BEST PLACE TO EAT OUT WITH KIDS - 2004
Day by Day
This sunny, cheerful, spacious St. Paul breakfast institution is so overrun with toys that we used to think that a pack of overachieving preschoolers ran it. Toys occupy every nook. They're in the waiters' stations, the menu holders, the bookcases, window ledges, and myriad other crannies. Only fidgety little people understand that no one under the age of, say, seven, finds eating breakfast to be even a tenth the fun of racing from one stash to another amassing every Little Mermaid geegaw ever to come out of a drive-thru window. But lately we've been thinking that this can't be the case. I mean, we adore preschoolers, but we have yet to meet a three-year-old who could keep the fishpond on the sunny terrace stocked with big, healthy, orange koi. Or accurately record a telephone reservation for one of Day by Day's two meeting and party rooms. Or brew the veritable sea of Dunn Bros coffee while turning out stack after stack of perfectly browned, custardy French toast and remember to grace the plate with pecans, blueberries, and real maple syrup. (Or the biscuits and gravy, an occasional special we wish they'd put on the permanent menu.) Grown-ups might do all of those restauranty things faultlessly, but they would find a way to make it dull. And so we've concluded that this place must be managed by elves. And we defy you to prove otherwise.