Going out to eat with littles can be a bit of an adventure. And by adventure, I exhausting. These delightful darlings can be so wonderful at home, but coop them up in a high chair for an hour and they turn into wild animals trying to break free. At least, that’s how my toddler gets. Sometimes.
Add the inevitable Mother’s Day restaurant crowd, and it’s not exactly a recipe for a relaxing celebration. That’s all we moms want for our big day . . . time with our loved ones, a good meal, and then maybe if we’re lucky, a nap.
Instead of fighting the crowd at your favorite restaurant, let the food come to you. Since I’m one of those moms who rarely cooks, I’ve made a list of my favorite take-out spots in Fort Worth that can help you and your family enjoy a relaxing day together without fighting crowds or cranky kiddos.
Zoe’s Kitchen: If you’re a big family in need of a big meal without a big tab, then swing by Zoe’s. It offers a great family meal that’s kid friendly, healthy, and easy to transport. Its spinach roll-ups are low-cal, and the chocolate cake is divine.
Clearfork Food Park: If you decide you want to avoid a restaurant so the kids can burn off energy without bothering the neighbors, and if the weather is good, a food truck park might be your answer. My favorite park is near TCU and offers a covered pavilion and a view of the river. And, as my grandfather used to say, “Everyone can get what they want.” Between you and me, mama usually wants something from the cupcake truck for dessert.
Mamma Mia’s: My family’s current “regular” (as in, you can probably spot us there most Friday nights) spot is Mamma Mia’s off Belknap. The food is great, but even better, the parking is easy and you can run in and pick up your order without any fuss. When you order, get the pink sauce; it’s the best kept secret on the menu. Also, for those of you looking for a dine-in option with littles, this one has plenty of space for them to move around. It’s never crowded. Plus, it has crayons.
Central Market’s Cafe: Central Market is a foodie’s Disneyland. Mom can take a day off from cooking but still enjoy a fabulous “home”-cooked meal. Just send in Dad for takeout, and remind him to swing by the floral section while he’s there (hint hint).
Max’s Wine Dive: Girls, the PB&J wings will make you want to lick your plate . . . and I don’t even LIKE wings. It offers a fantastic brunch on Sunday, and Max’s is famous for its southern fried chicken. You should probably wear your stretchy pants for this one.
Spice: Two words: Pad Thai. The best I’ve ever had, and trust me, I’m a Pad Thai kind of girl. If you’re also a spring roll, pot sticker, or egg roll kind of girl, then you’ll love it too. Know that most of its dishes tend to run on the spicy side, so if that’s not your thing, just ask them to tone it down for you; they will.
Reata: Let me tell you a few secrets about Reata. The lunch menu is much less than its dinner menu and is available seven days a week until 2:30 p.m. This means your family can enjoy your favorite gourmet dinner on less-than-gourmet prices. Even better, there should be free parking nearby on a weekend, or you can take advantage of the free valet (but don’t forget to tip) while you run in and grab your meal. Reata does a wonderful job of boxing it so that it travels and reheats well. You know what travels the best? That homemade banana pudding. Yum.
Chef’s Point: It’s a gas station, but it’s also an amazing restaurant that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It’s also the place that my husband and I splurge on fancy take-out date nights so we can indulge in the best fried green tomatoes you will ever put in your mouth while our toddler plays with her Legos at our feet. It’s heavenly. Whether you order the “Better than Sex Fried Chicken” (am I blushing?), or my favorite, the crab cake pasta, every item you try will blow your mind.
The Tavern: Everything is good at The Tavern on Hulen. I know this because I have literally eaten EVERYTHING on the menu. My favorites are the deviled eggs and the cast iron skillet cornbread (tell your kids to order their own because you won’t want to share). The Tavern offers a brunch menu until 2:00 p.m., or you can order off the regular menu all day.
Fort Worth moms, what are your favorite places to grab take-out for a family gathering? We would love to hear your suggestions in the comments!