If you’re a parent with little ones, going out to dinner as a family is as enjoyable as a root canal (on second thought, at least they numb you before the root canal). The most successful dining excursions generally involve a PlayPlace or the promise of an ice-cream sundae at the end of the meal. Thankfully, more restaurants have begun to embrace a kid-friendly policy, offering moms and dads more eating-out options beyond fast food joints. Besides, you should think about eating out as a learning experience—for the kids, it’s learning how to be patient and not cause a scene in public. (For mom and dad, it’s learning how to be patient and how not to cause a scene in public when their kids eventual do.)
Skeptical? Check out these local spots that promise an inviting, family-friendly experience.
Newtown & Langhorne, PA & Pennington, NJ
Even the pickiest kids will eat buttered noodles—making this family-owned chainlet with three area locations a great destination for families. The menu features Italian standards—as well as a menu specifically for kids that includes pizza, pasta and the ever-popular chicken finger.
Poco’s is a win-win for parents and kids: Mom and dad get margaritas, and the little ones get a choice of burgers, dogs, chicken fingers, or cheese quesadillas. Kids will feel at home in this festive environment, and you want have to cringe if they get a little loud.
This old-fashioned soda shop was designed with kids in mind. The inventive diner-fare menu is divided among big kids (12 and under), little squirts (5 and under) and babies, and features dishes like breakfast sundaes (berries, yogurt & cherries) and English muffin pizza. There’s also breakfast all day for mom and dad, plus a grilled-cheese menu that will bring out the kid in anyone. Not to mention 10 different kinds of loaded fries and old-fashioned soda fountain drinks. Oh, and ice cream. Hungry yet?
If idle hands make the devil’s work, then at Bertucci’s, your kids should be angels. The pizzeria chain allows kids to play with little balls of pizza dough while they wait, giving them a quiet and creative way to occupy their little minds. For mom and dad, there’s pretty good pizza and a full bar.
You know how it drives you crazy when your little ones constantly want to eat off your plate? Well, you can finally exact your revenge at this new comfort-food eatery the kids-meal dessert is fried Oreos. This stylish spot with an eco-chic vibe definitely feels grown-up, but it’s down-to-earth enough that the kids won’t seem out of place. The locally sourced menu includes burgers and sandwiches and hearty favorites like poutine, meatloaf and fried chicken.