Where Dining Meets Day Care
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because you can have an adult night out without scrambling for a sitter.
For parents of young children, going out to eat might look something like this: a few quiet moments while the kids color, and then the food comes. Cue the pleas and exhortations to eat those chicken fingers. Cue the kids crawling under the table. Cue remonstrance, cue tantrum. Cue “check, please!”
But what if there was a place where parents could order pan-roasted chicken in pickled shallots for dinner and day care for dessert? Turns out there is. Perhaps not surprisingly, this restaurant/day care (now fully owned by Anne Wojcicki, Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s ex-wife) is nestled in Los Altos, California, the most expensive ZIP code in America. Since its opening in 2011, the goal has been to serve as a community hive, a place where everyone — even those with wailing babies — can congregate. But unlike other family-friendly eateries, this Silicon Valley spot goes beyond merely offering a kids’ menu and crayons. Bumble features an entire sandbox full of toys, a 2,600-gallon saltwater fish tank and, of course, a day care where parents can pay to stash their kids while they enjoy a grown-up meal — and perhaps a grown-up beverage or two.
Located inside a renovated century-old American Craftsman bungalow, with a lemon-yellow door, white wood walls and countryside decor, Bumble has an ambience that plays into the whole farm-to-fork principle it’s premised on. The entrées fall in the $20 to $30 range, while the playroom costs $10 per kiddo per 30 minutes (except from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when, for “date night,” it’s free). And the outdoor patio — complete with a retractable ceiling for stargazing and a redwood tree growing through its center — is kid-free.
Kid-free zones or not, Midtown Lunch food blogger and father of three Zach Brooks doubts the place will be appealing to anyone who doesn’t have a little one. Still, general manager Michael Lowney says the brunch business is booming. Looking out at a little boy playing in the sandbox, Lowney smiles: “We try to be the happiest place on earth, just like Disneyland.” And what brings happiness like passing your kids off to someone else to watch for a while?