Kid-friendly—Naperville area restaurants cater to family-friendly meals

July 2013 View more

N2013_07_01_004TABLEUpstanding Bedford Falls family man George Bailey had plenty on his mind when he posed this uncharacteristically harsh question to his wife Mary amid a growing financial crisis. But even if he had just been lamenting the lack of an occasional date night dinner for the two of them, more than a handful of tired parents would have agreed. In most families, a table for two for mom and dad is a sporadically realized goal. If everyone stays healthy and if the soccer game doesn’t run long and if the sitter is free—those are a lot of “ifs” to juggle for a simple dinner date.

More often than not, dinner plans involve accommodating all of those little stick figures on the back window of the SUV. Sometimes, depending on ages and temperaments, this means taking one for the team and charting one’s course for a place where the food is a secondary concern to the all-too-literal bells and whistles – your arcade-with-pizza places and baskets-delivered-by-model-train emporiums come to mind. Even if fine dining is out of the question with the full swarm in tow, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean sacrificing a good meal at the altar of mindless entertainment, or worse, bemoaning your family planning decisions like poor George Bailey.

Given the demographics around Naperville, there probably isn’t a restaurateur anywhere in the 630 area code who won’t throw down a placemat and a box of crayons to fill a table, but when you’re looking for a little something extra for the family, keep these ideas in mind.

Side Order of Involvement

Keep them busy with something that isn’t on a hand-held screen.

bd’s Mongolian Grill
Build-your-own stir-fry may inspire the kind of creativity that results in some barely edible concoctions. There’s nothing kids like more than having a hand in the process.
221 S. Washington, 630.428.0300,

The Melting Pot
Can’t get the kids to help with dinner at home? Maybe it’s because they don’t get to stick a piece of meat into a pot of boiling oil. Or maybe you haven’t been offering up enough unlimited molten chocolate for dessert. Plus, the little cooks eat free on Sundays here.
4931 S. Route 59, 630.717.8301,


Sometimes, hangman and tic-tac-toe will only take you so far. When the entrees aren’t coming fast enough to hold back the rising tide of ennui, it helps to have something shiny to distract them for those few crucial extra minutes.

Islamorada Fish Company
It may feel a little odd to seek out a good seafood meal inside a massive Bass Pro Shops retail store. But if the giant centerpiece aquarium isn’t enough to hold the little ones’ attention, there’s an entire outdoors wonderland to explore without ever leaving the building.
709 Janes, Bolingbrook, 630.296.2600,

Kiku Japanese Steakhouse
From the flying cutlery to the shrimp in the pocket to the onion volcano, Kiku (one of many hibachi options in the area) is dinner and a show. Who knows? Watching the chef play with their food might even be enough to get them to try a vegetable or two.
2764 Aurora, 630.305.3355, www,

Bargain Babies

Nothing says “kid-friendly” quite like a zero line-item on the check, and based on the number of kids-eat-free deals on Monday nights, not one Naperville family should be eating in to kick off the week. That $3.99 saved on a grilled cheese and fries goes straight to the college fund. Be sure to call or check the web for details and restrictions.

Buffalo Wings and Rings
1279 Rickert, 630.548.5021,

Colonial Café
8 W. Gartner, 630.420.7722,

Flat Top Grill
218 S. Washington, 630.428.8400,

Quigley’s Irish Pub
43 E. Jefferson, 630.428.4774,