French Fries and Five Year Olds

French Fries and Five Year Olds

Nothing gives a grandma more pleasure than feeding her baby’s baby!

It is a rite of passage. Grandma’s goal is to coax her new little one into trying and hopefully liking the same foods her own child loved. 

Naturally, this process brings on a slew of comparisons and memories. “Your daddy loved carrots; I don’t understand why you don’t?” Take it from me – grandmas love reminiscing about “days gone by” and recalling the feelings enjoyed when feeding their own babies. 

However, somewhere between the ages of three and five, grandma’s baby develops a taste for French fries. They quickly become a favorite meal, often forsaking all other foods. Lightly salted, long and thin – and in Pittsburgh, always with a side of Heinz ketchup - French fries are the bane of every grandma who dreams of making the grand food that she fed to the parent! 

If you are lucky like me, your grandchild, like my Mya, enjoys vegetables (broccoli), chicken (tenders, of course) and steak (yes, she loves her some ribeye!). While the parents are focused on just getting the child fed, it’s up to the grandparents to broaden their grandkids’ food scope. 

The next time you’re up for an adventure with your grandchild, consider these suggestions, with options to tickle any palette, no matter the age! 

Eat’n Park

Based on the fact that my Mya is a good eater and will try most foods at least once, I am looking forward to adding culinary adventures to our spring and summer outings. One of our first visit will be a return trip to Eat’n Park (multiple locations). Close your eyes and picture the restaurant’s epic chicken noodle soup! Fat, slurpy noodles with just the right amount of chicken and vegetables. Add a garden salad (ranch dressing required) and top it all off with a Smiley Cookie or a juicy slice of strawberry pie. OK, open your eyes….hungry yet?


This summer, following a visit to one of our favorite North Side attractions, I think Mya and I will schedule a “big girl’s” lunch at Arepittas. A Venezuelan restaurant featuring Arepas, a cornmeal flat bread stuffed with your choice of beef, vegetables, chicken, pork or seafood – it’s a hand-held street food favorite. And, for that tiny sweet tooth that we both possess, we’ll definitely finish with an order of Churros with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. 

Ritter’s Diner 

One of the things I really look forward to doing this year is a “Grandma Breakfast Run!” I plan to get up early, invade my son’s home, wake up my three granddaughters and coerce/convince them into going to breakfast with me. My choice for this event is Ritter’s Diner. While I haven’t been to Ritter’s in many years, it is sentimental to me because it’s where my son and I would stop for lunch after his physical therapy appointments following his bike accident. If I close my eyes, I can still taste the tuna melt with a side of rice pudding. In true diner fashion, Ritter’s has about 100+ items on the menu that are served all day long….and, the pancakes are amazing!

Carmi Soul Food & Aunt Cheryl’s Cafe

Finally, dinner with the family! Sadly, it seems that no one has time to cook and serve the old-fashioned Sunday Dinner I grew up eating. Thankfully, there’s Carmi Soul Food South Side and Aunt Cheryl’s Cafe. Both restaurants offer a variety of soul food including fried chicken, pork chops, fried catfish, greens, cornbread stuffing, potato salad, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes and, of course, cakes, pies and cobblers!

So, when you’re out and about in Pittsburgh with your grandkids and it’s time to eat, visit a few of my favorites. For more information and suggestions on Pittsburgh’s “good eats”, check out a list of area restaurants to try out.