Right around the time you hit your mid-30s, it becomes clear that some of the friends you could have imagined ending up with kids have officially opted out of the wild world of parenting. And when you think about lost luxuries, like late-night dinners and regularly scheduled happy hours, who can blame them?
Parenting makes a lot more sense in practice rather than theory, and if you don't have kids it's easy to watch the slow, steady social decline of some of the people in your life that do without a sense of all the other real benefits. In order to keep up relationships with friends after their little ones arrive, you might have to agree to meet for meals at places you probably wouldn't otherwise pick. Case in point is Madrona's Pritty Boys Family Pizzeria.
Last weekend, a rogue toy shopping cart parked by the front door greeted diners before a server. To say it constructively, the enclosed play area marking a corner of the dining room is "well-loved." In contrast to Phinney Market Cafe or Vios in Ravenna, both of which maintain substantial dining room play areas that are organized and weave into the space, the Pritty Boys kid station is a clusterfuck of crazy.
When I asked a really friendly server--and former summer camp counselor--how he navigates the kidsanity, he explains his technique: He stops walking when kids are about to run into him. Then he just stands there and waits for it to happen.
There are some bright spots here--in addition to the main dining room, an adjoining "game lounge" is open during the dinner rush that's geared for older kids and tweens. That's a good idea in a town where more than enough restaurants feature only toddler play areas. Also, there are cheeky nods to pizza parlors from the 70s and 80s in the dining room that bring the right amount of nostalgia, from the red vinyl booths to the novelty vending machines filled with slime balls and plastic doodads.
The East Coast-style pizza at Pritty Boys is nothing fancy, but it's made with quality ingredients and is consistent and filling. The crust holds the right balance of crisp and chew and is topped with plenty of cheese. Pies are sauce-heavy, with the "Lean & Green" featuring a nice marriage of meat and veggies. Diners with diet sensitivities will find options, too--pizzas can be made with vegan cheese, and the kid's menu includes gluten-free mac and cheese.
Should you eat here? It depends. If you dine at Pritty Boys and are on the fence about making babies, the chance you'll be anxious to conceive after your meal are close to zero. But if you have kids and have built a thick skin when it comes to their antics, then give it a shot. I'd venture to say you'll be more than ready for a pint of Manny's by the time you place your order. But since your kids will be well-occupied, you might actually get the chance to have an uninterrupted conversation with other adults at the table.