Stealth Kid-Friendly Restaurants (North Central Edition)

Psst! Over here!

I could get in major trouble for sharing this intel with you, but here

goes. . . There’s more to life than Chuck E. Cheese.

You know how sometimes you want to go out to eat with your kids, but you want to eat actual food, at a real restaurant, for grownups? Don’t get me wrong – we LOVE going to places with an extensive kids menu and a cool playground onsite, but those places seem to be overrun with . . . families like ours. Enter, the stealth kid-friendly restaurants. These establishments may look like they favor diners who don’t need their food cut up for them, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll find cool spots, with food, atmosphere, and/or waitstaff that make them stealth kid-friendly.

Kula/Kura – sushi (and cooked options) delivered via conveyor belt, a magical hole in each table that “eats” your empty plates, and a cartoon that plays when you scarf enough food? Sign me up! Arrive early – this place tends to have a line.

Pint House Pizza – old school video games, delicious pizza, and fantastic brews (try Electric Jellyfish IPA) for the grownups.

Pacha – this cozy spot has a cool bookshelf stocked with games, toys, and books for kids. At a recent breakfast, our family had a blast over playing cards and pancakes.

Mandola’s – this Italian restaurant in the Triangle has a handful of smaller, kid-sized tables. Stick your kiddos at a mini table with a bread basket, grab a real table for yourself, and pretend you’re on a kid-free date. Bonus: gelato for the kids, bellinis for you. 

Trudy’s – a family favorite for us any day of the week – my son has declared their kids menu/activity sheet “the funnest.” Also notable is their weekend brunch – lots of kid-friendly options at the buffet, at a price that won’t break the bank. Also, Mexican Martinis. Full Stop.

Summer Moon – the new Anderson Road location of this popular coffee shop will feed your need for caffeine – and moon milk, glorious moon milk -but they also offer options for little ones who aren’t jones-ing for java. Try a hot chocolate or frozen chocolate.   The shop also has a kids corner with books and activities.

Oskar Blues Brewery – great beer, a food truck, and outdoor space for kids to roam. Throw in some hammocks, a bean bag toss, and hula hoops, and you’ve got a great lazy afternoon.


Check them out! But, shhhh! Keep this top-secret intel to yourself.


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