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Griffin to Go: Kids! Why Can’t They Be Like We Were …


To some diners, that's just not a pretty sight.

Kids are a touchy issue when it comes to dining. Parents looking for a little time off from kitchen duty can often be seen at restaurants trying to get a moment’s peace and quiet, while the kids play. Sometimes it’s in the aisles, though a few places offer some diversion. Willie’s Ice House, for example, offers a sandbox for the tots. Others offer crayons and pictures to color or arcades filled with video games and occasionally and old-fashioned pinball machine.

But what happens when the restaurant is not equipped for kids? I recently sat behind a small child who was about 2 years old and who delighted in shrieking at the top of his lungs. His slightly older brother noisily tried to get him to hush, which caused the youngster to scream all the louder. Dad was seemingly oblivious to all this because he let both kids raise a ruckus without saying a word.

I was ready to either to clobber one of the kids or ask for my money back — I face enough stress elsewhere, whether it’s in the traffic coming home from work each evening or listening my parrot’s deafening squawking  — but the little dears thankfully left before I could inaugurate a re-enactment of “Sweeney Todd” with me as the barber.

It seems that a growing number of diners have had enough of the noise from unruly youngsters. A national website, Happily Childfree, lists restaurants around the country that “don’t cater to the Chuck-E-Cheese crowd.” It starts off with a list of places to avoid, which is strange, because five places in Manhattan, including Gramery Tavern and Cafe Boulud, are displayed followed by one place in San Antonio: Gourmet Burger Grill.

I haven’t had any enfant terrible problems at GBG. But I was pleased to find at least one place in town singled out for praise: Alamo Draft House, which does not allow children under age 6.

What's your opinion on allowing children in restaurants?

In days gone by, higher end restaurants were not places where children ran amok or made too much noise, with the exception of whatever restaurant was twirling atop the Tower of the Americas. But children are popping up with greater frequency at linen table-topped places. At Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse recently, a family with three children sat across the aisle from us. They were made to feel as welcome as we were, and the younger set were model diners.

It reminded me of an evening at the fondly remembered Le Rêve. Dinners there could last more than three hours on occasion, depending on how much food you ordered and how much fellowship you wished to share. So, imagine my surprise when I saw a table with a mother and her two children. Both of them ate everything set before them and appeared to love every last bite. In fact, they behaved far better than most of my party did. So, who’s to say what should be the grounds for allowing children into a restaurant? And should it be by age?

I know you all have opinions on the subject. Please post them below.

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Ask a Foodie: Good Burgers on Far North Side?


Q. I am wondering if you could lead me and my friends in the direction of some good burgers on the northwest side of San Antonio? That is, in the general area north and west of Highway 281 and Loop 1604.

Bigz Burger Joint offers plenty of different cheeses and toppings for their burgers.

A. That we can. Readers, feel free to add some suggestions to ours, and tell us why you love ’em.

In the general area you are talking about, we like Gourmet Burger Grill, 18414 U.S. 281 N., and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, 17403 W. I-10 and 1750 N. Loop 1604 E (which may be east of U.S. 281, but just barely). Gourmet Burger Grill is locally owned and also has a location on Huebner Road near Interstate 10.  Red Robin is a chain, but both will satisfy that need for a juicy burger quite well.

On Loop 1604 also check out Big’z Burger Joint, at 2303 N. Loop 1604 W. Look for Big’z on the north side of the road, as you head west from U.S. 281. It’s housed in a big red barn-like place. All three of these restaurants are kid-friendly, too.

We’ve found things to like and dislike at one of San Antonio’s homegrown burger joints, Longhorn Cafe. But, we acknowledge that plenty of other burger connoisseurs like the burgers here. Especially popular at the 17625 Blanco Road location, a half mile south of the loop.

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Daily Dish: Openings and Closings


A new French restaurant will open next week downtown; a North Side Italian restaurant with a long history has closed. Here are a more changes on the San Antonio food scene:

  • Green Fields Market will open Sept. 29 in the Shops at Stone Oak. The shopping center is at 19239 Stone Oak Parkway
  • The  Sandbar will move to the Pearl Brewery during the third week of October.
  • La Scala, 2177 N.W. Military Hwy., has closed.
  • A second Gourmet Burger Grill will open soon. It will be at 11224 Huebner Road.
  • Martha’s Mexican Cuisine will open another restaurant at 13259 Blanco Road, the home of a number of restaurants over the years including El Callejon, Matisse and Gaucho’s.
  • Le Midi, a French bistro from the people behind Soleil Bistro and Wine Bar, opens Wednesday at 301 E. Houston St.

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