Time for Dinner

By: CEO, Dan Simpson

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I’ve heard it said that when you’re raising a family, “The days go slow, but the years fly by,” and it seems to be true. My wife and I are blessed with three spirited kids, ages 8-14 and we try to keep up with all the activities that make up their childhood. Our schedule is made up of school carpools, the boys in club and school soccer games, our daughter in ballet practices and recitals, all the while, squeezing in time for both parents work. Most weeks, I’m on the road with Taziki’s.  Our life, like many of yours, is an on-the-go lifestyle and so dinners are often something we pick up on the way from here to there.

We’re all pretty intentional eaters so we try to limit fast food to once or twice a year and the rest of the time, we’re looking for something nutritious and delicious which limits our options. With home gardens, and a family who loves to cook, we make most of our meals and even pack food if we’re heading to the park, the community pool, or on a road trip. The kids sometimes lobby for Chic-fil-A on a Saturday on the way back from a soccer game, or Nashville local, Hugh Baby’s to indulge in a craft burger and shake, but otherwise, everyone typically asks for Taziki’s or a similar made-from-scratch healthy option. Long before my role with Taziki's, my kids loved Sneaky Taziki’s from the kids menu and my wife and I enjoyed the feasts and dinners for our family meals. We have multiple Taziki’s nearby so a location is nearly always on our way.

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Still, we are kind of old-fashioned in some ways and still try to make family dinners happen around our dining room or kitchen table. Every Friday is pizza and movie night, a tradition which we’ve continued since the kids were still asking for Disney cartoons. When we’re all home at the same time, we try to eat together.  We go around the circle and share highs and lows from the day and even try to pull off a weekly family meeting where everyone ranks how we did at being a family and how each of us can do better. Don’t get the wrong idea. We have lots of protest, meltdowns and interruptions so it’s not often as idyllic as it might seem, still we work hard to come together around a table of food to keep conversations alive between the five of us.

The ultimate splurge is to go out to dinner. There is no table to clean up or dishes to wash. My wife and I will order a glass of wine to kick off the evening, as there’s always some reason to toast life. Our daughter orders from the kids menu (and always asks for dessert before she identifies an entree). Our middle son, who’s 11, desperately wants to be grown-up and hates being identified with the kids menu so the compromise often involves he and his older brother splitting an “adult” entree. We’re working on gratitude in our home, so we often have them just order water.  For us, dinner at Taziki’s is a quiet get away. There aren’t TV’s so there’s room for conversation and we leave feeling full but light. We sometimes give in to the Baklava, from the famous Hellas bakery, and enjoy every last bite.

This summer and fall, whether you find yourself having dinner at "Movies in the Park”, gathering around a table at home with family and neighbors, or end up at your local Taziki’s as our guest, we invite you to rediscover the connections that can happen over the dinner table - our table or yours.