Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kid-Friendly Restaurant Review: Rock N Roll Ribs

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. You took your kiddies to a restaurant owned by Iron Maiden drummer, Nicko McBrain to eat ribs while surrounded by heavy metal music and paraphernalia? Uh, yeah. And Zoe kinda liked it. I remind people all the time that I am not a food critic, but that I am a kid-friendly restaurant critic, so I will keep this review focused on the kid-friendly aspect of this restaurant. And was it kid-friendly? Well, it wasn’t kid-unfriendly, but I am one of those parents who always bring a “bag of tricks” and am prepared for every situation where my kids may not be catered to.

At www.MyKidsPlate.com, our basic restaurant report card grades a restaurant on 8 areas in which we evaluate whether it is kid-friendly or not and Rock N Roll Ribs did pass some areas, and even surprised me with a couple attributes not listed on this report card that are found on MyKidsPlate’s more comprehensive evaluation.

Let’s start with the kid-friendly basics: Rock N Roll Ribs didn’t have a printed kids menu or activities sheet to keep kids busy and I think they are missing a golden opportunity here. There is a lot they can do with their theme that restaurants like Hard Rock CafĂ© do to incorporate rock music into children’s’ musical culture with a themed kids activities menu. They do offer a kids menu options included on the adults menu. The price falls within the guidelines that our research shows that parents are looking for, however, all of their choices are a bit unhealthy and only come with French fries. Oh well, it is a rib joint after all! I was excited to learn that there was a changing table in the men’s’ room, especially after my recent blog: “Is your favorite restaurant Dad-Friendly”, but was disappointed that they blocked it with shelving and used that area for storage making it impossible for dads to change diapers. In the area of service, the servers weren’t unkind to my children, but they were completely ignored and we were never offered a beverage for the children. They also lacked kid-friendly common sense and brought the kids food out very late and very hot, placing it right in front of them. The restaurant is very small and crowded, so I would recommend leaving the stroller at home or park it outside.

All of these issues are very manageable and can be fixed, but I had the impression from the owner and General Manager, Rick Baum, that he was not interested in my opinion about adapting to be more kid-friendly. Most of the challenges that we had during our dining experience were service related. At MyKidsPlate.com, we have always believed that not every restaurant has to be a Chuck E. Cheese to be kid-friendly. We think that themed restaurants work very well. Sports bars are a perfect example; the noise level is perfect for kids to blend in, the TVs are entertaining for kids and adults and with a bar for adults and restaurant for families they can cater to both market segments.

Overall, would I recommend Rock N Roll Ribs? I would say that it’s better for older kids, unless you’re a very prepared and organized parent with little expectations from a restaurant to accommodate a younger child. Bring something to keep the kids busy, food and drinks for them, plan on mom changing diapers and pack your patience. Lower your expectations and you will like Rock N Roll Ribs. I give Rock N Roll Ribs 1 ½ out of 5 spoons.

Rock N Roll Ribs
4651 State Road 7
Coral Springs, FL 33073