Dining, American Girl Style

When I first learned I was having a baby girl, I was terrified: “Will this mean Disney-princess culture is going to worm its way into my life?” Ugh.

I now realize my fear was misplaced. I should have been asking, ‘Does this mean I will have to shell out $450 for a birthday party?’

Yup, $450 is how much it is going to cost you to have a birthday party for eight girls at the new American Girl store that’s opening this November 15 at the Mall of America. For $450, you get cake, food, games, a group photo, and your choice of theme. If you’re feeling particularly cynical—and I am—you will surely note that three of the four themes involve making accessories for American Girl dolls.

If $450 seems like a lot of money to spend on a birthday party for 8 children—and I think it does—know you can dine in the American Girl Bistro for the much more reasonable price: $15 per person will get you a lunch or dinner, including a choice of starter, entrée, and side.

The forthcoming American Girl Bistro menu is fascinating to look at because they’ve had to develop something along two channels: for girls under the age of twelve or so—and for their parents. For the lasses, there’s “picnic time” with a “bitty burger and mini hot dog” or heart shaped ravioli; for their moms and dads, there’s a turkey Cobb salad and grilled salmon. The menu actually looks a lot more tolerable than I would have imagined. In fact, there’s an all-day dessert bar with chocolate fondue, an ice-cream sandwich cookie sampler platter, banana splits, and such. So, November 15: Mark you calendars, ready your mini-vans, open your wallets.

As for me, the only question is whether my cynicism about American Girl will withstand the aging of my own American girl, who is now 4 months old. I’d bet money that the answer is going to be a resounding “No,” seeing that my entire last weekend was dedicated to marbles, marble-tracks, visits to the “marble store” (thanks, Wonderment!) and all things marble-related, as dictated by my two-and-a-half year old. You might not know it, but prior to now, my marble-interest was remarkably low. Oh well. I’ll enjoy the last vestiges of my cynicism while I can. If you’ve aged past that, you can make your own American Girl Bistro reservation by calling: 1-888-777-0010.