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Favorite spots for family brunch

Published on: April 01, 2005

Kid-friendly restaurants serve up weekend feasts 

Remember when Sunday brunch meant reading The New York Times
and lingering over lattes in a chic bistro? Fast-forward to breakfast
with squirmy toddlers who are more interested in a restaurant's crayons
than its cuisine. But if you enjoy going out for breakfast, it's still
actually possible to combine kid-friendly dining with culinary fare
that's a step above IHOP (where, we must admit, the toddler toys,
crayons and smiley pancakes are much appreciated). If you'd like a
family breakfast with a bit of soul, check out these restaurants. All
welcome children and all stock high chairs.

St. Clouds

It doesn't get much better than this charming cafe in Seattle's Madrona
neighborhood. With its welcoming but sophisticated ambiance, great
kids' breakfast menu and lovingly prepared food, St. Clouds is the
quintessential neighborhood restaurant.

Named after the orphanage in John Irving's novel Cider House Rules,
St. Clouds is entered through a small courtyard, which leads into the
stylish, warmly decorated restaurant. A basket of toys in the small
waiting area is the first clue that kids are welcome. The "Cloudy Kids
Breakfast" menu confirms this with such offerings as chocolate chip
pancakes, waffles and the Cloud Day Breakfast (one egg, one pancake and
a choice of bacon, ham or chicken sausage).

For adults, there's a wide selection of nicely prepared items ranging
from omelets and French toast to Asian-inspired dishes. Breakfast
entrees are served with toast or a delicious sour cream coffee cake.
And good news: St. Clouds accepts reservations.

1131 34th Ave., Seattle
206-726-1522
Breakfast served weekends only, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Maggie Bluffs

A spectacular view of the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier make Maggie
Bluffs, in Magnolia, a special destination for a family breakfast.
Located below the elegant and expensive Palisades Restaurant, this
casual bar and grill has nautical-inspired decor and booths as well as
tables. On a warm spring day, enjoy breakfast on the outdoor patio
while checking out the pricey boats in the Elliott Bay Marina.

Crayons and coloring pages are immediately offered to children, and the
kids' breakfast menu includes pancakes (banana, macadamia nut or
blueberry), cheesy hash browns or eggs. Young diners can order small
portions of bacon and sausage, and although it's not on the menu, you
can request a kid-size fruit plate. Adult diners might want to try the
scrumptious eggs Benedict made with Dungeness crab, artichoke hearts
and citrus hollandaise.

The food at this friendly restaurant is simple but always
well-prepared, and the servers go out of their way to make families
feel welcome. It's easy to expand breakfast into a family adventure by
walking along the pier or to a small waterside park nearby.

2601 W. Marina Place, Seattle
206-283-8322
Breakfast served weekends only, 9-11 a.m.

Original
Pancake House

Everyone's favorite family style pancake house in Kirkland recently
opened a second location in Seattle's Crown Hill neighborhood. Although
they're part of a 50-year-old national franchise, both locations feel
more personal than one would ever expect of a chain.

The knotty-pine, country-style decor sets the tone for an A+,
old-fashioned breakfast. Portions are gargantuan and the menu includes
a wonderful selection of waffles (pecan, bacon, fruit) and pancakes
(Swedish, banana, coconut, buckwheat, sourdough, buttermilk). The menu
may seem expensive until you realize that portions are large enough to
share:

  • A family can split two orders of pancakes, plus a light, airy omelet, and still be full.
  • The Junior Plate includes three buttermilk pancakes and a choice of sausage or one egg.

If
you have older children who don't need to eat immediately, it's worth
waiting for the famous Dutch Baby -- a gigantic, puffy, baked pancake
dusted with powdered sugar and served with lemon and whipped butter.
Another family favorite is the delicious apple pancake, which is more
like a pizza topped with cinnamon-sugar-glazed apples.

Reservations
are not accepted but you can call ahead to get on the wait list, which
at the Crown Hill location is a must on weekends. And if you end up
waiting, enjoy the free, and good, coffee.

10 Parkplace Center, Kirkland
425-827-7575

8037 15th Ave. N.W., Seattle
206-781-3344
Both restaurants serve breakfast all day: Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-2:30
p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

12th Avenue Cafe

This cheerful, diner-style restaurant in Issaquah is a definite winner.
With its vintage red, black and white decor, the small, bustling cafe
is charming without being too cute, and a welcome discovery in a mall
dominated by chain stores. Kids will enjoy the posters of classic
airplanes as well as the crayons and box of toys (helpful if there's a
wait).

The breakfast menu includes pancakes and waffles as well as classic
bacon and eggs, served with fabulous fried potatoes and fluffy
biscuits. Although portions are huge, some of the items, such as
scrambles, may be ordered for small, medium or large appetites. The
kids' menu features a Minnie or Mickey Mouse Pancake and Goofy's
Special, which includes one egg as well as either pancakes or French
toast, plus sausage or bacon.

Family friendly service and great food make this a popular weekend destination.

775 Gilman Blvd., Issaquah (near Target, not 12th)
425-392-5975
Breakfast served all day: Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

Chanterelle

Don't be misled by this restaurant's intimidating gourmet name!
Chanterelle in Edmonds is a cheerful, country-style cafe with a family
pleasing breakfast menu that includes cinnamon-raisin French toast,
orange cornmeal waffles and truly delicious cinnamon rolls. There's
also a nice selection of omelets and basic breakfast fare. Ingredients
are fresh and high quality.

Located three blocks from the ferry dock (and pleasant beachfront
Brackett's Landing Park), this neighborhood restaurant offers personal,
friendly service. Be forewarned: The bakery case in the front of the
restaurant is likely to distract young (and old) diners alike.

316 Main St., Edmonds
425-774-0650
Breakfast served Monday-Friday 8-11 a.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Deborah Ashin is a Mercer Island-based freelance writer and mother of two.

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