When someone asks whether a restaurant is "kid-friendly," that's often code for: "How tolerant is the staff about my kid throwing his chicken fingers on the floor just for kicks, escaping his seat to take a lap around the restaurant and having two meltdowns before the appetizers arrive?" But beyond being understanding that kids will be kids, kid-friendly restaurants also have a menu filled with things kids will like, plenty of highchairs and booster seats, super-quick service and, if they're really on their kid game, games or crayons to occupy little hands.
Which Chicago restaurants meet much of these criteria? One NPN member asked for parents' suggestions on the discussion forum this week—their answers are below.
Crosby's Kitchen: "It is extremely kid friendly while still maintaining a nice atmosphere," said one member, who also recommended the cookie skillet for dessert.
Little Goat: A whimsical West Loop hotspot from mom-to-be chef Stephanie Izard
Xoco: Counter-service Mexican from Rick Bayless, with locations in River North and Wicker Park
Spacca Napoli: "It's so loud that nobody will notice a toddler!" said one member of the Ravenswood pizzeria.
The Bad Apple: "Their burgers are fabulous and they are always very nice and friendly," said one member of the North Center gastropub. "They have a great side room that a lot of times is kind of the designated kid area."
Frasca: Casual Italian from the same owners of Crosby's Kitchen
SIP Southport & Irving: A casual spot in stroller-heavy Lakeview
Fork: One member recommends the mac and cheese for kids at this Lincoln Square spot.
Gather: Another Lincoln Square nominee with an awesome back patio for the warmer months
Cafe Selmarie: Kids will love the wide array of pastries and sweets at this French-influenced restaurant adjacent to kid-friendly Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square.
Roots: The Quad Cities pizza at this place (locations in West Town and Lincoln Square) is great and all, but the fact that each kid gets handed a big ball of pizza dough to play with puts this place over the top.
What did we miss? Add your picks to the discussion on the forum.