Friday, April 10, 2009

Great Kid's Menus: Great American Restaurants

It's a recurring theme in my life: I highly disapprove of the Hamburger and Chicken Nugget Kid's Menu. In fact, I will usually order an appetizer for my son from the adult menu rather than allow him the option of Burger or Nuggets.

That said, there are some restaurants that get it right, and in a big way. So I've decided as part of this blog to let the world know which restaurants are really good with the Kid's Thing. 

This time, it's the Great American Restaurant chain in Northern Virginia. 

For those not in the area, Great American is a local chain of different restaurants that all have some basic items in common. The Best Buns Bakery makes all of the bread and many of the desserts for the ten restaurants, and other menu items cross restaurants. From there, everything is different. One is more of a steakhouse. Another is more of a seafood restaurant. One is extra fancy. All have different themes and decor. The newest, Jackson's, recently opened about five minutes from me at Reston Town Center, and I was thrilled. Jackson's is more of a neighborhood hangout with a very large bar but also a grand dining room with an open kitchen. We have been twice, and will gladly take anyone who comes to visit for lunch or dinner, because it is great food, great ambiance, and great service.

And (since this is the actual topic of the blog post), they have a great kid's menu. All of the GA restaurants that I have been to since my son was born have great kid's food.  Now, yes, they do have hamburgers--but Jackson's serves hamburgers to adults, too, so I am not terribly concerned (actually they serve the most amazing Duck Burger to adults as well, and my husband highly recommends it!).

Here's the awesome thing about their kid's menu. Just about everything on the menu can be found on the adult menu as well, in a larger size. Even their Mac n Cheese, another kid's menu staple, is actually the gourmet Mac n Cheese that they offer as a side to the adults. Along with that, kids have an option of Grouper Fingers, Grilled Short Smoked Salmon, or Tenderloin Steak.  Kid's meals come with the option of fries, applesauce, or carrots (my kid usually will go for the carrots or applesauce).  Those are options I can live with.

I have not eaten at Coastal Flats or Artie's (and yes, I have been to all of the others), but from looking at the GA web site, it appears that their Kid's Meals are generally the same. Just as the adult menus have certain dishes that follow through all of the restaurants (and do get the Lobster Bisque), so do the kid menus. I like this, because I know that I can get fish or steak for my son no matter which of the restaurants I go to. What I like is that I'm not saying "I know I can get my kid a hamburger or chicken nuggets."

So thanks, Great American Restaurants! Keep it up! 

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