It’s Mom’s day.
You love her. You want to make sure she gets a day off to enjoy some rest and relaxation.
No “What’s for dinner?”
No “When do we eat?”
No dirty dishes.
So, Dad and kids, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a list of 10 alternatives that will get you through the day and keep Mom out of the kitchen.
Breakfast in bed
This is a classic, of course.
Bring Mom’s favorite coffee, tea or juice to her bedroom. Hit the bakery early (or the day before) and get one of her favorite scones, muffins or bagels for the tray. Make it pretty — maybe add a nice flower in a bud vase or a card, and use a cloth napkin. Just don’t overdo it.
The truth is, while moms appreciate the effort, many don’t enjoy waking up and being fed a big breakfast immediately while still under the covers. Most will just appreciate the coffee or tea.
Brunch works great for moms who have church services on Sunday mornings and prefer to eat afterward. Plenty of restaurants will be offering elaborate brunches for the holiday.
Beau’s Grille in the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn is one of them. Just make sure you’ve got a reservation or you could be waiting a while. Most restaurants will try to accommodate the walk-ins, but reservations will be honored first. If you don’t have a reservation, go toward the beginning or end of seating for the shortest wait.
The good news is that many restaurants normally only open for dinner on Sunday will open earlier with brunch or lunch offerings for Mother’s Day, so there are more choices than on an average Sunday.
Jeannine Biggins, general manager for Ken Stewart’s restaurants, said Tre Belle in Bath Township isn’t normally open on Sunday, but will be serving Mother’s Day brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Take her out for a nice dinner
This is, of course, what everyone will be doing on Mother’s Day. It’s the biggest dining out holiday of the year.
While restaurants are gearing up — adding extra staff in the kitchen and dining rooms — there will be crowds everywhere. The good news is that lots of places normally closed on Sunday will open.
David Glenny, owner of Bricco in downtown Akron, Pub Bricco in Akron’s Merriman Valley, and Café Bricco in Fairlawn, said Mother’s Day weekend always coincides with University of Akron’s spring commencement, which only increases the crowds and the need for a reservation.
“For us, half of our business on Mother’s Day weekend is Akron U graduation. It always falls on the same weekend and they have one ceremony Friday night, two on Saturday and one on Sunday,” Glenny said.
Bricco downtown will open at noon instead of 4, so there is more time available on the reservation book. Cafe Bricco in the Doubletree hotel in Fairlawn also will serve buffet dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. Biggins said Ken Stewart’s Grille will be open too.
Both Glenny and Biggins said there is hope for diners who don’t make a reservation.
Glenny said Bricco doesn’t take reservations for its eight tables in the bar, so they will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. If the weather is nice, patio seating also is an option.
“And there’s always the no-show factor,” Glenny said.
Biggins said Ken Stewart’s will always try to accommodate those without a reservation, including offering patio seating if the weather is good.
If you plan to walk in, her advice is to avoid peak dining times. Eat before 1 p.m. — that’s when the big after-church crowds will arrive — and avoid 5 p.m., when everyone wants to eat.
Walk-ins will have the shortest waits at 3 p.m. between the lunch and dinner rush, and at 7 p.m., when restaurants are nearing their final seatings, Biggins said.
Order in from a restaurant
Is Mom a laid-back kind of gal who doesn’t like getting dressed up and going out? Or maybe she is elderly and doesn’t want to deal with the crowds. That doesn’t mean a fancy restaurant meal can’t be hers.
Call up her favorite spot and order carry-out.
Biggins said the trio of local Ken Stewart’s restaurants do a surprising amount of carry-out business for Mother’s Day and they deliver, too.
She said the restaurants deliver regularly to retirement communities, so a nice dinner for an elderly mom who can’t get out easily is simple to arrange with a phone call and a credit card. Most restaurant websites have a copy of the full menu online to peruse before you order.
Ken Stewart’s Grille, Ken Stewart’s Lodge and Tre Belle in Bath Township will deliver within a five-mile radius, Biggins said.
Not all restaurants deliver, however, so make sure you inquire when placing an order and be prepared to pick up.
Buy prepared foods at the grocery store
From a full-course dinner to deli salads, meats, cheeses, and of course the standby rotisserie chicken, it’s all ready to go at your favorite market.
Consider buying items that are just a little bit fancier than what Mom might normally buy to feed the family.
We found croissants, seafood salad and pasta salad in the deli and bakery at Acme Fresh Markets. We added a few shrimp and some fresh berries and melon from the meat and produce departments and made Mom a plate fit for a queen. If Mom’s not a seafood fan, switch to chicken salad.
If she’s a gourmet, the prepared food section at Akron’s West Point Market will have plenty of choices, and Earth Fare in Fairlawn and Mustard Seed Market in Bath will have prepared foods for moms who are vegetarians too.
Have Dad cook
Copley resident Mike Vrobel, who writes the popular food blog Dad Cooks Dinner (www.dadcooksdinner.com) often cooks for his family during the week. But on Mother’s Day he is always head chef at home.
Vrobel said before dads attempt to cook for the holiday, they should ask Mom what she would like to eat and proceed accordingly.
“Take her order ahead of time. That way you have a few days to plan and you can head to the Internet and look up recipes or find them in your cookbook,” he said.
For dads who don’t cook often, Vrobel’s advice was simple: Stick to the basics. Steak and a baked potato with salad always pleases.
“You can always grill a steak and throw some baked potatoes in the oven at 450 for an hour,” he said.
Vrobel said his go-to salad is mixed spring greens with dried cranberries and slivered almonds and a lemon vinaigrette, made by whisking olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper together until the salt is dissolved. Bottled dressings will do in a pinch, he said.
“If you’re not the person who normally cooks, Mother’s Day is not the time to get creative. Stick with what is tried and true,” he said. “A bottle of bubbly is always appreciated on Mother’s Day too, to toast Mom.”
Most importantly, make sure you clean up afterward and enlist the kids to help here too, Vrobel said.
Let the kids cook
Kids always enjoy being in the kitchen, but they do require adult supervision, which can translate into work for Mom, which is definitely a no-no on Mother’s Day.
If the kids really want to cook, make sure it’s an easy, kid-friendly recipe and make sure mom is OK eating that kind of food. (She may have her heart set on a fancy dinner out.)
A quick recipe that kids and adults will enjoy are Taco Chicken Wraps from Pillsbury. Take eight uncooked chicken breast tenders, roll them in taco seasoning and then roll each one up inside a crescent roll. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees until chicken is cooked through. Serve with salsa. You can round out this meal by microwaving a rice side dish and adding a salad.
And of course, remember to clean up afterward.
Put something on the grill
Vrobel said the grill is perfect if Dad plans to cook for Mom. Burgers and dogs are universally enjoyed, and are easy for kids to help prepare.
“For a guy, grilling should be a natural instinct for him and our weather has been nice enough,” he said.
Vrobel intends to grill a rack of lamb for his wife, a high school science teacher, because lamb is one of her favorites.
Steaks are easy for men to grill and Vrobel said grilled asparagus, which is seasonal now, makes the perfect side dish.
“Buy a bundle of asparagus, break off the tough bottom of the stem on each spear. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, then spread in a single layer over direct medium heat on the grill. Make sure to put them crosswise to the grill grate, so they don’t fall through. Roll them over every couple of minutes until they are browned and cooked enough to droop when you pick one up off the grill (about 8 minutes). Don’t worry if you lose a spear or two through the grill grates,” he said.
Pack a picnic
This can be as elaborate as your imagination and cooking skills will allow. Head to the refrigerator and use what’s on hand for sandwiches, toss in some fruit and chips, and head out to Mom’s favorite park or garden.
No. 5 can help you here too, because you can find foods like fried chicken, sub sandwiches and a host of prepared salads that are perfect to toss in a cooler or picnic hamper.
Don’t forget some water or even a bottle of wine for Mom to enjoy al fresco.
When all else fails, order pizza
If you forgot to make a reservation, or can’t afford to dine out, and even going to the grocery store isn’t an option, pizza (or fried chicken) is always a good fallback plan. Just make sure that Mom doesn’t have to order it, pick it up, or clean up after it’s eaten.