Choosing a restaurant when you’ve got younger children in tow can feel like a culinary Catch-22: Do you go somewhere with a great menu and lovely atmosphere, then spend the night dodging annoyed stares from other diners who really wish your toddler hadn’t dropped his toy on the reclaimed barn wood floor for the 16th time?
Or do you go to a traditionally “kid-friendly” chain restaurant, with its overly bright lighting and unfortunate decor, and end up eating chicken fingers again?
There actually is another option. In fact, we’ve found nearly a dozen in our guide to Pittsburgh restaurants where kids are easily welcomed but grownups can have a truly good night out.
Mindful Brewing Co., 3759 Library Rd., Castle Shannon
Mindful Brewing is mindful of the fact that kids don’t want to sit around while their parents savor a delicious beer. Upon entering the restaurant, little ones can choose from an assortment of old-school handheld games, such as Simon, before they take their seat. Menu options for the kiddos range from PB&J on wheat to grilled cheese to grass-fed beef burgers to pizza and come with an organic mixed greens salad and veggie sticks or fries.
Stoke’s Grill, 4771 McKnight Road, Ross Township
Stoke’s Grill opened in 2007 as a tiny eatery that served sandwiches and soup. Since then, the Ross Township spot just beyond the city limits has expanded, adding a full-service bar with one of the best draft and bottled beer selections in the North Hills. The children’s menu has traditional offerings that are a bit more upscale, including a perfectly gooey White Cheddar Mac & Cheese which comes with a drink, Mandarin orange slices and home-cooked chips or fries. On Tuesdays, all two-topping, 12-inch pizzas are $10, perfect for family-style chow downs.