Beyond the sea of dolls and merchandise at the American Girl store, is a very cute, very pink Bistro. Among the Bistro’s offerings, the most affordable, and perhaps the most fun, is the doll-friendly tea. The American Girl tea is a great experience that need not involve buying a thing. The experience starts by being given a special highchair for your doll if you have your own, or choosing a doll to join for you tea if you do not.
For any little men along for the ride, a male doll is also available to join you at your table. A much higher-priced children’s tea I attended stressed the importance of good conversation during tea time. American Girl is aware that your children might need a little help in this area and provides a box full of cards with suggested conversation starters on topics such as: Who will be your favorite teacher forever? Which foreign language would you like to learn?; and Which food would you never give up eating? When you are ready to move on to another activity, American Girl provides a craft to keep your children entertained. On the day we visited, older children received a doll-themed activity pack with stickers and pop-out paper dolls. Younger children received two doll-sized blankets with fringes they could twist together.
It wouldn’t be tea time without tea and a large selection of tea is available for the grown-ups. Children can cheat a little and have pink lemonade, chocolate milk, or another type of kid-friendly drinks served in a tea pot so that they can enjoy a full tea time experience. And, of course, at tea time there is lots of food. A variety of kid-friendly food is served up in an adorable way. The offerings may vary, but on our recent visit the menu included fruit kabobs with little yogurt cups for dipping, muffins, a variety of sandwiches, and the sweet ending with cookies, flower-pot chocolate mousse, and cupcakes.
Tea is a great way to have a nice day out with the kids. Unlike most trips to the American Girl store, it is not necessary to buy a thing to have a great time. Girls and boys who need borrow dolls are just as welcome as those who are doll owners so owning a doll isn’t a prerequisite for attending tea.
Tea is served weekdays from 2:00 to 4:30pm. Reservations are highly recommended and tea is $12.00 per person. If you are going to celebrate a birthday or other special occasion a cake and other goodies may be added on. If you have any dietary restrictions, it is highly recommended that you call in advance and the kitchen can make changes to the tea menu for you. The Bistro is stroller-friendly and bathrooms have changing tables.
My three year old daughter had a fantastic time, despite being a little too young to fully appreciate American Girl. Even my six year old son enjoyed the experience.
Photos by Jamie Davis Smith.