To continue our trip in Oak Ridge, we decided to drop by Big Ed's for a proper dinner...PIZZA.
This place is an Oak Ridge staple, it's been around so long that I had heard about it numerous times and have only lived in the area for about 3 years!
When we walked in I noticed pretty quickly that we were outnumbered....BY CHILDREN. Kid's being welcome is an absolute understatement. There are more high chairs than can be counted and kids yelling and laughing at almost every table. The adults who were dining sans tiny humans were mostly making faces and laughing at the kids at other tables!
The menu is super limited, you order pizza. No kids menu, but who really needs a kids menu for pizza?
The staff are super friendly and accommodating and don't seem at all bothered with the kid chaos. They do not have any kids activities, not even crayons, but our waitress was so sweet, she gave my son two pens and some note paper out of her own apron.
Regardless, my overly dramatic threenager has gotten so spoiled by our BeersWithKids travels that he expects activities and was not impressed....I of course channeled my mom strength and threatened that if he could't be grateful for what he had that we would not be going to restaurants anymore...my husband gently (while laughing in my face) reminded me that I shouldn't make threats I would not be following through on. WHATEVER.
As far as bathrooms. The Men's and Women's bathrooms are at the bottom of some sketchy stairs and are dungeon like and slightly terrifying. Seriously, they are straight out of your worst college dive bar nightmares. HOWEVER, there is a lovely family restroom before you go down the stairs with changing table. Choose that bathroom.
Overall, this is a family oriented pizza place that serves beer. The pizza is good, the staff are friendly. Go here if everyone is hungry and grown ups need liquid fuel. Do not go here if your kids are in need of running laps and doing cartwheels.
One additional deep thought....while we were eating, we noticed several Trump hats, a rainbow shirt, people of different races and ages and Queen blasting through the speakers. Maybe people actually are capable of just getting along?? Always nice to see!
The clouds parted, the sky turned blue and THE SUN CAME OUT…finally. This has seriously been the rainiest year ever. I feel like I moved to Seattle. It was an amazing 75 degrees!!! SO I dusted off the kids shorts and sandals from last season (which were a lot bit snug) and we headed out on an adventure to Oak Ridge.
I’ve had several people lately tell me that I needed to check out a specific beer garden in Oak Ridge, but no one could seem to remember the name. But on a 3 hour Apple store visit…yes THREE HOURS…I think I’m on the payroll now…I was emphatically told by the nicest girl, that I had to go to Crafters Brew Market & Social in Oak RIdge. So we went.
Upon arrival, this place seemed pretty cool. Tons of state flags, super creepy mannequins everywhere, fire pit, tables everywhere, music playing.
But then I quickly noticed the biggest problem with this place...a large, wide open swimming pool with fountains and NO FENCE.
I mean this thing definitely provided some ambiance, but for a mom of little bitty kids, I knew immediately that I would not be able to take my eyes off of my kids for even a second while we were here. Major bummer on sunny BeersWithKids day. So we found a table as far away from this death trap as possible.
Crafters Brew has tons of awesome beers on tap of all varieties. I could tell by the giant boxes of out of use taps that they probably rotate their selections frequently. So this made for happy parents. Also, the beer line cleaning date was a super happy surprise. (I once had a friend that worked in beer sales and I learned all about just how DISGUSTING those lines get.)
As far as kids activities, there was a plethora of old board games by the bar for use. Unfortunately for us, the only game that may 3 year old could really handle was Connect-4 and it was broken. Other than that, there were dart boards and some bagged up yard games. All would be great for older kids, but not mine.
There are no high chairs (but you don't need them if you have the litte red chair!) and no changing tables. But dogs seemed super welcome.
For food, they have an associated restaurant across the parking lot.
The lady who works there is super sweet and calls you "sweetie" in the way that just makes you feel loved and not condescending...
The menu is standard bar food and pizza. We got a giant pretzel that was a kid pleaser.
We stayed for one beer then had to leave because the progeny were getting restless and I absolutely could not let them run around with that death trap of a pool.
All in all I feel like this place is super cool for grown up kids (i.e. parents without their kids) or for school aged kids. There are tons of activities for kids that don't require supervision for survival. If you're kids younger or prone to making stupid spontaneous decisions about unsupervised bodies of water, then maybe make another choice.
- High Chairs - No
- Changing Tables - No
- Alcohol - Lots of craft beer on tap and some cans
- Food - Associated restaurant across the parking lot, pizza, paninis, standard bar food
- Kids Menu - Yes but only offers grilled cheese
- Activities - Board games, darts, giant Jenga, kids book cabinet
- Staff Kid Friendly - tolerant
- Patrons Kid Friendly - tolerant
- Dog Friendly - Yes
Good to Know
- Great for school aged children, not for young children
- large unfenced decorative pool with fountains - not safe
- inside area with closing garage doors and TVs for bad weather
- High Chairs - NO
- Changing Table - one in unisex bathroom
- Alcohol - beer & wine
- Food - Cheese boards, Appetizers, ice cream & popsicle cooler
- Kids Menu - NO
- Activities - sand pit, bocce, crates of toys, tons of grass and room for kids running
- Staff Kid Friendly - yes
- Patrons Kid Friendly - yes
- Dog Friendly - yes
Good to Know
- Outside food and drinks welcome (not alcohol). Can bring coolers
- Grills available for use
- Picnic Tables
**This is a guest review by Bequi, mom of 4 year old girl and 1 year old boy, and all around awesome lifelong friend!
Love Letter to the Little Red Chair
There is so much stuff for kids, so much, way too much. I confess that we own most everything…mostly sleep related stuff because my first child refused to sleep for like THREE YEARS!! but that’s a story for another day. Today we talk about this magical (I love that word) red chair. It doesn’t only come in red, that just happens to be the color that I own because I love red. This type of chair comes in many different brands, the one I own is the Inglesina Fast Table Chair, so I can only speak for that specific one, although I’m guessing they are all pretty similar. I got this chair as a hand me down from my SIL and thought it was cute but wasn't sure if I would actually use it. I mean, I own a high chair, why do I need another one that just hangs from a counter or table? Then I discovered ALL THE POSSIBILITIES. This chair travels everywhere. It can go to any restaurant and connect to any table. So all those places that don’t have high chairs available, or those fabulous outdoor spots that only have picnic tables or high tops…solution. But it gets better! Even if there are high chairs available they require a decent amount of space. This little buddy can hook onto a table right over a booth seat so you don’t need high chair space. It can also snuggle between two larger people in real chairs on a smaller table. But wait, THERE'S MORE! This chair sits higher than a traditional high chair. So for the littlest people, it holds them at an actual eating and/or interacting level at a table. If any of you have ever thrown a one year old in a traditional restaurant high chair, you have probably noticed that they can barely even reach the table. When our babies are super little, like 4 months little, we put them in this magic chair and just shove a jacket, snack bag, or whatever softish object is traveling in my diaper bag, behind the kid and it helps them sit up at the table like a big kid.
I seriously cannot sing this chair’s praises enough. I encourage every pregnant person to register for one and every new parent to run out and buy one. Without this chair our BeersWithKids travels would absolutely not be possible.
This blog is sponsored by…except I’m not sponsored. How about, this website made possible by, but not funded by, the fantastic Inglesina chair!!
Even though it is SUPPOSED to be Spring here in the South, it was a pathetic 55 degrees today…sad. So we decided to hit up one of our favorite regular kid friendly pizza joints, South Coast Pizza. (BTW, if y’all haven’t checked out South Knoxville, you’re really missing out.)
South Coast Pizza is in a pretty unassuming building, across from Alliance Brewing Company. Outside there are three picnic style tables for if the weather is nice enough, but we prefer this place when the weather requires indoor accommodations. Inside there are a ton more picnic tables, a couple pull up chairs and two high chairs…ONLY TWO. We always bring our chair that attaches to the actual table for the little one (for those of you who don’t know what this is, I may do an entire post about it because I love it SO MUCH.)
This place serves killer pizza and good enough salads and is always a kid food pleaser. As far as entertainment, I’m not sure that this restaurant is meant to be as kid friendly as they are, but they definitely are. There are several old school arcade style video games right by the front door. My 3 year old loves to sit in the car game and pretend he’s driving without it ever even turning on.
There is also a giant fish tank, for child staring and pointing purposes. But most importantly there are VIDEO GAMES!! I’m not talking fancy 3D, million button, mind corrupting systems, I mean old school Nintendo. So simple, so fantastic, so little kid doable.
Again, I feel that all these things may have been intended for adults to relive their childhood, but kids love it. They love it so much that on a random Tuesday night, before 6pm, there were at least 9 children under the age of 5 running around like crazy people while their parents all sat at tables and drank beer. Yes beer, good beer, lots of beer. South Coast offers about 8 draft taps as well as tons of canned craft beers.
Bonus...the people who work here are so sweet, they gave my son a stuffed fish they had on display just because he liked it.
This is totally a place where you can enjoy a good beer, good food, and your kids can be wild. Just keep it inside.
Although this post is very delayed, I have to talk about the place that inspired Beer with Kids, The Hunter-Gatherer Brewery Hangar.
Several weeks ago, we trekked down to Columbia, South Carolina to get a puppy. Why exactly did I feel that having a 3 year old, a 1 year old and a 4 year old Pit Bull was not enough life chaos?? I HAVE NO IDEA. We’re nuts. Regardless, we all packed up and made the trip down for an overnight stay.
After hitting up the adorable children’s museum, we really wanted to go somewhere where we could all eat, the kids would be welcome and Mom and Dad could have a recovery drink. So, we started our usual method of searching through review sites to find places that could be good possibilities. This is always a long tedious process that often requires driving by several places until we find the right fit.
We found the HG Hangar and WOW. (Believe it or not, Yelp says this place is not kid friendly…I can’t figure that out.)
This Brewery is actually in a giant old refurbished airplane hangar. It seemed to me to be somewhat in the middle of nowhere, but I am not from the area so I could be totally wrong. We actually thought the GPS was taking us to the wrong place, then BAM, there it was.
The inside of the hangar is a giant, open brewery. There’s also a bar that serves beer and wine, and booth seating.
The day we were there the hangar doors were open and the wind was a little chilly, I would just recommend bringing a jacket. It seemed like the inside is probably closed off when the weather isn’t nice. It is seat yourself, we had no problem finding high chairs in the back. They only offer pizza, pretzels, salads and some limited apps for food, which you order and pickup from the bar. Let me tell you though, we got a couple different pizzas and the pretzels and they were fantastic! Our kids ate everything and so did we. After eating we decided to walk around outside to the back of the hangar, and that was where the real magic was.
There was a huge field and tons of kids playing soccer, hula hooping, and basically running around like lunatics. The whole area was mostly fenced, and the unfenced parts were super visible. The best part though, there were tons of PARENTS drinking beer, hanging out, and not having to micromanage their children. Kids having a blast, parents letting loose, perfect Beers With Kids experience!!
We left and decided that there needed to be a better way to find places like this, and BeersWithKids was born.