Giggles-N-Hugs has been open for a couple of months now - time enough to work out the kinks certainly and as fine a time as any for another look.
I scheduled another lunch date to meet and play and I have to say I was impressed. Either the owners read my post or they've received the same feedback from others. Possibly both. Whatever the source, they've corrected nearly every issue I had - at least those that are within their control.
Let's start with my biggest beef and the one I least expected them to address: the blaring televisions. Not only were they off completely during our visit, Giggles -N- Hugs was playing music instead!! The music was a mix of children's tunes and tunes for children of all ages (hello, Kool and the Gang!!) and both Island Boy and I loved it. He was snapping his fingers and smiling and generally rockin' out.
This time we were told at the counter that someone would get our drinks for us. Hurray!! In fact, the super amazing gentleman that works the dining room carried our number over to the table of our choice for us, then brought us plates and utensils and a highchair. There was so little left for me to do I fantasized about hiring someone like him to come to our house for all future meals! (This guy is so wonderful he's not fazed at all by plates, utensils and cups hitting the floor every couple of minutes and reacts simply by wiping up the mess and replacing plates, utensils and cups on the table as needed. Positively dreamy!!)
I visited the ladies room this time rather than taking my friend's word for it and it was rather messy, but I loved the layout. The changing table is in the stall so if a flush is needed it is conveniently close. Complimentary wipes are provided and handy, although the changing table covers bin was empty (not that I've ever seen it full at any place I've been to, but I kind of expected it to be stocked here).
Once again the place had plenty of tables available and there were enough people there in the play area as well as in the dining area to give it some life but not so many that it was overwhelming. There were even a few daddies in attendance.
The menu hasn't changed and this time I had plenty of time to discuss it with the counter staff before ordering. According to the staff, my assessment of the options for the pre-teeth set was accurate - there isn't much. We ordered a Kid's Size Bolognese for Island Boy. While it was a huge portion for him, we were able to take the leftovers home and enjoy several more meals of it. I can't vouch for it personally as I am not an omnivore, but I can say that Island Boy seemed to like it. In my dreams they'd add more options for those with dietary restrictions (i.e. low sodium, gluten-free or just plain finicky) as well. This is Southern California, after all, so that sort of thing is almost expected.
I didn't notice this offering last time, but I love the idea of Curbside Takeout Service!! If you're crunched for time this seems like a great option. I don't think a lot of places have this option, but they should.
What makes Giggles-N-Hugs different from any other restaurant with high chairs? Their understanding of and tolerance for toddler behavior. This alone helps a mother relax. There also happens to be the play area, but you're not required to use it by the facility (your child may have other ideas but that's the risk you take when you show up).
The restaurant has improved on so many of the little details - all the way down to the flexible straws now offered. I still don't love the $9 entry fee to the play area especially since on most occasions we just want to run around for a couple of minutes after lunch before we jump in the car. Still, Giggles -N- Hugs is a great place to meet and eat a reasonably healthy meal with your toddler.
Nice work, Giggles -N- Hugs!!