Children are told not to play with their food.

Children are told not to play with their food.

But at Little Green House, youngsters are encouraged to play while their parents pick up their meals or enjoy lunch.

"It's a relaxing atmosphere for both the adults and the children," said Bellwether Kitchen manager Carly Slone.

Bellwether operates Little Green House at 808 Grandview Ave., next door to the Little Dreamers Big Believers day-care center.

"We started out preparing food -- morning and afternoon snacks and lunch -- for the children at the three Little Dreamers day-care centers in the Short North, on Fifth Avenue and here on Grandview Avenue," Slone said.

About 80 percent of the meals served at the day cares are organic and "we make everything from scratch," Slone said.

"We really put an emphasis on healthy foods for the children," she said. "For example, instead of regular pancakes, we serve beet pancakes -- and they really like them."

By serving healthful food choices, "we hoping to help lead them to make healthy choices throughout their lives," Slone said.

About a year ago, Bellwether began preparing take-home meals that parents could order and pick up when they arrived to pick up their children.

"We want to bring families back to the table," Little Dreamers owner Sarah Eichorn said. "Everyone is so busy, and if you can eliminate the time spent preparing dinner, maybe you can spend more quality family time."

Now, the take-home dinners are being offered to the general public on weekdays.

Lunches also are available Tuesday through Friday.

Dinners must be ordered by 10 a.m. and can be picked up between 4:30 and 6 p.m. at the Grandview Avenue location.

Lunches must be ordered by 4 p.m. the day before and can be picked up after noon.

"You can take the lunches home or have them here in our cafe," Slone said. "It's such a fun atmosphere when we have a lot of children in here playing."

Bellwether also offers fresh-baked breads and event and party treats and can host birthday parties or other events in the Little Green House cafe.

"We do not use any nuts in our party treats, which is hard to find at day-care centers," Slone said.

"That's becoming so important as more and more children are found to have allergies," Eichorn said.

Upcoming main entrees for dinners include tomato sausage and spinach risotto, July 1; orange BBQ pulled-pork sandwiches, July 2; and cheeseburgers, potato salad and sweet peach cake, July 3.

Lunch menus will include potato and green bean provincial salad, July 2; Israeli couscous with vegetables and herb sauce, July 3; and summer chop salad with cucumber, tomato, ham and sunflower seeds, July 5.

All meals are complete with salad and/or side dishes.

Kids meals are available, including spaghetti, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, chicken tenders and side dishes.

Orders can be placed at or by calling 614-732-5328.