5 Great, Kid-Friendly Restaurants

For 2-year-old’s & Their Mom’s

(+ 5 not-so-great one’s!)

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by any of the restaurants for this post. The opinions are my own and 110% honest.

#1’s appetite grows proportionately to his projected 6’4″ status, which means he eats a lot…when he wants to. I mean, he is still a toddler.

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While, ideally, every meal would be home-cooked and made with love, let’s be real. That’s not what always happens.

And, sometimes, you can only take so many Happy Meals at McDonald’s before you feel the guilt. Not to mention, not all kid-friendly restaurants are geared toward parents, too.

So, today, I bring you five great, kid-friendly restaurants for your two-year-old and you, plus five not-so-great one’s.

The Great One’s

Chick-Fil-A

For the Kiddos:

Chick-fil-A offers what kids love most: chicken nuggets and french fries.

To add to that, some locations have indoor playgrounds. And they always feature some sort of knowledgeable toy, like a book or playset.

For Mom:

They cater to Mom’s with their sticky kiddie placemats, wet wipes, and friendly, helpful customer service. When I’ve had #1 with me, I’ve always been offered assistance getting a high chair, getting a refill, getting anything, really. And they’re also happy to clear the trash for you as well.

Did I mention the kale superfood salad? Delicious and totally healthy!

Steak ‘N Shake

For the Kiddos:

What is not to love about hamburgers and milk shakes? They also offer cute hats and DIY car craft projects for the kiddos. And, if hamburgers aren’t their thing, they have mini corn dogs, chicken nuggets, and more.

For Mom:

They’ll sell the kid-sized milkshakes to Mom, which saves on some calories. You’ll save a buck on weekend’s, too, because kids eat free!

Chuck E. Cheese

For the Kiddos:

Ok, another given. This is like the mecca of kid-friendly restaurants. Pizza and soda are devoured, as our your purchased credits on all the video games. Unfortunately, you don’t get much when you cash in your hundreds of tickets, but it’s about the experience, right?

For Mom:

Their salad bar is pretty fantastic and economically priced! With unlimited refills, you’ll be plenty full by the time you start tackling the games.

Texas Roadhouse

For the Kiddos:

Most Texas Roadhouse locations offer a Kids Night, where children eat free with a paying adult. They occasionally feature some sort of entertainment, as well. We went one night and they had a balloon artist. Unlimited rolls are also a great crowd pleaser and way to keep the munchkins happy.

Steer clear if you’ve got peanut allergies!

For Mom:

A traditional steak house, this place offers everything you could want to fill your belly. You’ll enjoy the rolls with cinnamon butter, too! A full bar doesn’t hurt either.

Make sure to use their Call-Ahead Seating feature, otherwise you’ll be waiting for a long time (over an hour on a busy night).

IHOP

For the Kiddos:

This joint narrowly snuck into the list, over Red Robin (who you should also check out). I included IHOP, though, because they offer free kids meals every night! So long as your little one likes breakfast, this is the place for you. With quick service and sugar-covered pancakes, your kids are sure to love it.

For Mom:

While I’m a sucker for their crepes, they also feature a full dinner menu. Your options are pretty endless here. And the free kids meal helps with the bill. So, spring for that dessert!

The Not-So-Great One’s

First, I have to say, all of the restaurants I’m about to list are delicious and some of my favorites. It’s just that they’re not exactly the most kid-friendly restaurants available.

Cracker Barrel

For the Kiddos:

While delicious, Cracker Barrel really needs to up their game on their kid’s menu. One (or two) pancake(s) is not enough to feed my growing child.

“No, I don’t want to pay extra for a chocolate milk. How much is it to add a piece of sausage?”

The only way we’ve made this work is for me to order a large breakfast meal and split it with #1. It works, but it’s a pain.

For Mom:

Everything on the menu is delicious and they offer some great, healthy options. Their coffee sucks, and so does the kid’s menu, but I guess you can’t win them all.

Jimmy John’s

For the Kiddos:

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. They don’t offer a kid’s menu and their sandwiches are far too big for a kiddo. Perhaps if you had twins and cut it in half?

For Mom:

If the timing’s right, I can put a hurting on a #6 without cucumbers. But, there’s no way #1 is going to eat there, so I rarely get my sandwich. It’s usually a “I’m at work and forgot my lunch, geez, I’m starving, let me order Jimmy John’s” kind of thing.

Zaxby’s

For the Kiddos:

They do offer a kid’s menu and it’s okay. The chicken strips are fresh, but #1 isn’t a fan of the fry seasoning. He also doesn’t like the lack of toy. But, I have found out that they’ll swap out the stale Goldfish cookies for a fresh chocolate chip one, at some locations.

For Mom:

They have fantastic salads! So, if you can get your kiddo to get over the ‘no toy’ fact, you should try one. Plus, Zax sauce is good on everything!

Five Guys

For the Kiddos:

Yes, hamburgers and hot dogs, but again, no kid’s menu. No toy. No dice.

For Mom:

With made-to-order burgers, it might be the first time you get a hot meal.

Chipotle

For the Kiddos:

They have a kid’s menu. It sounds yummy and one night I picked up take-out, but #1 wasn’t having it. They even offer a cute, little build-your-own taco sort of set-up, but I think the effort was beyond my two-year-old. With chicken and cheese I thought there was no going wrong, but I was wrong. He ate some of my tortilla chips and called it a night.

For Mom:

Chipotle is one of my favorites and I ate it far too much when I was single. Order a bowl and a side of chips. Ask for cilantro – it’s not on the line, but they’ll give you some. Delicious!

While, ideally, every meal would be home-cooked and made with love, let's be real. That's not what always happens. Here's 5 kid-friendly restaurants to try.

You Tell Me

As you know, all two-year-old’s are different and they can be very picky. What kid-friendly restaurants do you and your kiddo prefer? Tell me in the comments below!

And, if you’d rather make those meals homemade, check out my post on comparison shopping.

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