Editor's note: Updated June 2018
Among Seattle’s shiny new restaurants opening their doors each day and the old-school local classics that have been turning out the same great food for half a century lurk a few special gems: the places to eat that welcome children and even appeal to their wide eyes and sometimes wild ways. Some serve cuisines from around the world, catering to the natural curiosity of kids. Others make the meal more relaxed for parents by providing play spaces for little ones. But the one thing that unites all of the restaurants on this list: Kids are greeted with a smile and the food is good.
Great State Burger
Great State Burger is serving up classic burgers, crinkle-cut-fries, shakes, and – best of all – draft beer.
The fast-food-style burger gets an upgrade at Great State Burger, a local, mini-chain with multiple locations – on the South Lake Union-edge of Downtown and just off the Burke-Gilman Trail in Laurelhurst, plus downtown Seattle, the Chinatown/International District and an upcoming outlet in Bellevue Square. With custom-butchered, local, organic meat, it’s simply a great burger (the house-made veggie burger is also excellent). The bright colors and bold decorations of Great State Burger make for a fun space while the pared-down menu (burgers, crinkle-cut fries, shakes, draft beer, soda pop) keeps ordering straightforward: You come for the burgers.
Neighborhood: Laurelhurst & South Union Bay
Laurelhurst Address: 3600 NE 45th St, Seattle, 98105
South Union Bay Address: 2041 7th Ave, Seattle, 98121
Open daily from 11 am to 9 pm.
Downtown Seattle: 1111 Third Avenue
Open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m,-6 p.m.
Chinatown/ID: 504 Fifth Ave. S.
7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
All those times you’ve tried to tell the kids not to eat with their hands? Throw them out the window of this remodeled Craftsman in the Central District — complete with spacious patio: it’s time to try eating Ethiopian-style at Meskel. The vegetable combo provides a colorful palette of healthful stews (which kids will happily paint all over their faces), encouraging even the pickiest eaters to dig into the lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes.
Neighborhood: Central District
2605 E Cherry St, Seattle, 98122
Weekdays, 4 pm to 11 pm (closed Mondays); Sat and Sun, 11 am to 11 pm.
While the date-night décor of this Ballard Lebanese restaurant will be appropriate at 8 p.m., earlier in the evening at Cafe Munir it’s a family free-for-all, welcoming kids and the noise and chaos that they bring. The Middle Eastern mezzes turn out to be surprisingly kid-friendly, with hummus, yogurt, breads, and chicken skewers leading the way. The small plates make it easy and affordable to order a few more adult dishes (try spicy pepper dip or smoky eggplant) while sharing the bulk of the dishes with the whole crew.
2408 NW 80th St, Seattle, 98117
Tues, Weds, Thurs, 5 – 9 pm; Fri and Sat, 5 – 10 pm; Sun, 4 – 8 pm.
Frelard Pizza Company, an Ethan Stowell outpost, serves up made-to-order pies and offers a seriously cool kid play area.
After a long day of touring, shopping, or general toddler-herding, sometimes you just want to hand the kids a slice of pizza and drop them in a kidpit while you drink a beer. Parents and restaurateurs Ethan and Angela Stowell get that—and that’s exactly what you can do at Frelard in Fremont. The youngsters will find a world of toys and new friends in the fenced-off play area while the adults find local microbrews, made-to-order pizzas, and fresh salads on the menu.
4010 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Mon through Fri, 4 to 11 pm; Sat and Sun, 11 am to 11 pm.
Chuck’s Hop Shop
Ostensibly, the two outposts of Chuck's Hop Shop are beer shops (and they do have incredible selections of more than 30 taps and walls of bottles) but they’ve become neighborhood installations in both Greenwood and the Central District, as they welcome all comers—infants, puppies, locals, and travelers—with open arms. They also welcome a rotating selection of the city’s best food trucks parked front which makes for quick, affordable, and interesting options, ranging from fish and chips to beignets and from chicken tenders to Peruvian steak sandwiches (check the food truck schedule on their website).
Neighborhoods: Greenwood & Central District
Greenwood Address: 656 NW 85th St, Seattle, 98112
Daily, 10 am to midnight.
Central District Address: 2001 E Union St, Seattle, 98122
Daily, 11 am to midnight.
Photo: Uneeda Burger/Facebook.
Uneeda Burger's awesome, unique burgers are served up alongside great shakes (for kiddos) and beer (for the adult crowd).
A crowd-pleaser of a burger competes from Seattle’s best at this modern take on the classic American burger joint in Fremont. Using premium-quality, local beef, experienced restaurateur Scott Staples offers more than a dozen different takes on the hamburger, along with fries, onion rings, and a rotating cast of seasonal sides at Uneeda Burger. With gluten-free and vegetarian options, beer, craft sodas, and milkshakes, there are enough options that everyone will find something to love. The roadside-shack style design means that there are indoor, outdoor, and in-between seating options.
4302 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, 98103
Daily, 11 am to 9 pm.
The signature hand-shaved green noodles intrigue kids with their color as much as they excite adults with their texture and flavor at this longtime International District favorite. A short walk from Pioneer Square or a quick light-rail ride from Downtown, the big round tables at Shanghai Garden leave plenty of room for both the crowd-pleasing Chinese-American dishes and the authentic Shanghai-ese specialties such as soup dumplings but whatever you order, include the noodles!
Neighborhood: International District
524 6th Ave S, Seattle, 98104
Sun through Thurs, 11 am to 9 pm; Fri and Sat, 11 am to 9:30 pm.
When you’ve been open for as long as this casual steakhouse, you become resistant: to trends, to change, and to the hurricane-force destruction of small children. With burgers ground in-house, giant beef ribs, and one of the city’s best French dip sandwiches, this North Seattle spot is full of comfort food classics. Not much has changed at Wedgewood Broiler in its long history and the staff is as welcoming as always, even when your two-year-old has decided to run sprint laps around the table and the baby is finger-painting with ketchup on the table.
8230 35th Ave NE, Seattle, 98115
Mon through Fri, 11:30 am – 10 pm; Sat and Sun, 8 am to 10 pm.
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