Dining Out, With Kids? Why, Yes!
Eating out is a special treat in our family, and one we love. However, it also can be a challenge. We want to enjoy it, but also make sure those around us do, too. Things like noise level, menu options, pricing, entertainment and atmosphere all play a role in what makes for a kid-friendly restaurant.
Here is the list compiled by YOU, our readers, full of some of YOUR favorite family friendly restaurants over the past few years. You’ll also see some restaurants marked with our Grandtastic logo:
This logo will tell you the top winners from 2017 GRANDTASTIC AWARDS, where parents voted for the grandest places for families around Grand Rapids.
Do you know of more? Please tell us in the comments below and also tell us why.
GRKIDS Readers’ 15 Favorite Family Restaurants
These places around Grand Rapids will have delicious dishes for each person in the family. And being popular with families, you won’t be the only one with kids in tow. Enjoy!
These restaurants are in alphabetical order, not ranked.
1 – Bagger Dave’s
Bagger Dave’s offers hand-crafted burgers and fresh, Belgian Style Fries along with many other culinary delights. They currently have locations in Cascade and at Knapp’s Corner. What makes Bagger Dave’s family friendly?
- Kids and adults alike will be entertained by the train that runs near the ceiling inside their restaurants.
- Reduced price lil’ bagger meals for kids are offered on special days of the week.
Brann’s is known for their sizzling steaks and sports bar atmosphere. They offer 10 locations throughout Michigan. What makes Brann’s family friendly?
- Great food at an equally great price. All of their specials will help your family not break the bank on a night out.
- There is plenty of entertainment available during dinner. According to Brann’s website, “Our sports bar AND our dining rooms house more HDTVs and projection screens than any restaurant or even sports bar can compete with.”
The Downtown Market, located on Ionia Ave in downtown Grand Rapids, offers full service restaurants, bakeries, juice bars, ice cream shops, and the list goes on, and on. The readers say:
- “There’s plenty of space to walk around, lots to see, and many food choices all in one spot. We can walk right to the park after, and still use the 90 min of free parking.”
4 – Famous Dave’s
Famous Dave’s specializes in barbecue chicken, ribs, and brisket, even served in a garbage can lid, if you like. Grand Rapids area currently has one location near Rivertown Crossings. The reader’s say:
- “Lots of choices and cost friendly.”
- “The food, the prices – Famous Daves.”
5 – Houlihan’s
A National chain boasting 60 stores, Houlihan’s is known for “from scratch” cooking. The Grand Rapids store is located at the corner of Breton and Burton. This is what the readers say:
- “They always go above and beyond with kid-friendly snacks, entertainment, and understanding.”
- “They are really kid friendly. Especially the wait staff.”
6 – Logan’s Roadhouse
Logan’s Roadhouse has three locations in the Grand Rapids area. Serving peanuts and yeast rolls before the meal comes is a Logan’s trademark. This is what the readers say:
- “Crayons and paper to color. Rolls before the meal help curb the starving to death hunger, and their menu is good. Also they’re usually noisy enough to not worry if your kid gets a little loud.”
- “Its usually pretty noisy so no one stares when my two year old son starts acting crazy.”
At Peppino’s Sports Grille, you can come by to watch the game or stop in to enjoy a delicious meal. They currently have locations in Allendale, Kentwood, and Downtown Grand Rapids. What makes Peppino’s family-friendly?
- Free kids meals and several other specials are offered throughout the week.
- The sports grille atmosphere provides entertainment and background noise, which can be a lifesaver in drowning out noise in the event your kid has an I-need-to-eat-now meltdown.
8 – Red Robin
Red Robin is known for burgers and never ending fries. There are currently two locations in the Grand Rapids area, one near Woodland Mall and the other near Rivertown Crossings. The readers say:
- “Gluten-free options, kids can be loud, lots of space, always great service/understanding staff, yummy food!”
- “It may have been a fluke, but they’re the only restaurant so far to cool my son’s meal (mac and cheese) to an appropriate temperature before serving.”
9 – Russ’
A Michigan chain, Russ’ is uniquely West Michigan. Often a choice for young families, Russ’ won’t break the bank. Here’s what the readers say:
- “I love how my sons always get crayons and coloring pages as well as crackers as soon as we sit down.”
- “It is a relaxing family place!”
Photo courtesy of roadtrippers.com.
10 – Steak ‘n Shake
Known for fast shakes and burgers, customers can sit at the counter at Steak ‘n Shake and watch their food being made right before their eyes. Here’s what the readers say:
- “Meals are only 4 bucks, kids get an activity sheet, we team up and race each other with the word search, there’s a cool car to build and decorate with stickers.”
- “With our big family we don’t go out to dinner much, but this is always where the kids want to go!”
11 – Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse serves up yeast rolls while you wait for your food. They currently have two locations, one in Kentwood and one in Grandville. This is what the readers say:
- “It’s noisy (music and such), great kid’s menus, boosters, highchairs and slings (for your infant car seat) and the employees line dance every hour! Kids (and adults) are welcome to get up and boogie, too!”
- “There is a jukebox and arcade games in the waiting area.”
12 – The Old Goat
An eclectic newer eatery in Alger Heights, The Old Goat is part of the Electric Cheetah Family. Readers say:
- “Their menu is unique enough for adults but also plain enough for kids so our kids usually enjoy our food as well.”
- “(My child) likes the big goat outside and the goat paintings on the walls inside.”
13 – The Score
- “They have a great outdoor area and a small kid’s play area.”
- “The outside area is great for kids to get up and moving and play while waiting.”
Tom + Chee is known for their unique take on comfort food. After all, they are the home of the grilled cheese donut! They currently have one location in Grandville, with another location coming soon to Grand Rapids. What makes this chain family-friendly?
- According to their website, “Our food, restaurants, and prices are designed with the whole family in mind – the kids and the kids at heart.”
West Michigan owned Uccello’s serves up pasta and pizza at their 5 Grand Rapids’ locations. Here’s what the readers say:
- “Great kids menu, coloring, always have music playing.”
- “My little one LOVES this place! We normally share a pizza together.”