We are pleased to have a guest post today from Cori Kesler, principal of Kesler Communications, on the topic of family restaurants. (If you'd like to submit a guest post, let us know via the submit a tip link!)
As a single, self-employed mom living in the Bay Area, I – like many of you – have a tight budget that often precludes eating out. However, there are those days when it's more profitable to the pocket and psyche to grab a bite while out and about doing errands, than to schlep home and cook up dinner. Lucky for me, Berkeley and the surrounding area have a plethora of perfect strategically placed restaurants to dine with kids.
4400 Shellmound Street, Emeryville
We park and take the shortest route to the restaurant. After eating meatballs or mac and cheese the kids are nourished and ready for a stroll through the warehouse while I search for linens, lightbulbs, fabric, frames and other necessities. BONUS – if they're good we all get an ice cream cone ($1) after checkout.
Kensington Circus Pub
366 Colusa Avenue, Kensington
Centered between my kids' school and the El Cerrito Plaza is Kensington Circus. Without a doubt this little pub is the best place to go when craving a Guinness but have the kids in tow. There's “under 12” menu offering authentic fish and chips, bangers, or – for the less adventuresome – a hot dog or burger. They make a mean cole-slaw and the hamburger is so delicious, it may very well be the best in town. For parent of younger kids (mine are 6 and 10) there is a corner of the room reserved for toddlers – complete with toys and a chalk board. We come here after shopping at El Cerrito Plaza on days that aren't Tuesday.
Luca Cucina Italiana
2057 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley
If you like to patronize small local businesses (as I do) I suggest Luca. The family atmosphere is lovely and the food is excellent. I particularly love the lasagna. There's a great Mexican grocery store right across the street which makes it easy for me to run over and get whatever is missing from my fridge on that particular day. Careful 'cause they're closed on Tuedsay, but you'll be at Pasta Pomodoro on Tuesday, anyway, right?
1586 Hopkins Street, Berkeley
Possibly the best pizza in the Bay – this tiny storefront has a few indoor stools or benches outside. My kids like the plain or pepperoni pizza. I adore the Radicchio e Pancetta. Of course, one of the most appealing things about Gioia is it's proximity to Monterey Market and other specialty shops which provide the opportunity to, once again, pick up some groceries. More on Hopkins Street >
Mega thanks to Cori for her great ideas about grabbing food on the go!