I’d been to the original Little Beans Café in Lincoln Park/Bucktown a few years back. It was cozy, quaint and a great hangout for toddlers and children under the age of five. The concept–combining food with children’s activities in one safe, centralized location–was perfect.
If you go
Little Beans Café
430 Asbury St.
Evanston, IL 60202
I had heard lots of great things about the new LBC location in Evanston. Not only was it bigger, but it also offered a variety of activity rooms to accommodate a wider age range (infants to children up to the age of 12).
So naturally, I was excited to take my two children, 5-year-old Deen and 3-year-old Jennah, for a visit.
Pulling into the parking lot, I was surprised at the very unassuming store front. I probably would have missed it had I not used my GPS to get us there. However, after walking in, it was a completely different experience. We were greeted by smiling faces at the register that welcomed us as the concept of LBC and the waiver process were explained.
My kids clung to me when we first arrived, then shortly after getting the lay of the land, they made it very obvious that an escort wasn’t necessary. Keeping a close eye on them anyway, I explored room by room.
In addition to the café, there are seven rooms:
Little Beans Playspace
This room was built with toddlers in mind. The playroom allows children to explore and use their imagination, whether it’s dressing up in a costume or riding along in a toy car. There’s also a small gated area for crawlers and an infant room for those who want some quiet time with their little ones.
Big Beans Activity Center
This room includes a ping-pong table and a mini air hockey table alongside a row of tables and chairs for parents to keep an eye on their children playing. There’s also an interactive projection system on the floor that allows children to jump and kick interchanging objects which is loads of fun.
The karaoke room
This room is adorable. Complete with a sparkling disco ball, a stage and props, it really makes your little one feel like a star.
There is a large basketball court that also doubles as a hockey rink and/or soccer field. You will find parents (like me!) here as well, shooting some hoops.
This room has a Ninja Warrior obstacle course which includes a zip line over a pit of foam blocks that kids love. There are also a few other obstacles such as ramps, rings and balancing blocks.
The art room comes fully stocked with crayons, markers, coloring books and paper. There’s a cute mini table and set of chairs for little ones to sit on while they color away.
The library has a zen type feel to it with naturalistic paintings on the wall and relaxed chairs that semi recline. It has several books for all ages and a couple of reading nooks.
These last two rooms have a lot in common. They are quiet, small and not as popular given the amenities of the other rooms. I imagine either of these rooms could also be used for time-outs should your child become overstimulated.
What I like best about LBC Evanston is that it’s clean, spacious, safe and the staff is friendly. Every play area has seating for parents/caregivers and plenty of windows for you to keep an eye on the little ones. It’s a great place to meet new friends or just sit back and relax while the children play.
There’s also no need to pack snacks as the café offers a variety of options. Try one of the delicious gourmet cupcakes!
This place has thought of everything! Check out their calendar for upcoming events and the variety of classes offered.