SAN MARCOS — Like the parents of most young children, Charlynn and Garrett Mann didn’t get out much. It was easier to stay at home rather than deal with an energetic 4-year-old in a restaurant who was not interested in sitting at the table, but who wanted to visit with other diners, see what was going on in the kitchen or even run out the front door.
When they did get out, the couple would take turns eating while the other kept up with the child.
“Besides we both worked full time and we didn’t want to have him in daycare all day long and then hand him over to a babysitter,” she said. “But we missed being able to go out to dinner.”
That is what gave them the idea for Landon’s Gourmet Kitchen. They would open a restaurant that would provide a play room for kids at the restaurant while their parents ate. This is not a little unsupervised nook in a corner, this is a place full of things to do and staffed by a babysitter. The cost is $8 an hour, but a child can leave the room any time and join their parents for dinner or just for dessert. Special discounts are offered for multiple children.
Kids are welcome, but the couple wanted to also provide a place to have a family dinner or adults can have adult time, she said.
It took four years for them to get the doors open to their restaurant.
They got a lot of “nos” when looking for space.
“We got a ‘yes’ here,” she said of the location in San Marcos’ Restaurant Row. “They wanted a farm-to-table concept here.
“I thought it was a good business idea,” she added. “We are meeting an unmet need.”
The menu is fresh. In fact, one of their salads is named “Solution Farms Salad.” The salad’s field greens are from the farms of the organization Solutions For Change, which tackles homelessness in North County and beyond. They lean heavily on free range meats and offer dishes that are gluten-free as well as vegetarian and vegan options.
On Saturdays and Sundays a brunch is offered where the chef makes fresh hollandaise sauce for the Eggs Benedict and the Belgium Waffle is becoming a favorite to enjoy along with a bottomless mimosa.
Landon’s, named after the Manns’ son, opened a little more than two months ago on Sept. 25. As with most new businesses, the community is discovering it a little at a time.
“We are grateful for the community support so far,” Charlynn Mann said.
The restaurant is cheerful and bright with cloth napkins. Several rough hewn tables add to the homey charm of the place.
Diners order meals at the front when they enter, then afterward get full service from a server.
“When you go out to dinner, you’re hungry, right?” she asked “So this is a way to get your food started right away”
“We love everything about Landon’s Gourmet Kitchen,” said Amanda Watkins of Rancho Penasquitos. “The restaurant décor is charming, the staff very friendly and their food is delicious and they even offer on-site childcare. Our kids love their playroom and all the fun activities they can do. The sitters are fun and interactive with the kids. We can enjoy a little ‘date’ knowing our kids are just a room away, having fun and in good hands. We look forward to our next experience there soon.”
Charlynn Mann said she does not know if having childcare on site in a restaurant is a new trend, but if it is they are on the cutting edge.
Landon’s Gourmet Kitchen is at 1020 W. San Marcos Boulevard in San Marcos on Restaurant Row.
To learn more call (760) 798-0600 or visit LandonsGourmentKitchen.com.