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Photograph: Erica GannettCheesie's

Kid-friendly restaurants in Chicago

Plan an enjoyable night out with the family at these spots that cater to children.

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson
,
Morgan Olsen
&
Jeffy Mai
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It’s Saturday night and the babysitter just canceled at the last minute. Don’t fret, all hope is not lost. There are many Chicago restaurants willing and able to accommodate kids. Some offer special menus designed to appeal to the younger palate, while others let children eat for free. There are even a few spots that will keep the whole family entertained, including bowling and bocce at Pinstripes and service theatrics from the staff of Ed Debevic’s. If a full meal out with the kids seems too daunting, head to Margie’s or Sweet Mandy B’s for dessert instead. And sure, hot dogs and burgers are always crowd pleasers, but maybe your little one is a budding gourmand who’s ready to try something new and different. You’ll never know unless you bring them to one of the best kid-friendly restaurants in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Chicago with kids

Kid-friendly restaurants in Chicago

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4
This ultra kid-friendly restaurant in the Southport Corridor caters to parents in every way possible with wide doors that fit your stroller, a stroller valet and step stools in the bathroom. Your little ones will undoubtedly want the ice cream-topped skillet cookie for dessert—so be a sport and help them indulge. Best of all: kids eat free from 4pm-6pm. 
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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Streeterville
  • price 2 of 4

Retro-themed diner Ed Debevic’s returned in 2021 to expose a new generation to its antics. Bring your kids and expect to engage in some snarky banter with the servers, who role-play as characters and dress in ‘50s-inspired costumes. You may even catch them dancing on platforms during your meal.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Restaurants
  • Lincoln Square

On weeknights from 4:30pm-6pm, families are invited to check out the Warbler's Supper Club special, which goes for $27 per person (kids under 9 eat for free) and includes five family-style dishes of your choice. The plates are portioned just right to ensure everyone leaves full and happy.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Avondale
  • price 1 of 4
Fact: Kids love fried chicken and mac and cheese. The nice thing about this beloved Avondale haunt is that the chicken is boneless, so parents don't have to keep a watchful eye on their youngsters while they eat. The kids menu here features a budget-friendly deal that includes chicken strips, choice of side, a corn muffin and, of course, honey butter—all for $10. They've even got Pretty Cool Ice Cream bars for dessert.
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

Stephanie Izard’s modern diner is the first step in expanding your child’s palate. The environment is kid-friendly and the menu offers both approachable and chef-driven dishes. Picky eaters can stick with chicken fingers and nachos but those who are more adventurous have Japanese savory pancakes and gochujang-marinated chicken tacos to try.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Norwood Park
  • price 1 of 4

Drive-in restaurants are a dying breed but not completely extinct in Chicago. For parents who are really worried about their children being too unruly for a dining room, load them in the car and head to this iconic hot dog stand. You’ll get to enjoy dogs, burgers, shakes and more without the fear of bothering other patrons.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Logan Square
  • price 1 of 4

Established in 1921, Margie’s Candies is a timeless ice cream parlor. It’s also the perfect place to take kids after dinner. They’ll love the large sundaes and banana splits while you take a trip back to yesteryear. It’s a win-win.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Streeterville
  • price 2 of 4

Take the family out for a delicious meal and some competitive action. This dining and entertainment chain is a hit with kids as they can feast on wood-fired pizzas and pastas before bowling or playing a game of bocce. Parents are encouraged to let the little ones win to keep the peace.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

Located across from the Lincoln Park Zoo, this Lettuce Entertain You original is almost too convenient. Park your stroller near the front of the restaurant and sit the kids down with crayons and animal crackers. Meals are even served on old-school cafeteria trays, so they'll feel right at home.

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  • Restaurants
  • Diners
  • Loop
  • price 1 of 4

This Jewish deli and diner serves breakfast all day—a lifesaver when children are causing you to run behind. It also boasts a dedicated kids’ menu with choices that include sliders, mac and cheese, chicken fingers and pancakes. Topping it off are ice cream floats from an old school soda fountain.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

No matter the age, everyone feels like a kid at this charming Lincoln Park bakery thanks to its impressive selection of sweet treats. Adults can indulge their children with cakes, pies, brownies and Rice Krispies bars that are impossible to resist. And hey, we won’t judge if they’re used as a bribe for good behavior.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Portage Park

While you're munching on pork rinds and cheese curds, the kids will be tucking into crispy chicken tenders, a cheeseburger or buttered noodles at this Irving Park brewery. All kids' meals are $9 or less and include a drink and your choice of fries or fresh fruit. 

  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • River North
  • price 1 of 4

It's easy to please everyone at Shake Shack, especially now that the burger empire has five locations in Chicago. Kids can choose from hamburgers, a crispy chicken sandwich and flat-top dogs, all of which are crafted with premium ingredients. It's a fast and easy option for moms and dads on the go.

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  • Restaurants
  • Lake View

Bet you didn't think that Schubas-adjacent Tied House catered to the kids. The beautiful Lakeview restaurant has a dedicated kids' menu that's packed with parent-approved meals like mac and cheese, chicken tenders and grilled cheese. Finish the meal with a scoop (or two) of ice cream.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 2 of 4

While date night with the kids won’t ever be anyone’s first option, it is possible. At Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ bright and airy eatery, the youngins can be distracted by silver dollar pancakes and cheeseburgers, leaving the adults free to peruse the wine list and California-inspired menu.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Uptown
  • price 1 of 4

This Ravenswood spot is wonderfully kid-friendly, and owner Jonathan Goldsmith goes out his way to make sure families have a stress-free dining experience. No need for a special menu, as your bambinos will love the tasty Neapolitan pizzas that this place is known for.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4
There's no need for a kids' menu when the little ones can eat just like Mom and Dad. Housemade mozzarella sticks are a favorite with the littles, and they can watch as the chefs prepare their pizza through a special viewing window. Oh, and there's a kick-ass Midwestern beer menu for you. 
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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Lake View
  • price 1 of 4

Grilled cheese and tomato soup are essential parts of every child’s diet so visit Cheesie’s for a variety of sandwiches that please. Kids can get the unfussy O.G. (American and cheddar cheese) in half portions while adults have interesting options like the Tenderizer (cheddar, mozzarella, bacon, chicken tenders) to choose from. Diners of all ages will appreciate a deep fried PB&J for dessert.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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