Lunch At Eppie’s

June 19, 2014

My mom is here visiting for the week, and we’re having a great time chillin’ in Cville. We went to the gym in the morning – I hit up small group with Erin and mom spent some time on the elliptical and treadmill. Meanwhile, Mazen and his BFF Sylvia reunited in the kids zone!

I took mom to the locker room for showers. She originally wasn’t going to shower there, but I convinced her we’d enjoy lunch a lot more if we were fresh and clean. Turns out she LOVED the locker room experience : ) She thought the showers had great water pressure and the hair dryer was better than hers.

We walked downtown to have lunch afterwards and went to one of our favorite spots: Eppie’s.

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I just love the vegetarian plate there! You can choose from a handful of sides including perfectly baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, black beans and cornbread (my usual staples as pictured below!) plus mac and cheese, collard greens, rice, side salads, and the most delicious pimento cheese grits!

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People often email me asking for kid friendly places to dine in Cville. Eppie’s top my list for a number of reasons! Here’s my list of things to look for when dining out with kids. 

Kid-Friendly

1. Outdoor dining. Toddler yells? No problem. Crumbs on the ground? The rain will rinse it away. Parking for stroller? Plenty!! People, bug and bird-watching galore.

2. A kids menu with options other than grilled cheese – OR a great adult menu. Eppie’s wins for the latter. The veg plate is great because Mazen likes almost everything I order and the food is prepared simply without too much mixing. While I’d love for him to eat the black beans, he sticks to the broccoli, sweet potato, mac and cornbread. A balanced enough lunch for me!

3. Cups with lids and straws. So helpful when grabby hands want to hold their own cup. AND for enticing the toddler to get back in the stroller.

4. Creative entertainment for kiddos such as crayons that don’t roll, wipable books, little cars or people and simple games.

5. Big bathrooms with room for a stroller, a changing table and running water and soap (believe me, I’ve been in some without!)

6. Lightweight, easy to carry highchairs. Y’all know I love Whole Foods, but their high chairs are so tricky to move! The tops come off and so you have to hold them carefully. Whole Foods does win for one big thing though: a sink outside the bathroom so you can wash your hands before sitting down in the dining area. Love that!

Bonus points if you have a wine + beer list for the parents at dinnertime!

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Any great tips you have to share? Please do!

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anele @ Success Along the Weigh June 19, 2014 at 6:52 am

Looks like Mazen enjoys the restaurant as well! :-) Such a cutie!

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2 Angelica June 19, 2014 at 8:09 am

General travel tips: We carry a blank note pad and crayons everywhere. I found a fun “game” on Pinterest to promote literacy and letter recognition: While waiting for food, write down random letters and discuss the sound it makes and words that start with that letter. We also discovered Crayola Color Wonder markers & coloring books–they’re amazingly mess-free! We’re also excited to try out our magnetic blocks and Taro Gomi placemats. Worst case, there are usually sugar packets for sorting and playing.

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3 jill June 19, 2014 at 8:26 am

We tend to go to restaurants that are considered “family style” in that they’ll bring out the kids’ food first. We always make sure we’ve got the requisite kid/baby stuff – snacks, books, toys, deck of cards for the 6 year old so we can play a game, sippy cup for 18 month old just in case the restaurant doesn’t have the easy lids, etc. Considering how much we’re on the road, we don’t eat out a ton – we usually hit up grocery stores and make our own meals that way – but when we ARE out with the kiddos, I like knowing they’ll be happy and comfortable. I’m with you on the bathrooms! My husband always notes if there are or aren’t change tables (usually those flip down things on the wall) in the men’s bathroom too, since both of us do diaper changes, and we’ve done our fair share of baby changes in the back of the car!

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4 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats June 19, 2014 at 8:27 am

I love eating outdoors but I never thought about how convenient that must be with a toddler! No wonder my mom always had us eat dinner out on our patio in the summer as kids…

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5 Connie June 19, 2014 at 9:31 am

Patios are awesome. The most important things to me, though, are good food and friendly staff.

I don’t agree that restaurants should provide books, cars or little people to play with. Think of the germs! There is absolutely no way the busy wait staff are going to clean those toys properly after every use. It’s their job to cook and serve your food — it’s a parent’s job to entertain his or her own kids (unless you want to go to Chuck E. Cheese!). Throw a few books and toys in your diaper bag and you’re good to go.

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6 KathEats June 19, 2014 at 9:36 am

Yeah that’s true on germs. But sometimes new toys have an allure that diaper bag toys don’t and have rescued us.

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7 Connie June 19, 2014 at 9:53 am

For what it’s worth, I used to keep a selection of books and toys that were just for the diaper bag, and I’d rotate them every few weeks so they were always a bit of a “novelty” when we went out. :-)

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8 Kimberly June 19, 2014 at 10:07 am

It’s really gross what some parents will do/let their kids do. I worked in a very family friendly pizza place and there were parents who would change diapers on the table, let their kids lick the cheese shakers, or “drink” from the ketchup bottles. (Not saying that you, Kath, or any readers would do these things. but I’ve definitely seen it!). We cleaned the tables, shakers, and bottles really well if we saw it happen, but I’m sure we missed a few times!! If people let their kids do those things, no telling what they would do with toys!

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9 KathEats June 19, 2014 at 10:18 am

Drink the ketchup!? My gosh! Maybe they didn’t notice until it was too late? :)

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10 beth June 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

I have a law office and sometimes people bring their kids to our meetings. I used to give them pens and folders to play with but then I got some tiny coloring books and small crayon packs for them. Even if they brought their own toys, something new is fun. I wanted something they could take with them to avoid germs. It might be the parents job to make sure their kids are entertained, but I like to be a good hostess, too.

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11 Connie June 20, 2014 at 7:12 am

Most family-friendly restaurants provide little colouring books and packs of three or four crayons that the kids take away with them. That’s totally different than providing toys or cars that you leave behind for other people to use!

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12 Chelsea@TableForOne June 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

I don’t have kids yet, so I hadn’t really thought about what makes a restaurant “kid-friendly”. Your list is fantastic though. When the kids arrive, I will make sure I think about all of these things!

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13 Grace June 19, 2014 at 9:41 am

When my kids were smaller, I would bring a garbage bag cut open to put under the highchair if eating indoors. It caught most of the spills/throws and made clean up easy for me and/or the server. We ate out so infrequently with little ones that it didn’t seen too burdensome to plan for!

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14 Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties June 19, 2014 at 9:50 am

I was just in Cville for a wedding on Friday- we walked all around the outdoor mall so I’m guessing we passed Eppies! We got bbq from a cart for lunch (Smoked BBQ might have been the name?) and it was SO good. Jealous that you get to enjoy that area all the time!! :)

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15 KathEats June 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

Smoked BBQ CO is the BEST!

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16 Alexa June 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

I agree with everything you said here! We had wanted to go to Eppies (per your recommendation) on our trip to Cville this weekend, but I was so hungry and tired after walking from downtown up to the Corner (I’m 7.5 months pregnant, not a wimp!) that we ended up at Mellow Mushroom, and the kid experience there was great too! Pizzas big enough to share with your child, triangle crayons, a patio, and a laid back atmosphere. The cups needed some work (they put a to go lid on a small cup for milk, and it leaked a lot) so next time I would probably just have him drink out of his own cup.

If you are ever in the DC area, the kids menu at Silver Diner is great (along with the adult menu). It looks like a pretty regular place, but the food is delicious and affordable, and on Tuesday kids night they have activities and free kids milk shakes–bonus!

I love Chipotle’s kids menu, and Firehouse subs as well (kids get a fire hat–how cool is that?!) for quick eats.

We also have specific diaper bag toys, just for going out. Little books, and the Leap Frog Phone seem to be the favorite so far.

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17 Tonya June 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

and Silver Diner uses local ingredients. Some organic.

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18 Theresa June 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

I was singing #1 to the tune of little mermaid, did you do that on purpose?! :) Have fun with your Mom visiting!

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19 Christin S June 19, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Changing stations in the bathrooms are certainly a plus also! :)

Bethany is almost 5 months and we’ll be starting solids soon…so taking notes on this post! ;)

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20 Ashley June 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm

I don’t have a child (yet) but I’ve never ever seen someone bring their stroller INTO the bathroom, and I worked in restaurants in high school and college, including maintaining the restrooms for customers. Is there a reason you’d wheel the stroller into the bathroom instead of just walking your child to the bathroom or carrying him? Oftentimes a bathroom is large enough to accommodate a handicapped stall, but the other stalls wouldn’t be large enough for a stroller, and the changing station is not always in a place where a stroller could also fit. Seems like it’d be *really* hard to find a bathroom large enough to fit a stroller and changing station without getting in the way.

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21 KathEats June 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm

It’s not high on the priority list, but when I’m alone with M and there’s no one to watch my blongings I can’t leave them. A big onesie bathroom is usually plenty big.

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22 Tracy June 19, 2014 at 8:58 pm

I have three kiddos. The three year olds are potty trained and I have a 9 mth old. If I am out alone with them, I need to take all of them to the bathroom. A big bathroom is definitely a plus to fit the stroller and the three year olds still need supervison. Good post Kath!

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23 Bernie June 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

That mac and cheese looks so good! Is it the creamy stovetop kind, or the baked kind? I’ll be in Charlottesville for a course in July, and if it’s stovetop I might be tempted to try it!

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24 KathEats June 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I’m not sure but it’s super creamy and not dry

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25 amy June 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Kath
I love your blog but the new logo covers up a huge portion of your introductory paragraph. I am not too tech savvy and don’t know how to make it smaller. Suggestions?
Thanks

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26 KathEats June 19, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Darn I had hoped this was fixed. Does F5 work? I’ll send this to my manager

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27 Jill June 19, 2014 at 7:01 pm

That restaurant looks delish and a great lunch spot! Although we don’t have any kids yet, I can only imagine how helpful all these elements are when dining out. I will definitely consider these things when we have little ones someday. Thanks for sharing!

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28 Emma June 19, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I love Eppie’s! What other family friendly restaurants in cville do you recommend? I have a two and a four year old!

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29 KathEats June 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Citizen is another favorite downtown. Rev Soup but not good with a stroller. Brixx pizza if we get to that side of town. Beer Run in the tent!

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30 Joana_JW June 20, 2014 at 6:23 am

So had a gala time with mum :)
I personally enjoy outdoor dining a lot and I guess your son loves it! Everything is special and fresh about this setting. Some of my friends don’t take it classy and are a bit shy with outdoor dining. Reasons are unknown but I think I need to recommend this post to them.

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31 Katie June 20, 2014 at 7:24 am

Just visited there last week. We tried Eppie’s one night and my husband loved the chicken and dumplings. I had an amazing salad and my son did love that mac and cheese:)

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