Sometimes we all need a break from cooking, especially on days when it feels like we have lived in the kitchen or when we work hard to put a healthy meal together and despite our best efforts, it’s rejected. Family date nights for us are nice because, honestly, my son likes to eat early and my husband and I don’t eat until after he’s gone to bed, so it seems like going out on weekends is the only time we all eat together as a family. It’s important for the experience to be fun for everyone.
Here is a list of some favorite kid-friendly restaurant ideas, ones where you hopefully shouldn’t have to wait for a table or wait too long for your food.
The Woodshed Smokehouse – Located right on the Trinity Riverfront, Woodshed is a lively place where you’ll usually find family dogs and live music while you enjoy eating outside if the weather is nice. At lunch or dinner, kids can nosh on borracho beans, loaded baked potatoes, hummus with camp bread and fresh chips. And kids are sure to love the biscuits and fresh jam, bacon, pastries, and tacos that round out the weekend breakfast menu.
Another restaurant with a laid-back atmosphere (the wait staff can often be found doing the Hokey Pokey) is Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, since most kids like chicken tenders. Everything is served family style so you won’t waste money on a kid’s meal that they won’t touch. If your kids are fish eaters, Flying Fish has a fun seafood-themed interior, and a nice, enclosed patio too.
Joe T. Garcia’s – We like to take our son here because the food arrives quickly, and if we need to take a walk during the meal, there is a lot to look at around the patio area. Also, it’s a fact of life: If you’re at Joe T.’s, you’re always in a good mood, so fellow diners are usually understanding if we make a lot of noise. Plus, I always feel a little better about getting food on the ground if we are eating outside. If you want Joe T.’s food but are in a more casual mood or don’t want to risk there being a line, Esperanza’s Bakery and Cafe (Park Place and 8th Avenue) is the perfect place for a quick dinner and the same recipes.
Another Mexican restaurant idea, especially if it’s nice out, is Taco Diner with a nice patio or where you could opt to place a take-out order and sit at the next door Sundance Square’s tables and enjoy watching the plaza’s jetted fountains a little closer to the action. (Quick tip that works for us: At any Mexican restaurant, we order tortillas when our waiter first greets us, which helps keep our son occupied for a little while.)
Food Truck Parks! Clearfork Food Park, located on the Trinity Trail near both the Fort Worth Zoo and Forest Park Miniature Railroad, is a great place to grab a bite after one of those outings or have a simple evening out when the weather is pleasant. Make sure to check each parks’ website/Facebook to see what food trucks are scheduled, but usually the standard pizza, burgers, and tacos can be found and a grilled cheese or cheese quesadilla for the kids.
We love the neighborhood favorites, places that are small, quiet, and quick like Old Neighborhood Grill for its many options for sides and super friendly staff. Also, if it’s not a day when TCU has a lot of people on campus Los Vaqueros, Dutch’s, Pizza Snob, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop (great quesadillas for kids), and Buffalo Brothers are good ideas too. If you are a little before or after the noon lunch rush, Kincaid’s and McKinley’s have menus that fit our little ones featuring many yummy favorites like homemade, four-cheese macaroni, which is crazy good.
Vickery Cafe is a favorite for breakfast with coloring pages for the kids, and comfortable booths: a mom favorite for wiggly toddlers who have outgrown high chairs and won’t stay still in booster seats. Cafe Brazil which will please everyone. Central Market is a terrific option if everyone is feeling a taste for something different or if you need to grab some groceries too (aka always) and have time to let the kids hit the playground off the patio.
It’s hard to go wrong with Italian. Our favorites include Campisi’s on Camp Bowie, which also has great booths, and yummy pizza to please everyone. Prima’s Pasta and Pizza (South Hulen and Granbury) gives the kids dough to play with while you wait for your food. How cool is that? Another insanely yummy place that may be best to dine at for an early dinner(they get busy and the wait can get long but you go during the week or by 6:30pm you can snag a table with no wait) is Thirteen Pies (formerly Fireside Pies). This place is also known for great booth tables and kids can order plain butter and Parmesan fresh house-made pasta or pepperoni pizza while parents can order a gourmet pizza or a unique house cocktail, glass of wine, or rotating draft beers.
Where are your favorite places to dine with little ones?