During our recent week in Vancouver, Emmett went to lots of different restaurants and tried a variety of types of food. Some of it he ate, some of it he smushed with his fingers, some of it he dropped on the floor. It was sometimes hard to tell ahead of time whether a restaurant would be family-friendly, so I was excited when my sister-in-law Kelly mentioned that her neighborhood had a restaurant that tailored to moms and kids called Little Nest. We went there for lunch with her on the same day that we visited the Vancouver Aquarium.
Usually when we go to a restaurant, the first question is whether they have a high chair available. This was not even a question at Little Nest--as soon as we walked in, we saw numerous vintage high chairs available. Kelly took a great picture of them that is available here. I snagged one and brought it to the table but was immediately drawn in by the play area.
Against the wall of the play area was a mini-kitchen that was actually better equipped than most of my grad student year apartments. I couldn't resist the temptation to look in all of the cabinets. When we first came in, this area was in heavy use but later on, Emmett had the chance to play there. It was a good place for him to practice his Favorite Thing Lately, which is Standing Up.
Another great feature was the wooden barn and the toy farm animals. There were enough toys there that even after we put aside the ones that Emmett had mouthed (for sanitizing by the restaurant staff), there were still lots around.
And the food was quite good! Kelly was even able to get a sandwich on gluten-free bread. Mostly Emmett just ate "the usual" but it was nice to be in a place where there was no question of whether it would be OK to nurse him publicly. (Little Nest: A Great Place to Lactate!) There were at least 3 other moms nursing during the time that we were there.
It was also nice to be in an atmosphere where kids were free to actually be kids. On the flip side, I imagine that non-parents would find the place chaotic, but hey, it's not like it's the only place to eat in the area. It's also within walking distance of about 3 different baby/kids' stores.
Of course, now I'm trying to figure out if there's a way to convince restaurants in my own area to be more like Little Nest. I've even contemplated building a play area in my own office with cool wooden toys.