Life has changed for this food writer. As a brand-new mom, poppin’ bottles has taken on a slightly different meaning. But while I find myself seeking out diaper changing tables for the first time ever, I’m still on the hunt for all the awesome happy hours, exciting menus and H-town icons, both new and old. Only now, I’m bringing my baby, Quinn, along with me. This “Whining and Dining” series looks at dining out with a baby in the city (more specifically, In the Loop, because Quinn doesn’t like to travel too far from home just yet).
I realize it’s now the fall, but let me tell you a little story about Father’s Day this year. First, my apologies for the delay, I’ve been a bit busy keeping a baby human happy these past few months. Second, every plate described below remains on the regular menu, making this all still quite relevant despite its tardiness.
Now on to the story…
When finalizing the plans for Dave’s very first holiday as a Dad, I figured a brewery was the way to go, and Karbach Brewing Co’s Restaurant was hosting a special Father’s Day celebration that had two very important things going for it: beer and air-conditioning.
Friends were joining us, so I booked a table for four adults and two babies and made sure to triple-check that we were being seated inside the restaurant, not out on the “totally-nice-but-this-is-Houston-in-June-so-no-way-are-we-sitting-outside” patio. The hostess kindly
calmed my ass down confirmed we’d be seated indoors, and things were off to a great start.
On the day of, we settled into our table, with Quinn parked in her stroller and her friend parked in a high-chair. Our server arrived moments later, and we threw in an order of one kid's chicken quesadilla, two Beermosas (Weisse Versa Wheat beer cut with a splash of orange juice available during brunch) and two Hopadillo IPAs for the men of the hour. Side note: Dave correctly noted the colossal missed opportunity in not dubbing the IPAs “Popadillos” for Father’s Day. Take heed, Karbach…there’s always next year.
Beers and the kiddo food arrived promptly, and we were ready to pull the trigger on our next course, a giant beer pretzel accompanied by silky cheese sauce and a punchy house beer mustard. A staple of Karbach’s regular menu, you can even tack on a hefty link of sausage if you like — Black Hill Ranch pork, RC Ranch Wagyu beef, or RC Ranch Wagyu jalapeño cheddar.
The beer pretzel is always a solid choice, big enough to tide us over until the main courses arrived (also regular menu items) but not too big to fill us up before devouring said courses: a smoky chicken salad for me and chopped beef sandwich for Dave. My greens packed a beautiful mess of flavors, with smoked chicken, avocado, black bean and corn pico de gallo, cotija cheese and a creamy, housemade jalapeño buttermilk ranch with a kick. Crispy tortilla strips added crunch, and it was an unexpectedly fantastic salad, especially considering I was dining at a brewery. I also stole a few bites of Dave’s righteous sandwich (as is tradition), a stack of Hopadillo bbq-sauce-smothered, house smoked Texas brisket on a Cake & Bacon challah bun with pickles and some rather large beer-battered onion rings.
Stuffed but still thirsty, we joined the crowd at the family-friendly beer garden next door for another hour or two, watching fathers, daughters and sons play corn hole (then dance in the rain, because this is Houston) and enjoying a steady flow of crisp, tasty suds. Happy belated Popadillo Day, y’all!
TL;DR: Looking for a family-friendly brewery? Karbach is where it’s at. With a restaurant and patio and outdoor beer garden (rocking a stage for live music, plenty of seating and yard games), it makes for a perfect special occasion gathering (or just a simple Saturday) with family and friends.
Kid-Friendly Dining Essentials
Seating: High-chairs, slings and booster seats available
Bathrooms: Diaper-changing table in the women’s restroom
Kids menu: Yes (with coloring sheet and crayons, and an organic fruit juice as a beverage option)
Extras: A beer garden full of yard games, a stage for live music and plenty of room to run around
Karbach Restaurant + Patio, 2032 Karbach, 713-680-2739