When my first son was born it was nerve-wracking to go out to dinner as a family because my husband and I were always worried about disturbing the other diners. We had to either order our food to go, or scarf our food down like animals, or find places that were kid-friendly and noisy enough where if he started screaming … it would hopefully go unnoticed. Now that we have our second son, a toddler, it is 20x worse. If you look up “terrible twos” online, you’ll probably find his picture. But because of my terrible terrific toddler, and my desperate need to try to find normalcy when going out to dinner, I cherish restaurants like The Rainforest Café and the T-Rex Café.
A couple of months ago, on a trip to Kansas City, we obviously had to find places we could eat with our two little stinkers in tow and not worry about anyone around us. It was that trip to KC when we found the T-Rex Café. Owned by Landry’s, the same people who brought us The Rainforest Cafe, this restaurant is one of only two in the country. The other one is in Downtown Disney. (Whoever decided to put one of those there is pretty much a marketing genius if you ask me!)
Just like The Rainforest Cafe, the T-Rex Cafe is built on a theme. The family and I were driving around Legends shopping mall, trying to find the restaurant, when I said: “Hey. Just a hunch. But I’m gonna guess it’s where those large rocks, waterfall, smoke, and dinosaur bones are coming out of that building over there. Just a guess, though. You can keep driving around if you want to.”
The exterior definitely set the stage to what we’d see once inside the T-Rex Café. As soon as we opened the doors, we literally felt like we had just stepped into a prehistoric world. A world where we weren’t just diners anymore. Immediately upon entering the doors we were greeted (and ROARED at) by a giant T-Rex Café. While yes, my toddler ran and hid behind my legs and probably peed his pants … it didn’t take him too long to realize that the dinosaur could only move his tiny little arms and giant head. Even I was in awe by the realness of the place. It was a whole new world. A world surrounded by large animatronic dinosaurs, flashing meteors, a ginormous octopus, and abundant foliage. All of which were pretty realistic.
We arrived just as they opened the doors to have breakfast with Santa so we didn’t have much of a wait at all. I imagine, if it’s anything like The RainForest Café, you’ll want to do some advance planning before checking the restaurant out. But I could be wrong on that. If you do have a wait, however, you should have plenty of time to walk around the Dino-Store – oh yeah, those Landry’s marketing people are brilliant I tell ya! Ever heard of something called Build-a-Bear workshop? Of course you have … you’re a parent. Well, the folks at the T-Rex Café ingeniously teamed up with the famous workshop to include a Build-a-Dino in their gift shop – the only place where you can build your own little dinosaur friend. How cool is that?!
While we didn’t get to test out the menu since we were having a buffet breakfast with Santa … I did get to notice that their was a wide variety of American cuisine filled with options like salads, soups, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, pasta, and hearty steak and chicken entrees. The dessert is just as varied. Just try to get away with not ordering the “Chocolate Extinction” – a warm chocolate fudge cake served with ice cream, creamy whipped topping drizzled with fudge and caramel sauces and sprinkled with Butterfinger® crumbs. That just sounds dangerous!
The kid’s menu is just as fun and delivers all of their favorites including: corn dogs, chicken nuggets, burger sliders, and pizza. Everything that we, as busy parents, attempt to avoid feeding our children, but the kids are constantly begging us for.
The staff was really great and patient with my rambunctious kiddos. My boys had a blast! The food was your average American cuisine … but the difference is … the experience. You pay for the experience and the awesomeness. That’s definitely not a bad thing. The atmosphere, the food, the meteor-crashing sounds, and the serene noise (from all the other families with kids of their own) made this a perfect respite for my restaurant-“challenged” family.
Make sure to check out the T-Rex Cafe’s website for menu updates, hours, and events. I’ve heard that a little bunny may be stopping by soon!
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I want to thank the T-Rex Café for coming to my rescue so my husband and I could enjoy food cooked by somebody other than myself while we enjoyed a great family adventure!