Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trains Trains Trains! Breakfast Inn and Dinner Too

Having kids changes life quite a bit, and it is easy to find solace in the mass produced and repetitious. It's hard not to shop at the big baby chains and it's almost impossible to find toys not branded by some famous cartoon character or other, but it is not all that hard to keep eating well and expose kids to a wide variety of foods. That is why I was so disappointed to read a list of Ten Great Denver Restaurants for Kids posted by our own Denver.org website that, while it has one or two good picks, embarrassingly directs would-be visitors away from our dynamic and diverse local food scene to several national chains and one truly awful place no being capable of exercising free will should be dragged to more than once.

Not to worry, I am not going to turn this blog into into a toddler-focused eating guide, nor even bother to create a list of my own, but so numerous are Denver's family-friendly eateries that I only have to mention one of the last places we ate as a family: the Breakfast Inn and Dinner Too.

The Breakfast Inn is everything you would expect out of a tried and true, classic diner. It serves all three squares any time of the day. It has a crew of über-profressional no-nonsense servers and its menu is everything you would expect (and maybe a little bit more) from a classic Colorado Diner. I say "Colorado" because as you may not realize if you are from Colorado, not every diner across the US has green chile on its menu, or for that matter a wide array of Mexican dishes.

Breakfast Inn, of course, does have green chile and serves it three ways: vegetarian, mild and spicy. I got the spicy, smothered over a breakfast burrito of eggs and potatoes with a side of bright, fresh, cilantro-heavy (in a good way) red salsa. The burrito was a mess of eggs and potatoes--hard to go wrong. The green chile was the star and it was pretty damn good: Colorado gravy-style and respectably spicy.

My wife had cheese blintzes which she absolutely loved. They were more like cheese-filled donuts, but I loved seeing this Eastern European-inspired dish on the same menu as my green chile. The next logical step of course would be to offer them smothered in green chile--I can't imagine too many restaurants are doing that these days.

Oh, and as far as the whole kid-thing goes, it was great. Because there was a train. There is nothing more exciting right now in my sons' lives than trains. At the Breakfast Inn, there is a model train looping the entire East dining room. Each time it came around (after they had stopped craning their necks to see it all the way around) was a squeal of delight and sometimes even applause. My wife and I were actually able to chew our food, breathe between bites and even carry on a little conversation.

I loved the Breakfast Inn. Partly because I don't get to enough diners these days and so it was almost a novel experience. Partly because the name is in the category of simple, descriptive no-nonsense names. (I can almost imagine the day they decided to add dinner to the menu and weighed the new name options with the cost of a new sign.) But in the end I loved it because my kids loved it and I still got to eat good food. I don't know if I would recommend it to a visiting out-of-towner, but I certainly wouldn't send them to the Cheesplace Chain. They don't have a model train and more importantly I bet they don't serve green chile. So, Denver.org, it would be nice to dig a little deeper next time you make a list like that.

In my opinion there are very few Denver restaurants that are not friendly to kids, though some certainly have more to offer. Just off the top of my head, we have had great experiences over the years at Hi-Rise, Ernie's Pizza, Empanada Express Grill, Frijoles Colorado, Buenos Aires Pizzeria, Vine St. Pub, Highland Tap, Second Home, and almost without exception, each and every family-run Mexican joint, because in Mexican culture, kids are king.

Having kids sure changes life a lot, but one thing that doesn't need to change is eating good food. Breakfast Inn/Dinner Too on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

  1. The Denver Drumstick chicken restaurants in the 60's had model trains inside their dining rooms. Cool idea, and a nice trick for distracting hungry kids (like me).

    http://yourhub.denverpost.com/adamscounty/memory-lane-denver-drumstick/Jfdhge1blDCANHAKFRj4rI-ugc

    http://www.route40.net/images/postcards/co-denver-denver-drumstick-c1960.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to suggest a great one, that most would not consider. D Bar Desserts! They are incredible. I have a 4 yr old son and they are great with kids. They immediately brought out, the breads and donut "pieces" for him to snack on, then offered him a tour of the kitchen, cut his PB & J with cookie cutters and welcomed us to linger. We've been back several times with other friends kiddo's and the last time, my friend had a 9 month old and the offered a frozen banana for her to teeth on. Great staff and place.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Breakfast Inn was Denver Drumstick before hense why the Breakfast Inn had the train. I worked there before it became the Breakfast Inn and before the last 2 Denver Drumsticks closed.

    ReplyDelete

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