I grew up with five younger sisters. Our family of eight almost never went out to eat because it's hard to feed that many people on any kind of budget, and when we did eat out it was almost always fast food. Sometimes, though, we would come across a restaurant that offered a "kids eat free!" night and then we would bundle our whole family in there and enjoy the food together boisterously. Though I'm sure the management hated us, we really loved being able to eat a nice meal at a nice place. The beginnings of my culinary wanderings were surely fostered at one of these places, watching my sisters devour garlic bread and endless pizza plates.
Havana Rumba is brave enough to offer just such a deal in November, on Sundays and Mondays. Kids under 12 eat free, from a special menu, dine in only, of course. The choices on this menu include a Cubanito, (shredded beef, chicken stew, or roasted pork with rice, beans and fried plantains) grilled chicken with rice, black beans and sweet plantains, Frita Cubana (a Cuban cheeseburger with fries), a grilled cheese sandwich with fries, a ham and cheese sandwich (your choice of provolone, swiss or cheddar) with fries, and chicken tenders and fries. Adventurous and picky kids alike should enjoy this lively fare, as well as the hopping atmosphere at the popular Cuban eatery in two locations: 4155 Oechsli Ave. and 12003 Shelbyville Road. This could be the makings of a great family night--amazing food for mom and dad, free food for the kids!
photo: Elizabeth Orrick