What if I told you that there is one restaurant where you never have to worry about how much noise your kid might make? What if I told you there was a place you could go where not one patron would bat an eye at your kid getting up and wandering around flapping if they needed a sensory break? What if I told you there was a place where you and your spouse could almost feel like you were on a date again while your kid was playing with the toys WITH adult supervision?
Sounds almost too good to be true, right? Enter Chase's Friends Zone
Chase's Friends Zone is a sensory friendly dining area that's part of the Riv's Hub restaurant in Toms River, New Jersey. The owner's grandson was diagnosed with autism and let me tell you something, this set up is ACES! This couldn't have been a greater experience. It's a private dining room with it's own special entrance. There is no loud music playing or seven different TV blaring with various shows or sporting games. It's so quiet! Check this out.
The hostess told us to sit where ever we wanted. Kiddo picked a spot closest to this play area.
He hit the trains and completely ignored my husband and I.
A lovely waitress hooked Mama Fry and Daddy Fry up while another staff member actively engaged with Kiddo and another child that was also there. Within minutes she had both Kiddo and the other child there playing TOGETHER with blocks. We didn't even have to get up and helicopter over him. It was almost like we were on a date!
Forgot the headphones? No problem! They have a bunch they'll let you borrow!
Every table had a basket of fidget toys and bubbles. Imagine going to a place where you didn't have to bust out the big mom purse with all the stuff. They have you covered!
Kiddo gives two thumbs up for their flat bread pizza and side of fries. The amount of fries they brought out was almost comical. He was delighted! The waitress was so engaging with him and with us. Daddy Fry and I got a couple of burgers which were both really good and I'm not just saying that because I didn't have to cook them. They were great!
They give each family a piece to sign for their wall. If you go, look for us on the wall!
I know this is one of those first of it's kind type places and if you are reading this and thinking "Well, that's great for her but there is nothing like this here.", I hear you. Please know that for many, many years there was nothing like this here either. This is a start though. Share this post. Talk up this story to others. You never know why might read it who can try and bring a similar thing to a place by you. We will absolutely be back. If you are in the area, you can book a table on their website or give them a call. We went at an "off peak" time but there were plenty of tables.
A big side of fries salute to Chase's Friends Zone at Riv's Hub!