January is hardly picnic season. As families are cooped up indoors at dinnertime, it can be hard to keep things interesting, especially for kiddos. If your culinary creativity is wearing thin, don’t give in quite yet to the frozen pizza!
We’re lucky to have a gaggle of kid-friendly eateries in the lake area, so grab your loved ones and get out of the house for a true family dinner. We’ve rounded up our favorite spots, whether you’re out with the kids or just a kid at heart.
Who doesn’t love pizza? For the best wood-fired pie in town, take your brood to Punch’s Wayzata location. The place is always full of families, and the air hums with children’s laughter and little voices. During one recent visit, we saw small pizza aficionados trying all sorts of pie varieties, from the meaty Bruni (with sausage, salami, onion and oregano; $10.20) to the fanciful Toto (arugula, prosciutto, goat cheese and cracked red pepper; $11.65).
No worries, though, if you’ve got a pickier eater. The classic Margherita ($6.25) is a purist’s delight: fresh mozzarella, crushed tomato and basil. Punch even offers a perfecto kids’ size: the Bambini ($4.95). And don’t forget dessert—there’s a daily flavor of ice cream from Izzy’s, or Punch’s signature chocolate hazelnut panini, served on oven-fired focaccia ($5.95). 1313 Wayzata Blvd.E., Wayzata; 952.476.7991.
For classic—and affordable—kids’ fare any night of the week, stop by the Red Rooster in Long Lake. Mondays are for spaghetti lovers: A grown-up-sized plate of noodles and delicious marinara is $7.95, and a pint-sized portion is just $3.95. Tuesday, says manager David Lundberg, the most popular night of the week for kids—taco night. A taco with your choice of meat and a generous pile of toppings is just 75 cents.
On “wing Wednesdays,” kids can indulge their messy side with a plate of juicy chicken wings for just 35 cents each (extra napkins not included). During downtime, your brood can play a game of pool or a classic arcade game. Lundberg also notes the family dining area is separated from the bar, a nice touch for the high-chair set. 1832 Wayzata Blvd., Long Lake; 952.473.4089.
In addition to their huge kids’ menu, which includes almost 20 classics such as cheeseburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken tenders, Gold Nugget offers a couple of extra-special plates for your tykes. One favorite is the signature mac and cheese ($10.95), made with four different cheeses and a blend of seasoning. For the aspiring seafood lover, try the crispy ale battered shrimp basket ($15.95) featuring 6 jumbo shrimp with hand-cut fries and coleslaw.
Manager Michael Gentile says he loves that Gold Nugget is a true neighborhood eatery. This time of year, you’ll see tables crowded with hockey teams and birthday parties—so don’t be afraid to stop by with a big group. 14401 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.935.3600.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? So why not make it as delicious—and as fun—as possible? At Maggie’s, one of the oldest family restaurants in the lake area, breakfast is a source of pride. “Our Kids’ Delight breakfast is one of our most popular items,” says owner Scott Homan. Kiddos can try a half-size version of Mom or Dad’s breakfast, with a piece of golden French toast, bacon or sausage, hashbrowns and one perfectly cooked egg ($5.25).
If your mini has a sweet tooth, maybe the pancakes are more up her alley. Homan recommends strawberry or chocolate chip cakes, served with butter and gooey syrup and a side of bacon or sausage ($3.90). “We’re really a kid-friendly, old-school diner,” says Homan. “We try to stay grounded in what we serve.” So what are you waiting for? Rise and shine and get to Maggie’s. 844 E. Lake St., Wayzata; 952.476.0840.