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Thread: Play Cafe

  1. #26

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    The opened on Monday.

    Hours: M-TH 7A-5:30P; FR-SU 7A-7P

  2. #27

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Does this restaurant have a website with inside pictures?

  3. #28

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Those are some odd hours. I'm guessing working parents are not their target audience. 5:30pm?

  4. #29

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    I believe it's stay-at-home moms they are targeting.

    One of their tag lines is "Remember when it was fun to leave the house?"

  5. #30

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I believe it's stay-at-home moms they are targeting.

    One of their tag lines is "Remember when it was fun to leave the house?"
    That is...depressing

  6. #31

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    I wish them....luck.

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Worse case they've renovated a building that will make it easier to be more than a pawn shop down the line...

  8. #33

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    And honestly I think it's a good concept, just that their motto isn't exactly upbeat lol

  9. #34

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    They charge a fee for each kid you bring. At this point they may want to consider an exchange program with the new Bar K.
    I'm really curious about their demographic research. It's not a Mother's day out program, you have to stay there with your kids. If you are a non-working parent who wants to get out of house and pay a fee for your kids to play while you eat lunch, I guess this is your mecca.
    Nationally, 1 in 5 parents is not working outside of the home. And up to 50% of of those parents report that finances are part of the reason for staying home i.e. daycare too expensive, kids with special needs, etc.
    Is there something I am missing? This seems like a very narrow population to be courting.

  10. #35

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Seems like the “per kid” fee would be a nice way to keep the number of kids down though. I certainly wouldn’t want to go in there if it is just teeming with kids.

  11. #36

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    This is more-so a coworking type space that you can bring your kids to, not so much a restaurant that is kid friendly. And it makes sense. There are so many work at home parents and working at home is hard to do with a toddler begging you for snacks every 7 minutes.

    They have been packed every day so far. I think its an amazing concept!

  12. #37

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Ok, that makes sense. A co-working space that is child friendly. That would also explain the business hours. That's also a much larger demographic.

  13. #38

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Me and my wife took our kids (2-year-old and 11-week-old) to Play Cafe on Sunday. I like the concept. We'll definitely be back.

    I think many of the comments above are coming from those without toddler-aged children. For us, this was a welcome reprieve from spending another weekend at the Science Museum. We love the Science Museum but when you're there for the third time in 3 weeks.... ugh. Oklahoma City is family friendly but it lacks a good number of indoor spaces to take kids who are too young to be entertained at a Dave and Busters type places. With Oklahoma weather being what it is, indoor spaces are crucial. Take a peek at the MetroFamily article on best indoor places to take kids in OKC and you'll see what I mean. Can't take a toddler to TopGolf, lol. https://www.metrofamilymagazine.com/...oor-fun-guide/

    This concept hit a sweet spot. It is kid-centric without feeling like a daycare. In fact, it feels more like a coffee shop than a play place. It also serves as third place* for young parents. When you're a young parent it's hard to meet people outside of work. Here, we found a bunch of other parents in their late 20s or 30s. It was nice to have our kid play in a controlled environment with kids his age who weren't from daycare. We made parent friends. We had nice coffee and tea. We had hummus and a charcuterie board. It was awesome. Altogether, I think we were there for almost an hour and a half. Our toddler loved it. We've already been making plans about meeting other parent friends for a play date and this is the obvious choice.

    I do agree it is only going to appeal to a certain group of people. I imagine if your kid is over 5 then this place probably isn't for you. I also agree the hours aren't great. My wife and I both work so this place will probably only be a weekend spot for us. That said, I do think the number of stay-at-home moms in the core is pretty decent in size. I just wish they'd be open in the evenings and have a more complete food menu. I hate taking my kids to sit-down restaurants. That would be a home-run.

    We follow their social media account and they do a good job of sending alerts when they are at capacity. They were at capacity most of the weekend, so I think they might be just fine. When I talked with the owner he explained that this concept exists in most large cities and they were perplexed how OKC didn't have one yet.

    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place

  14. #39

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Learn and chill
    Play Cafe allows kids to learn and have fun while parents relax with healthy food and even booze.

    With a menu featuring items like avocado toast and grain bowls inside a modern and clean aesthetic, Play Cafe, 610 NW 23rd St., at first glance might be the next casual, comforting cafe to open in Uptown 23rd District.

    Owner Liz Howald’s favorite moments are when a child enters the family-focused cafe that features a huge play area, a quiet room and a backyard patio stocked with toys and books — but those items remain out of sight for the little ones.

    “Watching kids come in, they don’t see the toys at first,” Howald said. “They’ll wander in and think, ‘It’s just another place that my mom or dad are taking me.’ Then they round that corner and they see the toys and their faces are amazing to watch light up.”

    Howald has a background in education. She has done everything from teaching and curriculum development to teacher education. She’s taking those techniques and applying them to Play Cafe, which is modeled after similar concepts in larger cities in the U.S. and Europe.

    Not only does Play Cafe offer coffee, tea, beer, wine and cocktails centered on a breakfast and lunch menu designed to offer healthy and tasty options that can be catered to dietary needs, it’s an immersive environment for kids to learn while they play.

    “The idea came from desperation,” Howald said. “I have two kids of my own, a 4-year-old and a 6 and a half-year-old. There are a lot of great family-focused, kid-friendly places here, but they’re so very focused on the kid’s experience, and I wanted something where the adults were as happy and excited to go as much as the kids.”

    Using the Montessori Model of Education as inspiration, the main play area is supervised by attendants that have passed an extensive background check and are trained to let kids gravitate toward certain toys and then help them engage in extension activities that are designed to have a learning element.

    There are no battery-operated toys, no large plastic items. Play Cafe works with local retailers like Basal Baby, Plenty Mercantile and Commonplace Books as well as big-box retailers like Target.

    “I like that [the Montessori approach recognizes] that children are capable of so much more than a lot of people give them credit for if you give them the space to try it, learn and fail,” Howald said. “They’re capable of more than what we allow them most of the time. It’s about [learning] life skills, but they feel like they’re playing as they learn to be independent individuals.”

    Play Cafe opened in early January, so Howald said it’s still getting its footing before unveiling ongoing workshops. It will work with local groups like LAFF Lab, Storyteller Theatre Company and Homegrown Learning Company to host regular music classes, story time and craft experiences.

    “We’re working on after-hours programing for parents too, like article club because who has time to read books when you have kids? There will be date night activities like wine and cheese pairings that will coincide with a kids activity so they don’t have to find a babysitter,” she said.

    Food for thought
    Howald said people are surprised to see Play Cafe’s menu doesn’t revolve around pizza and chicken fingers. She devised a menu based around some of her favorite items to make at home and worked with Chris Castro as a consultant to hone in on the flavors of the food and cocktail items.

    For breakfast, Play Cafe offers pastry from local suppliers along with both sweet steel-cut oatmeal (baked apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and a maple pecan oatmeal square crumble) as well as savory (turkey sausage, cheddar, kale, sliced avocado and an egg). It also has a series of toasts made with everything from regular white bread to vegan and gluten-free versions.

    Avocado toast also utilizes pancetta, lemony kale and egg topped with garlic-chipotle dust. The butternut squash toast tops the mash with Boursin cheese, maple pecan crumble and mint. The brled banana toast uses almond butter, brled bananas and a maple-pecan square, and Howald said it has been one of the most popular items.

    Lunch is served until 2:30 p.m. The house vegetable soup has been popular during the early part of the year, but Howald’s favorite item is the grilled cheese with a three-cheese medley that includes Gruyre and goat cheese along with prosciutto, fig jam and basil.

    It offers health-conscious items like lemony kale salad and harvest grain salad along with a chicken club toast and a vegetable and hummus toast.

    Play Cafe has teas from neighboring Urban Teahouse along with coffee from Sincerely Coffee Roasters. Vanessa House Beer Co. and Coop Ale Works supply beer while wine and sparkling wine are available by the glass or the bottle. Cocktails include bloody marys and seasonal offerings like Cranberry Cheery with cranberry simple syrup, lemon, vodka and egg white.

    Play Cafe remains open until 5:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and offers snack boards like a charcuterie board or a Cobb salad board, which is basically deconstructed salad. The space can be rented for after-hours birthday parties and private events.

    Children are certainly not required to enjoy Play Cafe’s selections. Howald said people are already getting in the habit of grabbing a salad on their way to work.

    “Families are primary focuses, but everyone likes and deserves great coffee and food. [We] want to be something casual, healthy and quick,” she said.

    Gardner Studios converted Play Cafe from a former pawnshop that sat vacant for years and outfitted it with a clean and modern design. The Imes group installed the kitchen that has an open workspace and plenty of white tile.

    “People worried about me using so much white in a restaurant, and I said, ‘The more we use, the cleaner we have to keep it,’” Howald said.

    Neutral colors, which she said are in contrast to the bright and bombarding aspect of many establishments geared toward kids, were an important part of the design. Howald wants parents to be able to turn their back to the play area and relax.

    “I’ve had moms hug me with tears in their eyes and say, ‘Thank you for bringing this to us,’” Howald said. “It’s been the most gratifying experience.”

    Visit playcafeokc.com.

  15. #40

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    The first question here is a case of oblivious parents, loved the response when I read it a while back.


    Dear Care and Feeding,

    My wife and I and our 4-year-old son were out to dinner last week. It was a medium-nice restaurant, not fast food, but not super fancy either. My son is a normal, active little boy, and it’s hard for him to sit through a whole dinner, so we let him explore the restaurant a little. I noticed our waitress giving him the hairy eyeball, so we asked him to stop running. He was pretty good about it after that, but he did get underfoot when she was carrying a tray, and she spoke to him pretty sharply to go back to our table and sit down. I felt it was completely uncalled for, and she should have come and spoken to us personally instead of disciplining someone else’s child.

    I tipped 5 percent and spoke briefly to her manager, who gave noncommittal replies. My wife agrees with me, but when we posted about it on Facebook, we got a lot of judgy responses.

    —It’s Hard for a 4-Year-Old to Sit Still

    Dear Sit Still,

    Yeah, this is your fault. It’s hugely your fault. Of course it’s hard for a 4-year-old to sit still, which is why people usually stick to fast-dining establishments while working on restaurant manners. It’s why one parent usually responds to a fidgety kid who wants to “explore” by taking him outside the restaurant, where he can get his wiggles out while not taking laps around servers precariously carrying trays of (often extremely hot) food and drink.

    A kid “exploring” a restaurant is not a thing. When you did intervene, it wasn’t to get him back in his seat. It was just to instruct him to “stop running.” You weren’t parenting, so a server did it for you. She was right. You were wrong.

    Your son is not ready to eat at a “medium-nice” restaurant again until he is capable of behaving a little better. You can practice at home. You can practice at McDonald’s. You can try a real restaurant again with the understanding that one of you may need to take him out when he starts getting the urge to run an obstacle course.

    I doubt that you will do this, but I encourage you to return the restaurant, apologize to the manager for complaining about your server, and leave her a proper tip.

    Mend your wicked ways.
    As a parent of an almost 4 year old... I completely agree with this. So many parents are so lazy. My daughter has a ton of energy and likes running around, but that is not allowed at any restaurant*. She can sit through a 90 minute fancy dinner on cruise. If she starts getting loud we take her outside. When she went through a phase of getting up, we started getting high chairs for her and strapping her in. It is also amazing what a few toys, strikers and crayons can do for a kid. I can't believe the number of parents that bring nothing for their toddler to do, then zone out into their phones and then don't understand why the toddler isn't behaving.

    That said, I go to Louie's every Wednesday for kids eat free and I very rarely see this kind of behavior. I think it is more common among hipster or younger parents.

    *We generally will let her play on the ground before our food comes if we are eating outside on a patio, but make sure she isn't in the way and she stays in one spot unless we are the only ones out there. I will let her do walking "laps" in clothing shops as long as no one else is around and she isn't messing with the clothes.

  16. #41

    Default Re: Play Cafe

    This is pushing the Cafe side a bit more, but this sounds like a similar concept to Okie Kid's Playground in Edmond. They've been open for 3 years and seem to be doing fine.

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