Sunday is Mother's Day, and if you're like us, you're still scrambling to find just the place to take mom for that special (and somehow especially stressful) day. But chances are, you take the kids out to eat year-round, and you encounter the pitfalls of fine dining with the under-12 set on a regular basis. If Peter Piper Pizza's not your idea of a good time, we've got some kid-friendly suggestions for you that don't involve skeeball or large costumed mice.
1. Rita's Kitchen at the Camelback Inn
With its funky lighting and black wrought iron, something about this upscale Paradise Valley resort coffee shop reminds us of some of the coffee shops we grew up eating in, back in the day. (Remember The Safari?! Best applesauce, ever.) But the best seat in this house is on the patio, whether you gather in comfy chairs around a firepit (seasonal, of course) or sit a table big enough to accomodate all the aunts, uncles and cousins. The help is super-friendly and so is the menu, with mix and match pizza (see photo above), grilled cheese, veggie and fruit options to keep things healthy. Low green hills and live music (many nights) give the kids a chance to blow off steam while you enjoy another glass of sangria. Hey, you're at the Camelback Inn -- get a little tipsy and you can always get a room for the whole fam.
Get the rest of our kid-friendly picks after the jump.
Pretend you're doing the kids a favor, and take them to the China Magic Noodle House in Chandler. Yes, they'll love it, but we can guarantee you'll be fighting your own offspring for a spot in front of the window where the guy is "magically" making the noodles. So cool! And the food's great, too. You can order your noodles super-spicy for yourself -- with veggies and all kinds of crazy offal -- and totally plain for the kids.
3. Afternoon Tea at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Now, this tea party is no bargain, but if you're looking for a super-special celebration with your favorite kid (and not to be politically incorrect, here, but to be honest, probably your favorite girl kid) make a reservation for afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Phoenix. She'll feel like Eloise, Mary Poppins and Kate Middleton all rolled into one as she sips flowery tea (or lemonade) and nibbles cucumber sandwiches (or PB&J if you ask), perched on a couch in the Ritz's lovely lobby. And wait til she sees the tower of desserts! Kids are welcome -- and celebrated here.
4. Casa Reynoso
What better restaurant to bring your kids to than one (literally) run by a family? That's Casa Reynoso, a long-time favorite in Tempe. With Mexican tchotchkes lining the walls, you'll feel like you're in someone's house. Kids can dine on oversized quesadillas while you scarf the signature carne asada, and no one will roll an eye if Junior spills the chips.
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A kid meal at Wally's.
Have a kid-friendly recommendation of your own? Leave it in the comments section.