Our family likes pizza. We have it 1-2 times per month I guess, and while St. Louis does boast some pretty good local pizza joints, one of our favorite pizzas is still the national chain, Pizza Hut.
This time of year, besides our preference for their pizza, we have another incentive to head there once a month: the boys are participating in the Pizza Hut Book-It program for homeschoolers. It's a simple program wherein the kids are motivated to read a specified number of pages or books in order to earn a certificate for a Personal Pan Pizza with the topping of their choice. One certificate can be earned per month from October '10 through March '11. The boys being pretty willing readers anyway, I'd bet we'll be heading out for pizza each month.
And since that is so, I just have to say the Pizza Hut in south county is one my husband and I particularly enjoy and even recommend. But you ask, isn't a Pizza Hut a Pizza Hut?? Yes and no. The food? Yes. This particular location? No. Here's what we like a lot about it:
No crayons for the kids. No coloring books. No video games. No music. No televisions. You read that right! There are no distractions whatever to a family coming in, sitting down and having pizza and talking together about their day. We did this tonight. We listened to our kids tell us about their day at homeschool co-op including the musical they're in ('Annie Jr.'). We talked of other things, including some of the pictures on the restaurant walls of St. Louis sports figures and venues of decades past. It was a very pleasant and relaxing time out, and the pizza was good, as it always is.
I don't know about you, but my idea of a nice family dinner out is decidely NOT in playing tic-tac-toe or box-in-my-initials (or whatever the silly game is called) with my son while we wait for our food. It is also not in adding a chunk o' change to the bill by allowing the boys to spend a few minutes in the video den. I don't care to have to scream at my husband across the table in order for him to hear me over the music (even if they're playing stuff we like), and I can't stand how my kids are positively glued to the nearest TV set as they eat, no matter the program content.
Since we do eat out occasionally, we will undoubtedly encounter and endure some or all of the above again; it just seems like it goes with restaurant territory anymore. I just don't happen to think kids need to be entertained while they sit with Mom and Dad and wait for their food, eat their food, or patiently wait for the bill to be taken care of. But then, I don't like Happy Meals either. As I tell my boys, "You oughta be happy you're getting a meal", and that's how I feel at sit-down restaurants too.
Suffice it to say, though, the south county Pizza Hut does things right, in our estimation, and I thought some of you out there might like to be let in on the secret. And hey, they've included homeschoolers in their reading-incentive program and I think that's pretty awesome!