Foodies with Kids

I became interested in the food scene during my ten years working in restaurants in New Orleans, Charleston, SC, and a few places in between, and am thrilled to have the chance to write about it as a recent transplant to St. Pete. As a server, few things excited me less than waiting on a table with kids. I’d smile through gritted teeth when I served noodles with butter to a sticky little human tornado, each time smugly thinking that my future kids would be refined angels with sophisticated palates who would never rip apart a sugar caddy or demand ketchup at a fine dining establishment. Fast forward ten years, and I’m the one with the (smart and beautiful) monster who only eats dairy and carbs and considers every inch of restaurant space to be his personal playground.

Pre-kids, a perfect night out for me would involve sitting outside, starting with a glass of bubbly or a seasonal cocktail, sharing a few apps, and savoring a fresh seafood entree with a mineraly or citrusy white wine. Nowadays, a "good" night consists of finding a restaurant with outdoor seating near some type of landscaping feature so my toddler can create a tiny construction site, that also offers a diverse craft beer, wine, or cocktail selection and creative menu. Fortunately, in St. Pete, that's not too much to ask for.

One of the things that excited me most about our move here was St. Pete's growing independent restaurant scene, and, despite our challenges, I haven't been disappointed. St. Petersburg foodies with kids are lucky. We can sit outside year-round, and we have some really great restaurants to choose from that provide a nice balance of inventive and diverse menu options while also welcoming spirited personalities and accommodating picky appetites. I'm excited to write about our experiences in some of our favorite restaurants, explore new territory, and plan events and meet-ups that cater to those of us who value both family time and good food and don't find the two to be mutually exclusive. A kid- or family-friendly label can sometimes imply that the focus is on entertainment for kids with food as an afterthought, and, while there is definitely a place for establishments like that, I'm more interested in finding the best of both worlds.

Look out for my columns, follow me on Instagram and Twitter @PlayEatStPete, and tag #foodieswithkids when you and your littles are out and about on the foodie scene.

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