Have a Family Dinner Date at Northstar Café

Looking for a fun night out with the whole family? This Liberty Center restaurant is vegetarian and active kiddo approved.
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Photograph by Sarah McCosham

My family doesn’t go out to eat often. Blame the crazy cost of feeding six hungry bellies or the challenge of finding a vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Porkopolis, but it’s rare that we’re able to dine out at a restaurant we all agree on.

Northstar Café is that rare restaurant unicorn.

This only-in-Ohio restaurant has several locations in and around the heart of the state, but it wasn’t until 2016 that Northstar set its sights further south, opening up a restaurant in West Chester’s Liberty Center. Lucky us!

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

With a focus on sustainability, locally grown ingredients, and the environment, Northstar Café is the kind of forward-thinking restaurant we need more of here in Ohio—especially in a town whose nickname conjures up images of sizzling bacon and fried bologna sandwiches. For my family, it’s especially awesome to have a restaurant that’s so veg-friendly, too, with pretty much every item on the menu either plant-based or easily modified for vegetarians and/or vegans.

It also doesn’t hurt that the café has what is perhaps the BEST burger—veggie or not—in Cincinnati: the eponymous Northstar Burger, a beet-and-black-bean patty topped with marinated veggies all six of us adore and that pairs perfectly with the perfectly crispy fries, and a Boylan’s (they have all.the.Boylan’s at the fountain!)—or, for this over-21 gal, the dangerously delicious Northstar Margarita.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

If you’re feeling a little spicy, the pad Thai is perfect—don’t be shy about slurping up all the tamarind lime sauce-soaked noodles!—and Mary and I both adore the Buddha Bowl, made with seared tofu and with extra peanut sauce on the side, please.

While I’m happy to sit and sip my margarita all afternoon, I have a spirited 6-year-old who often has other plans. Happily, Northstar’s home at Liberty Center comes with all the perks of this family-friendly attraction, including The Park, an area with green space, fountains (make sure your kiddos wear water-friendly shoes!), and even a tot-sized train that runs both indoors and outdoors, depending on the weather. All of these activities are adjacent to Northstar, meaning I can have my entire crew explore together while Tony and I enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet—maybe even an uninterrupted conversation!—r at least another Northstar Margarita and Boylan’s Root Beer. Cheers!

Northstar Café, Liberty Center, 7610 Sloan Way, Liberty Township

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