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Enjoy Your Meal!

It would be rude not to play with your food at this entrepreneur's creative, family-friendly restaurant.

What: A restaurant that caters to kids
Who: Angela Roth of Peanut Butter & Ellie's
Where: Portland, Oregon
When: Started in 2001

When angela roth's daughter, Ellie, was a newborn, Roth daydreamed about all the neat places she would take her when she was a toddler. One of the places she had in mind was a health-conscious, fun restaurant designed especially for kids.

Before long, Roth realized it would be up to her to actually create the restaurant she envisioned. So she researched how to write a business plan, sought assistance from the SBA's SCORE program and attended business classes at a local community college. Eventually, the former graphic artist obtained an SBA-backed loan for $70,000. Coupled with an additional $16,000 in savings and $2,500 borrowed from Roth's family and friends, Peanut Butter & Ellie's was finally born.

"If you're going to have a fun place for kids, it needs to be unique," says Roth, 31, who expects that the restaurant's first-year sales will reach $180,000. "There has got to be something that draws them in."

At Peanut Butter & Ellie's, kids can sit alone at tables just their size, sit with their parents or even host a party. What's more, they are allowed to make a mess, be as noisy as they want, write or draw on an entire wall that's covered in chalkboard paint, play with puzzles and toys, participate in various art activities, run around in the grassy backyard play area and eat at picnic tables.

Kids also love the healthy menu consisting of assorted sandwiches (most are peanut butter topped with fruit jams, raisins, bananas and the like) and fun snacks (such as ants on a log and fruit smoothies)--all made with organic ingredients. And their parents appreciate the bottomless coffee!

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This article was originally published in the December 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Enjoy Your Meal!.

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