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.

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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