Thursday, May 9, 2013

Coronado Brewing, Family Fun!



I realize that many people don’t leap to a brewery or brewpub when they need a family-friendly restaurant, but I think that’s a mistake.  It’s not all beer-drinking and drunkenness.  In fact, I have been in very few where beer was the only focus.  However, I have been in a few where beer was just the trendy gimmick.  Coronado Brewing Company in San Diego does not brew as a gimmick, nor just for drinking.  They have created a restaurant that really is family-friendly serving quality meals, excellent beers, with an atmosphere and service to make you come back.

We stopped by on a weekday evening around 7pm only to find the place mobbed and a 30-minute wait for a table.  Fortunately, CBC is in a lively part of town with lots of people coming and going.  People watching can help the time pass quickly.  And it turns out that Tuesday nights are kids' night and they eat virtually free.   Better yet, on this night there was a roving balloon clown.  Well, not really a clown.  He was dressed like a server, but had a giant tool belt loaded with tools and balloons.  He worked for tips only making some of the most outrageous, complex balloon “animals” I have ever seen.  And he did them at light-speed.  It was incredible!  Our 30-minutes flew by and the kids got a couple balloon friends to come along for dinner.

Service was excellent from the start.  Any time we eat in a new restaurant we need to ask about nuts; our son has a nut allergy that could be life-threatening.  Our server, Matthew, knew immediately what we were talking about and why.  He reassured us that CBC is nut free with the exception of desserts which come from elsewhere, but then he offered to double check with the chef to be sure.  He returned quickly and cheerfully to reassure us – no nut allergy problems here.  In fact, he did everything at light speed with a smile.  He looked after every table in his area this way, flying from table to table, giving everyone his undivided attention with cheer.  

We got our drink orders in, which of course included beers for my wife and I.  Their IPAs, both the Islander and the Idiot were excellent.  Wish I could have had more than one, but at 7% and 8% ABV, you’re gonna feel this, particularly if you’re already drowsy.  Our food arrived just as the crayons and coloring were completed by the kids.  Mac and Cheese, Penne with marinara and some Caesar salad for the kids, an Ahi sandwich and Fish and Chips for the adults.  I think the Mac and Cheese came from a blue box, but then that’s what makes the kids happy, right?  The Fish and Chips were delicious, crisp and a little slice of England for me.  If only they had been served on newsprint with mushy peas.  The Ahi was cooked just right – just slightly pink in the middle and was apparently delicious; it was consumed with such gusto I didn’t get a bite!  Matthew stopped by a couple times to make sure it was all great – and it was.

We were having such a great time on our vacation we figured we had to get dessert.  A gigantic bowl of ice cream for only $4.95 pleased us all.  And this entire meal can be yours for $10 less than hot dogs, sodas and fries at Legoland.  Seriously…this entire meal was under $50.  Wrap your brain around that…great service, delicious food and drink for four in a major American city over spring break for under $50!

Coronado Brewing Company, you’re doing something right.   Now it’s your turn.  Get there for a beer and dinner – with the kids!      
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