North Market for Kids

Rainy day and need a fresh idea for a morning out with the kids?  Sometimes sitting down in a traditional restaurant with young children can be a circus (for us, every time it is), so we like to try something totally different and a little more active and engaging than usual.

If you haven't been to the North Market, it is easily accessible by 315 and has its own parking lot. We always go in the morning, when there is front row parking with a covered walkway. Don't forget to take your parking ticket inside for validation and it will be $2. Forget it and it will cost you $10!

Early in the morning, we love the sights and sounds of the market coming alive. The popcorn popping, the little lobster friends (she looks for lobsters wherever we go shopping!), fresh foods being delivered, and of course, beautiful flowers to admire from Market Blooms.

My first stop is Pistacia Vera for an iced Cafe Brioso coffee. There are many coffee choices at the market, but we enjoy looking at the goodies in the case and getting Larkyn a big old cup of milk from the kind ladies at Pistacia.

Next, it is Destination Donuts for sure. They have a different menu every day, and you never know what innovative flavor will pop up next. I am kicking myself for not trying the pineapple macadamia bacon!  Alas, I am a sucker for their chocolate ganache. Sometimes it has crunchy chocolate pearls on top, sometimes sprinkles. Lakyn had a maple cinnamon roll, and my mom has liked the plain glazed.

It is fun to sit at the counter and watch the staff make the donuts. They continue making them throughout the day, so we were glad when they didn't run out as we came back for some to go.

Other breakfast ideas are Omega Artisan Baking (cinnamon rolls, muffins, croissants) and Taste of Belgium (Belgian waffles and crepes). We hope to expand our breakfast palate, but it is pretty hard to talk the kids out of Heather's donuts.

While your breakfast is settling, take a look around. You will find some gift ideas from a Better Earth and a zillion things you totally need for the kitchen (I must have the copper mugs from The Source and want to know who is in charge of their hilarious signage!) There are fun things to touch and look at, but a bit of a tight squeeze for strollers in these areas.

Seating options at this early time are pretty open. Take the elevator or stairs up to the open-air second level and take your pick. There is a great little conversation area set up in one corner, where I settled in with some magazines and Larkyn played with my phone until we were ready for lunch (good conversation, right?). I noticed a lot of kids see the upstairs area as sort of liberating...many using it as a runway to take flight (as toddlers and preschoolers do) and some for their Iron Man training.

There are SO MANY lunch ideas, from Indian to deli, to Polish, to hot dogs. Obviously I cannot list them all, but we hope to work our way through them. Because this guide is based on what my kids request, we have gone with pasta from Pastaria and fried chicken from Hot Chicken Takeover most recently (and because I am a die-hard fried chicken fan, HCT will have a separate post soon).

Pastaria has all their dishes lined up on the counter so that you can see exactly what you will be getting. Or to make the decision ten times harder because it all looks amazing. Simple spaghetti and meat sauce was a hit for Rhys to share with me one day. It comes with Italian bread and garlic butter that I would put on anything. My mom enjoyed her linguine with clam sauce. I have taken lobster raviolis home to cook myself and they are delicious!

On another day (I won't lie, today. The BEST day) we tried Hot Chicken Takeover. I felt a little weird creeping around for their opening time of 11:00, but I am sure glad we did. The line quickly grew to 27 people, which would have made me turn away at any other place. But, somehow they managed to get the food out to us within 7 minutes, and I get the feeling that 27 people deep is nothing to them. My advice is to go right at 11:00 or call ahead for a to-go order that you can take out to eat on the market's huge, covered patio.

Have your order ready as soon as you walk up. They make it easy with just a few choices: What kind of chicken meat do you want and how hot do you want it?  The "Cold" white meat bone-in is my choice and Larkyn (who never. ever. eats her kids' meals) really liked her chicken in the kids meal. Water and sweet tea is free, so you are set on drinks.

Staff is helpful and checked in with us a few times, which I appreciate. And there is so much hustle and bustle that Larkyn never had a moment to get bored waiting!

The North Market is a fun alternative to a ho-hum morning out.  We are nowhere close to trying all the wonderful food available, so please let us know if you've tried something we should have next. If the weather is nice, try a walk along Front Street to nearby Goodale Park. And if you have a group of 10 or more, you can arrange a Market Tour for $15.

The details:

The North Market
59 Spruce Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

1 comment:

Nana said...

What a great visit to The Market! The chicken with Mac and Cheese were great from Chicken Takeover! I'm looking at my donut still and it is driving me nuts! Upstairs was a great place for the kids to just run and run.

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