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Hungry In Chicago: Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Photograph Courtesy Of Amanda Jane Jones

When thinking of dining out with children, it’s safe to assume that most parents file the act under the “once in a blue moon” category. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot to consider before heading to a restaurant with the kids in tow—is the restaurant kid-friendly? Will your offspring behave? And, what they’re going to eat? It might sound like a lot of work to coordinate a mealtime outing, but it’s not impossible. With that in mind, we tapped Chicago mama Amanda Jane Jones to fill us in on dining around town as a family. Below, the freelance designer and mother-of-two shares her favorite kid-friendly spots in the Windy City, so that you never have to sacrifice good food to create an amicable ambiance for other restaurant goers. She gives the 4-1-1 on her favorite menu items, too. Bon appétit!

1. Lula Cafe
“Head here on Saturday mornings for brunch! We always start with their pastry plate, while we wait for food. Then, we get their pancakes for the kids to split. I get the hash because it has the best flavor, and [my husband] Cree gets the breakfast burrito.”

2. Antique Taco
“Our favorite thing to get here is the pork salad. Cree loves the cheese curds as a starter, and we always get the kids a quesadilla or taco, then a horchata shake.”

3. Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits
“At Bang Bang Pie, I get the farmer’s and Cree enjoys the biscuits and gravy. They’re both so incredibly yummy. We get the kids their own biscuit. And, all of the pies are amazing!”

4. Small Cheval
“The service here is quick, and the burgers are always amazing. They offer a lettuce wrap option that’s actually a legit lettuce wrap. It’s my favorite indulgence when I’m on Whole30! Small Cheval only serves burgers and fries, but my kids love it as much as we do. During the summer, they have a great outdoor patio, too!”

5. Parson’s Chicken and Fish
“There are so many good things on this menu. The pimento toast and chicken sandwich are my two favorites. We also get the hush puppies, which the kids love, and the Amish chicken. Like Small Cheval, they also have a great patio in summer, equipped with a ping pong table!”

6. Plein Air Cafe
“We love everything on this menu. The grain bowls are my favorite for lunch, and my kids happen to like them, too! For breakfast, we love their chorizo breakfast burrito and their savory pies. To be honest, though, everything on their menu tastes good.”

7. Lonesome Rose
“This place is new, and I keep craving it! We get the street tacos and the rice bowls. We have yet to go with our children, but I’m sure if your kid likes quesadillas and beans, they’ll love it, too. They also have a choco-taco that’s made in-house and is really delicious.”

8. Honey Butter Fried Chicken
“We always order the chicken and sides to share here. The pimento mac and cheese is also a family favorite, as well as the corn and mashed potatoes. We like to get extra cornbread, too.”

9. Cindy’s Rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
“This place is pretty kid-friendly, but not like the others on this list. It has a great view of the city and the breakfast is amazing. The portion sizes are large, so we all share the hash and waffles.”

10. Little Goat
“Little Goat, on the other hand, is very kid-friendly, although we’ve only been for brunch. If you go, be sure to order the bullseye french toast and pancakes. Their omelettes are also worth a visit”

11. Avec and The Publican (a bonus spot for date night sans-kids.)
“Avec and Publican both have great atmospheres, and even better food! We always get the fried broccoli and the large chicken platter to share at Publican. We’ve only been once to Avec, but we absolutely loved the focaccia.”

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