3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Bethia Woolf

Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus! Thanks to Bethia for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month! Bethia is an expert in the ethnic food scene in Columbus so, naturally, she is sharing 3 places she loves to take her daughter to EAT in Columbus!

1. Sunflower Dim Sum

Sunflower is not only one of our daughter’s favorite restaurants, but also one of our favorite places to take her. During their weekend ‘dim sum’, a wide variety of appetizer-sized dishes are wheeled around on carts and to your table soon after you’re seated – useful since hungry children (and adults) don’t have to wait long for sustinence. You can order dishes in the traditional manner if you know of something specific your child would like, but you can also indulge their curiosity by letting them point and choose dishes on the carts. Dim sum at Sunflower is noisy and bustling, with plenty for the kids to watch, and the din of other diners seems to drown out low-level fussiness. They’re also well equipped with slings and high chairs, and very accommodating with kid’s water cups. A fish tank outside the entrance is a great diversion for restless toddlers.

Good starting dishes for kids new to dim sum are: shu mai, shrimp dumplings, sticky rice in lotus leaf, and silver needle noodles. Also the char siu bao, which comes in both steamed and baked varieties. We recommend the pandan jello and coconut jello on the dessert cart!

Tip: there are some great kids books about dim sum that can introduce the concept and some dishes before you go. We love Dim Sum For Everyone by Grace Lin.

2. Japanese Marketplace

Japanese restaurants in Columbus always seem to be particularly welcoming to children, and at Japan Marketplace you can choose from 4 unique Japanese food establishments offering a wide variety of child-friendly takes on the cuisine. Our daughter loves sushi so we often find ourselves at Sushi Ten where she craves either futomaki or a California roll with miso soup. Sushi Ten also offers appreciated diversions for young ones with their large and well-stocked aquarium and quirky Japanese kids shows on the TV.

Tensuke Express offers a variety of noodle, rice, and snack dishes and also has an overtly kid friendly atmosphere. For a fuller menu and table service there is Akai Hana which provides a distinct kids menu. Belle’s Bread offers sweet and savory pastries, crepes, parfaits and soft serve as well as some prepared sandwiches.

Tips: Japanese Marketplace also houses Tensuke Market where you can buy frozen dumplings, noodles, snacks and other kid-friendly Japanese food to take home. At Belle’s the changing table is conveniently located outside of the restrooms.

3. Menya Ramen

Menya is a uniquely popular destination for our daughter, and in no small part due to their dining room play area replete with a toy stove and kitchen utensils.

Though Menya doesn’t have a dedicated kids menu, their regular menu has proven exceptionally popular with the toddlers in my and my friend’s lives. We steer clear of the traditional ramen dishes for our three year old and instead share dipping noodles with her and order from the sides, including: dumplings, edamame (soy beans), onigiri (rice balls). You can also ask for side orders from the ‘extra topping’ menu, which includes traditional ramen toppings including sliced pork, soft boiled eggs, and extra noodles. Menya features shaved ice, ice cream and almond tofu for dessert. They also eager to please the little ones by providing child sized plastic plates, cups and utensils.

Tip: ask for a table near the play area so when the kids get bored at the table they can play close by while you finish your ramen or chat.


Bethia is the co-founder of Columbus Food Adventures, a business offering guided food tours in Columbus. You can find her on Instagram at @cbusadventures to see what she’s been eating. She lives in Victorian Village with her husband Andy and 3 year old daughter Zoe. They are really passionate about ethnic food and write for Columbus Monthly and blog at alteatscolumbus.com.

Bethia is originally from the UK, has traveled extensively and has lived on this side of the Atlantic for 15 years. Among other things she has worked as a financial regulator, high school teacher and rowing coach. Bethia is one of the founders of both tacotruckscolumbus.com, and streeteatscolumbus.com and is a board member of Slow Food Columbus and Dine Originals Columbus.


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ICYMI: Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio

3 Things to do With Your Kids in Pickerington

1. Blue Monkey Parties & Events

591 Hill Rd N, Pickerington, OH 43147, 614-828-8236

While Blue Monkey is primarily a party and event center, they do have open play hours and Toddler Time. I suggest checking their event calendar before planning your visit! Toddler Time currently takes place on Thursday mornings from 9:30-11:30 and includes a craft time! There is also open play available during certain evenings each week!

Several play areas are available including a sports arena, a dual slide, an inflatable obstacle course and other bounce houses! Blue Monkey hosted my family during open play a few months ago and that was the first time the kids really embraced a tall inflatable slide like that! 🙂 It was fun to watch them enjoy it!

2. Sweet Persuasions Bakery

1260 Hill Rd. N, Pickerington, OH 43147, 614-604-6714

Looking for a sweet treat during your day out? Sweet Persuasions Bakery has just about every kind of sweet treat available! I was doing Whole 30 during our visit so I can’t personally recommend a specific treat, but I can tell you I was very sad I couldn’t try any of them! My kids, of course, picked a donut with sprinkles because: sprinkles. But the brownies looked amazing! The shop is adorable inside and would make a cute spot for a Mommy-Daughter date!

  

3. Pickerington Ponds

4071 Bowen Rd. Canal Winchester, OH 43110, 614-208-4329

So the address for Pickerington Ponds is technically Canal Winchester, but the park is just about 3 miles from Blue Monkey and is called PICKERINGTON Ponds, so I rest my case. 😉 We had packed a lunch the day we visited Blue Monkey, so we stopped here to eat it.

There are two picnic pavilions and 5 trails. We had lunch at the Wood Duck Picnic area and followed the sign to the Wood Duck Viewing Deck which is pictured here. There were lots of birds to be seen! I learned from the website that there is also an observation deck near the other picnic pavilion as well.

There is no Nature Center or playground here, but if you want to get out and walk or ride bikes or just enjoy nature, this is a great stop in the area!

  

Do you have a favorite spot in Pickerington we should visit?

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5 on Friday: Kid-Friendly Restaurants

This month I’m sharing our personal, top 5 go-to restaurants for eating out with kids. These are our standbys, the places we know our kids will eat and it won’t completely break the bank. There’s nothing fancy here, we don’t find these places stressful to take our kids and they serve food our kids like. Plain and simple.

You’ll have to forgive me because my kids like hot dogs, mac and cheese and pizza. We did baby-led weaning and only making whole foods at home and trying to keep them (well, our first child 😉 ) from eating sugar until he was two. And they still turned out to like hot dogs, mac and cheese and chocolate milk the best. When we pay for them to eat in a restaurant, I want them to actually eat their food and that’s what they usually choose. If your kids love kale and hate chocolate, I’m jealous and this probably isn’t the list for you. 😉

1. Jason’s Deli

Two locations in Columbus.

It probably goes without saying that the best thing about Jason’s Deli is the free ice cream! 😉 It helps that all four of us also have a “real food” favorite there, too! (You know, something to eat before you get to the ice cream!) They have a decent kids’ menu and a drink is included in the price! Jason’s Deli has a lot of healthy and organic options, a great salad bar and everyone gets free ice cream!

Photo Credit: Jaden

2. Pizza Cucinova

5 locations in Columbus

I like Pizza Cucinova because, not only do we like their pizza, but it’s fast and it’s affordable! Cheese pizzas are $5 and my kids can split one. It’s great for the adults because you can choose whatever toppings you like and the salads are good, too. This is a place I feel confident taking both of my kids by myself!

3. Giant Eagle Market District, Grandview

840 W 3rd Ave., Columbus, OH 43212, 614-294-2186

I honestly think we might eat here as a family more than any other place! Of course we used to live less than a mile from the store, which is probably why, but my oldest still routinely asks if we can go here for pizza! We love it because after 4:00 PM large pizzas are $7.99 and one will (just barely) feed our whole family. There is a large seating area and we love the outdoor patio. It also helps if you fill the kids up with the free fruit and cheese samples first before the pizza. Afterwards we circle around for a cookie from the bakery! It’s a whole night out! See Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week!

4. Whole Foods Market, Upper Arlington

1555 W. Lane Ave., Upper Arlington, OH 43221, 614-481-3400

The Social at Whole Foods Market, Upper Arlington is definitely our go-to breakfast and brunch spot and we nearly ALWAYS get the farmer’s breakfast. The breakfast used to be $5, which admittedly, was a steal, but it’s now $7 and my kids can still share it. (I know, wait until they’re teenagers.) The Farmer’s Breakfast includes 2 eggs, 2 pieces of toast, your choice of meat and potatoes. My oldest also requests to come here for his birthday cupcake! See Whole Foods Market in 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus!

5. Dirty Franks West

2836 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH, 43204, 614-947-0074

Now that we’ve moved to Westgate, Dirty Franks is our new, less than a mile away, go-to spot! The fact that it’s quite a bit larger than the downtown location makes it a more kid-friendly option! There are so many choices of hot dogs and you can also get classic favorites like tater tots and soft pretzel bites. We went on Mother’s Day this past year and they even had Nick Jr. on the TV, making it my most peaceful Mother’s Day lunch yet! See Visitors Guide to the West Side!

What’s your family’s stress-free, go-to favorite when eating out?


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