Pros: Family friendly, non-alcoholic atmosphere with good breakfast and desserts.
Cons: Frankly, its a little bland and boring. Better alternative to fast food joints.
I shudder at the thought of taking my 7-year-old out to restaurant.
It?s not that I don?t try to teach the little tyke manners, it?s just that he?s a 7-year-old boy. So, just about the only place we go out to eat as a family anymore is somewhere that they ask ?Do ya want fries with that??
Therefore, when I?m looking for a little more in a meal, and somewhere that I can get waited on, we usually end up going to very family-friendly places like Village Inn or Perkins. They aren?t exciting, they don?t have the greatest cuisine to offer, but I can cram my son into the corner of a booth, with either his father or myself on guard between him and the aisle, and he will sit still, eat his dinner, and behave (somewhat).
A few weeks ago, on a Friday night, I decided it was dinner-out and movie night. We hit the Village Inn. Being it was a Friday night during Lent, I expected to find a plethora (or at least an offering) of fish or seafood at the restaurant. WRONG. And of course, I had my heart set on fish or seafood; there was one menu item and it didn?t appeal to me, so I got chicken instead.
My son loves pancakes. One draw of Village Inn is that they a limited offering of kid?s meals that appeal to the younger set ? pancakes, chicken nuggets, hamburgers. Not especially nutritious ? chocolate chip pancakes, side dishes of french fries (no veggies or salad?), but we got him to order the most nutritious item: ?Bear? pancake (one pancake, scrambled egg, and link sausage) and milk. It?s served on the plate arranged to look like a bear, which is fun and gets him to eat it. Not that getting him to eat pancakes is all that difficult! (It?s a good thing he can?t read fluently yet; I would have had a hard time getting past that chocolate chip thing.)
The chicken sandwich that I got was tasty, but not memorable?it was a plain chicken breast, with avocado and Monterey Jack cheese. While the sandwich was offered with french fries, I requested a dinner salad instead. Substitution was no extra charge.
My husband ordered chicken-fried steak, which came with a salad and potato side. Again, bland, ho-hum food that will fill you up, but not make you go out and rant and rave about how fabulous it was.
Breakfast, including pretty darn good omelets, pancakes, french toast, etc., are available anytime the restaurant is open. I usually order breakfast (even for dinner), and am rarely disappointed. While the dinners and sandwiches are not bad, they?re awfully dull fare?I would opt for the breakfast food instead.
The best thing about the Village Inn is their pies, provided you have time and room at the end of your meal. The French Silk pie (hubby?s favorite) is the right blend of chocolate that will melt in your mouth. Fruit pies (my favorites) are filled with luscious, juicy apples, berries, peaches, or whatever your fancy. (Try the sour-cream-rum-raisin, it?s delicious!) A good option to ordering your pie after dinner is to go specifically for pie and coffee (we used to do this in college), or buy a whole pie to take home.
Prices are moderate; dinners and sandwiches are generally between $5.00-9.00 in our region. Kids meals are considerably less. Drinks are not included in the price of your meal, but once ordered, unlimited refills on soft drinks, iced tea, and coffee are included (that?s provided you can catch your waitresses eye!). Service is adequate; you are not going to get the top-notch service you expect at a NICE sit-down restaurant, but you will be a step above the fast-food shops.
A nice service from Village Inn is their pie-sales for fundraisers. While I don?t know a lot about this service (we investigated for a school fund-raising project I was on last year and abandoned it in favor of just blatantly soliciting money); I remember that you purchase pie coupons and resell them. The coupon allows the customer to buy pies at a reduced price, and the school (or whatever charity) gets a percentage of the profit. I?ve been told these work great, especially around the holidays (Easter included!). If you are interested in this, I would contact the restaurant manager directly to ask for details.
I?ve written this review as a balance to the Dick?s Last Resort review written earlier today. While Dick?s is not a family restaurant, Village Inn definitely is. You can bring your kids to Village Inn without worrying about protecting their tender ears or eyes; just make sure they sit in the corner of the booth where you can keep them trapped : )