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Review of My Toddler's Pretend Restaurant

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The service and food are terrible, but I love it anyway.


Momlogic's Momstrosity: Since I've become a mother, I don't get as many chances to try out the latest hot restaurant getting all the buzz. Yet, there's one restaurant I've been to almost everyday for the last month -- sometimes more than once a day. My two-and-a-half year old, Lily, has opened what she calls "The Cafe Restaurant" and although the service is terrible, the food inedible and you have to sit on the living room floor, it has become one of my favorite eating destinations of all time. What makes a visit to The Cafe Restaurant so special is you never, ever know what you're going to get.

Here's an example of a typical ordering experience:

Lily:  Order something, please.
Mom: OK, do you have coffee?
Lily: No. No coffee at the Cafe Restaurant. Only water and tea.
Mom: OK, tea please.
Lily: No tea. Only water.
Mom: OK, water.
Lily: Do you want coffee?
Mom: Well ... actually, yes.
Lily (Handing me a toy tomato) Here.

Hey, the restaurant business is hard. Most of them fail in the first year. She's probably just working the kinks out. Here is my review of her establishment -- if you ever stop by my house when it's open from 6:30 AM til bedtime.

Signature Dish: This is what I got when I ordered the spinach quiche and salad with a side of cottage cheese. Beautiful presentation but, alas, indigestible:

You can wait for your food for hours -- sometimes until after nap time. Depending on her mood, the customer sitting next to you (dad) might get served while you're ignored. Be prepared to get your hands dirty -- at her whim she can ask YOU to run the restaurant while she orders instead.

The Menu:
Varies from day to day and minute to minute. Sometimes all you get is cake. There's no alcohol served. Lily will not have a liquor license for roughly 18 years.

I've seen the chef sneeze directly on the food and serve it to me. She often doesn't wear shoes and has even served me food items tucked between her toes. Cracker crumbs cover the floor. Sometimes she pees her pants. If a Health Inspector stopped by, I'm pretty sure he'd shut her down.

It's not cheap. Currently she says everything costs "20 miles." But no worries. Sometimes she dips into her little cash register and pays YOU instead of taking payment. 


Still, despite the poor service and the plastic tasting food I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant. But you better hurry. Even as I write this, I think the restaurant might be shutting down. We got her a little doctor's bag this weekend, complete with a stethoscope -- already the restaurant counter has been serving as a hospital triage. The toddler doctor is in.

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139 comments so far | Post a comment now
Leigh November 21, 2008, 11:40 AM

What a cute story! My son used to have a “restaurant” too - he even made a menu. He’s 12 now, so this brought back great memories!

Valerie November 21, 2008, 12:02 PM

Absolutely Hilarious! Thanks I needed a good laugh today. Definitely an article you should send into a newspaper. I see where she gets her imagination and sense of humor from. Save me a seat am on my way and I’ll take the cake ;) lol.

Crystal November 21, 2008, 1:31 PM

This was really fantastic!

Jenn November 21, 2008, 1:33 PM

So cute! Mine is only 1.5, so I know what I have to look forward to in a year!

Tricia November 21, 2008, 6:29 PM

This is the best read I’ve had all day!

Vitajex November 21, 2008, 6:37 PM

Can you do a health and safety report on the new hospital as well, please? I’m looking for a good place to get a pacemaker put in.

Anonymous November 21, 2008, 7:54 PM

Oh my goodness. My husband and I haven’t laughed this hard in ages. Thanks and wonderful.

Anonymous November 21, 2008, 8:11 PM

Wow I remember those days. Enjoy every minute. Helen in NJ

Anonymous November 21, 2008, 8:45 PM

OMG so funny!!!

aurore November 22, 2008, 1:53 AM

Tonight our cafe restaurant branch was serving Am Jam Slam (yogurt, whiped cream and jam) with a ham and cheese burger. The service was rather poor however as my ham and cheese burger never arrived as apparently the bread was moldly or they were out, it was unclear. I did receive 2 jam slams but it looked supiciously like a bell pepper.

Rae Lynn Glispin November 22, 2008, 3:09 PM

Oh, how cute! I love playing restaurant myself, although your experience sounds much more colorful. I have two boys, so our version involves a little more roughness, and is usually accompanied by bodily function humor.

Stacey Kannenberg November 23, 2008, 12:33 AM

Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Food always tastes better when someone else makes it — especially when it is made with love by your child! The best part of the plastic food is no calories! WOO HOO!

Teresa Hall November 23, 2008, 6:43 PM

Just what I needed after working all weekend. I laughed out loud several times! When I was little I remember the restaurant we used to serve my Grandmother steaks made of sytrofoam building blocks!

Can’t even tell you how many times she would take a bite right out of them!

We would giggle until we cried ;-)

Thanks for making my day!

Oh, and I will try to make it for lunch before the doctor shuts the joint down!

The almost always organized mom November 25, 2008, 12:30 PM

This is too funny and cute. I think I have a five year old who may be looking for a business partner. Maybe we should organize a meeting :)

rakshan November 27, 2008, 1:24 AM


vinoth November 27, 2008, 1:31 AM

Very cute

Jacque November 30, 2008, 7:27 PM

Super cute! I have a little boy and he is soon to turn 3 and we have a fix it shop at our house instead of a cafe. We must savor these moments as they shall pass too soon I’m sure. :)

mcd December 8, 2008, 11:51 AM

Wonderful review! I laughed out loud.

Green Lasagna January 25, 2009, 6:03 PM

OMG! This is too cute! It’s been a long time since I had a little one, but I remember stuff like this. These are the moments you treasure forever.

sherisaid February 3, 2009, 1:50 PM

This made me laugh so hard…my daughter’s restaurant orders went like this:
her: Good afternoon, I’ll be your server. Our specials today are turkey sandwich or peanut butter sandwich.

me: Sounds lovely. I’ll have the turkey.

her: sorry, we ran out of turkey

me: ok, peanut butter?

her: no, we’re out of peanut butter.

me: how about a glass of water?

her: no, we’re out of water. Would you like milk?

me: sure, milk is fine.

her: oops, we’re out….

best restaurant in town. She’s 20 now and works at the Ale House…wonder how that’s working out…

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