Summer often means extra kid time while they are out of school, which can wreak havoc on lunch plans for someone who loves good food. Throw a picky eater into the mix and you can easily get sucked into the eating at Chick-fil-a everyday hell. Even worse, most local restaurants have hard to find or non-existent kids menus, so you never know what you will get for the young one when walking into a place.
To make matters worse, it is always awkward to bring your kid, quiet or not, into that restaurant that clearly does not have a kid friendly vibe. After going around eating a ton of lunches with the family, here are some of our favorite kid friendly places (in no order) both in menu and a kid friendly atmosphere.
Raduno – Raduno is one of the few with an honest to god kid’s menu. Yes, it is only 3 items, but it makes up for it in extreme flexibility for picky eaters. You can get a grilled ham and cheese, pizza, or pasta. Does your kid not like ham? No problem, cheese only is fine. Not a fan of “red”sauce on pasta, no big deal, get some basic butter sauce instead. Or you can go the other direction and add stuff to everything. They also have fresh fruit as a side which is a big plus.
Faded Rose – The Rose has a decent sized kids menu with around 10 items, plus many of the items from the larger menu can be customized for kids. You will find the standard grilled cheese, chicken strips, and kids burger, but they also have some items to push the envelop a bit more with a picky kid like catfish nuggets, popcorn shrimp, and sauteed shrimp. Plus the wedge fries are the best in town.
The Fold – No kid’s menu here, but the kitchen is flexible and friendly enough to make some accommodations. The cheese quesadilla is always a winner at our table, as is just a side of guacamole. Plus you can always get them to dumb down a taco or two, and what kid doesn’t love cheese dip?
The Pizzeria – Similar to the Fold, there is no dedicated kid’s menu, rather it is flexible enough to be whatever you need it to be. It is also hard to go wrong with pizza. While there are a ton of other good pizza joints around, this makes the list because it is really good, and they have a kids room in the back where kids can play some games while waiting on an order.
South on Main – South on Main keeps a kids menu around on request. Additionally they can cook up a good variety of kid friendly, and are usually happy to accommodate. The grilled cheese here is always a winner, especially with a side of fries. They usually have some chicken strips around, and they almost always have some peanut butter on hand if you just want a basic PBJ sandwich. Bonus points in the bar manager Sara is great at whipping up some non-alcoholic cocktails if you want to hang at the bar with kids.
La Terraza – La Terraza has a great little dedicated kids menu, and their kitchen might be the most happy to adapt anything for picky kids, mostly because the owner’s kids are often there as well so they understand the struggle. Also they tend to have a few kids toys to play with up front if your little one starts to get bored.
At the Corner – I cannot express enough how wildly kid friendly At the Corner is, from the food to the staff. They only have a couple of things on the kid’s section of the menu, but you will find more than enough on the main menu and everything is adaptable. The staff also has a way of going the extra step to make the kids feel special, which is a nice touch.
Maddie’s Place – Maddie’s is another one of those menus that naturally lends itself to being kid friendly. It should be considering the restaurant is named after the owner’s kid. The mac and cheese here is the best in town, the fries are also really good. Plus they can always throw together some basics like grilled cheese or chicken strips on request.
Big Orange – Kid’s menu is available up from beyond request. On it they have the expected kids burger, chicken strips, fries, or a grilled cheese. The shakes here always win the kids over, and get you away from a less adult friendly place like Purple Cow. Bonus points for having kids boxed drinks as well.
Forty Two – Forty Two has the distinct advantage of being in the Clinton Center, which means you can make a whole activity out of checking out one of their kid friendly rotating exhibits and then head down to eat. Again, no dedicated kid’s menu here, but a flexible enough offering to put some good meals together. Grab the kid some brown sugar sweet potato chips and they will love you forever. They also have really good fruit salads made with local fruits (some even grown on the roof).