Families with small children frequently face difficulties while dining out. When catering to the tastes of young children, it’s best to skip the late-night dinners, provocative tasting menus, and bar snacks. Picky eaters, high chair mishaps, and unfriendly wait staff aren’t inevitable when eating out with kids at the proper restaurant.
Philadelphians are fortunate in that there is no shortage of independently run, high-quality businesses in the area, which will rapidly render chains like Chuck E. Cheese obsolete. Are you a parent or planning a family outing with children in tow? This is the direction you should go.
SquareBurger, a great burger establishment next to the Liberty Bell.
Franklin Square is one of Philadelphia’s five original public squares, and is only a short walk from Old City, where crowds of people push and shove to catch a glimpse of a cracked bell. The city has added two playgrounds, a mini golf course, and the low-key food stand SquareBurger to the area surrounding the lovely fountain and carousel in recent years. SquareBurger is open from late March until late October.
The “Cake Shake,” a Blizzard-like delicacy made with Philadelphia’s own Tastykake brand Butterscotch Krimpet, caramel, and vanilla ice cream, is the clear winner, however the burgers and snappy hot dogs crisped up on the griddle will win you over too.
Stella Pizza is the best Neapolitan pizza in town.
Pizzeria Stella, like its sister restaurant SquareBurger, is owned by the city’s most successful restaurateur, Stephen Starr, and has his signature artistic touches like a tiled wood-burning Renato oven and bright red folding chairs salvaged from the old Philadelphia Civic Center.
Stella, on the other hand, is surprisingly budget-friendly for large groups, even those that include small children. The menu of light, leopard-spotted Neapolitan-style pies has something for everyone, from the most discerning pizza connoisseurs to the most plain-Jane of picky eaters (there’s a margherita, a quattro formaggi, and a pizza with thick-cut pepperoni curled into beautiful grease cups, among others) (try the the tartufo, with truffle crema, truffled pecorino, ground black truffle and truffle oil, plus a runny-yolk egg broken tableside). The antipasti selection is extensive (we recommend the grilled octopus served over salsa verde-dressed fennel) and the wine, drink, and beer menus are curated with care and attention to detail.
Percy Street Barbecue, Best in Town for Rib Eaters
Percy Street is a restaurant on South Street that specialises in Central Texas-style smoked meats prepared with a touch of metropolitan flare. The restaurant’s casual atmosphere and ample picnic seating make it a great choice for a family evening out. (There is also a roll of absorbent paper towels at each table for the inevitable sauce-on-cheek mishaps.)
Begin with a beverage (there’s a wide selection of craft cans for the adults and local draught root beer for the kids) and continue on to the barbecue, which, unlike at other Texas-style barbecue restaurants, is served on plated meals. That means banh mi-style grilled pig belly sandwiches with pickled carrots and cilantro, or smoky, fatty brisket served with grilled potato bread and sweet onion jam. The Lockhart is an all-inclusive meat-and-sides lunch offer served family-style so that everyone at the table may help themselves.
Vietnamese with Balance: Pho Ta
The menu at Ta, a large restaurant in South Philadelphia right outside the Italian Market, is so thick it could be thrown as a Frisbee. Many of Philly’s pho restaurants serve just Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Even though the pho is good, if you just order that you’ll be losing out on the extensive and unexpectedly varied assortment of soups, appetisers, rice platters, and noodle bowls that cater to fans of traditional, offal-y Viet cuisine (see: noodle soup with pork heart and liver or quail egg).
Is this intended for children? Common Chinese takeout staples like General Tso’s are available alongside more traditional dishes like grilled meats in sweet and fragrant marinades served over rice. Oh, and that continual background hum is coming from the beverage bar, where the helpful employees mix up fresh fruit smoothies for both kids and adults, with or without tapioca bubbles, and which are a hit with all age groups.
Trolley Car Diner & Deli, the Best Diner Around
The Trolley Car, another Mount Airy mainstay, has the all-you-can-eat philosophy of a traditional American diner and adds features that appeal to tired parents, such as a liquor licence, a takeout deli, and a freestanding sweets shop housed in a real-life trolley car that serves homemade ice cream and water ices.
If the mix-a-six craft beer fridge wasn’t enough to entice customers, the diner also serves crowd- and belly-pleasing classics like bacon-loaded mashed potato croquettes and chicken-fried steak with sausage sage gravy. If you can get a table inside the restaurant, you can take advantage of even more draws, such as half-price children’s meals on Tuesday nights and free movie showings on Saturdays.
The Pop Shop’s Kid-Friendly Menu
Collingswood, a small town in South Jersey about 10 minutes from Philadelphia’s downtown, should be included as an example of family-friendly living in the United States on the Wikipedia page dedicated to that topic. Pleasantville after the colorization, but without the strong morality play overtones; it’s wholesome, cute, and dry (next town over, boozehound). C-Pop Wood’s Shop, with its vibrant decor and old-fashioned soda fountain vibe, has perfected the art of serving young customers.
There are three separate meals for various ages, children-focused musical acts and karaoke nights, and even complimentary breakfast on Saturday mornings for youngsters who come in their pyjamas. Adults may also find enough to eat, including breakfast all day and 30+ grilled cheese variants with toppings like balsamic blueberry and pulled pork. The menu has enough flexibility to accommodate a broad range of dietary preferences while remaining reliably delicious.
Holy Hot Dogs, Batman!
Children in the United States who don’t enjoy hot dogs should be sent to reform school, but the Hot Diggity! cast and crew likely won’t come out and say it. Philly’s greatest doggery is happy to serve the few surviving rational tiny people who understand the value of a well prepared tubesteak.
Hot Diggity! is a regional wiener expert, serving up variations like the Cincinnati Skyline with beef chilli and the Bronx Bomber with kraut. also creates delicious hand-cut fries, which are served from brown paper funnels into caddies cut to the exact size of the tabletop. Parents who are concerned about their children’s exposure to high fructose corn syrup may like the rotating assortment of homemade sodas.
Eating on the Street (With a Table): a Florid Type
Although Northern Liberties is well known for its exciting nightlife, it is also home to many families. Garden Variety, created by father and entrepreneur Mike “Frosty” Spiker, is an attractive outdoor venue that stays open late and offers food trucks and events. Throughout the day, there are events, attractions, and performances geared at families, and mobile merchants like Mom-Polish Mom’s Food Cart, Little Baby’s Ice Cream (famous for its pizza-flavored ice cream), and The Dapper Dog set up shop. For instance, when painters were working on a nearby mural, they put out a huge sheet of paper for budding artists to create with crayons and watercolours.
The Avenue Delicatessen is a fantastic deli.
The Avenue, a popular Jewish-Italian deli, can be found in the picturesque Delaware County town of Lansdowne, only a few minutes outside West Philadelphia’s limits. Offering a wide variety of sandwiches, dinners, baked goods, and a mean cup of coffee, not to mention their own tender corned beef and pastrami that is light years ahead of the bland, pre-packaged deli meats utilised elsewhere.
But they also make care to provide a wide variety of kid-friendly alternatives, such as homemade desserts and savoury snacks. The pizza bagel, a melt topped with homemade marinara sauce, and the mouse pancake, fashioned like a particular large-eared, squeaky-voiced cartoon rodent, are also strong sellers from the children’s menu.
Pizza and Green Politics: Earth Bread & Brewery
The bars in Mount Airy are just as eco-conscious and politically active as the rest of the town. The brilliantly irreverent Earth Bread + Brewery serves out kombucha and ales with titles like “Love Your Mother” and “The Peace of Wild Things” from their own brew kettles.
Family-friendly cuisine like all-natural sodas and flatbread pizzas cooked in a custom-built wood-burning hearth bring in other parents who are looking for a place to take their kids. (The unorthodox “Seed” is a fan favourite; it has crunchy pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds as some of its toppings.) Kids’ natural interest is taken into account during the planning of all activities. Dr. Frederick Schaefer, a chemistry professor at the University of the Sciences, hosts an interactive demonstration series called “TableTop Science” once a month.