I regularly offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Just because you’re a kid doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with a menu that only offers chicken fingers and burgers. This week I take a look at some restaurants that go beyond the basics – think pad thai and hanger steak. Sure, you can always try and order a child a half portion of an adult dish, but sometimes it’s fun for kids to have their own menus. And if you order from the kids menu, you’ll likely save money. Don’t see one of your favorites listed? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1886 Café and Bakery. 604 Brazos St. 512-391-7066, 1886cafeandbakery.com. The elegant little café at the Driskill Hotel serves a kids menu that includes grilled redfish with pasta ($8), honey-glazed fried chicken ($8) and a strawberry-banana smoothie.
Chuy’s. Multiple locations. chuys.com. One of Austin’s most beloved homes of Tex-Mex, the offerings at Chuy’s include mini bean and cheese burritos ($4.79) and a plate of mini crispy tacos ($4.79).
Chi’lantro. 1509 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-428-5269, chilantrobbq.com. The Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant that got its start in a truck serves a kids rice bowl with rice, beans, soy-glazed chicken or beef. They have a second location coming to Burnet Road next week.
Galaxy Café. Multiple locations. galaxycafeaustin.com. The three locations of this locally owned restaurant keep it kid-friendly with items like French toast sticks in the morning ($5.19) and fish sticks, with choice of side ($4.99) in the afternoons and evenings.
Garbo’s. 14735 Bratton Lane. 512-350-9814, garboslobsteratx.com. The kids menu at the charming seafood restaurant in Wells Branch offers smaller, $10 versions of their popular lobster rolls, as well as fried clams ($6) and homemade clam chowder ($5).
Kerbey Lane. Multiple locations. 512-447-3767, kerbeylanecafe.com. The pancake kings haven’t forgotten about the little ones. In addition to a slew of other kid-friendly items, the kids menu served at all seven Austin-area locations includes a Jr. Breakfast Platter: one egg with bacon or fruit and choice of toast, pancake or French toast for $3.50.
Launderette. 2115 Holly St. 512-382-1599, launderetteaustin.com. Chef Rene Ortiz’s East Austin restaurant loves to have fun, and the kids are included. This restaurant has some of the best offerings in town for foodie kids, with hanger steak ($8) and a clown ice cream sundae ($6) leading the way.
Mama Fu’s. Multiple locations. mamafus.com. Kids can enjoy their chicken in an array of dishes and preparations, from sweet-and-sour to teriyaki.
Mother’s. 4215 Duval St. 512-451-3994, motherscafeaustin.com. One of Austin’s original homes to happy healthy hippie eating, Mother’s keeps it vegetarian for the kids, as well, with spaghetti with marinara ($3.75), fruit salad ($1.95), chalupas ($1.95) and cheese enchiladas ($3.75).
North by Northwest. 5701 W. Slaughter Lane. 512-301-6969, nxnwbrew.com. The brewery welcomes kids with a menu that includes an entrée of rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes ($4.95), and linguine with butter or marinara ($3.95).
Opal Divine’s. Multiple locations. opaldivines.com. The kids can move seamlessly from dinner to dessert with a kids menu that includes a turkey and American cheese sandwich ($4) and a Nutella sandwich ($4).
Sala & Betty. 5201 Airport Blvd. 512-645-0214, salaandbettyatx.com. Chef Teresa Wilson’s from-scratch home cooking restaurant offers a Meatloaf “Muffette” with green beans and potatoes for kiddos ($5.50).
St. Philip. 4715 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-358-7445, stpaustin.com. The bakery and pizza parlor from the Uchi team can entice kids with pizza, of course, but their kids menu also includes a meatball sandwich and roasted seasonal vegetables.
Thai Fresh. 909 Mary St. 512-494-6436, thai-fresh.com. This South Austin favorite offers a family-friendly atmosphere, plenty of space for kids to roam and a $5.50 kids menu that features chicken rice with cucumbers and sweet and sour sauce; fried rice with beef, pork or tofu; and rice soup with choice of protein. If you’re older than 12 and feeling sneaky, beware: You will be charged $3 extra for ordering off the kids menu.
Trio at the Four Seasons. 98 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-685-8300, triorestaurantaustin.com. Your kid can keep it simple with a peanut butter sandwich ($5) or really earn some foodie bona fides by going highbrow with dishes like grilled white fish served with steamed vegetables and rice ($8) or a prime 4-ounce filet served with broccoli and fries ($10).
Sway. 1417 S. First St. 512-326-1999, swayaustin.com. This Thai-by-way-of-Australia restaurant has one of the most exotic kids menus in town, with offerings like pad thai ($7), sticky rice with choice of protein ($6), and salt-and-pepper tofu ($4).
Waterloo Ice House. Multiple locations. waterlooicehouse.com. In addition to the expected burgers and tenders, kids can also get fried tortilla catfish, along with a side and drink, for $5.50.
Zocalo. 1110 W. Lynn St. 512-472-8226, zocalocafe.com. The kids’ plate ($4.99) offers rice, beans, tortillas, a drink and a choice of taco fillings like fajita or ground beef.