I know that at least a couple of Go Ask Mom readers saw me all bleary eyed on Sunday, walking zombie-like through Marbles Kids Museum. It's because of this: For the fourth day, I was caring for my friends' two kids, along with my own, so the parents could go out of town on a planned trip.
Their babysitter had backed out. (And, yes, I'm a great friend). All joking aside, they are great kids and we all had fun, but, by Sunday, we needed to get out of the house.
Where do I take three kids ages 5 to 9 on a Sunday? (My tween was knocking out some homework). Marbles, of course. (We'd done the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences the day before).
And where can we now go for lunch? Marbles' new cafe.
The cafe in Marbles' IMAX building reopened Saturday after closing earlier in September when Marbles took over operation of the restaurant, once called Pogo, and made a quick facelift to the space. Much bigger things are in store early next year when Marbles plans to consolidate the theater concessions and cafe into one operation.
For now, Marbles opted for a streamlined cafe operation with a menu of salads, sandwiches and burgers, along with a kids menu with favorites such as hot dogs and peanut butter and jelly. There's no official name for the restaurant other than "cafe."
I don't often go to restaurants on opening weekend because I know they are still working out some kinks. (They ran out of fruit salad when we were there). But ... see those first two paragraphs above. We needed to get out of the house.
I had enjoyed my food at Pogo when it was open. (I really liked the broccoli salad). But I had waited as long as 20 or 30 minutes one time for my order, so my expectations for the new cafe were pretty low.
Here's the bottom line: The food was, for the most part, good. The prices are affordable. And service was great. Everybody was really helpful - and apologetic about the fruit salad.
My crew ordered three sandwiches - the PitaPalooza, the BLT and the Kickin' Chicken Philly. The bun on the chicken sandwich was dry, but the kids gobbled up their PitaPalooza and BLT. Including sides, those sandwiches were only $7 or $8 each.
The two youngest in our crew - ages 5 and 7 - ordered the pizzas off of the kids menu. The pizzas were good sized. Based on their appetites, we could have easily ordered just one and they would have been satisfied. Including a size, the pizzas were $5 each. The kids menu prices range between $4 and $5.
I ordered a bowl of the vegetable soup, which also came with a roll. It was really yummy - full of flavor and big chunks of veggies. My only complaint was that there wasn't enough. My "bowl" seemed sized more like a cup.
Drinks range in price between $1 and $3. A box of milk is just $1. And desserts, including some brownies that looked amazing, were $1.50. Even if you don't go for a meal, the cafe might make for a nice pit stop on your way out of the museum or between museum play and a movie.
The new restaurant is open 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekdays, and 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekends.