Chicken fingers, pizza and mac and cheese aren’t found on every menu across the region. You know, you’ve checked.
But that doesn’t mean eating out with your kids can’t still be enjoyable, even when it’s at places that you, your spouse and your adult family members would like to visit. Here, we’ve rounded up local places that cater to children so you can get back to going out, no matter the table size.
A finger food that everyone eats with their hands? Tacos. If you’re craving fresh, cantina-style Mexican food but don’t want to stop at the nearest Chipotle again, head to Bartaco instead. Not only will you and your partner (as well as other adult family members and friends) get to enjoy chicken empanadas, tuna poke and roasted duck tacos, you’re kids will get to choose their very own spread of tacos and finger food, as well as nonalcoholic drinks. They can enjoy corn wheels and cucumbers with “not spicy” guacamole, as well as quesadillas paired with limeade, a “nojito” (mint, lime juice and club soda) or a “sunset” (pineapple juice, fresh orange juice and grenadine). It’s hard not to be happy when everyone gets to share chips and dip. // 2920 District Ave., Suite 120, Fairfax and 12021 Town Square St., Reston
Family-friendly breweries have been popping up everywhere in the past few years. Parents can toast to the weekend or after a long day at work while kids run around outside in the warmer months. This local spot doesn’t just offer parents and kids a chance to sit at a table and have a drink (alcoholic or nonalcoholic), it also provides a full food menu for both little and big kids alike. Kids can enjoy milk, orange juice or even a root beer float to drink, and dine on grilled cheese sandwiches, organic chicken tenders, kids’ cheeseburgers or mac and cheese. Then the adults can enjoy the OG mac and cheese (Goot Essa aged cheddar cheese, cow’s milk asiago, pecorino romano, parmigiana reggiano, toasted panko crumble), fried chicken sandwiches and hand-cut fries. We don’t always have to eat like grown-ups. // 520 Mill St. NE, Vienna
The easiest way to eat silver-dollar pancakes is with your fingers. Kids are smart enough to figure that out, except for the syrup part. But at Fontaine, kids can take their love of pancakes or sweet treats to a new level. Let your kiddos order from the “Kinder Crepes” portion of the menu, featuring the Lunch Box, Naptime, Playtime and Tea Party. In order, they come topped with peanut butter and strawberry jam, dusted with powdered sugar, stuffed with ham and cheese, or topped with banana and chocolate sauce. The crepes are nearly half the price of the adult versions, but it gives you a little extra room to indulge too. Time for the parents in charge to show the kids how it’s done with a knife and fork, but also topped with spicy lamb sausage, lentils, spinach and feta, or a poached pear with butter pecan ice cream, cognac and dark chocolate. // 119 S. Royal St., Alexandria
Pizza, pizza, pizza. It’s a staple in a family with kids. But that doesn’t mean you always have to eat it at your house. Paradiso offers all of your Sicilian favorites, from pizza con carne (topped with tomato sauce, sausage, pepperoni, bacon and mozzarella cheese), to calzones and a vast selection of pastas. But instead of sharing slices with your kids, let them dine on their own in the supervised children’s room. There’s a one-way mirror that allows you to eat in peace and keep an eye on your kids, while they enjoy watching movies, eating kid-friendly meals and socializing with other little ones like them. It can be a play date for the kids and a date night for you and your partner, minus the babysitting costs. // 6124 Franconia Road, Alexandria
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It might have taken a little while to convince your kids that breakfast was worth eating, especially if it was something other than cereal while watching cartoons. But when you’re ready to head out for a local breakfast or lunch, Ted’s Bulletin is ready to serve. The local chain offers a kids’ menu featuring “Mr. Breakfast,” a single pancake with fruit and bacon, with an option to add on a scrambled egg. If they’re still not into breakfast food, there’s also the classic PB&J, grilled cheese and chicken fingers. But it’s the shakes/sweets menu that will truly make this a family affair. Ted’s Tarts (a fresh-baked version of the childhood favorite, Pop Tarts) come in strawberry, brown sugar and cinnamon, s’mores and blueberry cheesecake, and are topped with rainbow sprinkles too. The only thing that might be even better? The accompanying milkshake menu. Some even classify as adults-only (featuring alcohol). Time to get your sugar rush on before lunch. // Various locations
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