If you haven’t been to what used to be known as The Center House at the Seattle Center, you’re in for a shock. Following suit with Seattle’s recent explosion of to-die-for restaurants, The Armory is the fanciest food court you’ve ever seen. In fact, don’t you dare even breathe the phrase “food court” once you step in the doors of the Armory or you may be taken away to Seattle hipster jail (they make you wear flannel shirts that cost $300, in case you were wondering). Pulling together the best of Seattle’s local food scene, the Armory has been transformed from somewhere you only went to fuel up your starving kids after a long day playing at the Seattle Center into a kid and parent-friendly dining destination that caters to every taste bud in your family.

Bean Sprouts Café

New to Seattle, Bean Sprouts Café makes your kiddos feel right at home. They have created a place that encourages kids to get involved in their dining experience with a kid-height counter, a picture menu to allow them to pick their own meal and even a “gong” for them to ring when they branch out and try a new food. We especially love the Wazzles (Pizza on a waffle? What!) and the salads that are served in whole-wheat tortilla cones. Freshly made organic baby food also available for the littlest Amory diners.

Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm and Friday through Saturday from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Online: Visit the Bean Sprouts website at beansprouts.com

Bigfood

Eventually, every good food truck decides that it’s time to stop playing the field and settle down in a serious, committed relationship with a permanent location and for Bigfood, that new ball and chain is right here at the Armory. Bigfood uses flatbreads at their base, filling them with goodies that make an oversized taco-ish meal. Their daily specials will make you become a loyal follower before you even get the first bite down and your kids will be begging for just one more Sweetbread – their signature grilled flatbread… tossed in cinnamon sugar. They do also still have a roaming food truck that you can follow around the city. Check them out online for a detailed schedule.

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Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm and Friday through Saturday from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Online: Visit the Bigfood website at bigfoodmobile.com

Eltana

Every kid loves a bagel. We’re not sure if it’s the hole in the middle or the fact that they can chew on them for days without making a dent, but bagels are kid-food, through and through and Eltana’s bagels won’t disappoint. You can find Eltana at their own stand near where you can overlook the Children’s Museum, towards the center of the Armory. They make all of the bagels at their Capitol Hill location (which is also fantastic at 1538 12th Avenue, Seattle) and deliver them to the Armory fresh on a daily basis. Don’t forget to take some to go – you’re going to regret it tomorrow morning, if you don’t!

Hours: Weekdays from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm and weekend from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Online: Visit the Eltana website at eltana.com

Kabab

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… Falafel? Sounds good to us and to your kids! The funniest part of going to Kabab at the Armory is going to be listening to your kids try to pronounce it and the best part is the tasty Mediterranean food that will satisfy your cultural cravings and expand the palates of your little ones at the same time. If your kids aren’t into falafel, check out the basic kababs, which come in beef, chicken or lamb.

Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Online: Visit Kabab on Facebook for more information

MOD Pizza

You’ve been playing all day at the Seattle Children’s Museum or the Pacific Science Center and your kids need to eat… like, 20-minutes ago. Head straight to MOD Pizza, which is located along the outside edge of the Armory. Each pizza only takes 2-3 minutes to cook, making them the perfect solution for kiddos who are this close to full-blown hunger breakdowns. Bonus points to MOD for also being budget-friendly – each pizza, no matter which toppings you choose, is less than $7.00. There are seven other MOD Pizza locations in Seattle and on the Eastside to enjoy as well!

Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 am – 8:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10:30 am – 9:00 pm

Online: Visit the MOD Pizza website at modpizza.com

Pie

Pie. Not only is pie the new cupcake, but it’s also not just for dessert anymore. Now that we’ve used every pie-related cliché possible, let’s actually talk about the pie. Pie serves both sweet and savory selections, so you can eat pie for lunch, dinner and dessert, if you’d like. Kiddos devour the Mac N’ Cheese Pies (with peas inside – yum!) and you’ll be hard-pressed to choose from savory pies such as BBQ Pulled Pork and a classic Chicken Pot Pie. For dessert, move your internal pie-switch to “sweet” and select a bunch of their Mini Mini Pies to do some pie sampling. Look! Even Mayor McGinn loves Pie!

Hours: Daily from 10:00 am – 7:30 pm

Online: Visit Pie online at sweetandsavorypie.com and keep an eye on their Facebook page for daily updates on pie flavors

Plum Market

No need to declare yourself vegan to enjoy Plum Market! The satellite location of Seattle’s very popular Plum Bistro, Plum Market is an extension of everything that you love about gourmet vegan food. At the Market, Plum serves deli-style dishes. You and your kids will love scoping out their daily offerings – ranging from salads to sandwiches to desserts – and you can choose to have as little or as much as you’d like, making them a great choice for kids who eat like little vegan birds.

Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Online: Visit Plum Market via the Plum Bistro website online at plumbistro.com

Quincy’s

Bringing the Seattle Center back to its old school roots, Quincy’s new location in the Armory is still serving up the tasty kid-friendly burgers and seafood that it did over 30-years ago. And, who can talk about Quincy’s without talking about their milkshakes? Dining at Quincy’s is more of a sit-down, relax, be served and enjoy some quality family time kind of place, rather than just a quickie in and out meal, so be prepared to kick up your feet a bit for lunch or dinner here. Don’t actually kick up your feet. That would be rude.

Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Skillet Counter

Seattle’s favorite food truck turned restaurant now has a new family member – Skillet Counter in the Armory. And, unlike the around-the-block lines that can have your stomach growling and your kids whining at their other locations, Skillet Counter moves through their line quickly and the crowd seems to be a bit thinner, making it a great choice for enjoying all of the goodness of the Skillet brand with your kiddos. They have a great dedicated kids menu that includes faves like a grilled cheese sandwich (no crust, on brioche) and a grilled PB&J – both served with their yummy fries. Mom and Dad, we suggest anything with bacon on their menu, which is pretty much everything. Yum.

Hours: Daily from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Online: Visit Skillet online at skilletstreetfood.com

Tips for Visiting the Armory with Your Kiddos:

Park in the garage on Fifth Avenue North, which is near the entrance to the EMP. If you spend $10 or more while dining at the Armory, they will validate your parking and knock down the fee to just $1. There is a 90-minute limit, however, so if you’re planning on hanging around at the Seattle Center afterwards, be prepared to pay a little bit more.

Don’t miss the play area that is upstairs from the dining area of the Armory – there are staircases near the stage that head up to that open-aired mid-level of the building.

Snag a seat near one of those adorable kids’ tables. They are tiny and perfect for little ones who are over being in a highchair, but too small to sit at a huge table.

Have you taken your kids to the Armory? Tell us your favorite spots in the comment section below!

— Katie Kavulla

Photos via the Bean Sprouts Cafe Facebook page, the Eltana Facebook page, the Pie – Seattle Center Facebook page, the Plum Bistro Facebook page, all other photos by Katie Kavulla