Des Moines is NOT boring

Des Moines Family Date Night at Exile

It had been a while since we tried anywhere new for family date night. And I have to confess, with our daughter having now entered the “Terrible Two’s” phase, I’ve been somewhat wary of a dinner outing. Just last weekend, we went to a local bookstore for a browse around and it turned into tantrum central. Overall, our daughter has been pretty mellow, and that incident was apparently not enough to deter me from living on the edge and continuing family date nights. It was time to try something new.

206037_351837091548732_454850041_nI’ve been to Exile Brewing a couple of times – once for a girls night out, and once for lunch with Tom. Great experience in both cases, so I thought it would be a good one to try out with the kiddo. Now, perhaps trying it out on a Saturday night was not the best idea. At least by getting there at 5pm we didn’t have to wait for a table, but I was amazed at how busy it was already. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given that Exile is still relatively new and very much a hot ticket.

Happy with being seated quickly, we settled in at our table for two with high-chair. Crayons and something to draw on are always appreciated. And the kids menu was pretty classic fare – mac n’ cheese, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, cheese burger, etc. Our little one opted for a cheese burger (something she doesn’t get at home) and it was a cute little meal – two mini cheeseburgers with a side of fries. Tom and I both opted for pasta dishes, and of course a pint of beer. I’m partial to the “Hannah” brew – refreshing with clove and spice.

After ordering, I surveyed the room to see if there were other tables with children – usually a good indicator of kid-friendliness. There was one table with a couple of pre-teens, and a couple of others with infants cozily ensconced in their car seats. But we were the only one with a toddler. I may have been a tad off my rocker to try a Saturday night.

There were a few issues with the kitchen getting dishes out quickly enough (and at the same time as the rest of the table’s dishes) but our server was excellent and empathetic. To make up for the delay, we were treated to dessert. Our daughter developed a love of brownies at a recent family event, so that’s what we ordered along with a slice of the ice-cream cake. The three of us were in dessert heaven.

There was a significant crowd waiting for tables as we left ours. All told, we had been there about 90 minutes. And no toddler melt-downs (despite my anticipatory stress). Will we go back? Yes, definitely. But more likely on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.