Frankie and Benny’s great for a 2nd birthday lunch

It was my daughters 2nd birthday on wednesday and we had long ago decided not to have a party as she would be overwhelmed. Instead it was just my wife, my four month old daughter, my parents and myself that spent her birthday with her.

We decided early on that we wanted to go somewhere for lunch, but it was a late decision to go to Frankie and Benny’s. We decided to go there due to the birthday experience they offer. We weren’t disappointed.

The Good:

  • Food: The majority of the food was really nice I especially enjoyed the chicken tenders as a starter, the New York calzone as a main and the ice cream, I chose peanut butter, cookies and cream and mint choc chip.
  • The service: The waiters and waitresses were really friendly and helpful. They never once complained about my daughter getting under there feet as she walked round and round the restaurant.
  • The birthday song: This was the highlight for us. Just as the dessert was brought out, the volume on the music went up and the song changed to happy birthday. It seemed that the entire staff then gathered round as my daughters dessert was delivered, with a candle in it, and sang happy birthday to her. They had even gone to the trouble of having someone dress up in a dog costume, which my daughter absolutely loved. She even noticed which door he went back in and tried to follow him numerous times.
  • The quiet: As it was a weekday during lunch it wasn’t too busy and there was enough space for my daughter to get up and explore.

The Bad:

  • Food: Although the majority of the food was good I didn’t enjoy the potato skins as much. They were a bit dry and could have done with more topping/filling. Also my daughter ended up eating most of our starter and then not really having her own meal. Next time I would suggest her main gets brought out at the same time as our starters as she takes a while to eat anyway.
  • The Table: When I phoned to book I asked for a table for four adults and two highchairs. We wanted the two highchairs as our four month old  likes being part of the group when awake and we didn’t want to hold her whilst eating. Their solution was an open booth seating about twelve with a highchair on each end. This would have been way to spread out. As it happens our four month old was asleep at first and my parents didn’t have a starter or dessert so could hold her then. During the main she needed feeding anyway. This highlighted another problem with the seating. The seating was too tight and cramped for my wife to breastfeed comfortably so she had to move to another table to feed the baby. I would also have expected one or two balloons on the table as it was for a birthday.

The Indifferent:

  • The price: I can’t remember what the total bill was as my parents paid, but I think it was neither really cheap or really expensive.

The conclusion:

Overall I would definitely recommend Frankie and Benny’s for a birthday meal. The positives far outweighed any negatives. Next time I would however be more specific about the table requirements to ensure we got a table that met our needs better. I expect we will be back to celebrate other birthdays in our family. Although I am happy to listen to other recommendations of restaurants where the birthday experience is really good for young children. To find your local Frankie and Benny’s click here. 

Second birthday plans finally confirmed







It’s our eldest daughters second birthday tomorrow and we’ve finally decided what we’re going to do.

No party

We decided very early on that we weren’t going to have a birthday party this year. She’s still too young to really enjoy it and she would probably get overwhelmed. Instead it’s just going to be my wife, my 4 month old daughter, my parents and myself. We have most of the day planned out, but it’s all going to be about what our daughter wants on the day.


  • Have a nice breakfast and try and eat together. Recently we haven’t had our breakfast together as a family that much, often my wife is feeding our youngest whilst I give my eldest her breakfast. Otherwise I’m looking after the youngest whilst my wife has breakfast with the eldest. So tomorrow, on her birthday, we are going to try and have breakfast together. In addition we will probably try and give her a bit of a treat for breakfast rather than just her normal porridge. Maybe pancakes if she fancies it otherwise some nice fruit for in her porridge.
  • Open and play with presents. Although there are only a few of us here on the day, we have already received other presents from family and friends to give to her. this is in addition to the presents we are getting her. There are therefore a lot to open. We will probably only bring a few out at a time so she doesn’t get overwhelmed. Any she doesn’t want to be open can be saved for the afternoon or for another day.
  • Have a cupcake with 2 candles in. As there are only a few of us there tomorrow we have decided not to make a big cake, but to have some cupcakes instead. We are intending on making a cake to share at the local toddler group on friday, where all the children and adults can sing happy birthday to her. She loves cupcakes, or fairy cakes, as she calls them. She also normally like making them, but we have decided to make them ourselves this time so it will be a surprise tomorrow to get them.


  • Go out for lunch. Although not normally a fan of chain restaurants. We will probably go to Frankie and Bennys tomorrow as they do have a good childrens menu and usually make children feel very special on their birthday. As it’s a treat for my daughter rather than us as parents, this is probably where we will end up.
  • Have an afternoon nap and/or play with presents. With a bit of luck our daughter will be tired out, but not overtired and she will have a nice nap. After that she will be able to play with her presents till dinner time.
  • Chinese for dinner. For dinner we are planning on having a chinese meal. We have peking duck in the freezer and will probably make a sweet and sour dish as well as some prawn crackers as she absolutely adores those.
  • Normal bedtime routine. We will give her  a bath and do the normal bedtime routine, although we might give her some new pyjamas and/or a new duvet and duvet cover.


Thoughts and feedback.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, although I’m not sure if we would make many if any changes at this late stage. I’ll also write a follow up post in a few days time to let you know how it went. The main thing is that our daughter enjoys herself and I’m sure that by having a special day with just a small number of people she will.