It’s not that I don’t love my child.
I do. He’s almost four, and there’s nothing in the world I enjoy more than getting to spend time with him.
Except when I want to go out to eat.
Like most little kids, my dude flat-out refuses to eat anything. When he does, it’s typically some combo of breakfast bars, Lunchables, Go-Gurt, and his own human fingers. Combine that with a constant need to be entertained, along with a healthy ability to destroy everything in his path and the potential to melt down at any second, and eating out becomes more about me trying not to yell or cry in front of servers.
Shouldn’t parents be allowed to go out to eat at restaurants other than McDonald’s (but only ones that have Play Places) or Parkway Pizza (but only the one that has a play pizza kitchen)? We all know there are tons of fantastic restaurants locally that are technically “family friendly,” but I’m trying to find somewhere that is dinner-with-a-four-year-old-friendly.
So, I tried Betty Danger’s Country Club.
Betty’s was an easy choice from the outside. The giant Ferris wheel, eight-and-a-half-hole mini golf course, and bright pink and green exterior are practically begging you to bring in a child who can ruin every single person’s dining experience, including your own.
The bad news is that you have to be a minimum of 50” to ride the big wheel. We attempted to skirt the system by boosting him up in hopes of reaching the “you must be this tall” marker, but it was no use. Fortunately, my child was undeterred, thanks to the wild animals littered across the mini golf course.
To be clear, we did not “play” mini golf. Like any sophisticated kiddo out for a dinner date with his dad, mine decided to go lay under the animals and pretend they were pooping on him. Now, this may seem like a stretch, but I’d venture to say Betty Danger’s has the largest selection of animal statues that can pretend poop on a child—or adult, if you’re into it—of any restaurant in the country. Here’s a quick, incomplete list of animals whose butts your child can squat down behind and shout, “IT’S POOPING ON MEEEEEEEE!” to the horror and delight of various company dinners and girls’ nights all over the patio:
- Burberry-patterned cow
- Cool dad wearing a button-up with the cuffs with the dorky print you can see when you roll them up
You’ll have to constantly pretend that it’s HILARIOUS, and also apologize to people trying to actually mini-golf—but it’s a home run for kiddos.
Betty’s is known for its unique twist on country club cuisine. However, nowhere on their menu was “party pizza” or “Kinder Egg,” which is the grossest food item ever made. Therefore, my kid wasn’t having it.
He did eat some of the pretzel bites form the appetizer menu, and mutilated the shells to my chicken tacos, so at least he consumed SOMETHING. The real win of the night, however, was the mini-donut party. They come with frosting and sprinkles. Which means that I, being a responsible parent, allowed my child to eat a massive amount of dough and sugar for dinner so he could bulk up. Big win.
Straight up, some restaurant employees are dicks to kids. In fairness, it can be rough when you’re trying to juggle multiple tables, and in your peripheral you can see a child (mine) pouring out the entire salt and pepper shakers.
But the crew at Betty Danger’s were unshakeable. From the Ferris wheel worker who apologized like he was denying my son a kidney when he couldn’t let him ride, to the servers who didn’t lose their shit after getting rags to clean up both glasses of Sprite that were spilled (or maliciously poured on to the floor like a real serial killer), to the owners themselves who stopped by to say hello and tell me how much they loved my son’s shirt (OF COURSE IT HAD ROBOTS ON IT), everyone was not only friendly and accommodating, but understood that I was a parent just trying to get through the night.
In the end, I still ate bites of dinner in between watching my kid growl at the wolves, and I jumped when he pushed over a massive tower of Jenga blocks. If you’ve got some time and it’s a nice night, Betty Danger’s Country Club gets the exhausted dad-with-a-four-year-old seal of approval.