Baltimore Restaurant Week is back! Before you book the sitter and book a table for two, consider taking the kids with you. (Say what?!?) Trust us. Restaurant Week is a great time to get your kiddos in on the city’s foodie scene. 

Not familiar with Restaurant Week? Let us bring you up to speed. Through January 21, participating restaurants in Baltimore City are offering two-course brunch and lunch menus range from $12-20, and three-course dinner menus range from $20-$35. Reservations are not required to get the deals, but recommended. 

Here are five reasons your should definitely take our kids out with you during restaurant week. 

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1. Restaurant Week is a  great opportunity to try new places. And who knows? Maybe they’ll ask for something other than Chick-Fil-A for their birthday dinner.

If the only dining experience your kids know is your local-quick-food-with-an-indoor-play-space establishment, they’ll never branch out. Restaurant Week is the perfect excuse to plan a family foodie adventure and check out a new-to-you place. Grab your kiddos and peruse the menus online to see what sounds appetizing! 

Did you know SoBo Cafe in Federal Hill makes all of their food from scratch — even the house cured beef bacon in their acorn squash carbonara? Eleanor, one of our taste testers, told us that she loved the pasta but liked it better without the peas, as she carefully skirted them to the side of her plate. Her sister Greta grinned when we asked her about the noodles. “I love pasta!”

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2. Kids like to try new things. 

Yes, they do. Really.

“I didn’t think I would like this at all,” said Judah as she cut into her fifth bite of grilled Caesar salad at The Wine Market Bistro in Locust Point. “But I really do! How is this so good?”

She equally liked the Braised Short Rib dish, which included pomegranate glaze, parsnip, heirloom carrots, brussel leaves, and pistachios. “I’m one of those people that really likes to eat all of my food together and these flavors go really well together,” said Judah.

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Although Alexis and Juliet couldn’t decide what kind of sauce was on the short rib (“It’s not quite BBQ sauce,” said Alexis. “Maybe it’s soy sauce mixed in?” said Juliet), they both enjoyed the dish and said they would order it if they came back.

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If you’re worried that your kids won’t eat an entire entree, let them sample yours and have them order off of the kids’ menu. Many of the participating restaurants have evolved kids menus (read: it’s more than chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and fries). For example, you won’t find a nugget on SoBo Cafe’s kids’ menu, something that owner Anna Leventis says her customers appreciate. You will find pint-sizer friendly drumsticks, flatbreads, and chicken pot pie. 

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3. Not all Mac and Cheese is created equal.

There is more to mac and cheese than Kraft — or even Annie’s. House made pasta with cheese sauce is a staple at many local restaurants, and each chef puts his or her twist on it

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“The only thing that would make this mac and cheese better is bacon,” said Jarah as she dug into the mac at The Wine Market. Bacon does make everything better, right? Lou seemed to prefer the mac and cheese without bacon.

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“I love the tomatoes!” said Delilah when she saw the mac SoBo crafted. Her younger brother Henry? Well, he licked the plate.

Baltimore Winter Restaurant Week - (cool) progeny

4. Sneaky veggies.

“There are carrots in this cake?!?!” 

Our kid tasters were collectively surprised that there were vegetables in their cake. Not surprisingly, the carrot cake was the overall fan favorite at SoBo Cafe. 

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Our tasters were shocked to find out the mashed potatoes they thought they were munching on were really pureed parsnips in the short rib dish at The Wine Market. Or that those purple things on the plate were really carrots. 

“I love carrots!” said Juliette. “I had no idea they could be purple.”

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Not that all veggies are sneaky. Sometimes it’s just that someone other than mom or dad prepared them, or prepared them differently. Our youngest tasters went back for not only seconds but thirds of SoBo Cafe’s broccolini. The pink lady applesauce and roasted pork chop with brown sugar cayenne butter were also devoured, but not quite as fervently as the green stuff.

“When this is done, I’d like some more,” said Henry

“The pork chop dish was my favorite,” said Catherine. “It was cooked really well! Really moist. Not dry at all.” 

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5. No clean up.

You can take your kiddos on a culinary adventure and don’t have to do the dishes. You can even let them draw all over the paper table runners at the restaurant (if they offer it of course). Let them channel their inner Picasso and Food Network diva simultaneously. While you enjoy your wine.

Let’s just call that winning.

ABOUT OUR SPONSOR: BALTIMORE RESTAURANT WEEK

Baltimore Winter Restaurant Week runs through January 21, 2018.Baltimore is a delicious city. Try somewhere new, grab lunch instead of eating at your desk, have a date night (or three). Restaurants aren’t skimping on the food, instead they are showcasing their chefs and menus in hopes of luring you back as a forever customer.  Two-course brunch and lunch menus range from $12-20. Three-course dinner menus range from $20-$35. Search below all of the dining destinations and make your reservations now. Reservations are not required to get the deals, but recommended. 

All photos by Laura Black.