Cow Cafe in New Bern, NC

I find it stressful to eat out with children.  I said it!  You can’t order food and then wait in solitude like a regular patron.  You have to entertain, keep butts in seats, take butts to the restroom, get drinks ASAP, keep them quiet, etc.  A true test of one’s patience.  I also hate whenever we cause a scene.  I may be paranoid, but those stares are probably pointing in our direction.  In fact, it is in those uncomfortable moments where I am glad that I remembered to put deodorant on.  I sweat more in these moments than when I dead lift in our gym.  As a mom of 4, you’d think I just would not care anymore.  It’s hard enough to manage them in a grocery store, where I dream of getting in and out in a snap of a finger.  That dream turns to a nightmare in reality.  It never goes down the way I want it to.  But we all know it is what it is, and I’m going to care what others think when it directly affects them.

“Kid-friendly” is probably the most important aspect in eating out at a restaurant.  What is “kid-friendly” to me?  Well, I’m glad that you asked.

*Paper napkin dispensers at every table (With messy children, we hate to have to keep asking for more)
*Understanding, patient and compassionate wait staff (I always tip extra for a mess too)
*Koala changing station IN THE MEN’S RESTROOM as well as the women’s restroom (Dads have diaper duty too)

*Colorful and interesting decor
*Kids menu that’s easy on the wallet (They never eat all of their food anyway)

Who wants to pay a pretty nickel for a meal in a restaurant and have your moment in solitude torn in half by screaming and crying and fruitless efforts of disciplining??  Kids will be kids, but if the roles were reversed, I’d probably be thinking along the same lines as those who are staring.  (Staring is rude, people.)  

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids.  But any mom who has been in this position, even with just one, knows what I mean.  There’s no forecast for meltdowns and fighting.  They don’t control their emotions.  They get bored.  They get tired.  And then they get cranky.  It’s an everyday cycle.

To back track a little, I really hate eating fast food.  The majority of it is so unhealthy for you, yet they make it taste so good.  I experienced a long period of time where I didn’t have fast food, and the moment I put that garbage into my stomach, I became sick.  It was almost as if my body was retaliating against my poor choice in nourishment.  (Or lack thereof)  It’s hard when I’m out running errands with the kids, and lunch time is upon us.  That day, I circumvented a last resort run to a fast food joint.  I was thinking “it’s better to be smart and research”.    

Isn’t the internet wonderful?  I immediately found the Cow Cafe website on my first attempt.  I can’t tell you how helpful it is when businesses have websites and they are informative.  (Attention business owners: I am more likely to be your customer if you give me a website to look at!)  Especially when you don’t have the patience or time (or even the hands) to look for anything while you’re out.  I found menus, their contact info, pictures, and even their start-up story.  Lovely!

 “To bring a smile to children in need of a smile.” 

I swear I became a kid again as the giddiness welled up inside me upon walking through the door. I am a theme girl, so I did appreciate the whimsical interior design, as well as my best friend did.  The girls were fascinated as well.  If you’ve got a thing for cows, you need to come visit.  No, I am not a cow lover, unless you consider a thick cut T-bone steak medium rare.  Then yes, I love cow!  Anyway, there are cows everywhere.  I’m pretty sure the cow posed in their window playing a keyboard actually moves!  But don’t quote me on that.  I was simply making an observation based on all of the Chuck E Cheese parties I suffered through attended, with those huge mechanical stuffed animals moving robotically up on stage.  <shuddering at the memory…>

We walked in and were pleasantly inundated with patterns of black irregular spots on white.  It was definitely cow country.  Of course, it looked very much like a place built for kids.  There is a fun, youthful, yet mature atmosphere adults and kids alike.  The menu is what separates this cafe from the being a kiddie restaurant.  There is a long hallway that leads to the back of the cafe.  (I knew beforehand because I had visited their website.)  The room back there was made to look like an actual farm, with a barn, green “grass,” and a fence around the perimeter of the play area. FUN!  There were small tables and chairs, Fisher Price farm toys, a rocking horse (I think…) and a few other toy sets that could be purchased in the cafe.  There was an area that could have been a normal closet, but it was turned into the inside of the barn.  You need to see it to understand, because I am not very good at describing this really cool room.  It was just so neat.  We sat back there because it was so convenient.  Kids were happy which meant Mom was happy.  Win!  You can also si outside on the sidewalk.  They have patio tables and chairs in front of the cafe.  Perfect for people/scenery watching.  B and I cannot deny that we like to do this…

This establishment is not a health nut’s paradise.  It is a place where you can find comfort in the fact that you are not eating fast-food.  I mentioned earlier that the menu is what separates this place from an ordinary kiddie restaurant.  (A few come to mind…)  It has dishes that an adult can enjoy.  You won’t feel like you’re skimping on delicious fulfilling food so your kids can eat and be entertained for a couple of hours.  (This has to be my main gripe on fast food joints.)  

B ordered a sandwich, which I cannot remember what it was.  (Help me, B!)  And I ordered a Cuban, dubbed “Gobbling Cow”.  It was my first Cuban sandwich and it was delicious.  How did I ever last in the sandwich world without ever trying a Cuban before?!  That sandwich right there will definitely have me coming back.  My mouth is watering at the thought of ordering it the next time we are there.  But I wouldn’t be opposed to trying one of the many other sandwiches/dishes they have to offer.  There are also two freezer compartments that house all of their ice cream.  I can’t recall what brand of ice cream, which I’m sure it is on their menu on-line.  But my girls tried this green ice cream with M&M bits and it was pretty good.  Ice cream is ice cream to me, unless it’s Blue Bell.  Then we are on a whole new level of delicious, and a whole different blog post 🙂

High-five, Cow Cafe!

If you are an early riser, there is also a coffee shop next door called Bear Cafe or something like that.  I had my first French press coffee from there.  Amazing!  What a difference that made.  There are comfy couches and seats at the window where you can enjoy your coffee as you wait for the Cow Cafe to open.  Who goes to one cafe to wait for another cafe to open?  Definitely me. 

I highly suggest visiting this place if you are ever in New Bern.  You won’t be disappointed.  They definitely will be seeing us again in the near future.   


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