Portland is known for its food, and there are loads of family-friendly options to choose from. Add these standout theme restaurants to your list for special occasions, or any other night when your family is in the mood for something different. Along with a delicious meal, you and your crew can play games, revel in your favorite comic book characters, pet cats, or go back in time. Read on for all the details.

Nerd Out

Comics, costumes, and collectibles abound in this colorful, quirky nerd-theme bar and restaurant. On the menu, comfort foods like breakfast burritos and mac and cheese sidle up to picnic favorites like deviled eggs and strawberry shortcake. There’s also a kids-friendly “Little Heroes” menu. Why not dine while dressed in your favorite superhero costumes? (Or browse the bar’s collection of kid-size superhero masks.) You’ll fit right in.

3308 SE Belmont St.
Online: thenerdoutpdx.com

Cadillac Cafe

Pull on your bobby socks and get out the poodle skirt! This 1950s diner serves breakfast and lunch alongside cozy vintage vibes, with a pink 1962 Cadillac on display and plenty of retro neon signs. Breakfast is served all day, with more predictable plates alongside standouts like Bunkhouse Vittles and hazelnut-crusted French toast. Ask for a kids’ menu and sit within view of the beautiful art deco fireplace!

1801 NE Broadway St.
Online: cadillaccafepdx.com

photo: PDX Game Knight via yelp

PDX Game Knight

The first Oregon board game pub, PDX Game Knight serves American fare alongside local beers and a huge selection of board games. Settle in with a craft beer for you and a delectable grilled cheese for the kids, then get out the dice! For a $5 cover (kids under 12 are free), you can access their library of over 700 games, with plenty of games geared toward the littlest of players all the way up to grown-ups. Note: Game Knight is open to minors until 8 p.m. 

3037 N Williams Ave.
Online: pdxgameknight.com

Skyline Burgers

One of Portland’s oldest diners, Skyline has been serving classic burgers and shakes since 1935. From the adorable neon-studded exterior, to the cozy red-vinyl booths inside, you and the kids will feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There’s a kids’ menu with favorites like corndogs and chicken fingers, plus classic soft serve ice cream and thick malted shakes. Though no longer offering car service, this former drive-in still consistently makes the list of Best Burgers in town.

1313 NW Skyline Blvd.
Online: skylineburgers.com

photo courtesy of The Bomber Restaurant

Bomber Restaurant

An aviation-theme restaurant, the Bomber has been around since 1948 (!) and features classic breakfast and lunch options with names that fit with the flight motif. In the morning order up Wings over Brussels (that’s Belgian waffles, of course), and in the afternoon choose from standards like the Bomber Burger or Wing Leader chicken tenders. This gas-station-turned-restaurant used to feature a real B-17 airplane on the roof. While the plane is currently being restored, the original diner is currently open daily. Pro tip: You can tour the B17 at the Salem airport, where the B17 Alliance is restoring the bomber to fly again!

13515 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Milwaukie
Online: thebomber.com

Purrington’s Cat Lounge

Though more of a stop for light fare (think coffee and pastries, or salads and sandwiches), we couldn’t resist including this truly unique theme restaurant on our bucket list. Purrington’s Cat Lounge offers counter service food and drink (including beer and wine!) alongside a chance to hang with resident, adoptable cats! Reserve a spot for 30 or 60 minutes, or just drop by.

3529 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Online: purringtonscatlounge.com

photo: The Kennedy School via yelp

Kennedy School

Housed in a former elementary school, McMenamin’s Kennedy School is a sprawling entertainment establishment that boasts a hotel, movie theater, restaurant, bars, and soaking pool. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, this turn-of-the-century school has been transformed into a funland for all ages, with a cute old-school theme infusing it all. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner served indoors or outside on the patio. From french toast and coffee in the morning, to burgers and beer in the evening, you can make a day of it!

5736 N.E. 33rd Ave.
Online: mcmenamins.com/KennedySchool

The Melting Pot 

Since 1989, the Melting Pot has been carrying on the 1970s fondue craze with a delicious interactive dining experience. Pick a special birthday or graduation and head back in time with your whole crew for a festive splurge— this one’s a pricier choice, but well worth it for the chance to engage all your senses. Choose from traditional cheese and chocolate fondue, plus kids’ “fun-due” with dippable choices like chicken and pasta. There are even vegan options available, including a four-course vegan fondue meal.

1050 SW Sixth Avenue Suite 100
Online: meltingpot.com

-Melissa Poulin

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