Finding kid-friendly restaurants serving great food can feel like hunting for a unicorn. Most places where kids are welcome aren't known for culinary delights, and sometimes you just need a good meal without getting a babysitter. Luckily, we've compiled our favorites for those times when you need to get out of the house. Now if we could only train that twenty-something server about a sense of urgency with kids present....
Some places just get it when it comes to accommodating families and small kids. Crosby’s is definitely one of those places. Kids eat FREE from 4-6pm daily and you can expect the usual coloring sheets and kids portions. Crosby’s delivers homespun fare that’s a bit more elevated than what your mom might make—Maryland crab cakes, sashimi tuna salad, and wood-roasted chicken, to name a few of our favorites. It can get busy, so make a reservation or call ahead.
Photo courtesy of Crosby's Kitchen
If your child only eats chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese this might be a stretch, but if your little one is adventurous, this laid back, eat-with-your-hands spot is not to be missed. Even the adults wear bibs, so don’t worry about making a mess. It's inevitable. Plus, it's designed to look like someone’s backyard, so it's nice and laid back.
Multiple locations. Photo courtesy of Lowcountry.
This place was made for the thrill-seeking foodie who isn’t afraid to wait in line for Top Chef Stephanie Izard’s eats. From the modern-retro interior to the creative spin on classic plates, the place is full of surprises. Plan your excursion with littles in off peak times to avoid the wait. Otherwise, there is zero fault to be found in this retro diner with plenty of kid-friendly menu items and an always rocking atmosphere.
Nookies is a diner dynasty. With locations spread across the North Side and a menu of monthly specials that always seems better than it has any right to be, it’s the perfect spot for daytime dining (and pretty dang good for dinner too). A short walk to the Lincoln Park zoo makes this the perfect spot for pre- or post-grazing. Expect a great kids meal and friendly service.
Multiple locations. Photo courtesy of Nookies
If you asked the average Chicagoan where to go to find tapas, most of them would reply, “What is tapas?” The rest would send you to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. Coloring books, a patio in warmer months, a family-friendly atmosphere inside, and a kid's tapas menu makes eating here a safe bet with little ones.
Photo courtesy of Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!