Toddler friendly restaurants are hard to come by and nothing makes me more nervous, or gives me more anxiety than when we decide it’s time to go out for dinner (or any meal for that matter). I just don’t want to be those people that has their toddler with them and everyone around them is annoyed because you didn’t leave them at home with a sitter. We’ve all been there probably on both sides as the critic and the accused.
Providing a list of favorite toddler friendly restaurants is always a great resource. We as parents are people too and want to be able to take our families out for a delicious meal just like the next person. For the most part, you are going to get crayons and different menus that are great for your toddler, but these places do much more than just give my kid a free crayon or two.
Here are my top ten toddler friendly restaurants (click name for menu):
Sixth & Pine | Located in Nordstrom – Walking into Sixth & Pine you would be a little intimidated that it wouldn’t be a place to take kids, but you are far from wrong. Although in a classy location, it’s louder to hide the noise from little mouths. Their tables are covered with paper, kids are provided with crayons and and an activity book to write in. The children’s menu is absolutely delicious, taking childhood staples to the next level. Think about it, you’re shopping at Nordstrom and everyone is hungry, but you don’t want to run to the food court just to accommodate the kids. Sixth & Pine is the perfect solution.
Red Robin – The atmosphere, business of the décor and the hands on food options make Red Robin one of our very favorites. I also love that they will bring out fries before your food comes giving you something that your active toddler can start sinking their teeth in before their kid friendly food gets there. Plus, when you leave they will give your child a balloon. My son loves balloons, so this is a huge plus for Red Robin.
Texas Roadhouse – The fact that you can throw your peanut shells right on the floor sets the standard high for being toddler friendly. When my son found out he could throw his shells on the floor he was in heaven. Add loud music and country dancing to the mix and you got yourself a great restaurant that is toddler friendly. Not only that, but their rolls that come out keeping kids and parents sane before the real food gets there, that is a huge plus.
Chick-Fil-A – I had to add at least one fast food restaurant, and for the most part we don’t go to many, but Chick-Fil-A is the top of my list for sure. The new Mommy (and daddy) Valet service they offer lets parents order at the drive-thru with their children in the car with them, then go inside where a Chick-fil-A employee will have a table ready — with however many high chairs they need — and serve them. How genius is that? Not only that, the fact that they keep a giant tub of Purell Hand Sanitizer wipes just outside the play area is fantastic for all of us germ conscious parents. I hate those play areas, but knowing there is hand sanitizer close by makes me think that they must take the time to clean that place. Also, I love their place mats that come with the kid’s meals. They stick directly to the table, again helping me not freak out that my child is eating at a place some other kid has eaten and who knows what they have done.
Cheesecake Factory – Look, any place that will bring something out before our food gets to the table to make my toddler happy gets an A in my book. Not only does Cheesecake Factory have their amazing bread basket, but they also will provide your toddler with a delicious treat plate that has some cheese, grapes and crackers. Also, depending on the location you go to, a lot of their restaurants have areas that aren’t a little more sequestered, keeping you away from the general public. I love that because I don’t want to feel like my child is being so loud it’s annoying for everyone else around us. The atmosphere is slightly nicer than you would think of taking children, but like I said, because you’ve had kids doesn’t mean you need to be removed from the rest of the world.
Wingers – Something about delicious finger food is the perfect recipe for toddler friendly restaurants. What I personally love about Wingers for my toddler is that you sit down, and they immediately bring you a delicious bowl of popcorn. This keeps my toddler entertained until his food is sitting in front of him and that makes for very happy parents. Personally, I love the Sticky Fingers for my toddler and he absolutely loves them too because he loves getting his fingers sticky.
Iggy’s – Huge TV screens with different games playing, bread basket, kid’s meals that come with an ice cream Sunday, you can’t go wrong. I love a place that will keep my toddler occupied while we are all trying to eat and enjoy a meal together.
Café Rio – We are seeing a trend when it comes to places that are loud. Café Rio is one of our absolute favorite places to take our family because we love the Nino Quesadilla that comes free when you order an adult meal. Our son loves it, but also loves to eat off our plates too. Luckily Café Rio doesn’t get stingy when it comes to portions. Sometimes the line can be a nightmare because you will have to wait for the deliciousness that is about to happen, but it is always worth the wait and you usually know others that are in line with you that you can pawn your child off on for a few moments. Or not?
Einsteins – Finding a toddler appropriate place that service delicious breakfast foods can be difficult. I most certainly will not take my child to McDonalds. Thankfully Einsteins makes amazing breakfast sandwiches, or just grab your toddler a bagel and schemer and they will be in heaven.
Flatbread Pizzaria – If you have a toddler that loves pizza then you must take them to Flatbread Pizzaria. They will feel like a chef because they get to create their own pizza. They bring your child a pizza crust and toppings where they will proceed to make their own personal pizza. It’s great and keeps them entertained while you are trying to figure out which of their fantastic concoctions you want to inhale yourself. I would even say this place would be in my top choice (I wanted to save the best for last) because they really do cater to children.
Really the moral of the story is that you want to take your toddler to a place that won’t be distracting to the others in the vicinity, look for loud and entertaining. Before having kids I was always annoyed when people brought their wild and crazy toddlers to a restaurant, but I get it now. You do have to watch your child and think about those around you. At the end of the day, if you can’t control your child for a couple hours at dinner maybe just grabbing take out and eating at home is the best option.