Little Matt’s… West University Hang Out & Nonprofit Supporting Families Dealing with Childhood Illness

Address: 6203 Edloe St, Houston, TX 77005

How about at restaurant that is kid friendly… and is a nonprofit that supports families dealing with childhood illness?!

Little Matt’s was started when the owner’s son was fighting cancer for the second time in his life. He wanted to bring families together in West University to witness and provide kindness, faith, love and hope to all.

To date, they have provided support to over 5,100 families from 4 countries and 45 states in the USA. His Grace foundation, Dec My Room, Camp for All, Halo House, Camp Periwinkle are just a few of the great organizations they get to interact with and support.

When you go, don’t be fooled by the nondescript gray outside… the fun is inside! As soon as you enter, there is a wall with iPads to play and a wish wall above it. On your right is the candy shop, then there is the Icee bar and if you keep going to the back of the restaurant is the arcade room and a patio.  The main dining room has big tables and you share with others if you have a small group.

At Little Matt’s you order at the counter and the food comes to you. The restaurant has American food… from mac and cheese to burgers to veggie burritos to salads. There are complimentary adult drinks… just be sure to leave a donation.

Little Matt’s is really a hang out for the neighborhood, with lots of kids on bikes and families coming from the parks and ball fields. Also, when we went last week, they had just wrapped up an event for kids staying at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Right next to West University Elementary Spark Park (open after school hours for all) and the West University Library. It’s easy to make an afternoon out at Little Matt’s and THESE parks.

AND remember that this spot in West University has provided support to over 5,100 families from 4 countries and 45 states in the United States!

Check out the pictures… and we’ll see you next time we’re at Little Matt’s.

 

 

 

Little Matt's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

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Pho Saigon Vietnamese Noodle House in Midtown

Address: 2808 Milam St, Suite D, Houston, TX 77006

The Houston Fire Museum and Pho Saigon are forever tied together for us.

When we started visiting the museum years ago, we went in search of lunch one time… and have been going to Pho Saigon ever since. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if my kids ask to play at the Fire Museum just so they can have Pho Saigon afterwards.

This restaurant is just down Milam from the museum and is not especially fancy… but when you walk in, it is packed every single time! There are families, people on their lunch break and often some police officers. STILL, we are always seated within minutes and food comes very quick. (Last week I seriously spent longer waiting for my Chinese food take out order than I did feeding four kids at Pho Saigon.)

The menu has vermicelli and pho and everything you would expect at a Vietnamese restaurant. My kids order the kids combo with chicken or beef soup, egg roll and drink and I usually order the shrimp vermicelli. (And my picky eater orders rice or just banh mi/bread.)

Once you order, the food is out in minutes and we’re usually on our way home within a half hour. You can pay at the register whenever you want.

There are high chairs and the place is so busy that a few squeaks won’t be noticed by anyone. (And, since my toddler now likes to escape her high chair and run, it’s nice to be able to pay and go whenever we want.)

Parking is free and the lot is usually full… but we always find free street parking on the side street.

Check out our pictures… and stop by next time you are at the Houston Fire Museum (or Main Street Theater or…)!

 

 

 

Phở Sàigòn 1 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

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Where to Eat in Downtown Houston, with Kids: MKT BAR at Phoenicia Specialty Foods

Address: 1001 Austin St, Houston, TX 77010

This is the place we like to go when we’re at downtown at Discovery Green… MKT BAR at Phoenicia Specialty Foods. But I have to say, it’s a little unusual.

On the ground floor of the One Park Place high rise, right across from Discovery Green, is Phoenicia. Half of it is a fancy grocery store and half of it is a restaurant called MKT BAR (or Market Bar). Both are casual and family friendly (even with the “BAR” in the name).

On weekdays, MKT BAR does not open until 2:00pm… so what you do (and a whole lot of people do each day) is go to the grocery section and pick up something from the deli. There are hot and cold options and they are all really good.  (The falafel sandwich is my favorite!)  You can pay for it and then take the food to the tables in the restaurant.

After 2:00pm and on weekends, you go to the restaurant, order from the menu and tip your waitress or waiter.  The good thing about going to the restaurant is that there is a kids menu… and it’s a good one.  Just check out the kids chicken below… it’s not your dinosaur shaped nuggets!

The restaurant also has high chairs and coloring sheets.  (I do like to go early because MKT BAR becomes a little louder and more bar-like as the night goes on.)

MKT BAR has a lot of fun weekly events, like Steak Night, and seasonal events like heart shaped pizza.

Free Phoenicia parking is available in the Park Place parking garage or you can pay for metered street parking.

 

MKT Bar - Phoenicia Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

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Go Back in Time at this Brand New Cleburne Cafeteria!

Address: 3606 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005

Cleburne Cafeteria has rebuilt and reopened… and it’s no secret. This place is doing brisk business!

This West University restaurant has been around since 1941 (first on Cleburne Street and then on Bissonnet). It was started by a Greek immigrant and still family-run today.

I drove by this restaurant early in the morning in April 2016 and saw this place surrounded by fire trucks and with nothing but the outside walls remaining. Since then there has been a huge sign saying that they would be back… and they just reopened for Thanksgiving 2017!

At Cleburne Cafeteria, everything is made fresh in their kitchen and there is so much variety. As the regular in line told me, if you are hungry when you leave… it was your own fault!

We went on a weekday at the 11:00am opening… and the parking lot was already full and the line was out the door. (There is free valet parking, but we parked in the neighborhood and walked back over.)

No one really seemed to mind waiting for the food and we were equally as excited to be there. As we waited we check out all the options and made our plan for when we got to the front. (Everything is a la carte… except there is a kids plate for $4.99.)

With our group we tried a whole bunch of food… and got a giant pound cake the share. The staff brought our trays to the table and we ate it all!

Also, I need to mention that Cleburne Cafeteria has an ATM with NO fee… but the restaurant is NO longer cash only. The funny thing about this is that my friend, also with me this week, had been to Cleburne Cafeteria years ago. She had had a hard week, she had hungry kids and her dinner plans had fallen through. She stopped by Cleburne Cafeteria to feed the family, loaded up her tray and got to the end with no cash. She broke into tears and the nice people at Cleburne let her come back to pay the next day.

On this trip, when we go to the register, she was able to pay with card.

Cleburne Cafeteria is brand new but takes you back in time. The waitresses wear black uniform dresses and push around a cart to refill drinks.

I think this is why I like it. My mom and I used to drive to the “big city” to do our back to school and holiday shopping each year, and we would always stop at a cafeteria. Cleburne Cafeteria takes me back.

 

 

Cleburne Cafeteria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

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The Bungalow Next to the Ice Cream Shop: Seco’s Latin Cuisine

Address: 2536 Nottingham St, Houston, TX 77005

My daughter often goes to dinner with her friend and she raved about Seco’s Latin Cuisine.

The only issue was that she wasn’t certain of the name. First it was Cinco’s and then it was Cena’s and then maybe it was Seco’s… but she was certain it was in a bungalow and close to an ice cream shop in Rice Village.

The name did not really matter… except that my boys were certain that they also needed to go to Cinco’s/Cena’s/Seco’s.

After scrolling through Google Maps, I found the spot… right on Nottingham at Kirby. So off we went to see what it was all about.

Seco’s is in a little bungalow with a tiny parking lot and free street parking. We went right after school and had the place to ourselves… but by the time we left it was filling up.

The restaurant is casual and has high chairs… and I did not see a kids menu, but the kids taco plate was $7.

Our waitress was friendly and happy to have kids at the restaurant. She kept the complementary chips and salsa filled and brought up our food quickly.

We had queso, green beans for the baby, kids chicken tacos and a taco salad. The best part was the chicken on the salad… it was really really flavorful.  And now I know why my daughter could not stop talking about Seco’s.

I see that they have a very popular Sunday brunch buffet… so that’s something we need to check next!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seco's Latin Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

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Displaced or Disrupted by Harvey? Here’s Where to Eat Out for Thanksgiving Dinner Around Houston!

This is where we usually cook Thanksgiving dinner… but because of Hurricane Harvey, a lot of us are changing our Thanksgiving plans!

I asked this community for recommendations on where to eat out… and below are the restaurants that will be open for Thanksgiving dinner!  If you have more recommendations, please let us know.

 

Dine In… Roughly from Less Expensive to More Expensive:

Luby’s – Open Thanksgiving for a holiday dinner at $11.49 each.  Or order pre-cooked meals that you just heat up.  $60.00-$130.00.

IHOP – Open Thankgiving with Roasted Turkey Dinner on the menu.

Pappa’s Bar-B-Q – Open Thanksgiving for dinner, at select locations, for $13.95 each.  Or order pre-cooked meals that you just heat up.  $35.00-$85.00.

Chinatown – Most restaurants are open every day.  See the guide HERE.

Cleburne Cafeteria – They are targeting a November opening date… but check before you go!

Bucca di Beppo – Opening for lunch starting at 11:00am for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  You can also order pre-cooked meals.

Turquoise Grill & Bar – Thanksgiving Buffet, 11:00am-9:00pm.   $19.95. Kids (6-12) $9.   You can also order pre-cooked meals.

Sud Italia – Thanksgiving Day from 11:00am. to 9:00pm.

Landry’s Seafood – Select locations are open for Thanksgiving. $28 for adults, $12 for kids, and kids 4 and under are free.

Downtown Aquarium Thanksgiving Buffet – Seating starts at 10:30am… Make a reservation.  Adult $39.99 – Child $19.99.

Kemah Boardwalk – Aquarium, Saltgrass, Landry’s and Kiosks Open starting at 10:30am.

Eddie V’s – Serving 11:00am-8:00pm.  Adult $39.00 – Child $15.00.

Fogo de Chão – Open 11:00am – 9:00pm on Thanksgiving.  Enjoy a variety of Thanksgiving menu options as part of the Full Churrasco Experience.  Children under 6 are free.  Children 7 to 12 are half price.  $52.95 dinner price all day.

Feast at The Woodlands Resort – Open 11:00am-3:00pm… Dine at the Dining Room or Robard’s Steakhouse.

Post Oak Grill – Thanksgiving Brunch, 11:00am-3:00pm, $51.99 per person, with separate kids meal available.  Make reservations.

Brennan’s Houston – $60.00 per person.

Américas – Thanksgiving Brunch, 10:00am-3:00pm.  Make reservations ahead of time.

 

Food To-Go:

Popeyes – Order a precooked Cajun Turkeys

Luby’s – Order pre-cooked meals that you just heat up.  $60.00-$130.00.

Pappa’s Bar-B-Q – Order pre-cooked meals that you just heat up.  $35.00-$85.00.

Bucca di Beppo – Order pre-cooked meals.

Turquoise Grill & Bar – Order pre-cooked meals.

Brasserie 1895 – Order pre-cooked meals. $60+.

Cracker Barrel – Order a pre-cooked meal that you just heat and serve.

 

Church Dinners & Harvey Outreach:

Gallery Furniture – Gallery Furniture and Mattress Mack want to give thanks to you and your family with a delicious and fun-filled Thanksgiving Feast! We invite you to sit down with us at our 6006 N. Freeway GF location Thursday, November 23, 2017 from 10AM-4PM to delight in all of the pleasures this joyful holiday brings!

Rice Temple Baptist Church – Everyone is welcome.  Join them for an evening of good food, friends, and giving thanks for all the things that God has done this year.

Brooks’ Place and Brooks’ Place for Humanity – If you were affected by the recent storm and your home won’t be ready for Thanksgiving, they invite you to dine with them on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It will cost you nothing but only those present will get a meal.  Smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, green beans.  Volunteers also needed.

Houston Food Bank – Allows anyone with either a pay stub, utility bill, or drivers license go pick up $200 worth of groceries once a month.


Top 10 Family Friendly Houston Restaurants… with Great Patios!

After a long hot summer, it’s time to enjoy the patio!  We’re compiling a list of family friendly Houston restaurants, with great patios… that are not too loud and not too close to traffic.  Click the links for more pictures of each restaurant.

Our favorites are below… and tell us what to add!

 

1.  Punk’s Simple Foods – This place is both casual and sleek… and is fun for parents and kids.  Sit on the patio by the courtyard and the kids can run while you wait for your lunch.

 

2. Mia’s Table – This family friendly restaurant has a wrap around porch where you can enjoy the cool weather… or sit inside right by the big glass doors that open to the patio.

 

3.  Ivy and James at Evelyn’s Park – There is room to run and food that looks nothing like park food! Ivy and James is right in Bellaire’s Evelyn Park and serves up a good food. Sit outside and let the kids play. (Just know that the busy Bellaire Blvd is along the border of the big park, so you do need to watch the kids!)

 

3.  Niko Nikos at Market Square Park – Right in the shadows of the skyscrapers is Market Square Park.  In the middle is a small Niko Nikos and a great pergola and patio.  The kids can run through the grass while the food is prepared.

 

4.  Good Dog Houston – At the Montrose location you can find fancy hot dogs, lots of board games and a small patio with lawn games!

 

5.  Table 57 – This is the perfect spot for younger kids.  You can sit on the fenced off patio and let the toddlers play in the small play area.  Plus, kids eat free on Thursdays.

 

6.  Luigi’s Pizza – This restaurant has one of the the very coolest patios, is kid friendly… and is also half beer garden.  Order pizza and relax on the fenced off patio… full of hammocks. Just go early before the beer garden gets busy!

 

7.  Buffalo Grille – Eat breakfast all day (and lunch too) at the patio on Bissonnet.

 

8.  Frey’s Backyard – If you have not guessed already, Frey’s has a great backyard!   You order at the counter and the food is delivered to your table. In the back you can sit at the picnic tables and look out at the backyard… full of footballs and soccer balls

 

9.  Black Walnut at Conroe Airport – Oh, this place is good for little aviators! The Black Walnut Cafe in Conroe is located inside the Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport! Go inside the airport, ride up the elevator and eat lunch as you watch the planes and helicopters from the patio.

 

10.  The Shack – This patio has a playground with tires, tire swings, big old bus and slides… plus, lots of picnic tables for the parents. See the pictures HERE.


Real Food and Family Friendly: Ivy and James at Evelyn’s Park

Address: 4480 Bellaire Boulevard, Bellaire, TX 77401

Now this is a cool place to go with kids. There is room to run and food that looks nothing like park food!

Ivy and James is right in Bellaire’s Evelyn Park and serves up a good food.

In the yellow house at the side of the park is Ivy and James. There is a bright interior where you order at the counter, fill your drink and take a seat. You can sit by the bight windows or head outside to the picnic tables.

The kids menu has fun items like an octopus on noodles (hot dog on mac and cheese), grilled cheese with bacon, personal pizzas and more. The main menu has items like sandwiches, personal pizzas and tacos.

We ordered the fish tacos, vegan sloppyjoe and the kids grilled cheese. We picked a seat outside, the kids played and soon we had our lunch.

The great thing was how we had real food at a sleek and cool restaurant that was good for families. My friend and I ate and chatted while the kids had fun.

And then we went back for the dessert…

We splurged on the lemon ice box and when we took the first bite, we literally had to stop our conversation… It seriously took our breath away.

A couple of things to know for when you go… there is free parking at Evelyn’s Park. The park has a restroom and so does the restaurant (but I did not spot a changing table). Also, the park is on the busy Bellaire Boulevard. The restaurant is not super close, but there is no fence, so you do need to know which direction your kids are running.

I plan to go back for the pineapple and bacon flatbread… so I’ll see you there!

 

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Board Games, Lawn Games, Sports Games… and Hot Dogs at Good Dog Houston!

Address: 1312 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77006

Good Dog is a good family restaurant. We reviewed it before… but on our last visit, we loved it even more!

Not only are there all kinds of hot dogs, but there are board games, lawn games and sports games at this casual and sleek Montrose bungalow!

We took a couple extra kids on our last visit and as we watched the Astros on the TVs, the kids moved from boardgame to board game.

First it was Hungry Hungry Hippo and then Sorry and then Checkers and then cards… and eventually we even moved outside for giant Jenga and corn hole.  In the middle of it all, I heard our young guest say that she really really liked Good Dog.

At this restaurant, you order at the counter and take your seat at a picnic table, small table, the bar or on one of the patios.

The menu includes a whole bunch of hot dogs and also some salads, fish and sandwiches.    The hot dogs come with all sorts of creative toppings.  (My favorite is the Chi-Town… and with the tofu dog.)

Good Dog has a free parking lot across the street.  The restrooms are clean and have a small changing table.

Take a look at the pictures and check out this restaurant in Montrose!

For parks, museums and things to do in Montrose, with kids… all within walking distance of Good Dog… go HERE!

 

 

 

Good Dog Houston Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

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Always Family Friendly: Mia’s Table

What I’ve learned over the last 10 years of visiting Houston restaurants, with kids, is… not all are great for families. Some are just not set up for kids, and some just don’t like kids.

I do understand not liking kids running through your restaurant or damaging property or disturbing other patrons. I find this irritating too. But I was once at a casual restaurant and the kids were eating quietly at the booth. We had already spent way more money than the coffee drinkers surrounding us… and the owner came out to thank every single table for their business… except ours.

This place was small and it was deliberate and I was shocked and furious.  And I quickly learned to be careful where I spent my money.

All that said, there is one place that has long been a favorite of ours AND families are most definitely welcomed. It’s Mia’s Table!

Mia’s is a Johnny Carrabba restaurant… and is meant for families.  The interior of the house is sleek and casual and surrounded by a big wrap around porch.

You order at the counter, fill your drinks and the food comes to you.  And when you are done, you fill your own ice cream cone for free.

We go more than I should admit, but when the staff sees us, they smile and talk with the kids.  For families that go for the first time, they get the same royal treatment… and this is a sharp contrast to the story I started with!

The kids menu has hamburgers, corn dogs, grilled cheese, chicken strips, mac and cheese and hot dogs.  The adult menu is really big, but I always get the avocado tacos AND the tea.

I like drinks as much as I like food… and at Mia’s you can get lemonade, strawberry lemonade, tea and sweet tea.  The sweet tea has mint and is my favorite tea in the world.

There is no playground at Mia’s… but there are high chairs, crayons and lots and lots of families.

Check out the pictures and learn more about this restaurant HERE!

 

 

Mia's Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

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