Our last meal in Colorado was a pleasant surprise. We were staying one night in Stapleton before a morning flight the following day. After searching for nearby restaurants that are good with kids, we settled on Next Door Eatery.

Inside

Our arrival before six was great as the restaurant was nearly empty and it also happened to be happy hour! The inside was very clean and still looked new for the most part. The house made fried pickles and pepperoncinis were a great start to our meal ($4 during happy hour, $5.95 otherwise). I’m a huge fan of fried pickles but I don’t recall having fried pepperoncinis before. I really enjoyed the addition of these. Neither of them begged for the dipping sauce that was provided as they had a great flavor on their own.

Pickles & Pepperoncinis

For dinner I went with Merlin’s Carolina pork with mustard BBQ, cole slaw, crispy onions, and house pickles ($11.95). The sandwich was piled high with well flavored pork. It was very filling and came with a side of chips and simple salad.

Merlin’s Carolina Pork

As good as my dinner was I was pretty jealous of my wife’s order of the ancho chile chicken bowl with brown rice, black beans, corn, fresh pico de gallo, tortilla strips, lime creama, and cilantro ($13.95). The flavor combination in this bowl was outstanding, similar to a taco style bowl from other places, but the ingredients were fresher and the serving size was huge.

Ancho Chile Chicken Bowl

Our kids enjoyed the cheeseburger slider and the kids bowl, though my son really wanted fries with his burger, which are not available. Next time I would try to talk him into trying the crispy smashers. Overall we really enjoyed the food, service, and quality from Next Door Eatery and would definitely visit again.

Next Door Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Before and after our ski trip to Copper Mountain we spent some time in Denver. Upon our arrival we met some friends at the zoo and then met even more friends at the Lowry Beer Garden for lunch. One a nice sunny Denver day this is the perfect place. The outdoor patio is huge and lined with plenty of picnic style tables. The beer selection was good, a kids menu is available, and food comes out fast!

Outside

For lunch I chose the pulled pork sandwich with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and pickles on a cornmeal Kaiser bun with a side of Carolina slaw ($9). This was messy but tasted quite good. The side of slaw was immediately dumped on my sandwich and the flavors melted together perfectly. I also stole a bite of a Cubano sandwich ($10) which was equally as good.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

The prices are a bit high since sides are not included, but who can complain when you can get a side of fried pickles for $5! This was more than enough to share and came served with dipping sauce. Our kids enjoyed the grilled cheese with fries and drink for $6.50. Overall we enjoyed our visit and would not hesitate to swing by again on another sunny visit to Denver.

Fried Pickles

Lowry Beer Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was recently given some free meal coupons to use at the Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers location on Red Bank. Started in 2002, the chain has grown coast-to-coast and serves made to order food without a long wait. The Red Bank location has been open since October 2016.

Outside

There is a drive through window, but I chose to get my to-go order from the counter to check out the entire space. The dining area is very large and customers flooded through the doors just past noon on a Friday to get a quick lunch.

Inside

I placed my order, grabbed my cup and filled a cup of ice tea. Within a couple of minutes my order number was called and I was on my way.

Inside

Initially I was a little hesitant to give them a try as most of the menu focuses on steakburgers. But I decided to give it a try anyway. Before I get to my sandwich, I must note that the fries are excellent! They also have their own fry sauce, which seems to combine mayonnaise and ketchup with some signature spices. Make sure you get some of this!

Fries

As I don’t eat burgers I was left picking between the veggie burger and the grilled chicken sandwich. I went with the veggie burger and was presently surprised. The patty is made mostly of black beans, and though mine seemed to be a touch over cooked, the texture and flavor were good. It came topped with cheese, a full slice of onion, Freddy’s sauce, lettuce, and tomato on a toasted bun.

Veggie Burger

I look forward to another visit to Freddy’s. Next time I’ll be sure to take the kids as they will love the burger, grilled cheese, and chicken tender options. I also need to try some of the frozen custard. I’m sure I will have plenty of opportunities to do so as they are located just down the street from our swim club.

Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Good Fellows has been operating in the Anderson Towne Center since 2004. I’m in the area at least one a month and often pass by but had never walked inside until my family and I were in the area at lunch time. It always looked so dark from the outside I assumed it was more of a bar than a restaurant. But it turns out they are open for dinner every day of the week and lunch on the weekends.

Outside

We were seated near one of the front windows and there was actually a surprising amount of natural light entering the space. I think that the red walls and dark ceiling make it look much darker from the outside than it truly feels inside.

Inside

After placing our orders, we found a few games between our table and the entrance to help pass the time. A couple of arcade games were available, but the Foosball table proved to be the most fun!

Games

One of our kids is a pretty picky eater and unfortunately decided he didn’t want pizza. We ended up with the Italian cheese stix with the sauce on the side ($5.99). I would have preferred one of other appetizers such as the pepperoni balls or the veggie skins, but these weren’t bad.

Italian Cheese Stix

My wife and I decided to try a couple of the signature pizza offerings but splitting the pizza in half. Louis’s love features olive oil, fresh garlic, artichoke hearts, banana peppers, black olives, and goat cheese. While the BBQ Grippo is topped with BBQ sauce, chicken, bacon, onion, cheese, and BBQ Grippos chips. Both were $10.49 for a 10 inch all the way up to $20.99 for 16 inches.

Pizza

I love BBQ Grippos and that half was an easy decision for us. I thought the Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce complimented the spicier chip topping really well. This is a must try! Louis’s love was much different, a more traditional pizza combination and was also good. Good Fellows has a couple of other unique signature pizzas include lemon pepper chicken and chicken fajita. Overall the food was good, service was quick and friendly, and the value was just right.

Goodfellows Bar and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

There aren’t a ton of restaurants at the base of Copper Mountain, but even so there are some that we will likely not return to. Casa Sanchez is one of those on our skip list. The enchiladas presentation was pretty sloppy and the flour tortillas were disappointing. Overall the taste was pretty typical of your average Mexican restaurant.

Enchiladas

The burrito was huge, probably enough for two to split, but the taste was again very average. The sauce on top was sub-par, and probably should have been replaced with the somewhat better tasting green chile sauce.

Burrito

One thing that was really odd were all of the water cups lined up across a counter. It shouldn’t be hard to fill these cups on demand for your customers. It wasn’t even very crowded, so this seemed excessive and bordering on unsanitary. We will likely not return.

Water Cups

Casa Sanchez Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Another spot in Copper Mountain that I’m a fan of is Eagle BBQ. They have been located in the center village since 2016 and server up what they call Colorado BBQ, a mixture of the traditional American styles.

Inside

Orders are placed at the counter and there is plenty of seating available for groups of any size. There is also a small bar with a good selection of local craft beers and a full bar. Kids plates are available and include a burger, hot dog, chicken tenders, or mac and cheese.

Pulled Pork Platter

I went with the slow smoked tender pulled pork platter ($16) served with a choice of side (bbq beans for me), thick cut white bread, and a fountain drink or PBR. The side of beans was large and of good flavor. The meat was tender and had a nice smokey flavor.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

My wife had a similar order but went with the pulled pork sandwich with side and same drink choices ($15). The portion size of pork seemed to be pretty much the same, so maybe the sandwich meal is the way to go, unless you are going to try more than one of the meats offered. They do offer brisket, turkey, ribs, and sausage in addition to the pulled pork we tried. Overall a good and quick meal option in Copper.

The Eagle BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We spent last week in Copper Mountain, Colorado for our now annual spring break ski trip. We stayed in the same condo building as last year and stuck to many of the same ski slopes. However one thing did change, the newly opened Ten Mile Tavern quickly became our go to spot for dinner.

Inside

If you are familiar with Copper, Endo’s Adrenaline Cafe is no more and Ten Mile Tavern has taken it’s place. While we enjoyed Endo’s a time or two, I think the new space is a tremendous upgrade. For starters there are 20 beers on tap at the newly rebuilt bar!

Patio

A variety of low and high top tables are available throughout the segmented space. One spot in particular would be great in the summer as garage doors can open up to a large patio when the weather is warm.

Brussels Sprouts

On our first visit my wife and I started with the Brussels sprouts with bacon, lemon, and Cajun spice served with a spicy aioli ($10). Dishes like these are why we have become such a big fan of Brussels sprouts. They were tenderly oven roasted and seasoned to perfection.

Mini Corndogs

My kids enjoyed the corn dog offering on both occasions ($9 with choice of side). The price was high for this item, but it is on mountain dining after-all.

Peak One Pie

The peak one pie features house tomato sauce, bacon, pepperoni, bell peppers, Mozzarella, and goat cheeses ($14). Though the menu says these are personal size, the thicker style crust is filling and the pizza can easily be shared with the addition of an appetizer or salad.

Beer Battered Cauliflower

On our second visit my wife and I started with the beer battered cauliflower in 10 Barrel Pub Beer tempura batter, then tossed in house buffalo sauce and served over a bed of pickled cucumbers, celery, Arcadian greens, and Cotija cheese ($10). As much as I loved the Brussels sprouts, the cauliflower was my favorite thing we ordered on either visit. This is a must try dish!

The Hogback Sandwich

I also sampled the hogback sandwich on our second visit, which is sort of a Cuban style sandwich. It combines spiral cut ham, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, and mayo-mustard relish pressed on a ciabatta roll ($14). The relish was more of a sauce and was actually served on the side, which I used dip my sandwich in. The meat was tasty and the bread was soft of lightly toasted. A solid choice for dinner and Ten Mile Tavern is as good as it gets in Copper.

Ten Mile Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Finding a spot for lunch in downtown Ann Arbor can be tricky on a game day, even if the game isn’t until much later in the night. Our group of four adults and four kids ended up at Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery the third or fourth place we tried and the only one that could seat us right away.

Inside

We nearly walked past the unassuming building on Washington Street, and walking through the front door you would have no idea just how large the dining space is. I sampled a couple of beers during our visit, with the Bumper Crop IPA being my favorite.

Bar-Be-Cue-Ban

Though BBQ is the specialty, there are plenty of items on the menu for every palate. The kids menu included a burger with a blend of ground chuck and beef brisket ($5.95) along with chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and mac & cheese.

One look at the menu and I knew I had to try the bar-be-cue-ban sandwich with pulled pork, Swiss cheese, bacon, jalapeno chips, and mustard aioli on a griddled roll with house-made pickles and bbq potato chips ($10). The pork was nice and smoky and a good base for the rest of the sandwich. Jalapeno chips kicked up the flavor quite a bit and were an interesting choice for the sandwich. Overall the food was good, the service was quick, and everyone seemed to be pleased.

Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Typically when we meet my parents for dinner out by their house we end up at one of two places in downtown Loveland. But after an event at my dad’s work which is closer to downtown Milford we decided to head somewhere new (at least for us). Padrino has been serving up affordable Italian food on Main Street in Milford for at least the last seven years.

Inside

We arrived a little before 5:30 and our group of six were immediately seated at a table near the door and within view of the small bar area. We just beat the rush and there was quickly a wait for tables and the bar area became overcrowded with those waiting for a seat.

Padrino Special

My wife and I decided to split a couple of dishes. First was the Padrino Special pizza with a ricotta base, sundried tomato, artichokes, marinated chicken, tri-colored peppers, red onion, olive oil, basil and house cheese blend ($18 for the large 15″). This was an excellent pizza with tons of toppings and a great flavor combination.

Dark Star Chicken Pasta

We also ordered the Dark Star Chicken Pasta with grilled chicken, banana peppers, red onion and fettuccine noodles tossed in a spicy Dark Star cream sauce ($12). I really enjoyed the made in house sauce, which is available for purchase for use at home. However this dish was a little short on the pepper and onion mixture, which I think could have really sent it over the top. With that said I still enjoyed it and would definitely order again.

Our kids also had plenty of choices on the menu with pizza, various pastas, and even grilled cheese and chicken tenders. There is definitely something for everyone. I hope that we return to Padrino again in the near future for another family friendly and affordable meal.

Padrino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A really great option for a staycation with the kids is the Great Wolf Lodge up by Kings Island in Mason. Occasionally sales are run and we were able to stay on a Sunday night when the kids were out of school on Monday, maximizing the savings. The indoor water park was obviously a huge hit with our kids, but we also spent time at the arcade and miniature golf.

Mediterranean Hummus

When it came time for dinner we headed to the built in Lodge Wood Fired Grill. My wife and I split a couple of items. First was the Mediterranean Hummus with extra virgin olive oil, paprika, feta cheese, and olive tapenade, served with grilled flatbread and vegetables ($9). This was a very generous portion of hummus and the addition of feta cheese was a bonus. Overall a very solid starter.

Chopped Barbeque Chicken Salad

Our other item was the chopped barbeque chicken salad with greens, fire-roasted corn, green onions, black beans, crisp fried jalapenos, cilantro, pepperjack cheese, barbeque sauce, crisp onion strings, and ranch dressing ($14.50). This was a very large salad and would be a lot for a single person. The ingredients were fresh and the combination of spicy and sweet flavors really worked well.

Kids Burger

Our son enjoyed his kids cheeseburger with fries and fruit. And our daughter really liked the spaghetti with giant meatball, veggies, and fruit. Both items were $6 and included a drink.

Kids Spaghetti

Overall the Lodge Wood Fired Grill was a great dining option while staying at the Great Wolf Lodges. Their prices were mostly on par with what you would find at comparable restaurants outside of the resort. Our service was fast and friendly.

Lodge Wood Fired Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato