If you’re like most people, one of the parenting chores you didn’t expect was trying to figure out what to feed everyone night after night. During the post-holiday winter break, when the kids are home all day from school, you may not have enough “oomph” left in you at the end of the day to whip up something that will satisfy every picky eater in the house from toddlers to teens (and still keep the adults happy).
Knowing how to find a kid-friendly restaurant somewhere in and around Indy can save you from living on cereal for dinner. Luckily, we’ve got the scoop on where you can take your brood and actually enjoy your night out.
Here are our top choices:
Mug n Bun Drive-In
The Mug n Bun Drive-In has been an Indy tradition since 1960 — and it’s still one of our top spots to visit with the kids. You can quickly load them into the car for dinner and feed them while you enjoy a classic American dining experience, complete with homemade root beer!
The Mug n Bun offers car-side service, indoor dining and an outdoor picnic area that can be used whenever the weather is nice. Plus, the drive-in offers plenty of kid-friendly food, like mac n’ cheese wedges, burgers and other goodies — all at prices that won’t make you wince when you see the total.
Pizza King Station
Eating at Pizza King Station isn’t just about good pizza — it’s about the experience. There are booths designed to resemble your own personal train car and model trains that deliver drinks directly to tables. You can even call your dinner order to the “engineer” (cook) in the kitchen via an intercom.
If you know that your younger children will adore the trains but worry that your teens may get bored, Pizza King has you covered: There’s a television at every table that can be used for additional entertainment. Aside from their “good to the very edge” pizza, your family can feast on subs, salads, and pasta while they’re there.
Lincoln Square Pancake House
In our opinion, there’s never anything wrong with having breakfast for dinner — especially when that breakfast includes things like “donut biscuits” and a bottomless cup of coffee. You and your kids can enjoy breakfast all day at any one of the Lincoln Square Pancake Houses around Indianapolis — although there are also burgers, gyros, grilled cheese sandwiches and more from which to choose.
Each Lincoln Square has some unique features — but they all have the same great food and family-friendly atmosphere. After all, Lincoln Square has been family owned and operated since it began in 1989. For a real treat, try their chicken and waffles served with homemade blueberry butter.
The Cake Bake Shop
What’s dinner without dessert? At the Cake Bake Shop, you can have both! Select from an array of savory options that will appeal to the adults, while the kids feast on things like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (crusts properly removed) or buttered noodles. Don’t forget to try one of their specialty drinks, like the sparkling lavender lemonade or the Afghani chai while you’re there.
For dessert, we recommend the Blueberry Crumb Cakes (which were featured among Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2019) or maybe a piece of their Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake. The kids may enjoy a chocolate chip cookie or a scrumptious brownie. If somebody in your family is intolerant to gluten, there’s no reason to fear — the Cake Bake Shop has a chocolate cake that’s both gluten-free and scrumptious.
Three Sisters Cafe
Is there a budding vegetarian in your midst? If you’re encouraging healthy eating and like to use locally sourced products, the Three Sisters Cafe may be perfect for your brood. One of the top breakfast spots in Indy for the last 20 years, Three Sisters offers a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that are sure to please.
Personally, we happen to believe that the original spinach melt could make anybody happy — but there are also pint-sized specials available. The “Carly,” which features a bear-faced banana pancake that’s perfect for little ones, is one of the top choices for kids, but you can also get anything from grilled cheese to butter noodles for your picky eaters.
Bru Burger Bar
Sometimes, you just want a good burger — and the Bru Burger Bar is happy to provide one whether you want something traditional or a gluten-free option. While the Bru Burger Bar isn’t designed specifically for kids, it’s a family-friendly restaurant that can keep the adults happy, too.
One of the nicest things about the Bar is the array of appetizers and “shareable sides” it offers. When everybody in your house is starving, you can order up some soft pretzels and some Bru fries with the house chipotle BBQ sauce to munch on while the rest of your order cooks. Just don’t leave until you’ve had a chance to sample their whiskey fudge brownie (for adults only) or a hand-dipped milkshake.
Eating in Indianapolis Is Fun for Everyone
One of the best parts of living in Indianapolis is the chance to partake in some great Midwestern food traditions and experience all of the culinary delights that the city has to offer. Whatever your budget, there are plenty of kid-oriented or family-friendly eateries located all around. We encourage you to loosen your waistband and enjoy finding a new family-favorite!