Upgraded Classics: Local Chefs Put a Wholesome Spin on Traditional Kids' Meals Favorites

By Andrea Bosco Stehle / Photography By Michael Fornataro | April 01, 2015
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Feeding your child off of a restaurant’s kids menu can be a daunting task. The standard chicken fingers and fries, and frozen macaroni and cheese, continue to grace the tables of infinite eateries and head straight into our babies’ bellies, contributing to unhealthy eating habits, gluten intolerances, sluggish behavior — the list goes on.

There are a handful of Pittsburgh chefs elevating kid-friendly cuisine, including Six Penn Kitchen Executive Chef Cory Hughes, who says, “Kids are smart. Chefs don’t have to dumb down cuisine for kids. It diminishes the quality. We can still serve smaller portions that are delicious, and are still pasta and pizza. Kids want to feel like adults.” As a father, Hughes has been dishing out fresh-caught sushi and Brussels sprouts to his son since birth. “We serve a really nice product and don’t charge you a lot,” he says of the kids menu. “It’s to encourage families to come in, get a really nice seasonal entrée, and give their kids an adult choice.”

We asked Hughes, The Pines Tavern Executive Chef Jason Culp, and The Porch at Schenley Executive Chef Kevin Hermann how they are recreating the classics and ditching old-school patterns.


THE LOCAVORE

Six Penn Kitchen Executive Chef Cory Hughes plucks herbs from his rooftop garden and sources chicken from Gerber’s Amish Farm. The restaurant also bottles housemade sodas in flavors like Pear Ginger and Cucumber Thyme. Some of his kids menu choices include:

Bucatini Pasta
SPK Classic
Mac 'n Cheese
Gluten-Free Pizza
Photo 1: • PASTA • Housemade bucatini pasta with marinara sauce — made with San Marzano tomatoes — and Parmesan, or butter sauce and Parmesan.
Photo 2: • SPK CLASSIC • Grilled Gerber’s Amish Farm chicken breast or steak, mashed Yukon potatoes or fries, and a seasonal vegetable. Here, Hughes pairs it with housemade Pomegranate Mint soda.
Photo 3: • MAC ’N CHEESE • Housemade gemelli pasta, tossed in the restaurant’s smoked cheddar cheese sauce.
Photo 4: • GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA • Housemade dough, fresh mozzarella, and marinara sauce. Yum!

Six Penn Kitchen, 5146 6th St., Downtown. 412.566.7366. sixpennkitchen.com.


THE SOPHISTICATE

The Pines Tavern Executive Chef Jason Culp serves his proteins all-natural and hormone free, and prides himself on accommodating to children’s needs, whether it’s food allergies or celiac disease. His menu is for the sophisticated child, yet still offers options for those who’d like to customize their order. Some of his kids menu choices include:

Mac & Cheese
Marinated Chicken Breast
Fresh Fruit
Ranch Steak
Photo 1: • MAC & CHEESE • Traditional macaroni and cheese made with gluten-free pasta.
Photo 2: • MARINATED CHICKEN BREAST • Grilled and served with green beans, bistro bakers (or fries), salad, or fruit.
Photo 3: • FRESH FRUIT • A bowl of fresh, seasonal fruit.
Photo 4: • RANCH STEAK • A 7-ounce grilled steak, served with green beans, bistro bakers (or fries), salad, or fruit.

The Pines Tavern, 5018 Bakerstown Road, Gibsonia. 724.625.3252. thepinestavern.com.


THE TRADITIONALIST

The Porch at Schenley Executive Chef Kevin Hermann partners with local farms to ensure quality ingredients in each serving. The bistro-style, Oakland restaurant caters to college students, and families with children alike. He works closely with vendors, such as Wild Purveyors, and uses organic, grass-feed beef. Some of his kids menu choices include:

Grilled Cheese & Soup
Pepperoni Pizza
Beef Burger
Pasta Marinara
Photo 1: • GRILLED CHEESE & SOUP • Housemade sourdough bread, aged white cheddar, and a bowl of housemade soup.
Photo 2: • PEPPERONI PIZZA • Fresh-grated mozzarella, crispy pepperoni, and Parmesan-Reggiano cheese.
Photo 3: • BEEF BURGER • Wild Purveyors grass-fed beef, brioche bun, aged white cheddar, and housemade pickles.
Photo 4: • PASTA MARINARA • Locally made pasta, marinara sauce, and Parmesan-Reggiano cheese.

The Porch at Schenley, 221 Schenley Drive, Oakland. 412.687.6724. theporchatschenley.com.

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