Restaurants where kids eat free
Dunlay’s on the Square
3137 W Logan Blvd (773- 227-2400, dunlaysonthesquare.com). Brunch (Sat–Sun), lunch (Tue–Fri), dinner. Average main course: $15.
One might not expect this bar and grill to cater to families, but it does. Every day from 4:30–6:30pm, kids 12 and younger eat free from their own menu, which, while unexceptional in its offerings (chicken fingers, cheese pizzas and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches) stands out for its very existence at a sports bar. Sunday brunch tends to draw a hair-of-the-dog crowd, so wait until Sunday evening, when Dunlay’s returns to more family-friendly vibes.
Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar
3358 N Paulina St (773-248-5222, frascapizzeria.com). Brunch (Sat–Sun 10am–3pm), dinner. Average main course: $16.
With wood-fired pizza spots opening faster than your kid can splatter his shirt with tomato sauce, it seems as if thin-crust pizza has replaced sushi as Chicago’s trendiest cuisine. The swankiest of the bunch is Frasca, with its cavernous space packed to conversation-inhibiting capacity with twentysomethings. But don’t let the posh vibe fool you: From 4:30–6pm, kids eat free and families reign. Running late? You’ll hardly break the bank after 6pm, when $5 buys a kids’-menu entrée, beverage and ice cream. Umbrellaed tables on both sides of this spot house up to 50 “alfrasco” pizzaphiles.
1710 Orrington Avenue, Evanston (847-866-8700, hotelorrington.com). Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Average main course: $15.
This Orrington Hotel restaurant caters to everyone from traveling businessmen to North Shore fams. Enjoy fancy martinis for five bucks on Fridays as little ones go at complimentary coloring books with crayons. The Globe’s expansive menu features hearty usual suspects such as big salads, burgers, pasta and steaks. The kids’ menu is equally standard but, on the plus side, won’t cause any diminutive dramas. Up to four diners younger than 12 years old chow free on mac and cheese, a hot dog or chicken fingers with a bevvy, plus fresh fruit or fries, when Mom or Dad orders an entrée between 5:30–7pm.