Before Boo came along, going out to dinner was one of my favorite indulgences. Post-parenthood, we realized it was going to be a lot harder to finagle a table for two and a half. But I didn’t want to feel like I had to find a babysitter every time hubby and I felt like giving our kitchen the night off. And that’s where I came up with the idea for our “Tiny Diner Series“. My goal was to find family-friendly eateries that are great for kids, but also serve the kind of food hubby and I would want to eat anyway, even if it was date night.
Not too long ago, we had a reader recommend Rein’s Deli in Vernon, CT as one of her favorite family-friendly restaurants (thanks, Gianna!). When I saw that Reins bills itself as a “Traditional New York Style Jewish Deli,” well, I knew I had to try it. Food of my people and all. The Jews, that is. Not the New Yorkers 🙂
In any event, I was looking forward to enjoying some of those traditional “delicacies” that I remembered so fondly from just about every important family gathering of my youth. Funny story, actually. Until I was about 10 and finally had my first sleep-over at a friend’s house, I thought that everyone had lox and bagels for Sunday brunch. When my friend’s mom served french toast and eggs, I thought I’d woken up on a different planet! Ha!
Per usual, I was running late. However, this turned out to be a VERY good thing (for once). You see, I had originally intended to make this outing a double, with a pre-lunch stop at a bookstore in Vernon called Jack and Allie’s, that had also been recommended to us by a reader. They have a Storytime on Tuesdays and Thursdays that I am hoping to check out soon for a post, but I had wanted to visit the store, snap a few preview pics, and (on a totally personal note) possibly pick up a few birthday presents for upcoming parties (gotta multi-task, right?! 🙂 ). Of course, since I was running so late, and since we were already so hungry, we decided to swap the outing order and head straight to Rein’s for an early lunch. So we got there about an hour earlier than we had planned to, around 11:00 a.m.
It wasn’t hard to find, especially thanks to the big red sign out front.
Since it is located in a large shopping center, there is lots of parking available.
The entrance is to the left (as you face it).
As I mentioned, we arrived around 11:00a.m. on Saturday morning. We walked right up to the hostess stand and got a table immediately. No joke, 20 minutes later, that same hostess stand looked like this:
And 10 minutes after that, the line was practically out the door. Yowza. This place is one hot spot! Fortunately, little kids (and their hungry parents who have probably been up since the wee hours and only managed to grab a handful of Cheerios for breakfast) don’t mind eating lunch early. So 11:00 a.m. it is folks. (Since Rein’s also serves breakfast, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I imagine regular breakfast hours are also popular.)
Anyway, we were seated and happily perusing the menu in a matter of minutes.
Ahhh, there’s the quintessential Matzoh Ball Soup (among many other traditional Jewish deli items). The menu is extensive though, with all kinds of breakfast, lunch, and dinner entree options. And of course TONS of sandwiches. It also looks like they have seasonal specials.
The kids were happy to get to work with their crayons. You know, Boo coloring with them and the little guy (now 15 months) trying to eat them–and then quickly moving on to the condiment bottles.
The activity sheet is also the kids’ menu. There are so many delicious options for the kiddos, including breakfast served any time! (That’s Boo’s favorite food group.) A kids’ beverage is included and all the sandwiches are served with a choice of fries or applesauce.
Before we could even get to ordering though, we had to get to the bottom of all the pickle hoopla here at Rein’s Deli. Hubby and I don’t like to brag, but we’re kind of pickle connoisseurs. We have tried a lot of them, and we have very discerning taste buds when it comes to the perfect kosher pickle. Well, guess what? By golly, we have found pickle nirvana! Happily, these complimentary pickles arrive at your table just about as soon as you do (and you can even get a refill!).
These pickles are so good, that you may want to bring your little one here for their “first pickle” celebration. And yes. There will be a celebration.
And your little guy or gal will end up on the Rein’s Deli Pickle Wall of Fame:
Now is that cute or what?!
After we ordered, Boo and I decided to go take a look at all the wonderful treats that distracted us on the way in. There are chocolates and candies and cookies and cakes…
Wow. There must be a thousand sugary reasons to convince your child to eat their lunch–so they can have dessert, of course 🙂
Another nice feature of this restaurant is the spacious dining room (I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “deli” I always think tiny hole-in-the-wall place; not here!). There is plenty of space for a high chair at just about any table.
Speaking of tables, Boo and I returned to our table just as the food was arriving. Grilled cheese and fries for the little guy.
French toast and bacon for Boo (yeah, I know, bacon at a Jewish deli; I was a little thrown off by that too–FYI they also serve ham).
My whitefish platter–ahhh, food of my youth.
But hubby definitely won the day with this sandwich (the “Bob & Bernie’s”).
Doesn’t that look amazing? I’d tell you it tastes amazing too, but he only offered me a tiny piece of the swiss cheese. So I can tell you that the swiss cheese is amazing 🙂
We all enjoyed our food so much, I didn’t even stop to take any pictures! Except for this one. This little man was chowing down.
The food was so yummy, I was delighted to see that take-out is available as well. You can even phone or fax in your order ahead of time.
Oh, and before I forget. Yes, there is a diaper changing station in the women’s restroom. Hubby did not see one in the men’s restroom. However, he informed me (totally without prompting, by the way) that there is a stretch of counter space near the sink that could serve that purpose. Have I trained this boy well or what?!
This was too funny not to share. Please, please, please tell me you have heard of this movie or I will feel old, old, old.
Seeing as the line to be seated was now out the door, we figured we should wrap up our meal and let some other hungry customers partake.
Check please! (We’ve been working on that one all week—just kidding 🙂 )
You can either pay your server or head up to the cashier, whichever works best.
Delicious food, family-friendly atmosphere, and a little nostalgia sprinkled in for good measure. I’d say that recipe is a keeper. We’ll be back!
Find them on Facebook!
7:00 a.m. to midnight, 7 days a week
Menu items vary in price and there is a large variety. For our family of four with two adult meals and two kids’ meals, plus a few extra sides, we spent around $40 on food.
- Stroller Friendly: YES. You could use a stroller to get your crew in there, but you might want to bring one that you can collapse and put near/under your table. There didn’t seem to be any clear “stroller parking” kind of area.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: They serve coffee. Even better!
- Restroom: YES.
- Baby Changing Station: YES. (In the women’s restroom)
- Parking: YES.
- Food for Sale: Of course.
- Outside Food Allowed: Well, this is a restaurant. Don’t be bringing in a picnic basket or anything 🙂 Seriously though, I’m sure no one would mind if you brought in some baby food or some snacks for your little ones. This is a very family-friendly place.
- Cash Required: NO.
- Dress Code: NO.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
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- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
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