In addition to finding menu options that finicky kid diners will eat (and enjoy), locating a restaurant that suits adults and kids alike isn't always easy.
Most places welcome kids, of course, but parents can usually tell the minute they walk through the door how much stress is on the menu at a restaurant.
After a couple visits we've come to realize that the franchised Joey's Seafood and Grill (born in Canada in 1985) on the northeast tip of Brookfield, 12455 W. Capitol Dr. can be that go-to place for families when parents don't want to eat fast food or at a diner but, at the same time, know that their kids aren't quite ready for Eddie Martini's.
Another great go-to place for us is Maxie's, but it can sometimes get super busy, which can be a problem with little ones.
Joey's plates up a really good fish fry, fish tacos and even a gator po boy, among many other dishes, including a range of daily specials that can be a good value. There's also a kids menu with good options.
Our first visit, months ago, was at lunch. Joey's was doing a decent business, but it wasn't crowded and we weren't the only family there. The kids loved looking at the giant fish tank just inside the door.
We returned last night for another visit, this time for dinner, and we had an ace server who knew just how to keep everyone at the table occupied and satisfied. And, once again, we were just one of a number of families dining with small children.
Seeing the kids' fascination with the creatures in the tank, our server seated us directly behind it so the kids could marvel at it, while we perused the menu and ordered.
Small containers of Goldfish crackers awaited the kids at the table and were a godsend (we decided on dinner at the last minute and so couldn't do our usual pre-restaurant prep).
The $3.99 kids meals – fried fish, chicken fingers, mac 'n' cheese, quesadilla, etc. – come with a side. We choose a mac 'n' cheese with orange slices and a quesadilla with fries.
When one didn't want the quesadilla, our waitress brought us another mac 'n' cheese and although we paid for it, she was able to roll a side of hush puppies that I ordered into that price, saving us a bit.
I had the two fish tacos, which were built around giant fried haddock filets and had cabbage, pico de gallo and a creamy salsa blanca. They're a steal at $7.99 with red beans and rice and coleslaw on the side.
Our fourth diner had a shrimp trio plate that had three coconut shrimp, three battered shrimp and six more prepared a variety of ways, of your choosing, along with a couple sides for $14.49.
We were all satisfied with our meals, the kids had a great time, the service was friendly and helpful and speedy enough that we managed to slip out just before the kids reached boiling point and the final tab was easy to swallow.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.