A New York Times article from last April discloses the dinner table dynamics of a few notable families, including Jonathan Safran and the Foers and Rahm and the Emanuels. While in literary, academic, or otherwise heady households dinnertime with kids can mean debating politics or analyzing culture, it's usually the exception to the rule. That said, the article serves as a good reminder that the trend to include kids in dinner conversation has grown over the decades.
It's also pretty clear that kids talk more when they like what they're eating. And if there's any way to please palates of all ages, it's by ordering breakfast for dinner. If you end up parenting children who naturally disengage or are glued to their phones, try plopping a stack of hot pancakes in front of them at 6 p.m. and see if the mood shifts. While there aren't many Seattle restaurants serving breakfast all day, there are a few that walk the line between well-worn and welcoming. In other words, the kind of places where you'll want to eat and talk more.
5. Beth's Cafe
It's an American right of passage for heavy-hearted teens flock to Big Boy and Denny's to drink watery coffee and journal. There's something about all-night diners that draws out emotion, especially in the hormonally overemotional. And even if you bring younger kids to Beth's Cafe in the early evening, the atmosphere will give you plenty of conversation starting points beyond the usual what-did-you-do-in-school-today exchange. A hole-in-the-wall with a lot of history and a 12-egg omelet of legend, Beth's has been featured on almost every food and travel channel show in existence. It's been around for almost 60 years, serving mondo cinnamon rolls and lightened up mini breakfasts all night long.4. Luna Park Cafe
Luna Park Cafe sits near the former Luna Park Amusement Park on Alki. Home of attractions like the Canals of Venice, Cave of Mystery, and particularly confounding Infant Electrobator, Luna Park closed in 1913. The diner has been open for more than 20 years and it's all kitsch. Breakfast is served all day, starring the classic eggs benedict and florentine. There's also a slew of hobos, with eggs, hash browns, veggies, and meat scrambled into a hot heap.
A longstanding fixture in the center of Columbia City, Geraldine's Counter serves reasonably priced, freshened up diner fare. The bacon, egg, and arugula sandwich and breakfast casserole with sausage, eggs, and hash browns are just as or more filling than most entrees. Kids are offered downsized versions of pancakes or eggs, toast, and taters.
2. Five Spot
Like its siblings the Hi-Life in Ballard and Endolyne Joe's in West Seattle, Queen Anne's Five Spot hasn't changed much over the years. With its vintage-style fixtures and general mismatched quirkiness, the Chow Foods restaurant consistently features a breakfast item into the night. While it's nothing fancy, the meat, potatoes, eggs, and toast plate is consistent and kid-approved.
It's been open for just over a year, but Skillet's brick and mortar Capitol Hill location operates with an ease usually obtained by long-standing neighborhood joints. Every type of Tom, Dick, and Harry eats here, and the nature of Skillet's comfort food mitigates the scenester tendencies of neighboring restaurants. In part, that's probably because diners spend more time devouring generous portions than people watching. Sweet and savory breakfast for dinner options include a pile of griddle cakes that come to life with lemon zest, almost famous biscuits with sage gravy, and already famous pork belly plopped on a crispy cornmeal waffle alongside a couple of eggs. But be careful, instead of inspiring family discourse, Skillet's food might make you want to take a nap.