By Jennifer Arndt • BocaJump community writer
Editor's note: This is the first of an occasional series on kid-friendly places in Elgin.
Anyone with young kids knows just how much of a challenge it can be to dine out with the little ones. Luckily one of my favorite restaurants in Elgin is also a favorite with my 2 year old son. Since he was a baby we’ve been going to the Elgin Public House and he has consistently been well-behaved there, for the most part! Last week my husband suggested we go to the Public House for an early dinner on his birthday … don’t need to ask me twice!
We gathered up all the required “stuff” for our son and headed out hoping this would be a successful adventure! Toys … check. Books … check. Diaper Bag … check. Sippy cup … check. Applesauce because that makes everything better … check. Ok, we are ready to go! We arrive at the Public House and are greeted by the nice girl who, as always, says “come on in … wherever you want to sit is just fine”. My son gave her a big smile and said a ridiculously exaggerated “heeeellllooooo.”
A booth by the bar looked perfect. Not to close to anyone else, just in case there is a major meltdown, and still within viewing distance of the televisions. The gal seating us quickly brought over a highchair and gave us a few minutes to get settled. I’ve been to places where it takes forever to get a highchair or worse yet, places that don’t have highchairs. Us dine-out families greatly appreciate it when we get that all important chair asap!
Our server came over to take our drink orders and right away I ordered my son the chicken fingers and fries kid’s meal. Kid’s meals are only $5.50 and include fries plus a drink and yes, they have milk. Aside from chicken fingers they have a plain burger, cheese burger, grilled cheese, mac and cheese and mini corn dogs. Parents know it’s important for that kid’s meal to arrive quickly, but not too quick! Now I know it’s going to arrive to our table steaming hot so I asked her to just let it sit out in the kitchen for 5 or 10 minutes before bringing it to the table. Our adventure will quickly go downhill if my kid shoves a steaming hot fry in his mouth!
Speaking of fries, the fries here are those delicious, thick-cut kind that are a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. My favorite! Another one of my beloved Elgin restaurants, which I won’t name here, used to have those thick cut fries but a couple years ago went to a thinner cut … really, it was pretty devastating to me and ever since then I prefer the Elgin Public House for any meal that comes with fries.
I ordered the cheeseburger with bacon, fruit on the side and then a side of fried onion crisps (as if that fruit was going to make up for everything else). My husband also ordered a burger and fries plus a side of their chili which even I like and I’m not a huge fan of beans. As we wait my son munches on the grapes I brought and smiles at everyone walking by. A few minutes later, the kid’s meal arrives already cooled down per my request and the only drama has been my son getting mad because he wants to play with every straw in our drinks. I know he loves straws so I asked the server for one of their plastic glasses half filled with ice, no water, just ice. My son likes to play with the straw in the cup of ice … anything to keep him happy makes us happy and let’s face it, the other diners happy too!
It’s so nice to have a relaxing meal out with our son and we are so happy one of our Elgin favorites is kid friendly. The staff there is always extremely nice and accommodating, the food is always fabulous and we always have a great time. So if you’ve been looking for a great place for a casual lunch or dinner where you can take your kids and not feel like you’re being a bother, try the Elgin Public House … it’s not just another bar, although they make great drinks too and sometimes Mommy needs a martini!