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Apr 5, 2010 09:34 AM

Toddler-Friendly Non-Chains?

Hi, I will be going to Austin with my 2.5 years old son and husband for a conference at UT-Austin. Looking for some local restaurants to support that are toddler-friendly. We're willing to drive and are open to anything! Thanks :)

p.s. We're also planning to drive to Lockhart for some BBQ, any recs while we're there?

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  1. Central Market is well set up for toddlers. And parents with toddlers seem to flock there.

    Central Market
    4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

    1. In Lockhart, I'd recommend Smittys. That will open up a whole can of worms...who has the best BBQ in Lockhart? There's only like 8 well established places there...Blacks, Kreutz, Chisolm Trail, Smittys, ....

      1. When you say "no chains," are local chains OK? If so, my recs for toddler-friendly places are Phil's Icehouse on Burnet for burgers and sweet potato fries, Central Market on Lamar, Shady Grove on Barton Springs for fried stuff with hatch chile sauce on top (on a nice day, try this at off-peak hours to avoid long waits for outside seating), Kerby Lane for pancakes. I also think the comfort food at Hoovers would appeal to a toddler.

        Also, I'd say that you can't do badly in Lockhart for BBQ. But hang onto your toddler as you enter the restaurant. Esp. at Smitty's, where you turn the corner as you enter and BAM, there's a fire pit right there. The dining room is safe, don't worry.

        Central Market
        4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

        Shady Grove
        1624 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

        1. Waterloo 360 has a great area for kids with a casual, fairly decent menu - burgers, tacos, salads, catfish, CFS, etc. The kids seem to love it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Rene

            I live across the street from Waterloo 360 and it is absolutely kiderrific. Parents in the area seem to love to go here and have a beer while the kiddos play outside on the playscape.

            1. re: amysuehere

              Thanks all so far. Local chains are definitely fine, just trying to avoid the usual national crap. Good tip on Smitty's and the fire pit too! Also, I'll have to search some other threads but going out for breakfast is always a treat (and usually pretty fast if you go early). Any thoughts there?

              1. re: dahlsk

                We have an 18 month old and also love breakfast out. I do love NW though, so my recs tend to be towards that way. We actually like Waterloo for breakfast better than other meals. I recommend: the pancakes, omlettes and the chicken fried steak with eggs and biscuits.

                For a quick and cheap (hole in the wall) Tex-Mex breakfast, La Tapatia at 183 and Anderson Mill. Their chorizo and egg plate or tacos are very flavorful but not as greasy as most places. The plates are huge and come with potatoes, beans and tortillas. You can easily share a plate for less then 5 bucks, I believe.

                24 Diner was tasty the one time I went for dinner. I saw many children there and it is downtown.

                We also enjoy Shady Grove's patio on a nice day. I recommend the brisket burrito, green chili cheeseburger, green chili fries and the chili cheese hot dog.

                Hope you enjoy your trip.

                Shady Grove
                1624 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

          2. Hyde Park Bar and Grill is real close to campus and has good food and is kid friendly. They can bring a basket of their deservedly famous fries right away to quiet the table : ) And Austin funky cool too. A home run for what you're looking for I'd say.