Fun Kids restaurants in DC area
I am going to visit my sister in Herndon next week with my son, who will be turning six. I'd like to take him somewhere fun that will not give me a migraine (i.e. like Chucky Cheese's) that serves good food for grown-ups too. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance!
Some good suggestions have been posted. I second Generous George but I don't know how many are left, if any.
Way over here in Springfield, which is about a light year away from Herndon in rush hour traffic, there is a nice Italian place called Paradiso. The food is good, and on Sundays the brunch buffet is very nice, with a made to order pasta station and a made to order omelet station. The place is kid-friendly, with a play room off to the side of one of the dining rooms! Mom and Dad can actually go and have a nice meal together, and the kids can be off playing in a separate room!
Another fun place would be Hard Times Cafe, a great chain based in Old Town Alexandria. It's got a spot in Herndon. Great chili. You can make it at home too with thier mix.
King St. Blues
I would highly recommend any of the Great American Restaurant Group places. They are lively and themed, and offer fantastic food for the money and for a chain, essentially. No games, but I think the atmosphere is totally unstuffy and family friendly.
Be sure to get aquainted with thier call ahead policy. They do not take reservations, but you can call ahead to put your name on a list and they'll tell you when to come in. When you do, they will give you the next available table.
Red Robin!! Balloons for kids and beer for adults! Some arcade games. IMO, thier burgers are very good too.
there are a few that are in the area you are staying. If you've never been, put it on your list!
Chevy's for TexMex.
In Herndon: Jimmy's in old town Herndon. They're great with kids unless you're there too late in the evening when it fully becomes a bar that happens to serve food. The downstairs is the most kid friendly area. They also have "events" all the time - like paper plane flying contests, etc. During football season, when the Bills are playing (Jimmy is from Buffalo), during commercial breaks, kids in the crowd are chosen to run through the entire place trying to give every person a high five.
The food is so far above bar food I don't call it that, but it is still a bar at the core, so it's not fine dining of course. Fridays are special as they do a northeastern style fish fry that is VERY worthwhile.
Similar-ish without as much style are Glory Days and Champps, both chains of varying sizes.
Even more casual is Teocalli Tamale. Not a destination unless you live or work in the area, but it's good food and extremely kid friendly. Tortilla Factory is also very kid friendly but the food isn't a huge draw.
The restaurants in Lake Anne Plaza are kid friendly, as they can run off to the fountain, or the dock, etc - all restaurants have al fresco dining as an option. My fave is Cafe Montmartre.
Similarly, Reston Town Center has al fresco dining at most of the restaurants there. I think all of the places are chains that are mid level or above, price wise.
Downtown, AV Ristorante has a few days of open doors left (closing after 50+ years for "progress") and is a good red sauce Italian joint that would fit the bill. Get the white pizza if you go.
Also downtown, I would think the Maine Ave fish market would be intriguing to kids, unsure whether the 6 y.o. would "get it" or not.
Going on Elyssa's idea of sushi, I was going to add dim sum. I think there's a place that serves on carts in Rosslyn, though it's still a big goose egg on my resume. search dim sum on this board and you should get it pretty quickly.
Potentially Ethiopian, too. Eat with hands, funky bread, etc.
There is a chain of fondue places - melting pot. I haven't gone, but I hear it's kid friendly (understandably).
Lastly, a taco truck or tacqueria, or Amsterdam falafel with the toppings bar would (I think) be appealing to many houndish kids.
This may give you a headache... but ESPN Zone? They have games downstairs, dinner tables upstairs, but it serves food for grownups, you said turning six I don't know if it was birthday or not, but thought maybe if it was this would be a little bit of a compromise. But a bit probably more towards the chucky cheese end...
The food at ESPN Zone is not very good at all---very similar to all those Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood type places with a focus on burgers, buffalo wings, etc. I had to go once with a group from work and thought it was greasy and completly mediocre. The food at these establishments are not the focus.
But if you are looking for fun fun...as in activities for the kids...then this is of course the place to go.
I forgot to mention The Diner in Adams Morgan. They have coloring books and crayons for kids there and a lot of regulars bring in their children to eat there. The waitstaff seems great with them. It's a typical diner menu with a few surprises...."grown up " food as well. Not the greasy spoon types so there are a bunch of salads, various types of sandwiches (including at least 4 different types of grilled cheeses), main courses (I really like their salmon with mango salsa and meatloaf), and they also serve breakfast 24 hours a day. You can sit at the counter with the chairs that spin around (might be fun for your son) or at the booths.
You didn't mention how adventourous an eater he is but if he's into Asian food there are a bunch of good sushi spots in town that might be good. I think its always fun for kids to be at a restaurant where they can see their food being made and try new things...like sitting at the sushi counter.