Someone pinch me. Did I really get the opportunity to work with one of Toronto’s most reputable and creative chefs (Victor Barry) and his incredible wife (Nikki Leigh McKean) to design the kid’s menu for their new restaurant (Piano Piano The Restaurant).
Yup, this really happened.
I don’t know why it’s taken me SO long to write this post, because this might be the most exciting thing I’ve done this year. Scratch that. It might be the most amazing experience I’ve had in 30 plus years!
Skydiving in Australia and hiking in Thailand were incredible. Don’t get me wrong.
Although, I have a confession…
I didn’t do it alone. Yes, I’m a mom of two young girls and I know what a pain in the butt it is to take them out to eat (which is why we are mostly hermits during meals). I had a good idea of what parent’s wanted and needed for the optimal dining experience, but that wasn’t enough.
So I reached out to over 100 moms in different Facebook groups including one of my personal favourites (East Toronto Young Moms). I simply asked the question:
“If you could create the PERFECT kid’s menu at a restaurant, what would you want to see on it?
The response was fantastic, expected and quite passionate. So I took every single idea into consideration before sitting down with Piano Piano.
A kid’s menu that parents wanted
Here’s what moms and dads told me they dreamed of:
- A restaurant they could take their kids and not have to worry about ticking off other diners
- A kid’s menu that was flexible with mix and match options to cater all kids
- A kid’s menu that was balanced with healthy options and other kid’s favourites
The Kid’s Menu at Piano Piano The Restaurant is all of that and more.
Being someone who works with Picky Eaters everyday, I couldn’t resist putting my own spin on the menu to cater to kids who are more selective at meals. Dining out with a relatively good eater isn’t all that much fun some times. Thus, dining with a picky eater (45% of typically developing kids) is expectedly hellish at times.
So here’s what else you can expect from the Kid’s Menu at Piano Piano The Restaurant :
- Foods are pre-cut into bite-sized pieces (so parents don’t have to reach out and cut up their kid’s food while their little one is throwing a hunger tantrum)
- Food comes out FAST. It’s unlikely that you will be waiting for more than 7 minutes.
- Food is served on a super fun eating canvas (check out these ezpz mats). Presenting food in fun ways makes a big difference in how long they stay at the table, how much they eat, etc.
- With the ezpz mats, food is also divided into individual compartments so the broccoli won’t touch the pasta (phew!)
- Portions are the perfect size. Not too overwhelming big and not to small.
- Fruit is served on skewers (kid’s love skewers and they don’t get their hands messy)
- Fries go beyond the plain white potato for some colour and variety (parsnips, carrot and potatoes)
- Everything (except pizza and cheese) is gluten-free and dairy-free
And Victor and Nikki went the extra mile with these:
- An absolutely gorgeous space designed by the most vibrant and colourful I know, Tiffany Pratt. Piccolo Piano (the basement of Piano Piano) is especially a kid-friendly but it doesn’t feel childish at all.
- A kid’s playroom with dress-up toys, a chalkboard wall, play tent, books, and a slew of other games to occupy your kids when they are done eating.
- A kid’s menu that is also a colouring sheet (crayons available)
- A retro arcade video game (Pac Man anyone?)
- A piano for families to tune their musical skills (outside the dining area)
- A downstairs space that is SUPER kid-friendly (if there isn’t a child crawling under your table, THAT would be unusual).
Thank you Piano Piano The Restaurant for giving me one of the most exciting & fulfilling experiences. Being able to bring every parent’s dining dream to life in a healthy yet yummy kid’s menu.
P.S. Parents can be kid’s too. So feel free to dress up, play Pac Man or order off the Kid’s Menu for yourself. I am guilty of all of the above:)