Quick, think of an upscale restaurant. Now, imagine what it would be like if your infant, toddler or child sat with you at the white-linen table while you enjoyed a medium-rare filet mignon, green beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic, a perfectly baked potato and a glass of your favorite merlot.
No seriously: Picture dining at a venue that doesn’t even have a kids menu and there are no stares, judgment or stress – just good food served by an understanding staff to a roomful of families just like yours.
That’s the idea behind Nibble+squeak, a New York-based company born in 2016 to host events that offer families a pleasant, memorable dining experience while building a community around food and parenting.
With chapters in 19 cities around the globe – including Boston, Chicago, London, Lisbon and Los Angeles – Detroit becomes the newest hub in this growing list of locations in fall of 2019.
Framing a foodie experience
In partnership with Frame, in Hazel Park, Nibble+squeak officially launches here on Nov. 9, 2019 with TykesGiving, a holiday themed, multi-course tasting event for families prepared by new mom and chef Rebecca LaMalfa.
“I love the holidays, and I love the idea of this venture which allows us to create a dining experience parents can enjoy with their children,” says LaMalfa, who formerly worked at Michelin-star restaurants in Las Vegas. LaMalfa left Sin City to work in Chicago before coming to Detroit when her husband Thomas Lents, also a chef, opened the Foundation Hotel.
“I look forward to teaching our son Finnegan to love and respect food, show him our family recipes and help him understand why these recipes are important to us. Hopefully he will love food as much as we do,” she adds.
Frame, which is described by owners Cari and Joe Vaughn as “a revolving hub of creative food and drink experiences,” regularly hosts unique dining experiences for food and wine lovers. Now, with this partnership, Detroit-area parents can expect a handful of Nibble+squeak events throughout the year, with the next planned for spring 2020.
The first local event
TykesGiving guests can attend one of two seatings (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Parents, grandparents, caregivers and friends can enjoy a variety of festive dishes starting with a roasted walnuts, red onions rings, yellow squash and pecorino Romano salad, followed by a slow-baked ruby red trout topped with a cranberry orange sauce.
Accompanying the fish is a fall squash agrodolce (don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it or have never heard of it) with winter greens. This dish consists of three kinds of squash glazed with apple cider vinegar, local honey and is topped with toasted squash seeds and raisins.
Other menu items are a fluffy whipped cauliflower baked with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, fresh rolls and butter. Dessert consists of mini pumpkin hand pies with caramel cinnamon ice cream.
Since this is the first Frame event geared toward families, Vaughn says they’ll be adding high chairs, booster seats and a changing table (for practicality sake) in addition to wine pairings and “great music.”
With the opening of the Detroit chapter of Nibble+squeak, Frame is excited to host events to get new parents out and doing the things they loved to do pre-kids, including eating and drinking, while meeting “a community of food-loving parents with small children.”
“It’s a great way to connect with like-minded parents and introduce your babes to different tastes, textures and cuisine,” Vaughn says.
Adults meals are $55 per person plus tax and gratuities. Children over the age of two are $15. Ticket prices include the tasting menu, a puppet show, mini family photo session and gift bag. Drinks, including virgin mocktails, juice and milk, are extra. Be sure to make reservations in advance at the Nibble+squeak Detroit website.