Grandma likes to take us - all of us - out to eat a couple times a month. It's such a wonderful treat, but it can be tough coming up with kid-friendly places to eat. Our kids are loud. And messy. And picky. Here are some of our favorite restaurants that cater to all these, er, quirks.
Red Robin - Perhaps the ultimate kid-friendly restaurant. Not only do they have balloons floating freely in the entrance, but if you're really lucky, the Robin himself will stop by to entertain your kids during a meal (although, one of my boys was afraid of him as a baby). They're always packed and noisy so no one minds if the kids scream a little, and they're extremely accommodating about messes. Best of all, their kids' menu actually includes some healthy choices. Among the usual mac'n'cheese and hamburgers, they have grilled chicken on a stick with plenty of dunking sauce, and tons of healthy sides, like salad, melons, broccoli and (my kids' personal favorite) mandarin oranges. In fact, they've even been known to fill up on oranges and then throw their pizza on the floor. They're popular enough that the wait can be spmewhat harrowing, but it's always worth it once we're seated.
Carlos O'Kellys' - If we're in the mood for Mexican, this is the place for us. Again their kids' menu is extensive, including both easy-to-eat Mexican staples as well as some typical American dishes (like mac'n'cheese). And there are plenty of chips and salsa on the table to keep our kids occupied (and quiet!) until the food arrives. They also have balloons available upon request, and the kids' menus come with crayons and activities inside.
Freddy's Frozen Custard - Freddy's is admittedly not particularly friendly to people with gluten allergy - therefore I am unable to eat there. However, this restaurant is Grandma's favorite place to take the boys as a special treat when they spend the weekend with her. The menu is chock full of items that the boys love - especially the frozen custard. If we ask my oldest where he wants to eat, he'll immediately shout "Custard!" The diner style atmosphere is also conducive to drowning out the occasional screams - which are rare since the kids have such a great time people-watching while they eat.