You can hit up Cheesecake Factory, McDonald's or a pizza joint in just about any major city, so why not show your kids a bit of Chicago's flavor during your next visit?
We've gathered 10 Chicago favorites, from a few classic restaurants to newer attractions, guaranteed to make your entire family happy.
While Antique Taco may not be as fancy as some of its counterparts, it serves a purpose for its loyal Wicker Park fans. You’ll find inexpensive tacos with local, fresh ingredients, rivaling what the nearby Chipotle has to offer. Adding to its appeal are the cool, reclaimed furnishings, house-made guac and chips, and pitchers of refreshing margaritas made with fresh rosemary for the adults in your party. For the little ones, there are cheesy quesadillas, pork tacos and house-made pop tarts of Mexican chocolate, marshmallow and vanilla ice cream. 1360 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-687-8697
Big City Chicken
When it comes to dining options, Navy Pier pretty much has all the bases covered, from pizza and burgers to everything in between. With Chicago's obsession with gourmet fried chicken, it wasn't much of a surprise that Big City Chicken was an immediate hit when it opened in late 2015. All the chicken is top quality, with no hormones, and guests may order it by the piece (original or spicy), chicken strips (with dipping sauces like ranch, homemade BBQ, honey mustard, spicy buffalo, sriracha mayo) or in sandwich form (original crispy, hot & spicy, crispy BBQ). Cheese fries and root beer floats are perfect add-ons. 600 E. Grand Ave., 312-546-7440
Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles
Situated in the artsy, up-and-coming Bronzeville neighborhood, the original location for Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles is open from breakfast to dinner. Its signature dish—of course—is buttermilk fried chicken and waffles and customers may order it in the usual style or in a host of unique new offerings. Our faves include diced fried chicken tucked inside of a cheesy omelet with a house-made waffle or fried chicken smothered in gravy and onions with a waffle on the side. Kids under 10 dine free all day every Wednesday (one free children's meal per adult entrée and beverage purchase of $14 or more). 3947 S. King Dr., 773-536-3300
While Dove's does not have an official children's menu, it certainly considers itself to be kid-friendly. You'll find custom highchairs that slip over the bar stools, plus crayons and a featured artist of the week spotlighting a local child's artwork. Kid-friendly menu items include quesadillas stuffed with mushrooms, collard greens and French-fried onions, plus chicken tenders and eggs with grits and avocado. The Wicker Park establishment is owned by the same team behind Blackbird, Big Star, Publican and The Violet Hour. 1545 N. Damen Ave., 773-645-4060
Stephanie Izard’s contemporary West Loop diner’s open all day, and most kids will be thrilled that they can order breakfast at any time. The dark chocolate chip crunch pancakes with chocolate malt butter, Fat Elvis waffles with bananas, peanut butter and bacon maple syrup or gooey, house-made Cinnabuns should put them on happy street. 820 W. Randolph St., 312-888-3455
Lake Shore Cafe
Located in Hyde Park, just shy of the Museum of Science & Industry, this sprawling cafe offers a budget-conscious brunch buffet that includes a solid number of classic dishes. For $21.95 per person ($10.95 for children ages 3 to 10), diners may graze on an BBQ Ribs, oxtails, short ribs, corned beef and cabbage, or the rotating chef’s choice entrée. Guests also get one complimentary glass of Champagne, orange juice or a mimosa. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. And every Friday there's an all-seafood buffet from 5 to 10 p.m. It features peel-and-eat shrimp, fried shrimp, blackened and fried catfish, crab cakes, dessert and more. There's also live jazz from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays. The special costs $21.95 per person, $10.95 for children ages 3 to 10. 4900 S. Lake Shore Dr., 773-288-5815
Across the street from Lincoln Park Zoo, R.J. Grunts has the grand distinction of being the originator of the salad bar. It's also a great, family-oriented spot for over-sized burgers and sandwiches such as the patty melt, plus chicken fingers, taco specials every Monday, onion rings stacked on a stick, and hand-dipped shakes and malts. 2056 North Lincoln Park West, 773-929-5363
Shaw's Crab House
Children under six dine for free (It's $10 for kids seven-12) during Shaw's Saturday and Sunday brunch (10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.), which is one of the best in the city. For $55 each, diners are treated to a massive buffet spread that is primarily filled with seafood. Some of the highlights include French-fried shrimp, caramelized smoked bacon, doughnuts and baked apple French toast. The kids are guaranteed to love the sweets table, particularly because of the mini cheesecakes, freshly spun cotton candy, chocolate-covered strawberries and assorted candies. 21 E. Hubbard St., 312-527-2722
Located down the street from the Cubs' home Wrigley Field, Uncommon Ground boasts one of the pioneering organic restaurants in the city. Its most recent addition is the children's menu, and what's even better is that they get to dine for free with the purchase of each adult entree. From 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, kids 12 and under may munch on healthier versions of PBJ sandwiches, grilled cheese and mini grass-fed beef or turkey burgers. 3800 N. Clark St., 773-929-3680
What started off as an unassuming little breakfast nook in the South Loop now draws long lines at newer locations in River North (747 N. Wells St., 312-787-2277), Streeterville (355 E. Ohio St., 312-822-9655) and the West Loop (500 W. Madison St., 312-454-9655). Yolk specializes in superior egg dishes--particularly its fluffy frittatas--but also look out for some tasty crepes, waffles and burgers. The bright and cheery room gets thumbs up from the stroller set, and the staff knows how to keep kids happy. Brunch takes place 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 1120 S. Michigan Ave., 312-789-9655