOY THEMSELVES because this place is ROCKIN'!

And then to see the servers come out with Mr. Cheese himself was just, well, sad--kind of like that SLOG post not too long ago with the person dressed up as Quiznos Fountain Drink waving at cars.

Posted by Michigan Matt | November 10, 2007 12:21 PM

Dan- thanks. I think you won't have to worry about CEC much longer- my 9 year old is already waaaaaaay past it. No, get ready for the WebKinz phenomena... just remember that it will teach DJ valuable typing skills...

Posted by Big Sven | November 10, 2007 12:22 PM

Dan and Dan's Boyfriend,

Why don't you let the kid respond to this? It's about his feelings, after all. Can nine year olds type? If not, I suppose he can dictate a response to you and you can type it for him. Seems like a response from him might shut everybody up and end the over-analysis.

Posted by Sheri | November 10, 2007 1:14 PM

@11 - Made him eat beets? Beets rock, they're one of the sweetest vegetables around. Heck, even cooked badly, they're good. Roasted is best, though... with sour cream, mmmm. Even as I kid, I loved beets.

Posted by wench | November 10, 2007 2:10 PM

@50 - No way, man, it's all about the Harvard Beets! Though pickled beets are awesome, too. But then again, I will eat just about any pickled fruit/vegetable. Except umeboshi. *nose wrinkle*

Posted by lohengrin | November 10, 2007 3:39 PM

Thank you for update #2, Dan. It restores my faith in the universe.

And let me point out that, as a small Catalina, Mother and Father Vel-DuRay often took my sibling and I to grown-up restaurants where we waited for our table in the bar. The parents would have a cocktail, sibling and I would have Shirley Temples or Roy Rogers, and the world indeed did not end. And this was in Omaha.

The only boring thing I remember about dining out with the adults was waiting around after dinner while they had a second cup of coffee and another cigarette. That could get tedious. But at least you knew you could fall asleep in the car on the way home.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | November 10, 2007 10:46 PM

I'm just waiting on my kid to get her driver's license so she can pick me up from the bar on Saturday nights.

Posted by M | November 11, 2007 12:35 PM

I don't understand why this is such a big deal. My boyfriend and I have been taking his daughter to Red Robin for years... A place that's got both a "fun atmosphere" and BOOZE. No, it's not mutually exclusive. There are a lot of other places that admit kids and serve good, strong drinks. Try the Honeyhole during the day, for example.

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