From french fries topped with mac ‘n’ cheese to maddeningly amazing macarons, the options at new restaurants in and around Chicago are making kids giddy. Rest assured, parents, you won’t have to resolve yourself to kids’ plates: There’s plenty on these menus for you, too.
photo: Frite Street
It doesn’t get any cuter than a food truck specializing in succulent sliders. Until of course that food truck, The Slide Ride, establishes its first brick-and-mortar restaurant called Frite Street, which puts the slider’s BFF — french fries — front-and-center. A restaurant devoted to french fries? Disney World’s got a new contender for happiest place on Earth. Especially when fries come slathered with cheese sauce, flecked with bacon, or even heaped with mac & cheese. Fried fish, a few sliders, and various dipping sauces (oh hey, banana ketchup) round out the menu.
3006 N. Elston Ave.
photo: White Oak Tavern & Inn
White Oak Tavern & Inn
Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s most family-friendly neighborhood is a modern tavern and inn that ups the ante on cozy, hearty dining for mouths of all ages. There’s plenty for mom and/or dad to love — squash bread, whole roasted rainbow trout, and a duck board, for example — and while there isn’t a designated kids’ menu per say, the restaurant offers several off-menu kids’ options like a burger with wedge fries and housemade ketchup, handmade spaghetti with butter and cheese, housemade chicken nuggets, roasted carrots with honey butter, and cookies & milk “jam.” The rustic restaurant itself feels like a gussied up barn filled with re-purposed wood, barn doors, and an open kitchen window.
1200 W. Webster Ave
photo: Sugar Fixe
Cupcakes and doughnuts had their heyday. Now it’s time for a new sweet to shine. And there’s nothing more spotlight-worthy than macarons, the most adorable thing with a French accent since Pepe le Pew. A new bakeshop in Lincoln Park called Sugar Fixe fills that dainty cookie void in our lives, marking Chicago’s first bakery devoted entirely to macarons. Following the ravishing success of her inaugural location in Oak Park, owner Cindy Summers deemed it time to bring her delicate cookie sandwiches into the city. Featuring upwards of 20 flavors a day, kids will go starry-eyed over varieties like hot chocolate, snickerdoodle, and red velvet. Seeing as each one is light and airy, and roughly the size of a newborn puppy’s paw, it’s easy to try a few different flavors.
958 W. Armitage Ave.
While one macaron shop celebrates the sugar in life, another Irving Park cafe is going in another direction for their baked goods. Homaro Cantu, the mad scientist/chef renowned for his molecular work at moto, has cooked up his latest novelty: a pastry shop that eschews sugar in favor of miracle berries. The aptly dubbed Berrista is a quirky wonderland of mind-bending deliciousness, sure to delight kids’ palates through its quasi-magical usage of the mysterious miracle berry, which sweetens food and drink when combined with other ingredients like lemon juice. The results? Sugar-free doughnuts, scones, cream soda, and junk food-inspired snacks that taste as indulgent as you’d hope. Kids get their desserts and parents can relax about no more impending sugar high. It’s a win-win!
4219 W. Irving Park Rd.
photo: Sugar Factory American Brasserie
Sugar Factory American Brasserie
With a name like Sugar Factory American Brasserie, you’d expect nothing less a saccharine kiddie wonderland of Wonka-like proportions. Indeed, kids will go gaga over this Rosemont juggernaut, the first Chicagoland location for this Vegas-based destination. While youngsters will have plenty to fawn over — the ice cream, the chocolate lounge, the desserts-on-a-blinged-out-stick known as Couture Pops — parents will have lots to love as well, like the signature boozy candy goblet cocktails and a full-fledged food menu packed with steaks, pastas, fish, and more. Gather the whole family, including distant relatives, and partake in the King Kong Sundae, a dessert behemoth featuring 24 scoops of ice cream, lollipops, fudge sauce, marshmallows, and all the candy accoutrements you could dream of.
5445 Park Place
photo: uBuild Pizza Workshop
uBuild Pizza Workshop + Trugurt Duo
Do-it-yourself dining is the name of the game at uBuild + Trugurt Duo in Oakbrook Terrace. Featuring customizable pizzas, pastas, smoothies, frozen yogurt, and more, kids will love playing imaginary chef for a little while. The uBuild Pizza Workshop features more than 80 optional ingredients and toppings for pizzas, pastas, and salads. For dessert, the restaurant has a wall of self-serve frozen yogurt machines, with flavors like Double Stuf Oreo, pistachio and Watermelon Jolly Rancher.
18W046 22nd St.
What restaurant have you tried lately that you loved? Let us know in the Comments!
— Matt Kirouac