My family loves to eat out. Before my husband and I had kids, we made a pact to continue living life with kids as closely as possible to the days when we were just a twosome. Obviously, many things have changed, but we try not to let it slow us down. One thing we haven’t stopped doing is enjoying the amazing local restaurants we have in the greater Scottsdale area. We definitely use a sitter if we want to try a fancy steakhouse, but we prefer to bring the kids along whenever possible. I think all parents know how hard it can be to eat out with kids, especially antsy toddlers. If it were up to my kids, they would probably choose places like Peter Piper and Chuck E. Cheese, but we only go there on special occasions. While they may lack ticket dispensing games, I definitely prefer supporting local restaurants with menus geared toward the adults.
I’ve developed a list of places that we frequent on a regular basis not only because the food is amazing, but they are actually fun for the parents and the kids. All of the restaurants below have an area that allow the kids to get out of their seats and play. Anytime our little ones aren’t forced to spend an hour strapped into a high chair, they are obviously much happier. This makes it instantly more enjoyable for the parents as well. Here are eight local restaurants that are fun for everyone in the family.
- Isabella’s Kitchen (8623 E. Thompson Peak Pkwy. Scottsdale AZ) – Isabella’s is our go-to restaurant anytime we have family visiting from out of town. It is located on Grayhawk Golf Club and has some of the best sunset views in the valley. The outdoor areas are surrounded by grass where kids are always sprawled out on blankets, playing with balls and running around laughing. There are also fire pit tables, rocking chairs and a rooftop patio. I recommend calling ahead for a reservation because this place is always packed! After dinner order an extra glass of wine and wander out onto the driving range where your little ones can run around and throw golf balls into sand traps to their heart’s content.
- O.H.S.O. Paradise Valley (10810 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix AZ) – O.H.S.O. also has locations in Arcadia and North Scottsdale, but the PV location at Tatum and Shea is my family’s favorite. The shaded outdoor area features corn hole boards, ping pong tables and other games that allow the kids some room to run around while waiting for their meals or the check. We typically request one of the outdoor tables closest to the games so we can sip on a locally-brewed beer from their great selection while our kids play nearby. All of the O.H.S.O. locations are pup-friendly as well, so your furbaby can join too.
- Modern Grove (15530 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix AZ) – Modern Grove’s outdoor area is covered in artificial turf with a beautiful fireplace and an open area containing set of corn hole boards. Although not huge, it is plenty big to allow my toddlers to get out of their seats and burn off some steam. I also love you can choose fruit or veggies instead of fries with the kids meals. While the location right on Tatum seems a bit off-putting at first, when you settle in for dinner you completely forget you are on a major thoroughfare.
- Arcadia Tavern (4801 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix AZ) – Arcadia Tavern is another family favorite featuring a large kids play area with video games and toys very close to several large tables in the back of the restaurant. I love that the play area is indoors as it is perfect during the hot summer months. Try to go on a Monday because kids eat free!
- The Yard (5632 N. 7th St. Phoenix AZ) – The Yard is amazing because you have three restaurants (Culinary Dropout, Little Cleo’s Seafood or Barrio Urbano) surrounding a giant adult play area that does double duty for the kids. You can choose a restaurant based on the type of food that sounds best, then let the kids enjoy the many games, including corn hole, ping pong, foosball, shuffleboard, life-size Jenga and more. The Yard does attract a bit of a bar crowd later at night, but it is perfect for kids during the day or for an early dinner.
- The Vig (various locations) – It is too bad the Scottsdale location at McCormick Ranch doesn’t feature a play space, but all of the other locations (Uptown, Arcadia and Fillmore) do. A game of bocce ball or corn hole is always fun for the kiddos. It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve never had a bad meal at The Vig and half price bottles of wine on Sunday make for a nice afternoon.
- Barro’s Pizza (8940 E. Indian Bend Scottsdale AZ) – Who doesn’t love pizza? Barros is a local family-owned favorite serving up pies all over the Valley. The Barro’s at Indian Bend and the 101 has a children’s area with a kids table, play kitchen and even a TV reserved for the little ones.
- Chestnut (4350 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix AZ) – Chestnut is only open for breakfast and lunch, but the menu is a foodie’s delight. The kids menu even features a dish called “The Super Tryers” where you can choose 5 simple foods that will satisfy any picky kid’s palate. I also love the play area with a train table.
If you are looking for a few additional restaurant recommendations, check out these previous Scottsdale Moms Blog posts for restaurants with healthy kids meals and restaurants that offer kids eat free. Any other fun family-friendly restaurants we are missing? Let us know so we can add to the list!