Eat Right: Kid-Friendliest Restaurants in Columbus
Dining out with small children can be stressful. While most every restaurant is accommodating to families, some go above and beyond in making the experience a great one for kiddos. These Columbus standouts do everything from offering a creative kid’s menu to welcoming staff to thoughtful activities to keep restless youngsters occupied.
101 Beer Kitchen
7509 Sawmill Road — Dublin
397 Stoneridge Lane — Gahanna
Beer is the focus, yes, but this local chain may be one of the kid-friendliest pubs around. The children’s menu is excellent, with fun options like a Pretzel Wrapped Hot Dog and Grilled Chicken Skewers w/BBQ dipping sauce, healthy side options (grapes, corn on the cob, broccoli, housemade applesauce) and perfectly portioned desserts, such as one S’more, a chocolate chip cookie, or donut holes.
1173 Old Henderson Road — NW Columbus
For kids who like sushi, Akai Hana is the best bet, with a staff that’s super welcoming to young patrons. If you’ve got one adventurous sushi eater and one (or more) not-so-much, the Katsu entrees — chicken, pork or shrimp cutlets breaded with Japanese breadcrumbs and fried — are guaranteed to please those with picky palates.
525 Short Street — Brewery District
It’s always nice when restaurants offer what some may think of as “adult” foods on the kids’ menus. CBC offers kids Grilled Salmon with brown rice and green beans — a health-food powerhouse meal. Their hand-breaded fresh shrimp and housemade biscuits and gravy for brunch both get rave reviews as well.
4852 Sawmill Road — NW Columbus
1522 Gemini Place — Polaris
These New Mexican-inspired restaurants dial down the spice level for kids, with shredded beef or chicken tacos on flour or corn tortillas, crunchy or grilled chicken tenders, mac n’ cheese and burgers. Youngsters also will appreciate unlimited chips and salsa, and they’ll adore the Cinnamon Crisp for dessert — lightly fried tortilla bowl with two scoops vanilla sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and drizzled with honey, with a flavor and crunch reminiscent of the classic fried ice cream.
Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace
248 South Fourth Street — Downtown
2836 West Broad Street — Westgate
These hot dog palaces are basically a wonderland for both kids and adults, with fun dishes like the Octodog (a hot dog octopus served over mac-and-cheese) plus fair-style food including corn dogs, tater tots, funnel cake “fries” and cherry slushies.
15 East Olentangy Street — Powell
Local Roots in Powell has an awesome kid’s menu that’s longer than most. Entrees include healthy selections like baked fish or grilled cheese on whole-wheat bread, plus plenty of side dish options for kids to choose from, including housemade applesauce, broccoli, grapes, pineapple, sweet potato fries or a side salad.
229 Civic Center Drive — Downtown
Kids love heading to Milestone 229, especially when trips there involve some play time in the Scioto Mile fountains right afterward. The staff here is very accommodating to families, especially at weekend brunch. They’ve got a great kid’s menu as well, featuring actual Columbus trivia and locally themed games!
Mozart’s Bakery & Piano Cafe
4784 North High Street — Clintonville
Kids enjoy eating at Mozart’s because there’s plenty to keep them entertained, from a LEGO table and bookshelves filled with children’s titles to a house pianist well-versed in Disney tunes. The Clintonville restaurant recently revised their Young Mozart’s kids’ menu to include more fresh and organic ingredients. Choose from starters like a Fruit Salad Parfait (seasonal fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, toasted almonds) or Hummus & Pita Plate, then go for hearty European-inspired entrees including Roast Pork Loin or Beef Stroganoff.
59 Spruce Street — Downtown
Perfect for families, especially those with kids who crave wildly different foods. Go-to spots include Sarefino’s New York-style pizza, Best of the Wurst for hot dogs with fun toppings, Pastaria for Chicken Parmesan, or Hot Chicken Takeover for the Lil’Chick with “cold chicken” (no spice) and mac-and-cheese. Followed by, of course, ice cream from Jeni’s, a donut from Destination Donuts or a macaron from Pistacia Vera.
21 East Fifth Avenue — Short North
This Italian Village restaurant offers an adorable Monsters at The Table menu for kids 12 and under. Choose from chicken tenders, grilled cheese, shells with cheese or butter, or a hamburger, along with side dishes including Monster Mash (potatoes). At brunch, little ones go crazy for the Dutch Munchkin with Chocolate Chips.
649 High Street — Worthington
At The Worthington Inn, chef Tom Smith is very proud of the dishes he’s created for the kid’s menu. The restaurant uses Ohio beef, fine cheeses, Holistic Acre Farm eggs, locally baked bread and healthy fruits and veggies for every dish. Examples include Dylan’s Hipster Salad (Romaine, cheddar, carrots and croutons), Walker’s Chicken Toes (fried chicken tenderloins with ranch dressing) and Charlotte’s Grilled Cheese (choice of cheddar, Swiss, provolone or American). Kids also love the Banana-Pecan Stuffed French Toast at brunch, with brioche, fresh banana, Ohio maple syrup and a choice of Ohio breakfast meat.
Dine Originals Columbus celebrates, supports and promotes the culinary diversity that locally owned and operated member restaurants contribute to the identity and culture of our city. The nonprofit group is committed to strengthening the local economy and enriching the community through education and charitable partnerships.
On the first Wednesday of each month, each Dine Originals restaurant offers their own special dining experience, whether it’s a prix-fix dinner, a tasting menu, a retail wine night or a fun promotion. No matter which Dine Originals restaurant you visit tonight, you’ll be treated to a VIP dining experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
For more information, visit www.dineoriginalscolumbus.com.