I grew up on Knollwood Lane, right next to Royle School. And the big rite of passage when I was growing up was the ability to “go downtown,” unchaperoned. Essentially what the meant was that, in 6th grade, me and my friend Anne were allowed to walk down the sidewalk of Mansfield Ave all the way into town, where, feeling very grown up, we would get a table at Post Corner Pizza and have lunch “by ourselves.” I put that in quotes because we knew that one of our parents was circling the restaurant in their car the whole time keeping an eye on us.
Looking back, I am absolutely amazed that we were even served lunch at Post Corner, given how young we were — we paid in quarters from our allowance savings and probably never tipped more than $0.25 — but that’s an example of what a family-oriented place Post Corner was then and – as it turns out – still is today. However, the only time I ever at IN the restaurant growing up was on Saturday excursions downtown; the rest of the time we would enjoy take out from them and eat that delicious pizza at home.
So a few weeks ago, when my friend invited me to bring the baby and meet her and her kids there for dinner, it struck me as a novel idea. I mean, it wouldn’t have occured to me (since it wasn’t my experience growing up) to eat dinner AT the restaurant, but great!
It was a Thursday night, I think, and the plan was to meet at 6:00pm. As I wheeled the baby’s stroller past the huge picture window of the restaurant towards the front door, I did a double-take.
It was, literally, ALL MOMS AND KIDS. I guess I’m not sure what I was expecting to see … as someone who is only newly a parent, and who moved back here from Manhattan, I must be used to seeing four-tops and booths filled with adults. Instead, what I saw was Moms at varying levels of composure that seemed directly proportional to the number of children she had at her table and the stage of the meal. Some were smiling and chatting animatedly with their children while sipping their sodas and waiting for their pizza to arrive; some had pursed lips while doling out slices of pizza to kids who were pointing at a different piece than the ones they were handing over (and you knew where THAT was going!); some were staring absently into space while their children wiped pizza in each others’ hair… Through the window, it was like watching a silent ballet.
A glorious, mother and child silent ballet! And I thought: how awesome. Okay, so once inside the restaurant it was less “ballet” and more “circus,” but still: a place to come with the kids for some quality mother-child bonding where: a) they allow you to stay, b) people at the table next to you or behind you aren’t glaring at you or “tsk”ing loudly and c) the food is really good. AWESOME.
And by the way, I might have said “circus” but I do not mean that it’s noisy and that there are babies screaming and spitballs flying over your head — if anything, it’s all very civilized. And an enjoyable, kid-friendly experience.
Now this was a weeknight, and I can’t speak for weekends or that this is the norm over at Post Corner, but I’m just delighted with the discovery. For me, it’s a new take on an old favorite.