Port Ludlow’s Fireside Restaurant Does the Kid’s Menu Right

What do you do when the kid’s menu at your restaurant just isn’t cutting it with the children you’re serving?

You could change the offerings to what you think kids would like, but how accurate will that be? Or you could create an event where children actually choose what they want on the menu. That’s precisely what happened at The Fireside at The Resort at Port Ludlow in Port Ludlow, Wash.

A plea was sent out to find children interested in taking part in a “Tasting Event” just for them. The judging panel was made up of five children representing ages 5-10. Each judge donned an authentic chef jacket, which they were allowed to keep, before embarking on their tastings.

Rose Peterson showing off the new kid's menu she helped create.

Rose Peterson, who was seven years old when she participated, and the other judges tasted and critiqued a variety of menu items and voted for their favorites. Each child then selected one menu item that would be named after him or her.

Liza’s house noodles with garlic bread, Taylor’s tenderloin steak, Journey’s banana split, Megan’s chocolate mousse and Rose’s sliders became permanent menu items. But the judge’s responsibilities didn’t end there. They also had a week to create art that illustrated their chosen menu item.

Now when a child receives their own menu at The Fireside, it is illustrated with authentic children’s art and the items listed have a real kid’s seal of approval.

Rose enjoyed her judging and never orders anything but her sliders when dining at The Fireside. She also helps out by watering the herbs whenever she’s in the neighborhood.

14 thoughts on “Port Ludlow’s Fireside Restaurant Does the Kid’s Menu Right

    1. Heather Larson Post author

      Maybe that will happen in the future. This is already progress from chicken fingers and hot dogs.

  1. Kerry Dexter

    interesting idea, and great for marketing. I’d like to see a follow up with veggies or perhaps dishes that would introduce the kids to new tastes — but that might be an idea that’d go over better when done at home as MKES suggests.

  2. Bob DuBos

    What a novel idea. Instead of the typical we know best, asking the targeted market what they would like, listening to them, and having them participate. I bet they actually order and eat this stuff. You have to love that they also had them do the artwork. This is an excellent business idea more places should try.

  3. Jeanine Barone

    I’m surprised more restaurants don’t do this. It’s a great idea and relatively easy to implement. And having the kids do more than simply judging their favorites but illustrating the dish reminded me a bit of Top Chef where the participants have to design menus. I wonder if this tasting could work for having kids judge healthy foods or suggest how to make foods more healthy that then would be added to the menu.

  4. merr

    Brilliant! Do you remember, back in the 70s, that PBS show called Zoom…this kind of has that feel in that I bet once kids see that other kids have had a part in shaping the menu, they will want to do it, too. (Back in the 70s, every kids who saw Zoom I think wanted to be on it…I know I did!)

  5. Lisa

    Mario on the show called the “CHEW” today, said that Roses fireside diner was his favorite diner to go to when he lived in Washington State.

    1. Heather Larson Post author

      Thank you for letting me know about Mario Batali. I didn’t know he grew up here. That was a different restaurant, though, that has since burned down.


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