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Giggles n Hugs

Review from September 2008.

Giggles n Hugs in Brentwood. Giggles n Hugs is part restaurant and part indoor playground and we had a great time there as we celebrated Jody's mom's birthday. This was probably a first at Giggles n Hugs: a b-day party for a grandma!

Giggles n Hugs is located at 11701 wilshire Blvd right at the corner of Wilshire and Barrington in a strip mall on the bottom floor. The lot is valet parking only and when we went it was $4 to park. They are open Monday-Friday from 11 am-9 pm and on Sat. and Sun it varies dur to private events. The cost for playing is $9 for the first child, $6 for the secind and $5 for the third child. You still need to pay to play even if you also eat a meal there.

OK, so let's start with overall impressions: This restaurant is beautiful. The muralist is quite talented and has created such a magical place for children to play. There are giraffe heads coming out of the wall and a huge tree constructed in the middle of the room that looks like it came out of a fairytale. I loved just looking all over the walls and marveling at the muralist's talent. Next: the play area. My brother-in-law has been here a couple of tmes before and he said that they converted some of the play area to add more tables and chairs for eating but the amount of room in the play area is still quite generous. And, oh, how nice it is to eat and watch the kids play and zoom around and be kids! This concept needs to be replicated because it is spot-on. Most parents I know would agree that even the most kid-friendly restaurants require lots of patience from little ones and it can be really difficult to enjoy a meal when your kid has already lost it by the time the main course arrives. Not so at Giggles n Hugs. They can play with toys at the train table, play dress up, zoom around on ride-ons, play at the pretend kitchen color at the art table and go down the small roller coaster.

But there's more. Giggles n Hugs was the first indoor playground I have been to where they employ someone, in this case a friendly young woman, to entertain and engage the kids as they play! In addition, other staff dressed up at Spiderman and batman at one point and dueled it out which my kids loved. It gets better: just about every day of the month there is live entertainment such as a musician, a character like Elmo, disco night, a puppet show or karaoke to name a few. We were there on a Tuesday night and at about 6:15 a musician came and played songs on his guitar and then let the kids come up and sing some songs. Logan felt in the mood to do so and sang Twinkle Twinkle. All of the entertainment takes place on a small stage in the play area. A lot of families came at the same time that the musician came but before that it wasn't too crowded.

OK, now let's talk about the food. You will need to go to the counter to order but after that the servers take care of the rest. They have a selection of pastas, salads, pizzas and sandwiches and in the morning they serve breakfast as well. For an additional charge the chef will add in pureed veggies so that your kid will get more nutrition but likely no know it. For example, a kid-sized pizza costs $6.95 and for a dollar more they will make a pizza sauce with pureed spinach. An adult portion of spaghetti made with turkey meat sauce is $9.95 and an order of grilled chicken breast with steamed veggies is $10.50. And you can have them add flaxseed to the breadcrumbs for your kid's chicken nuggets (which cost $6.95) for $2.50 more. So it's reasonably priced and the food is healthy for kids and adults.

So I would definitely recommend Giggles N Hugs for families with young kids and try to go when you know there will be entertainment. They will be delighted to get to play and then eat (and then play some more!) and the whole experience is family-friendly. Grandma Linda loved her birthday there and you can plan your kids birthday there too. They have packages staring at $20/person and you can also have a private party with entertainment as well.