September is Family Mealtime Month, and to celebrate, I wanted to share a few of our favorite places to go eat as a family! With two young kiddos, eating out hasn’t always been fun. I still remember vividly, the first time we took them both to dinner with us. My oldest was two and a half and our baby was just over a year old. We went before the dinner rush, hoping that getting them there before they were hungry would be a success. It was so far from a success that we didn’t take the two of them out to eat with us, even to a fast food restaurant, for over a year.
Now that our kids are a little bit older and we’re a little more experienced, we’ve made a habit of going out on a family date at least once a month. The kids love eating out and being out on a special date with the entire family, and we love not having to cook or do dishes. I’ve really started looking forward to our family date nights out and think about where we’ll go to eat all month long. I wanted to share some of our favorite places to go out to eat as a family, and why we love them, as well as a few tips for making family dinner out less chaotic and more enjoyable for everyone involved!
Family Friendly Restaurants in Davis County
The reason I really love Joy Luck is because of their fast service and family dinner style of ordering. When you order family dinner style, everyone picks and entree and they bring out a platter of the dish, big enough that each person can taste some of everything that was ordered. They’ll even add a lazy susan style top for the center of the table to help you avoid having to pass things if you have a bigger party. Everyone gets to enjoy appetizers, soup or salad, and a taste of each of the entrees.
This was one of my family’s most frequented restaurants growing up. We loved getting kids meals with the take home cups and getting to see the Red Robin mascot while we were eating. We love to take our kids here now because of the number of families that go there to eat and because they have great gluten free options for my husband. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy and it’s a restaurant that we’ll frequent for the rest of our lives.
One of the greatest places to go eat as a family is a fast food restaurant. You know they’ll bring your meal quickly, and they often have a play place that can entertain your kids while they wait for their food or after they’ve finished eating. We love Chick-fil-a because they’ve done so many things to make their restaurant family friendly. From being able to order ahead of time and have the food delivered to your table without having to stand in line, to the great play places they have at their restaurant.
We generally grab this one as takeout, but we’ve eaten there without any problems as well! The kids meals are a great size, so our little ones usually share one, and we get two rice krispie treats then add a fruit or vegetable when we get home. I love the variety of dishes they have, so no matter what type of food you’re craving, you can find a bowl for you here.
I love the atmosphere at Johnny Rockets and think it’s such a fun place to hang out! Every so often, they’ll play a song on the “jukebox” that signals the entire staff to line up and dance, which is always entertaining for the kids. They serve their ketchup in a design, most often a smile, which adds another element of fun for kids and adults. I love to see the creativity that goes into some of their ketchup art and almost feel bad using it to dip my fries in because it’s so good!
Anywhere that kids eat free!
If kids eat free at a restaurant, you can almost guarantee that they’ll be family friendly! And the best part about kids eating free is not having to spend as much money when you go out. I really liked this list of restaurants in the area from Kids Out and About.
Tips for Keeping Kids Entertained While You’re Out to Eat
My favorite part of eating out is the time we have to connect and talk and enjoy being together. I know a lot of families rely on electronics to help them with the kids when they’re out to eat, but I try to use that as a last resort. Electronics are great if your kids finish eating before you, are tired of sitting, and there isn’t a play place they can go to or if you’re out with a big group and know that you’ll be chatting and sitting there for a long time. But when we’re out for a family date, I treat it like a date and we put the electronics away! Instead, we look for ways that we can connect with the kids and have fun as a family, making the meal more enjoyable for everyone.
Bring card games to play
Card games are really easy to pack in your purse or a diaper bag and they’re perfect for pulling out and using at the restaurant table while you wait for your food to arrive. If you have younger kids like us, Go Fish or Old Maid are great games. For older kids, something like Uno can be a lot of fun. Just be sure that you keep the noise level down if your family tends to get more competitive, so you’re not bothering the other people eating around you.
Bring a few novelty toys
I’ve seen some great ideas online for little bags of toys and games and other items that you can bring with you when you go to a restaurant. Bringing these out only when you’re out to eat as a family will make them more exciting and they’ll want to play with them for longer.
Play ‘I spy’
This is a fun game that can be played with kids of all ages! You might set parameters that they things they spy have to be inside the restaurant or can’t be on other people to avoid too much awkward staring. This is also a fun way to practice colors, shapes and recognizing numbers or letters.
Take advantage of the kids meal and crayons
The last time we went to Red Robin, we really loved the activities they’d included on their kids meal place mat sheet. There were things the kids could color, items to look for on a big picture on the back, mazes and crosswords and a variety of other activities. Make use of that free resource that the restaurant provides and use it to pass time until your food arrives.
Take advantage of Family Mealtime Month and plan a day out to eat as a family! Change up your regular routine and try a new restaurant, and make sure to use the time to connect and bond together, like you might during your daily mealtime routine at home. If you watch our Instagram stories, you’ll see us taking advantage of this month to eat out a couple extra times and make it a fun experience for the entire family.
Where is your favorite place to eat out together?