Best Restaurant to Take the Kids - 2008
Beach Pit BBQ, Costa Mesa
Skip the local McPlayplace, and instead take your kids to a place where they can get some fresh air and good food. In the "front yard" of the small house that is the Beach Pit BBQ proper, you'll find a white picket fence surrounding an Astroturf paradise, with a molded-plastic playhouse and climbing/sliding tower, plus an assortment of toys (lawn mower, telephone, maybe a tractor). Owner Tim DeCinces, son of former Angel Doug and a former ballplayer himself, definitely thought about families when he opened the Beach Pit in September 2005, making sure to include a dedicated play area for the kids as well as parent-friendly dishes (go for the hand-pulled pork or the tender brisket). Hungry kidlets can munch on wood-smoked Southern barbecue such as spare ribs and drumsticks, homemade mac and cheese, chicken "beach bites," and more—but make sure to sub in the sweet-potato fries for the boring potato ones. Don't forget to order some extra blueberry cornbread, so the kids can get their fruits and veggies. And should the kids' decibel levels start to rankle, you can relax with some beer or wine while watching over the action in the "fun zone."