I walk around the corner at the Legends Mall and I am face to face with a living breathing carnivore that is more than a hundred million years old. This could be your experience the next time you visit the Legends Mall and stop by the T-Rex Café. This brand new addition to the Legends Mall attracts all the attention of mall goers, with its fossilized exterior and animatronic dinosaur outside, everyone is sure to pay attention to this place. T-Rex Café has all the bells and whistles to get you to take a look inside but does it live up to everyone’s expectations?
The T-Rex Café located at the Legends Mall is special, by that I mean it’s the only one ever built to date. There are plans for more in the near future, but for now the only place to find a T-Rex Café is right here in Kansas City Kansas. So other than being brand new it also has never been seen before, this is a huge appeal to people who like to eat at exotic theme styled restaurants. T-Rex Café was created by the same people who created Rain Forest Café and Joe’s Crab Shack. That is right Laundry’s Restaurants Inc. has done it again; they have brought us another restaurant we can’t avoid taking our kids to for a night of food and fun.
So now that you know more about where T-Rex Café came from what is so special about it? Well being the only one of its kind isn’t the only new aspect to this Dino-themed restaurant. They offer a full dining experience along with retail opportunities and other fun opportunities for the kids. What are these kid based opportunities you are asking, well they are invited to take part in a real archeological dig, in the Paleo Zone located inside the restaurant. The kids will get to pan for gems and stones in the Discovery Creek area. They can also unearth the past on the Discovery Dig, where they get a chance to dig up dinosaurs bones from the past and are learning in the process.
The dig is a great way to pass the time while they are waiting for their food. In addition to the Paleo Zone every 30 minutes or so you will get to see the dinosaurs come to life as the whole restaurant abounds with motions and sounds as the animatronic dinosaurs interact with each other and hungry patrons; this is sure to get your kids attention. All of this is of course to make the kids forget they are hungry and to make the dinning experience better for the adults.
T-Rex Café also has one thing parents will love to hate and that is it’s very own T-Rex Café build-a-dinosaur (build a bear workshop). After a big meal and lots of dinosaurs there is even more dinosaurs at T-Rex Café for your children’s enjoyment. As you leave T-Rex Café you are corralled into the gift shop/build a bear shop. We all know what this leads to; and that is kids can’t resist building a bear/dinosaur. They cleverly make the build a bear workshop a gift shop as well, with many novelty items for sale at high prices. If you want to build a Dinosaur and have dinner better bring your checkbook.
Building the dinosaur is a fun experience for the kids, the cheapest dinosaur was $16 dollars and that is the basic naked T-Rex. You know the kids will want to add all sorts of accessories which is going to add up fast. It is fun to watch the kids at work though, finding what goes best with their dinosaur, I have to admit it was money well spent to see their faces, but still if you think about how long they will actually play with their stuffed friend its over-rated and over priced.
When coming to T-Rex Café expect at least a 45 minute wait, this place is always swamped with families all waiting for their turn at dinosaur related dinning. The good thing about T-Rex Café is it’s located at the Legends Mall, so just add your name to the list and get a dino-pager, and go shopping until your table is ready. I like that they added the pager system, this make it so much nicer, you can just casually stroll around the mall, instead of standing in the kid packed restaurant.
So is the restaurant all just sites and sounds or is there more to it than that? Well they have a full menu, which varies from the typical steaks and ribs to burgers and fries. They have a menu that I would say is a mix of Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s. The food is typically good, think anytime you had good food at other restaurant. The one difference is the price here at T-Rex Café, I would say for a dinner with appetizers, two kids meals (a whopping $8 a piece), and two adult main courses, and a few drinks, you are looking at about $85 dollars after you put down a 15% tip. The meals aren’t cheap, in fact on the T-Rex Café website (www.trexcafe.com) they won’t even list their price for food or drinks. I can tell you the cheapest thing to eat is the Hamburger and its $9, and if you add two alcoholic drinks to that you are going to pay $25, this place is proud of their food and drinks.
The food is in good portions, your $9 burger is one heck of a burger, and even a T-Rex might have trouble fitting it all in his mouth at once. The portions are pretty hefty; the Ribs are gigantic and pretty darn tasty. The kid’s meals are decent too, I expected them to be the typical kid’s meal but they are worth the money, since the kids are having a great time. I recommend this place for families; the singles aren’t going to like the atmosphere which is targeted at families with kids.
If you can avoid the build-a-dinosaur shop do it at all costs, once the kids see they can build their very own dinosaur you are going to either have a fight and then a crying kid, or you will give in and have yet another useless stuffed animal laying around the house. These things aren’t cheap either, if you have been to build-a-bear then you know what I mean, prices are comparable and it’s the same setup, except with dinosaurs instead of bears. This is another place where T-Rex Café gets pricey, but they know parents and their willingness to give kids what they want.
But let’s face the facts; you aren’t going to T-Rex Café without the expectations of spending some hard earned cash. Everyone knows it’s a pricey venue for food and entertainment and that is part of the price. You are paying animatronic dinosaurs to keep your kids busy, and they will love every minute of it. You also are paying for the kids to go on a pretend archeological dig, where they will have fun and you will get to be part of that fun. You aren’t just paying $80 dollars for a meal you are paying for dinner and a show, so if you think about it that way its not that bad of a deal. Everyone will leave happy and full.
After we left the kids couldn’t stop talking about how much fun T-Rex Café was and how they want to eat there every day of the week. I of course was looking at my empty wallet saying well maybe for your birthdays (conveniently 8 months away). If you come to T-Rex Café you can expect to pay more than normal for a typical meal, but the atmosphere will get you, and your kids will love this place and that is the huge selling point for T-Rex Café, and its working.