13 May 2008

Cheap Eats for Kids Downtown

Where can a family go for an affordable dinner out at 7pm on a Saturday downtown? I'm thinking pizzeria type food and atmosphere. If we drive to Clifton there is Dewey's, Pomi's, and a few other spots that are pretty kid friendly. Downtown, not much. Most cheap eats are closed completely on weekends, and some that are open on Saturday, close by 4pm (Potbelly's, Skyline). Even our only fast food place downtown (Arbys) is closed by then. The food at Rock Bottom is terrible, IMO and I will never go there again if I am paying. We've done some of the nicer places, like Shanghai Mamas and others, but do kids really need $10 entrees? I think not. I've also tried Courtyard Cafe and Arnold's, which are fine, but not the best for kids.

Two places have worked for me in a pinch. First is Universal Grill. Although we are typically the only straight people there, and usually the only people with children, they do have mini hamburgers and fries, and decent beer for dad. In nice weather, you can sit outside on the sidewalk:
 

Second, Donatos. Last Saturday evening, I had 3 ragged kids with me and we needed cheap eats in a very casual atmosphere (kids were dirty and sweaty), and Donatos was the only place I could think of. The other pizza places downtown are carry-out only, Donatos, has a dozen tables, and although decidedly downscale and with no atmosphere the kids had a great time, and I spent under $20! ... Now that's what I'm talking about.

18 comments:

WestEnder said...

It's true, there aren't really family dining (i.e. kid-friendly) options downtown. It's an unfortunate cycle: families don't gravitate downtown because options are geared for singles & couples, and businesses gear themselves towards singles & couples because they're the ones that come downtown.

There are plenty of upscale options; maybe it's time for a cool pizza joint or Old Spaghetti Factory again. They could certainly do great business after ball games (which is a market the upscale eateries couldn't really compete for).

CityKin said...

I would love a Larosas, Old Spaghetti Factory or a Dewey's.

VisuaLingual said...

Shanghai Mama's seems like a decent family-friendly choice, maybe a bit dark and a bit more than you'd like to pay, but it's cheaper than most of the restaurants downtown.

We could definitely use a decent piza joint in the basin, though. The few times we've craved pizza, we've gotten it from Adriatico's; there needs to be something closer [Venice on Vine doesn't count, in my opinion].

5chw4r7z said...

I'm the opposite, I like Rockbottom, and can't stand Universal but thats what makes the world go round. But you don't need kids, sometimes I would like to walk somewhere and eat cheap, PotBellies is good but they don't stay open past 7 and are closed Sundays.
One thing I always wondered is Cincinnati the only downtown in the world without a McDonalds?
How is that even possible?

Jimmy_James said...

^ You just need to lure a Burger King down there and all of a sudden McDonald's, Wendy's, and Taco Bell will follow suit. Then again, I guess you should be careful what you wish for...

VisuaLingual said...

There is a Wendy's downtown.

CityKin said...

I remember a Burger King on Race and a McDonalds on Sixth, where the CAC is now. The Burger King was across the street from Shillitos (now condos).

Anonymous said...

I think downtown is the last place Chipotle hasn't invaded.

Does Javier's across from the library have kid-sized items? But it's probably closed early as well.

CityKin said...

I love Javiers but alas it does not have weekend or evening hours at all.

CityKin said...

I forgot about the Wendy's on Fourth. They do seem to get crowded on game days with Reds fans, and I remember that Old Spaghetti used to get packed the same way on game days.

Julie said...

What about Margarita's? There were a ton of kids in there when I was there.

CityKin said...

I've never even heard of Margaritas! I'll have to try it. I can't even picture where it is. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

There is always the food court in the (hidden) mall near Fountain Square, but I'm not sure what the hours of operations are.

I think a family restaurant (our West side icon LaRosa's would be perfect) -- and more importantly, a GROCERY STORE (hello, Kroger's? Biggs?) are key to the success of the Banks project. Let's hope both of them get done.

Even though I live on the west side, I'm originally from NJ -- and used to visit Manhattan on a regular basis. Now obviously, Manhattan is unique and there really isn't anyplace like it in the USA, but one thing they do have is grocery stores and organic markets in every thriving neighborhood.

Cincinnati is full of promise and it is my hope that at least some of it will be realized in the coming decade.

Dave said...

Is Gondola Pizza on 7th open on Saturdays? It seems like a family friendly place. They have the best calzones.

CityKin said...

^Their hours are very limited. Mid-day weekday only.

Dan said...

I agree with 5chw4r7z that I like Rock Bottom and while UG food is ok, I am not sure I feel like I got my money's worth. I agree with Julie's Margarita's suggestion.

Even with no kids I'd like to see more middle-range restaurants downtown with evening and weekend hours.

Skyline also comes to mind as I've been to two Red's games this past week and we stopped at Skyline at 4th and Sycamore and they have later hours.

corrine said...

We wind up at the Diner on Elm - our kid loves the tilapia. It's hit or miss service, but pretty kid-friendly for our kid. We also like Wah Me - it's not the best chinese we've ever had, but they are very kid friendly and make our daughter feel like a princess.

CityKin said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I just tried Margaritas last night and it was perfect for the kids. I'll look into Wah-Me and that Diner on Elm...