Lunch in Arlington Heights
I'm going to be in Arlington Heights this weekend with some kids who would be willing to eat more than chain food.
Given that I hate chain food, I thought I might get some good suggestions here. Oh, by the way, the kids will be in dirty soccer uniforms.
The food court at Mitsuwa shopping center is fun, informal, and has something for everyone (all Japanese, of course, but most people at least like shrimp tempura - or go for one of their hearty noodle soups). Mitsuwa is located at the intersection of Arlington Heights Rd. and Algonquin Blvd., set a bit back from the north east corner - look for the sprawling complex with the blue tile roof.
Located, as it is, inside an enormous Japanese grocery store, it might be an exotic destination for the kids - one that they'd have fun with.
Mitsuwa is a good recommendation, since it's a food court in a Japanese mall type complex it's unique and informal so dirty soccer uniforms would be fine.
I personally love Alt Thai, they have great lunch specials on weekdays, not sure about the weekend. It's small and modern though so I'm not 100% sure if you'd be comfortable with the kids...last time we were there a couple came in who clearly just left the gym and they didn't really stick out.
Another option is that Schaumburg, just a few minutes away, has a number of Indian restaurants with lunch buffets.
Knowing how picky kids can be having 4 of my own, there is no way I can see kids sitting still or even tasting food at an ethnic restaurant they aren't familiar with. That being said, try out these two options:
Barnaby's Family Inn 933 West Rand Road, Arlington Heights - great pizza & burgers in a rustic Bavarian pub atmosphere where the can scream & yell and be dirty with no problems.
Russell's Barbecue, 2885 Algonquin Rd., Rolling Meadows - A little south but close by, typical BBQ fare, good ribs, bbq beef & pork sandwiches and piles of fries on each plate, kids can go nuts here and will love it.
Depending on how adventerous you are you might want to try Bowl House - 1921 Algonquin Rd in Rolling Meadows. It's really good and really cheap. I see a lot a Japanese families, which has to mean something. I've been going there for YEARS and have never had a bad meal. Their Udon bowls are excellent for kids since all it is is meat and veggies all served over rice. But it is all good.