Taking kids out to eat can be stressful, but these Maple Grove restaurants put kids first and put you at ease.
The holidays are over, and after all those family dinners and parties, you probably don’t want to look at your stove for weeks. But taking kids out to eat can sometimes be a hassle. On one hand, you get out of the house and don’t have to cook. On the other, the menu items are often unhealthy and offer few options, the staff groans when they see a child walk through the door—and then there’s the moment when your child is so beyond bored that she just cannot sit still or use her indoor voice any longer.
Whether it’s a special occasion or just a craving for a quality burger, Granite City can satisfy your needs and keep your kids happy in the process. Their kids’ menu, which doubles as an activity sheet with pictures to color and word games to play, features “chickalicken strips”($4.95) and “mini diggidy dogs”($4.49), each with a side. Not healthy enough? They also have “grilled chickalicken” ($4.59): half a grilled chicken breast, served with mashed potatoes and broccoli or mixed fruit. Speaking of veggies, while you’re munching on your favorite appetizer, your kids can snack on carrots and ranch dressing while they wait for their meal.
“Our staff in general is very good with kids,” says manager Kelsey Arnold. “We coach them…and kids are obviously very important because they decide where parents go.” Which also might be why they offer their “kids eat free” deal on Sunday nights (with the purchase of an adult entrée). A meal here won’t break the bank, as none of the kids’ menu items pass the $6 mark, and most are under $5—including a beverage. 11909 Main St.; 763.416.0010.
In the winter, what The Lookout has to offer is a “kid-friendly family restaurant,” says bar manager Lori Radke. This classic barbecue joint won’t make you feel guilty when your 2-year-old decides she wants to stick her hand in the ketchup, and then slap it on the table. The menu has classic kids’ favorites like mac and cheese, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and so on, but also has a variety of sides. With apple sauce, carrot sticks, waffle fries, tater tots, or mashed potatoes and gravy as options, your child can get his vitamins and enjoy something dipped in ketchup at the same time. Kids’ meals are $6 and come with a side, a beverage and—get this—an ice cream sundae. Boredom is not an option here. 8672 Pineview Lane N.; 763.424.4365.
For another low-stress, easy-on-the-wallet restaurant, try Maple Tavern. A family-friendly restaurant, this place has favorites on the menu, like grilled cheese, and will be your favorite because kids eat for free all day, every day with the purchase of an adult entrée. “The staff will be good to them, too,” says banquet coordinator Laura Miron. Not to mention the fact that you won’t be the only family with kids under 12 years old in the dining room. “[There are] usually a lot of kids, so it’s not that booth-quiet [type of] restaurant.” As an added bonus, if you and your significant other are looking for a place where you both can enjoy a glass of wine, bottles are half-priced Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Cheers to keeping the kids happy! 9375 Deerwood Lane N.; 763.425.2700.
If you’re looking for a true kids’ night, head to Patrick’s Bakery and Café on a Wednesday night and prepare to be spoiled. From 4 p.m. to close on Wednesdays, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée. On top of that, from 6 to 8 p.m., Lulu the clown, who does face painting and makes balloon animals, stops in for a visit. It’s rare that a restaurant devotes an entire evening to keeping the kids happy, but Patrick’s does just that, and has great menu items as well. With mini burgers ($5.95), a turkey croissant ($5.95) and fruit cup ($1.25) options for dinner, don’t forget dessert—it is a bakery after all. And if what you want is a treat for yourself, “get there before Lulu the clown,” manager Kat Jenkins says, since adults can catch happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. So if free kids’ meals and entertainment aren’t enough to get you through the door, maybe discounted drinks provide that extra push. 12489 Elm Creek Blvd.; 763.420.7770.
3 Squares Restaurant
If your child is a little extra picky or has food allergies that make you nervous at most restaurants, head to 3 Squares. With a large kids’ menu, 3 Squares has the staples: chicken tenders ($6), mac and cheese ($6), fish and chips ($6), steak and pierogies ($8), spaghetti tacos ($6), and an assortment of breakfast and brunch items. Most kids’ meals come with several side options—including healthy carrots or apple sauce—and a beverage (milk or soda) and a snickerdoodle cookie. Server Tyler Sweeney says they offer easy substitutions for kids who have allergies or are gluten intolerant. It should set your mind at ease to know that “kids are a priority here,” he says. And on the novelty side, kids’ meals are served on a familiar school lunch tray which kids seem to get a kick out of. And, as all parents know, sometimes the secret is in the presentation. 12690 Arbor Lakes Parkway; 763.425.3330.