Kids’ menus grow up

With childhood obesity increasing yearly, some restaurants are taking more responsibility to offer healthy menus with kid-appeal.

Here’s a sample of some of the more ambitious offerings from three different restaurants: Vong’s Thai Kitchen in Chicago; Orsay Restaurant in New York City; and Atwood Café, in Chicago. Just one look at some of the offerings and you’ll see that none of these restaurants treats the childrens’ menu like child’s play. And most any adult would be glad to partake. If asked.

Vong’s Thai Kitchen
Chef Arnie Tellez created the VTKids menu to introduce youngsters to fun, healthy and easy-to-eat foods that reflect the restaurant’s unique Thai cuisine. Among the choices are Miso-Glazed Chicken Satays ($4.95), Shrimp & Chicken Potstickers ($4.95) and Chicken & Rice Noodles (a milder Pad Thai; $6.95).

Orsay Restaurant
New York City
His daughter’s favorite foods inspired chef Jason Hicks’ children’s menu.The result: simply prepared “grown-up” fare, (grilled salmon or chicken with steamed veggies) sized down for kids, and house-made specials such as Cumberland sausage with mashed potatoes and onion gravy (a reminder of the British-born Hicks’ childhood). All entrées are $10.

Atwood Café
The children’s menu here was born of chef Heather Terhune’s frustration with “handing over a plate of frozen fish sticks or plain pasta to kids” when she knew they deserved (and would eat) better. Instead, she offers baked items that are traditionally fried, such as chicken tenders and sweet potato fries. The kid-friendly grilled shrimp is served as kabobs over pearl couscous. A child’s meal is $10 including dessert and a flavored milk “flight.”


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