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Ask the Critic: Where Should I Take a Teenager for Dinner?

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This latest question came in via text from a friend whose teenage brother was visiting, so the specific request was for an affordable, dude-friendly spot to go for dinner.

My first thought was, how about Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles? Boys like soul food, especially since they likely haven't gotten to the guilty-eating phase of life. Beer guts probably aren't on the horizon yet, either (unless they're college freshmen). Lo-Lo's has Phoenix and Scottdale locations, and works for any meal of the day, not just dinner.

The Parlor sounds like a good idea as well -- something about the energy at this Camelback Corridor hangout appeals to the young and the young-at-heart, and the menu features pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and (big plus for hungry teens) desserts.

If you're not uptight about cheeky pot references, take the kid for a cheap bite at Cheba Hut. What's not to love about a toasted sub? Or go Mediterranean at Pita Jungle, where the portions are big enough to fuel a growth spurt.

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