Lauren McMillan is a mom of two hungry boys and wife of one perpetually famished husband. Recently she started boyswhobrunch.kc as a way to document her family’s eating adventures across the metro. Along the way, she’s documenting the who/what/when/where of kid-friendly brunch spots on her new Instagram page.
Besides family and friends, now parents across the metro have started following along with McMillan’s recommendations and ongoing brunch-centric adventures.
We caught up with McMillan to find out how she’s exploring different parts of the city—one pig-in-a-blanket at a time.
I’m guessing your boys like to eat—and eat—and eat, yes?
“Yes! All you have to say is the word ‘bacon’ and our 4-year-old is racing to get out the door. With two always-on-the-move boys, I’m constantly catching them either in the pantry or the fridge. Thankfully they’re still little. I can’t imagine the grocery bill once they are teenagers.”
“I love good food and trying different, local restaurants is one of my husband’s, Lyle, and my favorite hobbies. We don’t have family in the KC area and hiring a sitter every weekend wasn’t realistic, so we knew if we wanted to keep checking restaurants off our list then the boys would be joining us.
Brunch offered us the opportunity to still experience some of the best eats in town, while not stressing about ruining someone’s special date night. Breakfast also happens to be our boys’ favorite meal. I mean, who doesn’t love pancakes the size of your face?”
Wait—and you started in the middle of a pandemic?!? How weird was that?
“We actually started boyswhobrunch.kc in February and were able to hit a couple of gems prior to all the COVID craziness. I can remember talking to our 8-year-old about school closing and the stay-at-home order back in March. His first response? ‘Okay, but that’s not for brunch, right?’ It cut me right to the heart.
In April, when it became pretty clear COVID wasn’t going anywhere, we decided to double down and started ordering a lot of carry-out breakfasts instead. Once things started opening back up, we were first in line to get back to the business of brunch.
There’s no doubt things feel different than before—but honestly, the fewer tables, fewer people, and masks have all worked in our advantage. Fewer tables have equaled quick and friendly service. Fewer people means less chance of our boys being loud and bothering anyone. And masks have helped ensure our 4-year-old stays seated and doesn’t keep getting up to ‘check out’ every single inch of a restaurant.”
‘Fess up—what are some family-friendly favorite venues?
“There are so many great ones! Boulevard’s Bingo Brunch is a hands-down, absolute must. It’s free to play and kept our entire family entertained for close to three hours. Plus there’s tasty beer and yummy food—so what’s not to like? We’ve also really loved Affäre, Fox & Pearl, Rye, and The Rockhill Grille. The beauty with brunch is that just about any place becomes family-friendly, especially if you hit it right as they open.”
Anything the boys simply refuse to eat?
“The boys do a surprisingly good job trying just about anything, but that doesn’t always mean they like it. Believe me, they are not shy when they don’t like something. (Insert fake 4-year-old gagging noises here.) When it comes to breakfast, they both take a hard pass on any type of egg that isn’t scrambled and absolutely won’t touch breakfast sausage. Apparently, their love of bacon runs too deep to deviate to any other breakfast meat.”
Finally, anything else our readers simply must know?
“It can be stressful taking younger kids out to eat, and I’ll be the first to admit it. But do it—do it, do it, do it! Set yourself up for success by keeping your expectations low, bringing a couple of things that keep them happy (e.g. deck of cards, Legos, cars), and affording everyone some extra grace. It can take a couple of rounds of practice to get in a great brunch-time groove, but once you do it’ll quickly become one of your favorite family activities. There is a whole great big city full of phenomenal food and experiencing it alongside your kiddos is so worth it!”