Lisa Ghoury, one half of Happy Parents. 😊
My husband and I rang in 2019 in a daze of exhaustion. We were in the trenches with an eight month old who refused to sleep, but we managed to stay up and celebrate because it was our first New Year's as parents and we had a whole lotta love in our hearts.
Like everyone, we'd had to let go of some things when we had a baby in order to make room for our biggest adventure yet-being parents. Nothing we gave up seemed like a sacrifice...except eating out. 2018 had been a year of take out thanks to our fear of being in a restaurant with a screaming baby.
We missed being out, trying new places, and having good food and drinks. It had been a big part of our old life and so we resolved to venture back out in the New Year, with our baby.
After a few near misses, and a couple total blunders (think blowouts with no changing facilities, insensitive staff, no high chairs) our fears were confirmed; eating out wasn't as simple as it used to be (unless by some magic he slept through the entire experience). We realized that many of our favourite spots, pre-baby, suddenly lacked the things we now needed to be comfortable. We had to find new places to go stat. And thus Happy Parents was born.
Together, with my sister Stefany and her family, we decided to do what we could to help ourselves and other parents who wanted to get out to fun spots and enjoy great food and drinks with their kids.
This past year we've made ourselves guinea pigs for the cause and have learned a lot along the way. Most importantly that "family friendly" is not a one size fits all (different things are required at different stages), that a welcoming staff makes up for a lot, and that being a parent does not mean you can't eat at "cool" places. You just need to know what you're in for so you can prepare accordingly.
2019 was full of great food and drinks at many great establishments, but after much debate, we've finally agreed on our picks for Langley's Top 5 non-traditional family friendly restaurants of 2019. These restaurants all have a few things in common: they make families feel extremely welcome and go above and beyond to accommodate us. They're also delicious and fun!
5: Olivo Pasta
If you're like us, you want to eat healthy, but you're busy and cooking isn't always in the cards. You also want to save money and eating out can be pricey. That's exactly why we love Olivo Pasta. They're the only place we've ever come across that actually let's you have happy hour prices on take out orders! This is a life saver on a busy work day. They've got healthy choices like the delicious and fresh Patio Salad, an option for gluten friendly noodles, and you can please any pallet with the "build your own pasta" option. Olivo for the win!
4: Akedo Showten
This is truly a gem in our city. People actually travel to Langley and line up for this ramen, and for good reason. It's absolutely phenomenal. However, it's a tight spot and long lineups aren't typically pleasing for kids. In spite of these things, Akedo Showten is doing all they can to help families enjoy their soup. They'll bring you a basket so you can store all your stuff safely under the table, they give you scissors
to cut your kid's noodles, they offer kid friendly dishes and utensils, and they are careful to keep hot dishes out of the way of our kids. So thoughtful! For more info on how we made this place work for us check out our review now.
3: Farm Country Brewing
New to the scene these guys are making it clear that kids are welcome in their brewery. They've got booths with lots of room to move, high chairs, stickers for kids, great kid friendly food and drink options, colouring books, and a great assortment of board games suitable for kids of all ages. Their beer also happens to be top notch.
2: Five Roads Brewing Co.
This is a tried and true family favourite. It's not a huge tasting room but they've done a lot to make families feel welcome including putting a couple of video games in the back for people to play for free! They've also got board games for all ages, colouring books, kid friendly food and drinks, and clip on high chairs. All they need now is a change table!
1: The Raving Gamer Bistro
The Raving Gamer is in our number one spot because they've truly gone above and beyond to give families a spot to connect over great food, drinks and fun. We've written about them in detail before, click here to see, but the highlights include gluten friendly options, a kids menu with healthy options, locally sourced ingredients you can feel good about feeding to your family, an in-house smoker, high chairs adapted to fit perfectly to the tables, toys for babies, a plethora of games for all ages, and a manager that absolutely loves kids and used to work as a daycare teacher. Rest assured that this family run business is going out of their way to be a place for locals to unwind and connect. Cheers to that!
That's our list! Let us know if you've been to any of these spots, and what you think of our choices. We'd also love suggestions for places we should check out and review in 2020. Comment below, or find us on Instagram.