My sister has three kids under 13. The last time she and her husband ventured out for a nice meal was about 13 years and nine months ago. They live in Colleyville; the rest of us in Dallas. It’s been difficult to find a midpoint where the two clans can meet for a family dinner without settling on a Mid Cities chain restaurant. Praise the food gods! We found Winewood Grill in Grapevine. The dining room is open and chic, and American food classics such as fancy burgers, sandwiches, and upscale preparations of chicken, fish, pork, and steak entrées fill the menu. But the real star is the kids’ menu. I know, because we took a van full of them to dinner and lived to say we loved the experience. We felt a bit shunned when the hostess paraded us through the dining room and tucked us into one of the private dining areas to the side. Instead of whining, we turned the space into our own private party. The adults sipped wine from an uninspired wine list, a big disappointment since “wine” is part of the name and the restaurant is located in Grapevine. (Note: buy local!) As our 3-year-old climbed from his high chair and calmly played with his truck on the rug, the preteens ordered (and loved) tenderloin bruschetta (lovely slices of meat served on thick bread slices spread with tomato jam) and spinach dip. Chicken fingers on the kids’ menu are not prebreaded, frozen, and salty clumps; they’re slender strips of fresh chicken breast lightly coated and fried and served with skinny fries and a side of veggies. Pork ribs piled high on a plate disappeared almost faster than the smoked Gouda mac and cheese. And the juicy and tender prime rib French dip is the best sandwich I’ve eaten all year. Our over-the-top-friendly server may have ruined the mood for the young couple touching toes at the next table, but we didn’t care. We’ve been there and done that. And we’ve got the kids to prove it.

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