Moms and dads rejoice! We’re here to save you (and your kids!) from the standard kid’s meals and uninspired and unhealthy menu choices. Created by Chicago parents for Chicago parents, Little Diner’s Crew will soon become your go-to for a family date night out grabbing grub. Read on to learn how they got started, their mission and how you can snag a spot at the table. Grab your bibs and read on!

photo: Nicole De Khors

How did Little Diner’s Crew get its start?
Driven by a passion for experiencing restaurants that expose them to new flavors using quality ingredients, husband and wife duo D.C. and Alayna Crenshaw created Little Diner’s Crew. The stimulus for the concept was a desire to share their love of food exploration with their two boys, after a brief stint on the dreaded mac-n-cheese and chicken tender circuit.

What is the goal of Little Diner’s Crew?
The mission of LDC is 3 fold. They want to provide kids the opportunity to try new foods from around the globe, give chefs a forum to educate kids about the food they eat, where it comes from and how it’s prepared and, lastly, they want to bring families together to enjoy a unique dining experience.

photo: Little Diner’s Crew

What are the membership details?
There are several membership options, all of which include a passport that allows members to document their culinary journey and access to free appreciation events and tastings. Passports can also be used to redeem LDC perks at participating restaurants and partners.

Members will receive email alerts about free tastings, discounts and invites to openings from partner restaurants as part of the LDC Perks. You will also enjoy non-food perks such as family events, services and products.

Annual Eat Membership: $95/year per child, does not include cost of meals

Monthly Travel Membership: $9.99/month per child, does not include cost of meals

Explore All Access Membership: $29.95/month per child, includes cost of meals, additional exclusive Explore Member events, 1 complimentary child guest at an event per quarter

Family Membership: $150/month for 2 adults and 2 kids, includes cost of meals and exclusive Family Membership events.

photo: Little Diner’s Crew

Walk me through the event, please!
First of all, it’s important to note that LDC events start promptly. So, be sure to plan ahead so you can arrive on time—no small task for parents, we know! A different restaurant will be featured each gathering and have included such notables as Carnivale, Naoki Sushi, Riva and RPM. When you arrive, you’ll check in with an LDC rep and have your passport stamped. The dining experience will include either the Chef, GM or owner discussing different aspects of the restaurant’s history, menu and cuisine. The menu for kids and adults is exactly the same, but the portions are smaller for the kids. Also important to know, kids dine alone with their peers, while parents enjoy adult time nearby.

How old do my kids have to be to join the Crew?
LDC is best suited for kids ages 4-12 and their hungry chauffeurs (a.k.a. parents).

How do we stay looped in on events?
Good question! Be sure to keep tabs on their website to get the 411.

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— Maria Chambers

Photos courtesy of Little Diner’s Crew