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The Nest, "Membership Club for Women and Families," Combines High Tea and High Chairs

Categories: Restaurant News

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Restaurants around the country have been implementing a new controversial policy: no kids. Some places only ban children during peak hours, or only prohibit tykes under six. Understandably, the trend is controversial -- and frustrating to some parents.

The Nest (10440 German Boulevard, Frontenac; 314-494-5706), a new cafe, education center, yoga space and juice bar coming to Frontenac, is basically the exact opposite.

"We decided there was a real need for a new concept in family-friendly dining," co-owner Christina McHugh tells Gut Check. "When you look in St. Louis, [places] are few and far between. The ones they have are overstimulating spaces for kids, like Chuck E. Cheese, but it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the adults' experience."

See also: Salted Pig, Michael del Pietro's New Frontenac Venture, Promises Fresh, Upscale BBQ

McHugh says she and her partners found themselves wondering why there weren't restaurants or cafes with childcare like there is at many gyms and fitness centers. "How great would it be to have an indoor room where you could bring the kids with you and put them away when you are ready to eat?" she says. "It'd be really nice to have with girlfriends or even your husband and be able to eat your meal."

McHugh and partners Colleen Carlton and Carolyn Raymer want the Nest to serve the needs of families, from single moms to stay-at-home dads -- although much of the concept is designed to appeal to women. Both McHugh and Carlton are adoptive mothers, which partly inspired the idea.

"A single male, sports-bar steak-house -- there's a lot of that. That was the goal for the Nest: What do families want, and what do women want?" McHugh says. "If you could create a space to help you feel connected, what would it be? The more we pondered that, the idea just grew."

The Nest will have an "indoor play forest" which McHugh describes as a more modern McDonald's PlayPlace, as well as classes, community support, prenatal yoga and even mother-and-child yoga.

Eighty percent of the Nest's menu is gluten-free, and the rest can be made gluten-free. McHugh says it was important to address the prevalence of serious food allergies in children. Four members of the staff are nutritional consultants, which helped the Nest develop a menu full of juices, kale and other healthy options.

"The chef took our Pinterest ideas. Honestly, it is the land of Pinterest for women and families," McHugh says. "We were perusing Pinterest like if we were trying to create a menu really sensitive to allergies -- the opposite of what is on the market, like pizza, burgers and steaks."

The partners gave their chefs those parameters, plus a request to make it actually appealing to kids. "What he came up is really innovative, especially for this part of the country," McHugh says. "Nutrition can actually heal."

The Nest opens December 2, but memberships are on sale now on its website. Pre-opening, it's $600 for a full year and $400 for expecting moms. Find more information here.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at nancy.stiles@riverfronttimes.com or follow her on Twitter.





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15 comments
cmmxv8
cmmxv8

This is Christina McHugh who was quoted in that post. Of course we at The Nest do not believe in "putting our children away," when we eat. But we do believe in offering support in the form of childcare, classes and community for all women and families. Our children's menu runs all day and has many options for families that want to dine together. We also have classes and childcare options for mothers who would like to take a class, visit with a friend, or grab a bite alone for a moment of me time :) 

Redhedoo7
Redhedoo7

I stopped by today and this place is amazing! Its beautiful. Its playful. Its healthy. I can't wait to join. I think this is the perfect balance that parents are seeking.

Colleen Carlton
Colleen Carlton

I am one of the owners of The Nest, A Stay & Play, Creative Cafe, i think there is some confusion. Of course children are allowed to dine in our cafe, we have a healthy menu that caters directly to them. We also have a supervised play area, classrooms, yoga classes, etc for children to enjoy while parents or caretakers can catch up on work (we have wifi and lots of outlets) or simply have a quiet lunch with friends knowing your child is well taken care of and close by. We have an eclectic children's menu in addition to a forward thinking nutritionally based menu. Carolyn & Beth, please message me, I would like to invite you to be my guest for lunch when we open in December :)

jake.lampert
jake.lampert

"How great would it be to have an indoor room where you could bring the kids with you and put them away when you are ready to eat?"

Enough to make me never, ever want to even think about patronizing this place.   

Meg Boyle Langa
Meg Boyle Langa

My kids (twins now 18) went out to eat with my husband and me since they were babies. They learned as they grew to sit at the table, eat what they were given, stay in their seats and talk and enjoy their meals. They played at play time and ate at meal time.

Mantelli
Mantelli

I think you mean "afternoon tea", the fancier meal with cakes, scones and teensy sandwiches. "High tea", which sounds so elegant to Americans, is just an early supper.

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

I hope the kids will remember and not eat at those places when older

Beth Bechtold Carpenter
Beth Bechtold Carpenter

"How great would it be to have an indoor room where you could bring the kids with you and put them away when you are ready to eat?" Is that a joke? Put them away, really? How is that family friendly? I really don't mind eating with my children most of the time. Sometimes though I leave them at home with a babysitter that I know and trust. What a novel idea.

James Wright
James Wright

And so do adults with out kids, fast eddies is the one in the area I know about.

Carolyn M. Slonim
Carolyn M. Slonim

That is seriously messed up. Kids have the right to eat too.

Jenny Kyle
Jenny Kyle

Google it - I don't know of any in Stl but its getting popular in other parts of the country

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

There are restaurants that ban children? Please give me a list :)

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