Saying hello to parenthood can mean bidding goodbye (at least for a few years) to dining out stress-free. Unless your children are part of the rare breed of civilized and patient eaters who inherently observe restaurant etiquette, your typical dining experience usually feels like this: scanning the menu as quickly as possible, pouncing on your waiter to place your order and requesting the check at the same time, bringing a panoply of books and activities in the hopes that other diners won’t give you and your family the stink eye, and leaving behind a table that resembles a nuclear waste site.
So we love the idea of Nibble + squeak, a new dining club that hosts food events for babies and toddlers and their parents or caretakers at upscale restaurants that you would love to eat at, but wouldn’t dare bring your tot to normally. Currently offered in New York and London with plans to expand to other cities, the dining options look amazing, from a farm-to-table buffet to a Michelin-starred Nordic tasting menu to a family-style Caribbean lunch. As enticing as the food looks, the care in considering family-friendly details is what really makes Nibble + squeak so appealing.
Nibble + squeak was started by a mom with a toddler, so the service has a variety of thoughtful components that are ultra-important and add instant convenience, including booking private rooms or the entire restaurant for gatherings, making sure plenty of high chairs and changing mats are available, and offering custom menus. Nibble + squeak also provides a way for foodie parents to meet each other and combine their love of all things culinary with that of parenting in a low-key and welcoming way. And there’s no need to be stressed if your child drops her lunch on her lap or wants a mid-meal feed of her own — you will be in good company! Bonus: Nibble + squeak is geared toward little ones who perhaps haven’t hit the picky stage, so the adventurous menus offer a way for parents to introduce their little foodies to new tastes or to experience some positive peer pressure and be persuaded to at least give an unfamiliar food a try.
I would have loved this service when my tots were tiny. As a work-from-home mom, the days occasionally felt really long and it would have been fun to attend an event where I could bring my kids, get some adult interaction with other parents, and (perhaps most importantly) not have to cobble together a lunch with a baby on one hip and a preschooler tugging on my shirt telling me to hurry up so we can play! The events, which are two to three hours long, are likely much pricier than what many of us typically spend on dining out with our kids, (tickets per adult for current events in NYC range from $24-$125) but tots eat for free and can socialize (or whatever toddlers do) while they begin to learn the basics of dining etiquette. Besides, there’s really no price we can put on being able to reenter the world of restaurant dining and to introduce fine foods to our little ones.
Images via Nibble + squeak on Instagram