AIt’s time for another Minute Monday. I haven’t posted one in a couple of weeks. I’ve been working more than usual as a substitute teacher (it’s vacation season)! I’ve also been working hard to plan some lesson plans to post here in the upcoming weeks!
While doing all that planning I’ve been working on setting up this website to make it even more user-friendly. I had a bit of a disaster last week when I tried to eliminate some ads and ended up doubling them! The page looked like a big spamicle…not what I was going for. I think I’ve finally gotten it working. Now, I can get back to writing great posts.
Since it’s back to school week, we’ve been thinking of ways to make it less painful for the kids. I don’t know what the big deal is, I loved school. Still, for some reason there are still kids out there who dread going back…I’ll never understand it. Still, I thought a great way to turn back to school into a celebration is to take them out to a great dinner. Use the time to talk about what they’re looking forward to in the new school year. After all, they’re an entire year older. There’s got to be something they’re excited about.
I’ve done a little research and gathered my top 5 Kid-Friendly Restaurant chains. We don’t all live near cute and quirky mom and pop places but we don’t want to spend another weekend at Chuck E. Cheese or similar establishment. I wanted to find some places where there was something for everyone. I also wanted to find chains that were widespread enough that most of us can get to.
I personally like chains be cause I pretty much know what to expect. Not that I don’t like Mom and Pop places as well, but sometimes I want an old-fashioned meal with no surprises. Kids expect the same. So, without further ado, here’s my list of The 5 Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in no particular order.
Notable Kids Dishes: Kids Grilled Salmon, Kids Southern Fried Chicken Sliders, Kids Pizza
Healthy Options Grade: A
- Lots of Menu Choices
- Lots of Menu Choices (can get overwhelming)
I always thought the name alone sounded magical. Cheesecake Factory is notable for its extensive menu (250 dishes!) and variety of cheesecakes (hence, the name). The kid’s menu includes more than your standard burger and chicken fingers, although you can find those too.
For the adventurous ones, they can choose the Roadside Sliders or the Southern Fried Chicken Sliders. Parents don’t have to worry about them having too much junk food as they have healthy options such as the grilled salmon and they can choose fresh fruit as a side. For dessert, kids can choose from a scoop of ice cream, a mini hot fudge sundae, or kids strawberries. Of course, they can also split a cheesecake slice with Mom and Dad!
Bonus: The Cheesecake Factory is totally trans-fat-free.
Notable Kids Dish: Crispy Chicken Bites with Rigatoni Sauce, Butter, or Seasonal Fruit
Healthy Options Grade: B
- Many locations give kids pizza dough to play with while they wait
- Most locations are in the New England states, none on the west coast
Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant specializes in brick oven pizza, having run a successful business since 1981. it’s an Italian restaurant where you can find lots of healthy options for the kids, including a kids chicken salad! They also prove to be kid- friendly by providing them with a piece of pizza dough to pass the dreaded restaurant wait time. For beverages, kids can choose from a fountain drink, juices, or milk. For dessert, they can try the Hoodsie Ice Cream or split one of the 9 adult options with their parents. Like the Cheesecake Factory, Bertucci’s is totally trans-fat-free.
3. Red Robin
Notable Kids Dishes: Meatballs on a Stick, Corn Doggies, Swirly Twirly Pasta
Healthy Options Grade: A-
- The burger-based menu means there’s something to eat even for the pickiest of eaters.
- None that I could find. Even if you hate burgers, there’re other things on the menu.
Red Robin’s reputation for serving gourmet burgers has definitely been lived up to. Adults can find a variety of burgers and if they don’t like burgers, they can choose salads, entrees including chicken and fish, or wraps. Red Robin is proud to be completely trans-fat-free and they have meal options for older and younger kids. Kids will also enjoy the bottomless root beer float, strawberry smoothie, and kids sundae, just to name a few other options. if they don’t like burgers, they can choose salads, entrees including chicken and fish, or wraps. Red Robin is proud to be completely trans-fat-free and they have meal options for older and younger kids. Kids will also enjoy the bottomless root beer float, strawberry smoothie, and kids sundae, just to name a few other options.
4. P.F. Chang’s
Notable Kids Dishes: Baby Buddha’s Feast, Kids Honey Chicken
Healthy Options Grade: A+
- Families can choose from a large family-style meal or individual entrees.
- Maybe a challenge for picky eaters, but chefs make an effort by tossing noodles in butter with veggies and dip on the side.
P.F. Chang’s is an Asian restaurant proud of its Farm to Wok philosophy, where chef’s make food from scratch every day. Recipes are simple with few, fresh ingredients. Even if your child doesn’t have a lot of exposure to Chinese food, they’ll enjoy meals like the Kids Honey Chicken, bite-sized chicken pieces with honey sauce, or the Kid’s Chicken Fried Rice, cooked with white or brown rice. There’s even a vegetarian option. The Baby Buddha’s Feast, a small plage of vegetables served steamed or stir-fried. Of course, P.F. Chang’s is totally trans-fat-free.
Notable Kids Dishes: Jr. Chicken and Waffles, Jr. Cupcake Pancake Combo, French Toast with Nutella
Healthy Options Grade: C
- The perfect place for any breakfast lover, and reasonably priced.
- Not many lunch and dinner options if you don’t want breakfast.
The International House of Pancakes certainly lives up to its name. It’s a great place to start off the day or end it if you’re a real breakfast lover. Kids love the Create-A-Face pancake and the Breakfast Sammy served with applesauce. The Jr. Cupcake Pancake Combo makes a great birthday treat with its sprinkles and cupcake icing! Kids can also enjoy the Kids Jr. Ice Cream Sundae with chocolate sauce or glazed strawberries. IHOP is mostly trans-fat-free.