“You know what I miss the most? Brunch.”
This was an actual conversation I once had with my sister-in-law, and truer words have never been spoken.
That’s not to say you can’t go out for brunch after you have kids. I mean, on the face of it, brunch is the perfect family-friendly meal. It’s casual, it’s before nap time, and between pancakes, scrambled eggs and fruit salad, odds are pretty good your kids will eat something.
But the reality is that what was once a relaxing, indulgent, weekend pastime is now some sort of Olympic-caliber extreme sport that involves speed, juggling, super-human levels of distraction, an eating competition, and then finally math. You have to place your order as soon as possible — before you even get seated ideally but they frown on that. Then you have to keep hungry and impatient tots seated and quiet (read “not screaming”) until the food comes which could take a small eon since the place is packed and there’s only so much food mortal human beings can cook at one time, restaurant or not.
Finally, the food comes and you ask for the bill right away because you know that you don’t want to have to subject the other patrons to your children for one second longer than necessary. You cut up, dole out, de-garnish, and otherwise get all your kids’ food taken care of until you finally sit down to cold eggs and soggy toast. Everybody inhales their food as quickly as possible and then you suck back your coffee while dropping a minimum of $50 on the table.
See, it’s possible to go out for brunch with a young family. It just sucks.
It sucks so bad that when I got an invitation to check out the new family-friendly brunch menu at the Toronto location of Bareburger, I only took my nine-year-old. I wanted to enjoy my meal for once and I didn’t know what the lay of the land was.
It turns out that quick service, retro cartoons, large and accessible washrooms, and delicious kids’ menu means I probably could have brought the whole gang.
And that really is the key. Go to a place before it gets busy. (I cannot stress that enough. Don’t do line ups with little kids.) And go to a place where you know your family is going to be comfortable.
Oh, and did I mention chicken and waffles? And milkshakes? (Thanks, Bareburger. Those were delicious.)