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Peanut Butter and Ellie's grows up

Here you can play a board game and munch on the pieces at the same time, you can order a peanut butter and bacon sandwich and your artwork just may become part of the scenery.

Peanut Butter and Ellie's, the cozy little café with kids in mind, reopened on Sept. 7 after two months of remodeling and retooling the restaurant. Formerly a counter-service café serving mostly sandwiches and coffee, the restaurant has become a full-fledged restaurant for the whole family. They have expanded their menu, decked out their kitchen and made their dining room more inviting for table service-but the kid-friendly environment with toys, games and books remains the same.

Peanut Butter and Ellie's opened in 2001 on Fremont Street in Southeast and three years later moved to its current location across from Gabriel Park on Vermont Street.

Where other restaurants serve fried, processed foods, Peanut Butter and Ellie's focuses on local, organic fare. Employees grind the fresh peanut butter and the jam is bought locally from a marionberry farm.

Once a retreat for moms and kids, the new menu offers something for dads to savor as well. The new menu includes natural beef burgers, tofu fajitas, and jelly-glazed ribs with a savory peanut dipping sauce. The baked goods and desserts have been expanded, as has the drink menu. They also have a permit pending for a liquor license this fall. The menu has something for everyone in the family and even features items especially for baby like noodles, yogurt, squishy bananas or applesauce.

Other than checkerboards on the tables with cheese shapes as pieces, kids can create art with peanut butter play dough or play with the assortment of games, toys and books. The environment gives children a chance to play and parents a chance to relax.

'It's such an easy place to eat lunch with kids,' said Carol Sutherland, who came with her husband Kelly and daughters Chloe and Caitlin on the day of the reopening.

The restaurant can be rented out for birthdays or community groups and hosts a slew of events from mommy exercise groups to face-painting classes to craft days.

Peanut Butter and Ellie's is located at 4405 S.W. Vermont Street in Multnomah. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, please call 503-282-1783 or visit its Web page at www.pbecafe.com.