It’s about time a large chain paid proper attention to a kids’ menu, offering up more than the usual chicken fingers, hot dogs and omnipresent fries. The Hyatt’s new “For Kids By Kids” menu was consulted on by Alice Waters, founder of the slow food movement and pioneer of edible school yards. It was also co-developed – tasted, tested and approved – by kids, including 11-year-old cooking enthusiast Haile Thomas, who is spearheading a campaign for healthy eating through her online cooking show, Kids Can Cook. Hyatt’s food and beverage team worked with Haile and her peers to ensure offerings on the menu not only meet high standards for nutrition and quality, but are also fun.
Through their research, Hyatt learned that kids today have a greater level of sophistication in their taste preferences, but also enjoy items with which they can interact. To that end, new menu offerings will present a creative way for kids to engage with their food, such as customizing their own pasta dish, “shaking” their own salad, or making their own tacos.
We attended a launch of the new menu last week, where kids were treated to a pool party and lunch, delivered by Executive Chef Jordan Walsh. The spread included all their menu items: whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs, grilled petite steak with roasted potatoes and veggies, a salad served in a container you can shake yourself, made with roasted chicken, veggies, brown rice and yogurt-basil dressing, and sunbutter, jelly and banana sandwiches on whole grain bread (with the crusts cut off, and presented in fancy triangles) with fresh strawberries.
They have no free pop refills at the Hyatt, but kids can have as much hormone/antibiotic-free milk as they like as they engage in food and gardening-related activities at their table.
Here’s hoping the Hyatt triggers a new trend in restaurant dining for the younger set.