Top 5 kid-friendly restaurants in Minneapolis

Taking the kids out to eat seems, at first, like it's win-win for everyone: no dishes, everyone orders what they want and most entrees are served with a side of crayons for tot-tainment. But for every happy meal out, there's an instance like this. We asked Minnesota Parent's editor Tricia Cornell for her take on the best places to tote the kidlets for great food and no dirty looks.

1. D'Amico and Sons There's a reason we chose D'Amico as the best place to eat with kids in the annual Best Of issue: Free-flowing wine for Mom and free (on Sundays) starchy white food for the kids. "With a bottomless glass of house red and a plate full of spicy, creamy, salty pasta, I barely hear the kids clamoring for more milk or another napkin," explains Cornell. But be warned: plenty of parents know about this place, and a table on Sunday is a sacred thing.

2. Yum! Cornell spotted Yum as a good family restaurant based on one major clue: scads of kids. "I don't want to be the only mother scooping mac and cheese off the floor and reminding little tushies to stay put. Yum! is crawling with the culinarily and otherwise privileged kids of the western suburbs." And who can blame them? The macaroni is like kiddie crack, while parents delight in the fish and chips or grilled tuna. "I do sometimes have to share my salt-cured pickles and house-made chips with the kids, though," she adds.

3. Broder's Pasta Bar Sure, we questioned Cornell on this unexpected spot, too. But color us convinced: "It feels very grown-up in there and, inevitably, there is a lovestruck couple who look like they really, really don't want my kids around. But then the waitress shows up with a pack of Wikistix and the bread basket and my kids are at least as well-behaved as the grown-ups." Broders doesn't dumb-down the kids menu, either, so they're noshing on the same satisfying house-made pasta and pizzas as their parents. Cornell lobs out one note of warning, though: "We always, always get there right at 5 p.m. to eat, because Broder's doesn't take reservations and even I don't want to eat with my kids when they've had to wait 30 minutes for a table." Food for thought!

4. Bar Abilene Anyone who has driven through Uptown on a Saturday night would probably rather burn this place to the ground than let their children inside. But during the light of day, when there's nary a booty short in sight, Bar Abilene wants to feed your kids. For free. All day. Every day. (Kids under 10, off the kid's menu, with the purchase of an adult entree, but still.) "Just about everything about Tex-Mex cuisine is great for kids," says Cornell. "You've got tacos and quesadillas and chips and guacamole made right at the table (man, I want some guacamole now) and if all else fails, every kid will eat rice. Most importantly, the bartenders really know their stuff." Mommy loves her a margarita.

5. Punch Punch's kid-friendliness is so enticing it's driven Cornell to attempt mind control on her own kids. "It's shameful the way I try to plant the idea in my kids' heads so that they will beg their father to go. That way I don't have to be the one to say, 'Hey, I really need pizza tonight.'" Parents can dive into decadent salads and pizzas while the wee ones order kid-sized versions that are just as tasty. "I always ask for the kids' pizzas without olive oil, otherwise they're a soupy mess and hard to eat," says Cornell. "And did I mention that the line moves like lightning and the pizzas come almost instantly and -- pattern here -- they've got a pretty decent house red."

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D'Amico & Sons

2210 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405


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