Chicago is a family-friendly city with 28 miles of lakefront beachfront, world-class museums, and a free public zoo. However, finding kid-friendly restaurants isn’t always simple, especially when a variety of contemporary eating dilemmas (such as strict no-reservations policies, set meal times, and too crowded two-tops) come into play.9 BEST RESTAURANTS IN CHICAGO FOR KIDS


Thankfully, there are some choice restaurants out there looking to cater to the little ones in big ways. Generous seating, special menu items, and “kids eat free” promos are just a few of the family-focused touches employed at these nine top Chicago eateries for kids—each of them bringing so much comfort, it will hardly feel like you left home (until that perfect entrée shows up).

From a fried-chicken fixture in Avondale to an all-day diner in the West Loop, these restaurants are revved to embrace every age (and picky eater) in your party.

With all-day kid-friendly hits, Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner is a local favorite with families.
With all-day kid-friendly hits, Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner is a local favorite with families.

Courtesy of Little Goat Diner


Little Goat Diner

Snag a booth and watch the magic unfold at this all-day diner. Kids will be captivated by the delightfully creative comfort-food menu concocted by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard, including morning musts like Fat Elvis Waffles (the recipe, worthy of the King in his later years, tops the waffles with bacon and peanut butter, plus bacon-infused maple syrup) or chocolate-chip crunch pancakes. The kitchen’s decadent offerings during the rest of the day are tastier still: Nachos are served with cheddar and braised pork; stretchy Havarti and white bread make up Little Goat’s grilled cheese. Be sure to save room for dessert: The You Butta Believe It sundae—a mound of brown-butter pecan praline ice cream, apple cider caramel, and whipped cream—is one of Izard’s finest accomplishments. 820 W. Randolph St., West Loop.

Chicago q

Barbecue fanatics rejoice—this Gold Coast restaurant is a favorite for locals and visiting families alike, who pack the house for staples like pulled pork shoulder, smoked chicken, and prime brisket. While the food itself may be elevated (Oprah’s former chef, Art Smith, helms the kitchen), the environment is a comfortable and lively one, ensuring that diners can kick back, let loose, and get messy with the barbecue feast in front of them. If kids aren’t up for a smoked specialty, other approachable options might entice them, like brisket meatballs, buttermilk fried chicken, or quesadillas with avocado salsa. 1160 N. Dearborn St., Gold Coast.

Crosby’s Kitchen

You can tell kids are a priority at Crosby’s Kitchen: the Lakeview restaurant is named after owner Derek Rettell’s daughter. Thoughtful touches—like coloring books upon arrival and step stools at the bathroom sinks—further signal the kid-friendly focus. Between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. daily, kids dine free on easy options like chicken fingers, grilled cheese, and buttered noodles (all alongside a drink and a scoop of ice cream). The restaurant’s main menu is also suitable for more adventurous appetites, too, thanks to comforting finds like braised beef rigatoni or iron-skillet corn bread. 3455 N. Southport Ave., Lakeview.

Sure, they will devour the fried chicken strips but it may be the soft-serve ice cream they remember at Honey Butter.
Sure, they will devour the fried chicken strips but it may be the soft-serve ice cream they remember at Honey Butter.

Photo by Rachel Brown Kulp


Honey Butter Fried Chicken

Kids love this Avondale corner fixture, which is one of the city’s most popular spots for fried chicken, too. Crowds show up for the quality ingredients, fun atmosphere, and stand-up owners (partners Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp are big on employee perks, including paid parental leave). Everything on the main menu is fair game for youngsters, as is the “Honey Buddies Meal”—a $7 combo plate of boneless fried chicken strips, pimiento mac and cheese, corn muffins, and honey butter. For dessert, don’t miss a mini serving of the signature soft-serve ice cream, made in-house, with real honey. 3361 N. Elston Ave., Avondale.


Lucky hotel guests ages five and under eat free at this fine-dining restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel. (Sorry, non-guests and parents, you’ll have to pay for your meals.) Parents may want to sample the child-focused fare, too, with morning kid-kick-starters like brioche French toast or a Nutella “quesadilla” with bananas. Come dinnertime, those kid-menu selections only get more sophisticated with petite portions of chef Michael Zachman’s contemporary American cuisine: free-range chicken tenders, a four-ounce filet with heirloom carrots, or macaroni and cheese made with Wisconsin white cheddar. 20 E. Delaware Place in the Four Seasons Hotel, Gold Coast; alliumchicago.com

Dutch & Doc’s menu has a winning lineup of kid-tested favorites.
Dutch & Doc’s menu has a winning lineup of kid-tested favorites.

Photo by Ally Straussner


Dutch & Doc’s

Hungry Chicago Cubs fans would be wise to stop at this restaurant before heading over to nearby Wrigley Field. Chef Chris Pandel has devised a menu of upscale fare that will work for the whole family. Kids respond to options like corn dogs, cool-ranch chicken tenders, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The best part is kids ages 12 and under eat free every day of the week. That perk gets even better when area diners join the Clean Plate Club, a program providing special treats for kids on their birthdays, invites to kids-only events, and a chance to enter their coloring page in monthly competitions. Don’t worry, parents: You’re not forgotten. The dinner menu offers winning dishes that work well for adult tastes, too, like coffee-rubbed pork chops served with polenta, and a pasta with blistered tomatoes and rock shrimp. 3600 N. Clark St., Wrigleyville.

An on-site pasta factory makes Monteverde perfect for children who love noodles.
An on-site pasta factory makes Monteverde perfect for children who love noodles.

Photo by Galdones Photography



Italian cuisine gets a global makeover in the hands of Top Chef and James Beard Award–winner Sarah Grueneberg, who offers plates like skate schnitzel, wok-fried tagliolini topped with shrimp and arrabbiata sauce, and grilled pork belly skewers. Still it’s her handcrafted pasta (made fresh daily at the on-site pastificio, or pasta factory) that serves as this destination’s biggest draw—and as a surefire way to delight diners of every age. Consider the cacio whey pepe (a rich, elevated version of mac and cheese) or the spaghetti al pomodoro that is a perfected version of the classic. Failing to find an option for smaller diners on the main menu does not spell disaster: The kids’ menu, printed on a coloring page, is as pretty as it is practical. 1020 W. Madison St., West Loop.



Located within the luxe Langham Hotel, this restaurant specializes in a kind of seasonal U.S. cuisine that’s bound to satisfy even the fussiest of palates. Chef de cuisine Jeff Vucko is behind the crowd-pleasing favorites that show up in dishes like four-cheese mac and cheese, loaded crispy potatoes, and pepperoni flatbread. For something a bit more refined, reserve a table for the kids’ afternoon tea, a fancy fête of mini-sandwiches, scones, and sweets served with a thematic nod to Alice in Wonderland. It’s just a taste of the hotel’s family-first hospitality, which extends to an on-site cinema and a kids’ suite with video games, toys, and arts and crafts.




Check Also


ADVERTISEMENT BEST TRIP-DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO It’s a great shame that most people who travel …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *