Best Place to Take the Kids - 2003
Rainbo Café - CLOSED
Readers' Choice: Dave and Buster's
Kids love stories, and the history of this place is quite a tale. Why are the men's room walls 16 to 18 inches thick? Because they are part of an old vault used by gamblers. See, the Rainbo opened in 1933 and was, until the 1950s, a casino that hosted gangsters including -- and this is documented -- Al Capone. It was closed until 1990, when Jim Durfy first unlocked the doors. In Rainbo's modern incarnation, scenes from the film Cape Fear, with Robert DeNiro, were shot here. Then there's the 124-year-old potbellied stove and the sitting area that Durfy has established in the front window. Our kids love wandering around the joint. They also get a kick out of the life-size dancing Santa Claus that Durfy, who is 70 years old, places outside the door every Yuletide. Our kids especially like the fact that there is no kids menu. If you are a clueless parent, you might not have realized that kids hate kids menus. Makes 'em feel inferior. But just a word to the waitstaff here and they will whip up kid-size portions. For breakfast, a pancake shaped like a rabbit goes for a mere $1.25. At lunch, a hot dog and fries sell for $1.95. But the real reason the Rainbo tops this category has little to do with any of this. Rather, it's that all of Durfy's nine children, as well as four of his grandchildren, work here. If he can deliver this many kids to this downtown Hollywood institution, then you should bring your tiny brood too. The place is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Christmas.