Eating out with kids is always a gamble. Sometimes they devour their entire meal, licking their plates until they’re sparkling clean, and other times it’s two bites and done. The good news is lots of restaurants get it (the owners are often parents themselves). And they take the stress off by offering family meal deals. Here are our favorite places where kids eat free across the city and ‘burbs.

benny's-chop-housephoto: Benny’s Chop House

IN CHICAGO

Benny’s Chop House
444 N. Wabash Ave., Downtown, 312-626-2444; Online: bennyschophouse.com

The details: Upscale steakhouses and kids don’t usually go hand in hand, but at this steak haven, they are welcomed with open arms. Typical kid’s choices are done first class, like a USDA Prime burger or steakhouse Macaroni and Cheese. Grownups.

The deal: Kids eat free anytime on Sunday nights.

photo: Crosby’s Kitchen

 

Crosby’s Kitchen
3455 N. Southport Ave., Lakeview, 773-883-2525; Online: crosbyschicago.com

The details: This Southport corridor spot was designed with kids and parents in mind. There is a stroller valet, step stools in the bathroom and a sink for quick hand washing in the dining room. That’s on top of a menu of rotisserie selections, fresh salads, entrees and full bar.

The deal: Kids eat free every day between 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Dunlays on Clark
2600 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park, 773-883-6000; Online: dunlaysonclark.com

The details: This neighborhood spot offers up simple American fare — salads, sandwiches, flatbreads — in a classic bar and grill setting. Kiddos will be tempted to join the clean-plate club if you offer them a bite of the homemade skillet cookie or nutella brownie for dessert.

The deal: Kids eat free every day between 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

photo: Frasca’s Pizzeria

Frasca’s Pizzeria
3358 N. Paulina St., Lakeview/Roscoe Village, 773-248-5222; Online: frascapizzeria.com

The details: Kick back and enjoy at this Lakeview pizzeria meets wine bar. Pies are upscale and inventive, but the space is low-key and totally caters to kids so you can enjoy sipping your Pinot while they tear apart their pizza of choice.

The deal: Kids eat free every day between 4:30-6 p.m.

Hutch
3301 N. Clark St., Lakeview, 773-248-1155
416 W. Ontario St., River North, 312-300-4195; Online: hutchchicago.com

The details: Hutch is filled with comfort foods that will warm you on the coldest of days. Braised short ribs, rainbow trout and meatloaf are a few of the sophisticated choices. Kids may prefer the crust-less grilled cheese, PB&J and other classics. The River North location offers brunch classics like scrambled eggs and French toast . . . even fruit loops are available for the uber picky!

The deal: In Lakeview, kids eat free everyday between 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and all night on Sundays. Check out the River North location from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday when kids can order a free meal from the kid’s brunch menu.

pizzeria-seriophoto: Pizzeria Serio

 

Pizzeria Serio
1708 W. Belmont Ave., Lakeview, 773-525-0600; Online: pizzeriaserio.com

The details: East Coast-style pizza, giant calzones and overstuffed sandwiches . . . how could you go wrong? Families are welcomed to this former recording studio space — especially on Sundays, which they designate family night.

The deal: Kids eat free anytime on Sunday nights.

Riverview Tavern
1958 W. Roscoe St., Roscoe Village, 773-248-9523;Online: riverviewtavern.com

The details: Sometimes you feel like eating like the little ones, in a sophisticated way of course. Riverview Tavern has you covered with six “adult” versions of grilled cheese and tater tots on the menu, amongst burgers, sammies and salads.

The deal: Kids eat free Monday through Thursday between 4:30-6 p.m.

Southport and Irving
4000-4006 N. Southport Ave., Lakeview, 773-857-2890; Online: southportandirving.com

The details: Grab a table with your family and a few good neighbors and enjoy the regional fare served at this corner bistro. Entrees are reasonably priced and range from salmon to fried chicken sandwiches. The free kid’s meal even comes with a build-you-own ice cream sundae and kids can take a toy from the treasure chest!

The deal: Kids eat free everyday from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. with purchase of an adult entree.

wildephoto: Wilde

Wilde
3130 N. Broadway St., Lakeview, 773-244-0404; Online: wildechicago.com

The details: To quote Oscar Wilde himself: “The best way to make children good is to make them happy.” His namesake bar and grill took note. Embrace the Irish and indulge in fish and chips — the kiddos can get a pint-sized version.

The deal: Kids eat free Monday-Friday between 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Wishbone
1001 W. Washington Blvd., West Loop, 312-850-2663; Online: wishbonechicago.com

The details: This cult fave has been serving up Southern cooking since the early ’90s. Young eaters are mesmerized by the funky artwork. Your whole family will love the home-cooked favorites like shrimp and grits, and the signature crunchy French toast dipped in corn flakes.

The deal: Kids eat free on Tuesday nights as vintage cartoons are shown on a huge screen.

francescas-on-95thphoto: Francesca’s

IN THE ‘BURBS 

Francesca’s
Suburban locations in La Grange, Oak Lawn, Bolingbrook, Forest Park, West Dundee and Naperville
Online: miafrancesca.com

The details: The Francesca’s empire has a strong presence in the city and ‘burbs, serving fresh, classic Italian food in a familial setting. The handwritten menu changes often with inventive seasonal pastas the whole family can enjoy.

The deal: Kids eat free on Monday night at Francesca’s Bellezza (with a magic show at 6 p.m.!), Francesca’s at the Promenade, Francesca’s on 95th, Francesa’s Vincenato and Francesca’s Fiore. Kids eat free on Sundays all night at Francesca’s Passaggio and Francesca’s Campagna.

Colonial Cafe
Suburban locations throughout the North and West suburbs; Online: colonialcafe.com

The details: This string of family owned restaurants scattered throughout the ‘burbs offers up all of the kid favorites, from mac and cheese to chicken nuggets, as well as a separate kid’s breakfast menu that is served all day.  Everyone will be anxious to finish their food, as the ice cream is really what this place is all about.  Save room for the “Kitchen Sink” sundae!

The deal: Kids eat free on Mondays with an adult purchase.

New York Slices
16111 S. La Grange Rd., Orland Park, 708-403-3366; Online: ottimoorland.com

The details: This downtown Highland Park spot serves up genuine New York-style pizza with fun toppings like penne, smoked mozzarella, bacon and hot sauce (not together, of course!). Kids love creating their own pies and the graffiti on the wall, while parents may be more likely to fixate on the large-screen TVs that play the big games.

The deal: Kids eat free on Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m.-close.

Osteria Ottimo
16111 S. La Grange Rd., Orland Park, 708-403-3366; Online: ottimoorland.com

The details: Two former Francesca’s chefs partnered together to open this Orland Park osteria where fresh pasta is made in-house daily and ingredients are locally sourced. Kids meals come with a scoop of gelato for dessert.

The deal: Kids eat free anytime on Sunday nights.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Lisa Snart & Samantha Lande