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We, as moms, all need to have good options for local (Portland) family friendly restaurants – and here is why. I am constantly trying to find ways to be a good loving & working mom. I am usually the first one up and the last one to bed, working hard in the kitchen to cook decent nutritious meals, limiting screen time for my kids hoping that we can pack the rest of it with some educational fun. In short, I tend to run myself ragged. Who can relate? At the end of the day I (and I know you too) sometimes feel too worn out to do much more than nap in a warm bubble bath. What’s a girl to do? Well, what any good supermom does; that is, find shortcuts that don’t end up feeling like shortcuts.
When it comes to the aforementioned days-end these shortcuts include a number of family-friendly restaurants near Portland our whole family loves. Furthermore, besides giving myself a break, these outings turn into cherished moments with my family just being together. What is a good life but a series of moments with the one you love, letting them know that the kitchen stove isn’t the only one deserving of your time and attention. You may feel like you’re skimping but in the end I think you will proudly be able to say “shortcuts are love baby”. I hope you can do the same after reading my list of 5 go-to family friendly restaurants in the Portland metro area.
Location: 5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211
Food: Good ol’ American fare with a Portland twist
Mcmenamins pubs and restaurants are a Portland treasure. What began for Mike and Brian Mcmenamin as the Produce Row Cafe in 1974 has turned into 55 restaurants and pubs throughout the Northwest. One of their more unique locations is the Kennedy School.
Originally built as an actual school in 1915, it was abandoned in 1975. By the 1990’s interested parties were clamoring to reuse on that space. The Mcmenamins brother’s were the lucky ones to win the rights to turn the historic school into one of their locations. Now, the school houses two restaurants, and three bars. Not only that, there is also a theater for family friendly movies, a warming pool, and a hotel located on site.
The Cypress room is the smaller of the two restaurants. When searching for a smaller meal or an afternoon snack this is the perfect place. On the other hand, the Courtyard Restaurant offers the full McMenamins menu. As the name implies, much of the restaurant looks out on a lush courtyard and patio. A relaxing evening here will make you look like supermom without slaving away at the stove.
My recommendations at the Courtyard are the Cajun tots and the Clam Chowder. However, the rest of their menu is still a home run. Whether wanting to enjoy a relaxing evening or dinner and a show, McMenamins Kennedy School is a Portland landmark that is hard to beat.
Location: 4246 SE Belmont St. Portland OR 97215
Food: Pancakes and Cocktails
Are you in need of the perfect place to take your family after a long night of bad dreams or extra work from the office. Enter, Slappy Cakes in Portland Oregon, the DIY pancake emporium that’s more than just a restaurant. It’s an experience. And it doesn’t take long to figure out why.
First, and most importantly, is their do-it-yourself pancake system. From several different choices of batter and toppings you make your own pancakes to order right at the table. First, squeeze a bottle of your favorite batter onto the griddle. Next, add the toppings. Third, flip after several moments. Finally, plate your glorious creation and enjoy. Batters range from the simple buttermilk to chocolate. Toppings range from the predictable sweet fruit and chocolate chip options to cheddar and even goat cheese.
Even if you’re not a pancake fan, no need to worry. Alongside their DIY pancake experience, is a nice selection of other fare. We like their eggs benedict, but a review of the menu on their website will make your mouth water.
Another good surprise is the fact that they offer a number of cocktails on their drink menu. Their Bloody Mary’s are excellent. They make their own Bloody Mary mix in house. Also, they serve Mimosas and several other drinks with a house brut as well.
Are you looking for a stellar experience as a way to relax with your family? You can’t do much better than Slappy Cakes. The kids will enjoy the art of pancake painting, while you get a chance to sip a mimosa. All, while making quality family memories that will last for a lifetime.
Location: 2944 SE Powell Blvd, Portland OR 97202 / 17707 SE Mill Plain Blvd 97202
Food: Pub Grub and Brews
On the face of it, A microbrew palace such as Hopworks Urban Breweries in Portland and Vancouver may not scream “family Friendly”. However, Hopworks proudly announces on their website that in 2001 they were rewarded not once, but twice that year with the honor of “best Family-friendly Restaurant in Portland”. Why is this the case? I think the reason is that the experience at Hopworks Urban Brewery is meant for adults and kids equally. All despite the fact that it’s a microbrew pub.
For parents , it’s Hopworks’ extensive menu of hops inspired microbrews, Whisky, Bourbon, and Scotch. Pair this with awesome pub grub food and you have a dining experience to remember. Their burgers and pulled pork nachos are extremely good and their pizza and salads are delicious as well.
For kids it’s a number of things. First, is the kids menu filled with healthy vegan and vegetarian options that are still styled to fit your kids pallet. Second, are the play areas filled with toys and books from local shops like Kazoodals and Thinker Toys. For kids it’s like another world within the restaurant. Lastly, they have monthly kids activities that their website describes as “Tot Tuesdays”. While the website does not say much else, a Meetup.com event post states “… featuring a storytime, a craft, and even free snacks.” This sounds like lots of fun to me, and I’m technically not a kid anymore (darn).
For parents who love microbrews and pub grub, and kids who just love having fun, this is the perfect place to getaway for an evening. This is a restaurant that has more to offer than its name implies.
Location; A number of locations in Vancouver and Portland
Food: Pizza, need I say more
Pizza, brews, board games. What more do you need to create a family fun experience? That’s The Blind Onion.
First on my list of reasons is to visit Blind Onion as a family is the selection of board games that can be played while waiting for your pie. Not only will bellies be full, but heads will be full of memories of good times out on the town. They also have papers and crayons that kids can use to draw. Their wall is usually filled with kids’ drawings of their onion mascot. One can say that it’s those memories that make these family-friendly restaurants worth the trip.
Second, is the fact that customers consistently rave about the unique crust on Blind onion pizza. Not only is the dough good enough to put a pizza on, but also good enough for desert. Blind Onion recommends dipping your last bites of crust in honey that they provide. My kids love that so much – they are only allowed to do that if they eat veggies on pizza and some salad, and it works!
Third is the small but varied selection of local, national, and international brews available. For those parents who want a little adult beverage why chowing down on their pie and letting the kids win for the third time at Scrabble, Blind Onion has got you covered.
Supermoms can once again know that they are striking a home run. Not only is the Pizza delicious, but the fun had will be remembered for a life time. Visit once, and I’m sure it will remain high on your list of places to visit with your family.
Location: 516 SE Chkalov Dr #1, Vancouver Wa 98683
Food: Diner food; Breakfast and Lunch only.
Although not a dinner joint, I just had to put another one of my favorite breakfast/lunch spot on this list. I mean, even supermoms have bad nights and need an ace in the hole when it comes to breakfast. Breakfast at Valerie’s fits the bill without even breaking a sweat.
Although sporting typical diner food, this place knows how to do it all right. Then again, what Valeries is really known for is their portion sizes. Kids can have pancakes the size of their heads. Omelets are the size of a nuclear submarine. And as already mentioned they still don’t skimp on quality or flavor.
For Breakfast I recommend either the Philly Cheesesteak Omelet or the Eggs Benedict. The omelet is chocked full of perfectly cooked steak chunks, crunchy vegetables, and a creamy cheese sauce.
The Eggs Benedict is also taken up a notch. First, you get three slices of thick cut Canadian bacon. Next, is three perfectly poached eggs. And to top it off is a luscious hollandaise sauce that is super buttery with just a hint of lemon.
All in all, you will not be disappointed with Valerie’s. Come for the food, and stay to enjoy the wonderful paintings for sale on the wall. Warning, there may be a bit of a wait. But you know what that means right? That everyone else is in on our little secret. Darn!
You will look like supermom with these five family-friendly restaurant cheats! So, check them out and let us know what you find!
While you’re here, I’d love to chat with you about your next family session! Click here to view my portfolio, and let’s start the conversation.