Dining with toddlers can sometimes feel, lets face it, just not worth the effort! Here is a list of restaurants where parents can catch a moment to ACTUALLY EAT REAL FOOD while the kids play.
Breadwinners at Northpark Center, Dallas
Breadwinners at Northpark has a lovely patio that opens out into the courtyard for your little ones to run around. Also, it is across from Bookmarks Library another great place for one parent to take the kiddos to explore while waiting for the food to arrive.
Location: Northpark Center 8687 N. Central Expressway (on the CenterPark Garden) Dallas TX, 75225
Central Market Cafe in Plano and Fort Worth
Central Market Cafe & Playgrounds are great places to eat before shopping (kids can get free balloons at the grocery store entrance) or to meet for play dates. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can eat a delicious, chef prepared meal that ranges from light to hearty at the Cafe, soup or salad from the salad bar, or simply grab a snack, fruit, yogurt, a sweet or bakery treat in the grocery store, or a cup of coffee and gelato from the coffee bar (note: the gelato is not gluten free). The cafe does have a kids menu and both locations feature fenced playscapes with dining tables nearby, and shaded patios as well.
Location: 320 Coit Rd. Plano, TX 75075 (photo below) & 4651 West Fwy Fort Worth, TX 76107
Chicken Scratch near Oak Cliff/Trinity Groves, Dallas
Chicken Scratch offers a huge outdoor patio and informal picnic table style with satisfying modern twist on scratch-style country cooking, they even have gluten free options. There’s a great little climb & hang-centric play area for the children, with laddered monkey bars and giant half-buried tires. It also has this cute little chicken face-in-the=hole photo art that the kids get a kick out of. It shares its lot with The Foundry, which has a stage with live music every weekend and great drink options, where we sisters shared one of the best Bloody Mary’s that we’ve ever tasted.
Location: 2303 Pittman St. Dallas, TX
Dream Cafe in Addison
Known as a very kid-friendly restaurant, Dream Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a weekend brunch (with daily second mimosas 1/2 off). There’s a lovely outdoor patio with a play area that includes a rock-climb slide playscape, a chalkboard wall, painted tires and also a face-in-the-hole for photos. The kids get menus with colors and the setup is such that kids can easily roam back and forth between patio dining and playing.
Location: 5100 Beltline Rd., Ste. 732 Dallas, TX 75254
Joe’s Crab Shack, DFW
In the mood for sea food? Although Joe’s can a little loud and stimulating for my sensitive system, it means a boisterous bunch of kiddos will blend right in. All of the DFW area Joe’s Crab Shack’s have dining patios and “the sand lot” a play area with the standard modern climb-y / tube-slide playscapes for the little ones. They also have a kids menu with lots of options, and a gluten-free menu as well. Last September, Kids ate FREE all month. Maybe they’ll do it again this year.
Locations: Multiple DFW area locations, including: Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Cedar Hill, Lewisville, Mesquite and Plano
The Lot, East Dallas
The Lot is a locally-influenced, East Dallas Culture “neighborhood,” restaurant and beer garden. Their playful menu includes salads, burgers, sandwiches, a bit of Tex-Mex, interesting appetizers, a great kids menu and gluten-free options. The Lot offers a spacious covered patio with indoor/outdoor dining so that you can eat and watch your kiddos. The “Tot Lot” play area is great for the toddlers and older kids as well, featuring separate areas one for the little ones and basketball and volleyball for the big ones! As if that wasn’t enough they have an arcade, live music in the beer garden, and it’s not only kid friendly but dog friendly, too!
Location: 7530 East Grand (at Gaston), Dallas, TX 75214
Nico’s Cocina Mexican Bar & Grill, Carrollton
Known for friendly service and tasty, straight-up Tex-Mex, Nico’s has covered patio seating that overlooks a fenced courtyard playground that’s perfect for the littles. It includes three colorful Little Tikes style playscapes in small, medium and larger (but not too large), with lots of climbing and slides, along with a rocket ship bouncer. Although we have yet to make it, their weekend brunch, on both Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-2pm, is on our radar. It gets rave reviews for both taste and affordability, with $2 Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s to boot!
Location: 3065 N Josey Ln, Carrollton, TX 75007