Chicago Restaurant Week runs January 26 through February 8 — two glorious weeks where you have a legit excuse for not cooking. Participating restaurants offer multi-course menus at nice prices ($22 for lunch and $33-$44 for dinner). The portions are adult-sized, but we figure kids shouldn’t miss out on the fun. Read on to find our top spots that offer great deals for adults, but are kid-approved, so you can all enjoy exploring the culinary delights our great city has to offer.
Beatrix (lunch or dinner)
If your attempts at healthy eating with the kids has failed thus far, try Beatrix. They make wholesome meals exciting. The meatloaf — made with turkey, sweet potato and greens — is called “neatloaf,” and it may convert (or trick) your kids to be meatloaf and veggie lovers. Other choices on the Restaurant Week menu include (for starters) hummus with veggies and warm naan or tomato soup with cheddar shortbread, and desserts like caramel pie . . . because it doesn’t all need to be healthy, right? If you prefer not to order the full menu for kids, items can be ordered a la carte. The fresh squeezed juices are a highlight and taste so yummy your kids won’t even notice the greens (like kale!) mixed in.
671 N. St Clair St., Streeterville
519 N. Clark St., River North
834 W. Fulton Market, Fulton Market
Belly Q (dinner only)
If you’re looking for a date night locale where it’s A-OK for the kids to tag along, this is a great pick. The Asian BBQ-inspired menu is packed with flavor, but nothing too adventurous that the kids couldn’t nibble, too. Supplement the Restaurant Week menu or treat kids to tasty plates like Fried Rice or Belly Mac. Fingers crossed they save a bite for you. For an entrée on the prix fixe menu for you, choose a Seafood Bouillabaisse or Lola “Lechon” Pork Loin. For dessert, everyone will enjoy the Mango Cannoli.
1400 W. Randolph St., West Loop
photo: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (brunch or dinner, on select days)
An oldie but a goodie, this tapas restaurant has been welcoming families with children of all ages for 31 years! For this pick, we’d recommend taking the kids for brunch, which will be served January 27, 28 and February 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Kids will flip for the Bacon Mac’n Cheese, Butternut Waffles served with Nutella and either the Chocolate Truffle Cake or Marcona Almond-Caramel Bar for dessert. They’ll be mesmerized by the bright colors of the restaurant and have fun playing with complimentary Wikki Sticks.
2024 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park
Eli’s Cheesecake World (lunch only)
When dessert appears in a restaurant name, it’s sure to make your kid’s ears perk up. This Chicago classic is serving up recipes inspired by the Eli’s Cheesecake Cookbook, including Matzo Ball Soup, a Roast Beef sandwich and your choice of cheesecake for dessert. After enjoying your meal, bring home your choice of a free autographed cookbook or a 9″ Original Plain Cheesecake, which feeds 14 (or just you, 14 times).
6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr., Northwest Side
photo: River Roast
River Roast (brunch, lunch and dinner)
While you dine on a prix fixe lunch menu that includes a Fish Sandwich or Cubano with smoked pork and ham or a dinner menu with a choice of Roast Beef or a Berkshire Pork Chop, the kids can happily dive into a basket of Golden Gobbets, which is some of the best fried chicken pieces you’ll find in the city, served with a side of honey. We’d also highly recommend choosing the Carrot Cake for your dessert option, which is big enough to offer a few bites to the kids.
315 N. LaSalle St., River North
Grange Hall Burger Bar (lunch and dinner)
What’s not to love about burgers and pie? A real indulgence, this West Loop burger-focused joint is offering guaranteed favorites on the prix fixe menu. Enjoy your choice of burger, side and dessert. Rest assured that although this is filling food, the restaurant focuses on farm fresh ingredients. You can choose between grass-fed beef, turkey, chicken, a vegan patty or wild rice and veg burger and choose a gluten-free bun or have your burger served up on a bed of lettuce. To top it off, you get to choose between a Lemon Cheesecake or a gluten-free and vegan Chocolate Pudding PIe. Kids with smaller appetites can order from the Little Farmers menu that includes burgers, grilled cheese and mac n’cheese options.
844 W. Randolph St., West Loop
photo: Sugar Factory
Sugar Factory (brunch, lunch and dinner)
They have Chocolate Decadence French Toast on their breakfast menu, Rainbow Sliders and Mac & Cheese Lollipops on their lunch and dinner menu and Cookie Jar Old Fashioned Sundaes and Chocolate Old Fashioned Milkshakes — what more do we need to say? Tell the kids you’re going to dinner at a place with the word “Sugar” in the name and we can guarantee they’ll get out the door faster than you’ve ever thought possible.
55 E. Grand Ave., River North
Pinstripes (lunch and dinner)
Combine a game of bowling with a multi-course meal for a fun day out that’s sure to please. The more casual lunch menu includes a choice of salad, followed by Italian Fettuccini Bolognese or Chicken Parmesan and ends with a scoop of gelato or sorbet. Two dinner menus are offered, the more indulgent option includes Maple Glazed Salmon and a Filet Mignon Trio and the other features Italian Jambalaya or Boneless Short Ribs. Kids won’t be left out of the multi-course meal, as the kids’ menu includes a breadstick starter, entrée, dessert and drink, all for $9.
435 E. Illinois St., Streeterville
For the full list of participating restaurants, go to choosechicago.com.
Where are you going to eat during Chicago Restaurant Week? Shout about it in the Comments!
— Lisa Snart & Samantha Lande