Almost every child goes through a “play kitchen” phase, during which they spend hours on end cooking up recipes that mainly feature plastic fruit in serving bowls the size of tea cups. Their loyal customers are, of course, their parents, who are expected to pretend-devour pretend dishes and then pretend-proclaim they are delicious.


Sometimes we do it just to see the look of joy on their faces as they bask in the admiration of their culinary skills, and sometimes we do it in the desperate hope that if we make yum-yum noises over their Octopus Stew, maybe they’ll be adventurous enough to try something new the next time we take them out to eat.

But no matter how much hype has been heaped on your little chef around the house, no one in their right mind would actually recommend their restaurant to others.

Here’s what it would look like if the pretend menu items served by our kids showed up on Yelp and got some real life reviews.

Yelp Reviews of Meals Made in My Toddler’s “Restaurant”

Invisible Coffee: 1 STAR

I strongly suspect this was decaf, as I only got more and more tired the longer I was at this cafe. The only reason I didn’t give zero stars is because of the relentlessly constant refills.

A’la Carte Fruit Plate: 2 STARS

There was a good selection of fruit, though it was oddly undersized. Based on the price tag (60 milliondy dollars?!?), I’m guessing it was a specially imported miniature variety. I wouldn’t have minded so much, except my server wouldn’t stop giggling because she thought the bottom of the pear “looks like a butt.”

Cereal: 1/2 STAR

Technically, I suppose I did get what I asked for, but it arrived at my table as a small empty cereal box placed in a small empty bowl. The box didn’t even open and I suspect there was nothing inside. When I asked to speak to the manager, my server responded, “What’s a manager?” Unbelievable.

Yarn Spaghetti: 2 STARS

The portions are generous but quite dry (you’ll want to skip the sauce—it looked like it was scooped by hand directly from the sink). Plus, I found it extremely difficult to eat the noodles with my tiny blue plastic spoon. I asked the server for a fork but was given a spatula instead which made eating even harder.

Block of Chocolate: 0 STARS

I was excited because this sounded delicious…which made the discovery that it was actually a plastic rack of ribs even more disappointing. This place should really consider updating their menus!

Pizza: 1 STAR

If I didn’t know better, I’d say this was nothing more than a piece of cardboard cut into a triangle. I told the server I ordered pepperoni and she proceeded to draw red circles on top with a crayon right at the table! However, the fact that the crayon was non-toxic is highly appreciated.

Scrambled Eggs: 0 STARS

I’ve never seen scrambled eggs served in the shell before, but what these lacked in flavor, they more than made up for in pastel colors. Unfortunately, when I cracked one open, I found a stale jellybean inside rather than an actual egg! I wasn’t the only one who was alarmed, as the chef rushed right out to my table and whisked the candy away before I could eat it. Then he ate it himself back in the kitchen.

Diet Air Broth: 1 STAR

No complaints about the food, I got exactly what I ordered. The problem was with the service—I dropped my spoon and asked for a new one, and a staff member just held it under a faucet, made a wooshing noise with her mouth, and handed it right back to me! Someone call the health department!

Doughnut: 0 STARS

This item looked great, from far away—perfectly round with a drizzle of hard pink icing and a few perfectly placed rainbow sprinkles on top. However, I never actually got to see it close up, much less taste it, as the server kept changing her mind and taking it back to the kitchen because “pink is my favorite color.”

Salad: 2 1/2 STARS

I love a big salad and this place did not disappoint. I think the chef threw everything but the kitchen sink in a bowl. And I mean that quite literally— in addition to plastic lettuce and wooden tomatoes, I also found playdoh bits, marbles, Shopkins and a slinky.

Fruit Snacks: 1 STAR

This was the only entree I could find to order that included actual edible food and I really wanted to give it at least three stars. Unfortunately, the wait staff insisted on eating it for me. Then he begged me to get him another pack and I was like— what is this?? WHO IS SERVING WHO IN THIS PLACE?! I left pretty pissed and I’m not sure I’ll be back.

Who am I kidding? It’s the only play restaurant in town.


This post was written by Robyn Welling. To read more from Robyn, visit Hollow Tree Ventures.

For more parental distraction, follow Mommy Shorts on Facebook. Want Mommy Shorts delivered daily or weekly to your inbox?