Restaurants where kids eat free
Kids eat free at these parent-approved, non-chain restaurants. Pick any day of the week—we have all of ’em covered.
Cafe con Leche Bucktown
1732 N Milwaukee, (773-342-2233, cafeconlechebucktown.com). Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Average main course: $12.
The original owner of Logan Square’s Café con Leche left that post to scoot a bit farther down Milwaukee Avenue, where he’s kept the Cuban standards, plus added dinner and a slew of American classics to the menu. The BYOB policy and sizable patio have made for booming business (especially in nice weather). On Mondays, one child eats free from the kids' menu with the purchase of an adult entree. Additional kids' meals are $5.99 each. For added incentive, pint-sized members of the clean-plate club can pick a prize from a basket filled with goodies like temporary tattoos, candy and (plastic) jewelry.
8 W Gartner Rd, Naperville (630-420-7722, colonialcafe.com). Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Average main course: $9.
The menu features generous portions of American classics including homemade meatloaf, and not-so-traditional creations such as a grilled mac-and-cheese melt: buttery brioche covered with a four-cheese mac, bacon, even more cheddar and American. The resto takes pride in its many ice cream offerings, the most impressive of which might be the “Colonial Kitchen Sink,” a fully loaded sundae served in a sink-shaped dish complete with a pipe-and-wood base. Up to two kids ages 10 and under eat free on Mondays beginning at 4:30pm with purchase of as many adult entrées. During dinner on first Mondays, there’s a clown to paint faces and make balloon animals for young diners.
1121 Essington Rd, Joliet (815-730-3370, friacosrestaurant.com). Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $12.
This cantina serves up hearty portions of Mexican classics such as fajitas—which can be prepared for two—and carnitas. Munch on free chips and salsa as you browse the menu. If you can’t decide between several entrées, get a combo and enjoy dos, tres or cuatro items such as chalupas and tamales. Niños 12 and younger can enjoy their own combos or chicken fingers for free, one per adult entrée, all day on Mondays.
5304 W Devon Ave (773-792-8300, miafigliarestaurant.com). Brunch (Sun, 10:30am–2pm), dinner. Average main course: $17.
Named for chef-owner John Boudouvas’s daughters, Mia Figlia—“my daughter” in Italian—serves contemporary and traditional Italian fare, featuring homemade pasta, and seasonal specials. Popular menu items include grilled calamari, pasta with slow-cooked pork, roasted butternut squash and sundried tomato, and osso bucco (braised veal shank). The 10-and-under menu is simple: their choice of pizza or pasta, beverage and a scoop of ice cream, all for five bucks. When grownups buy an entrée on Mondays, their figlia or figlio eats free of charge.
Morretti’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
6727 N Olmsted Ave (773-631-1175, morettischicago.com). Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $13.
While pizza and pasta are the stars of this joint’s menu, big salads and meaty entrées are also popular choices. As far as the pies go: both deep dish–diggers and thin crust fans will be pleased. Kids 12 and younger can sauce and cheese their pizzas at the table. Mondays after 4pm, one child eats free with each purchase of an adult entrée.
Rocks Lincoln Park
1301 W Schubert Ave (773-472-7738, rocksbargroup.com/lincoln-park). Dinner. Average burger: $10.
Expect a variety of hearty burgers, sandwiches and salads at this family-friendly neighborhood tavern. Popular burgers for grownups include the 2x4: two patties stuffed with cheese and bacon, covered in jalapeño mayo. The kids menu features mini burgers and mac and cheese, and each meal comes with tater tots. Your child eats free on Mondays after 5pm while you enjoy a burger and half-price beer.
Monday’s honorable mention: Flat Top Grill
Multiple area locations (www.flattopgrill.com). Breakfast (Sat–Sun 9–11am), lunch, dinner. Average main course: $12.
Though it’s technically a chain, this build-your-own, Mongolian barbecue–inspired concept is worth a nod. We promise there’s something here for everyone, from your vegan brother-in-law to your gluten-free little one. Kids 10 and younger can concoct their own stir-fries for free on Mondays; fries 4 and smaller eat free every day.