One of the games we played when first moved to the CHill was a weekly restaurant excursion. Every Tuesday—and we picked Tuesday as the night we were least likely to have trouble getting a table, discovering in doing so, that many restaurants offer deep discounts on this, the least popular weeknight, for exactly that reason—one of the family would get to unilaterally and incontrovertibly select the destination of his or her choice. This was done with considerable fanfare, to the point of some entering the address into the GPS in advance, so that no-one would know where we were going until we pulled into the parking lot.
It was a good way to get to know the many fine local restaurants, and it produced a number of great family stories, like the discussion with a spunky waitress of restaurant pet peeves (one of the Gs cannot stand bare-midriffed servers (I don’t know where that came from, but have been on the lookout ever since)); the waitstaff that kept making mistakes, and then atoning for them with increasingly generous giveaways; and the BG’s unfounded apprehension about a visit to the seemingly unfriendly named “Spanky’s.”
We unofficially retired the practice after about a year, as schedules filled up, Worldwide tired of the burgers/pizza places favoured by the younger set, and the Gs were disinclined to try anything new. In fact, on recent occasions, they have spurned proposals in favour of an at-home dinner, leaving Worldwide and I the opportunity to enjoy the also-pleasant experience of kid-free dining. But the BG has been talking wistfully of late about our visit to the Chinese buffet in Durham, so I may try resurrecting the tradition, or some form of it, in the Fall. My Top 5 family experiences, in no particular order:
These aren’t the best restaurants in town, but each, in its own way, did a good job of having something for everyone, and of making the family experience a pleasant one. That’s a tall order when you’re facing an epicure, a vegetarian, a healthy diner, and a picky eater.