Today I was able to check off an eagerly anticipated first, a meal and a girls’ playdate/luncheon at the American Girl® Cafe! We’ve dabbled in visits to the American Girl store, picking up a small item here and there, but so far, it has been little amuse bouche bites of the American Girl experience.
Let me preface our trip with some history on our own experiences with American Girl® dolls. Unbeknownst to me prior to having kids, was this magnetic world of American Girl dolls. I had never heard of them growing up, and most CERTAINLY never had one myself. As a child of very strict and frugal immigrant parents, these classic and collectible dolls were never on my radar. Of course, as soon as I joined the web of mommy boards online, I was introduced to the brand and like most others, sealed my fate by buying Kaitlyn a Bitty Baby™ for Christmas before she turned 2. Baby Baby, her beloved doll, has been around the world with us ever since.
At age 4, I purchased an 18″ doll for a friend’s 5 year old, which drew large, widened eyes with awe. She asked politely and regularly, if and when she could get a “big American Girl doll.” With that, I set out to find a doll to match her looks and heritage, just to find out that a Chinese doll/character, Ivy Ling, had been retired. I had to find one on the aftermarket, which I was able to with the help of a couple of friendly folks! Ivy came in mint condition, still pristine in her box! “Santa” brought Ivy on Christmas Day and Kaitlyn only recently had begun to play with her more often. With pre-K graduation completed, and a short Summer break, this was the perfect time to plan a trip to the American Girl Cafe!
Ivy got a new hairstyle at the store!
PLANNING YOUR MEAL/TRIP
Due to the size of our group, I made reservations a week in advance. The online reservations were quick and simple. I also had a question later on and called to speak with a representative who was extremely helpful and sweet! They followed up with emails, a phone call, and texts. I was able to update our reservation twice without any issue.
On the day of our meal, we let the hostess know we were already in the store shopping, and were advised we could be seated as early as 10 min prior to our scheduled time. This was nice since we had a later lunch time of 1:30pm. Looking around at the cafe at that time, it was pretty empty. Knowing this, I would easily pop in to see if the cafe was free for walk-ins in the future!
DINING WITH DOLLS
If your child or other children attending the meal do not have a doll with them, they are free to choose and BORROW a doll (or two) to accompany them at meal time! I think this was one of the best add-ons to the whole dining experience for both child and parent. Especially for younger kids who may only have a Bitty Baby or none at all, to be able to hold and play with an 18″ AG doll for the meal.
Each doll (yours or the cafe’s) is set up with a high chair next to the child for the meal. The server gives each doll a plastic saucer and branded teacup, served complete with real pink lemonade! This MADE the day for Kaitlyn and her friends! They couldn’t stop “feeding” their babies with fake sips of lemonade and tiny crumbs of the appetizers. The saucer and cup are takeaways for the kids, a most special treat that Kaitlyn cannot get over!
SET MENU & PRICING
Everyone in the party is subject to the set menu of $24/per person (regardless of age) for lunch or dinner. You may check with your specific store for details, but on our trip, we were told even our youngest gal (1 y/o) would be charged for a set menu OR a $10 sitting fee.
The food was so so good! We started off with the American Girl® tradition of mini cinnamon buns. Followed by an appetizer tray of crudites, hummus, dip, and pita. All of the entrees sampled amongst our party were unanimously agreed upon as delicious. Dessert was just so adorable, but I was too full to finish. Our server was also great! He was so patient and played along as my daughter made requests for everything from refills on her doll’s lemonade, to more little AG flags for her food.
As you can tell, it was such a memorable day for all the moms and daughters, and even Kingston expressed jealousy after seeing our photos. I will probably bring him along one day, they do have boy dolls on loan as well!
Have you ever been to an American Girl Cafe?