“After all that [garlic] bread, I thought my kids would be too full to eat their spaghetti, which was $5 a kid, but they couldn’t get enough of that sauce on pasta and the accompanying fluffy, rich meatballs. Even my pickiest eater, my 8-year-old daughter, slurped up at least half of her entree, which was more than enough to satisfy most adults.”
By Jessica Fleming | October 3, 2012
A few weeks ago, after a miscommunication in our household, my seventh-grader missed one of his cross-country team’s spaghetti dinners.
He was upset about skipping the ceremonial pre-meet carbo-loading, and after some quick thinking, I suggested we hit DeGidio’s, a St. Paul red-sauce Italian institution that has been on my list of places to try.
When we arrived that Friday night, the parking lot was full, and my husband and I were worried. Waiting for a table is a challenge with any three kids, but my 6-year-old son has autism, so it can be a deal-breaker for us.
Fortunately, we were seated right away at what might have been the only empty table in the place.
My kids love Italian cheese bread, so we started with an order.
It arrived before we even could order our entrees, which was great since it was late and the kids were starving.
The bread was a step up from what most pizza or spaghetti joints offer. Mozzarella melted on a crisp baguette was served with the restaurant’s trademark Italian “gravy” — a bright, garlicky tomato sauce the kids lapped up in record time.
Our waitress, returning to take our order, saw the garlic bread was gone and brought out one basket of garlic toast and then another.
After all that bread, I thought my kids would be too full to eat their spaghetti, which was $5 a kid, but they couldn’t get enough of that sauce on pasta and the accompanying fluffy, rich meatballs. Even my pickiest eater, my 8-year-old daughter, slurped up at least half of her entree, which was more than enough to satisfy most adults.
My chicken parmesan ($12) was more red sauce — why order anything without it? — atop enough spaghetti and crispy chicken cutlet for three meals.
My husband ordered the Spicy Penne Arrabiata with Italian sausage ($12) — a massive spicy mix of vegetables, pasta, tomatoes and cream that left him full and happy with plenty of leftovers for another meal.
The fun, loud Italian party vibe and the retro interior were just what the doctor ordered after a long week. The noise also made my youngest’s tendency to get up and walk around during dinner a non-issue — except for a water spill, which was quickly cleaned up by courteous staff members.
The total bill for our night out, which cheered up my oldest son and left my youngest so full he had to walk it off, was $75, and that included two drinks apiece for me and my husband.
My kids are already asking when we can go back, and my answer is: Soon.
Where: 425 W. Seventh St., St. Paul
Info: 651-228-0118, degidios.com
Prices: Kids’ entrees, $5; adult dinners, $16.50 to $19.50
Kids’ Cuisine is a one-time take on how restaurants handle kid customers. It’s written by a rotation of Pioneer Press staffers with children — the real experts for this column. Jess Fleming can be reached at 651-228-5435. Follow her at Twitter.com/jessflem.