Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary meal at Square 1682 to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
The kids and I recently had lunch at Square 1682, the restaurant and bar at the Hotel Palomar in Center City. In my pre-kid TV production days, Square 1682 was one of my favorite happy hour spots. I had never eaten at Square 1682 (aside from the phenomenal truffle popcorn and dangerously delicious cocktails), so I was delighted when the opportunity arose to try out their newly unveiled kids menu.
At first glance, Square 1682 doesn’t seem like the type of restaurant where I’d typically bring the kiddos. Cork ceilings, geometric wallpaper, and contemporary light fixtures don’t generally scream, ‘we have crayons’, but Square 1682 actually happens to be one of the more kid-friendly restaurants in the city. Known for its use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, the corner restaurant at 17th & Sansom has recently launched a new progressive kids menu. The brainchild of Chef Caitlin Mateo (whom my daughter says looks like Tinkerbell), Square 1682’s kids menu is designed with children of all ages in mind. The menu is broken into three sections: Mini Bites, Littler Kids and Bigger Kids. The Mini Bites menu consists of dishes designed with little hands in mind. Easy-to-grab foods like deviled eggs and sliced apples with yogurt dip are perfect for younger children. The Littler Kids menu offers slightly larger portions of dishes like chicken skewers and veggie dumplings. For the Bigger Kids, Square 1682 offers more ‘grown up’ fare such as sautéed shrimp, roast turkey wraps and beef fajitas. The kids menu is definitely something to get excited about, but the real fun is in the dessert. As kids wait for their meals, they get to decorate Chef Caitlin’s housemade cookie dough. Once their meal is served, the cookies are taken away to be baked and then served as dessert!
When the kids, my friend Jakkie and I arrived for lunch, we were quickly seated at a table with two high chairs, coloring sheets and crayons. There was plenty of room to park our stroller next to the table without it being in anyone’s way, which hardly ever happens in Center City! Our server was very attentive and super sweet, and immediately brought water for the table (tiny cups with straws and lids for the kiddos – woohoo!).
We began our meal with the Deviled Eggs (Chef Caitlin’s family recipe) and Artichoke Hummus, both of which were delicious. I also tried the ‘Beets Me’, a yummy raw juice made fresh at the bar. Soon our server brought out little trays with heart and dinosaur shaped cookies for Miller and Maddox to decorate. They eagerly
dumped ungodly amounts of sugar on decorated their cookies with the provided toppings as we waited for our meal. For our meals, Jakkie had the Crispy Calamari, I had the Black Bean Quinoa Burger (served with a phenomenal cranberry couscous), and Miller and Maddox had Mini Burgers and Broccoli Tempura respectively. Let me just say, that while our entire meal was fabulous, I have been dreaming about Maddox’s Broccoli Tempura for the last few days. So yummy!
Square 1682’s kids menu is special for several reasons. There is a fantastic variety of relatively healthy meal options available in age-appropriate portions. The menu offers traditional kids menu fare like grilled cheese and cheeseburgers, but also introduces alternatives like Broccoli Tempura and Veggie Dumplings. My daughter won’t eat ANYTHING unless she can use ‘dippy’ (she even dips cantaloupe in ketchup…), so I particularly appreciated how most meal options included some sort of dipping sauce. The ‘Bake Your Own Cookie’ activity is a brilliant way to entertain hungry kids as they wait for their meal. A mother of three, Chef Caitlin has crafted a menu that cleverly employs those mealtime tricks mothers use to get their kiddos to eat. On behalf of moms everywhere…thank you.
We were really pleased with our experience at Square 1682. Our meal was delicious and the service couldn’t have been better. Thoughtful details like lidded cups and cookie decorating emphasized the idea that Square 1682 is a kid-friendly place. Not only are kids welcome at Square 1682, but they are treated like VIPs.
Emily’s Tip: With a great wine and beer selection and delicious seasonal cocktails to compliment Chef Caitlin’s creative blend of comfort food and contemporary cuisine, Square 1682 is also a great date night spot for Mom & Dad sans kids. Evenings at Square 1682 offer a more intimate, romantic environment, perfect for a parents’ night out!