Thursday, August 11, 2016

Taking Children to Restaurants in Austin - 10 playground restaurants

Welcome to my first post as the Austin Mogger.  I have recently relocated to Austin from Northern Virginia/DC after a short stint in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Today's post is about going out to dinner with kids in Austin. 

Let me tell you, I've lived in areas with outstanding cuisine, Northern Virginia / DC area has amazing restaurants.  And the San Francisco Bay area is second to none both in terms of quality and expense. But if you are going to take little ones with you out to dinner, which as all moms know can have its own set of challenges, Austin is the place to do it.  I'm not talking about some "kids eat free on Tuesday nights" thing or just a casual restaurant with loud background noise to drown out screaming toddlers.   No ma'am in Texas they do it bigger.  I'm talking full on, usually separately fenced, playground areas complete with picnic tables and cocktail service for the adults in your party, which will be a perfect playground for your kids.

With two working parents we don’t have a lot of free time to cook those homemade family meals I remember my mom used to make us (a stay at home mom with 4 kids).  Therefore we eat out a lot. When a restaurant has something for everybody in your party it enhances the experience for all - this goes 10X for kids.  Small children don't want to sit still in a booth or at a table for two or so hours chatting or listening to adults chat. They want to socialize with other kids and run and jump and climb on things.  Likewise adults want to be able to socialize with other adults like they used to do before they had kids. 

Once I went to a couple of restaurants like these, I decided playground restaurants were the place when dragging the kids out to dinner.  In my 4 months here I've managed to compile a compendium of playground restaurant destinations perfect for taking my family out on the town.
(To my NOVA friends: you need not totally despair there is always Joe’s Crab Shack in Fair Lakes for the indoor playground!)

  1.  Flores Mexican Restaurant – (South Austin) 4625 W Cannon Dr Austin, TX 78749.   This restaurant has 4 Austin locations but I can only speak the South Austin location.  This place has nice fenced in playground.   There are picnic tables outside by the play set that you can order a full meal and while still keeping an eye on the kids. 




  2.  Phil’s Ice house / Amy’s Ice Cream  (Downtown) - 2901 S Lamar Blvd, Austin TX 78704.   This hamburger joint offers kids corn dogs, hot dogs, chicken tenders, grilled cheese and of course Amy’s Ice cream.  There is a play set and climb on a cows.   This one is on a busy street and not completely fenced in.


  3. Angels Ice house - (Spicewood) 21815 TX-71 Spicewood, TX 78669 Angel's has a kids menu that includes: Fried Chicken Tenders, Nuggets, and Grilled Cheese, Fried Mac n Cheese, Mini Corn Dogs, Cheese Quesadillas and Hot Dogs.   This place has live music on certain nights a playground and giant Legos.  It is also dog friendly and has gluten free hamburger buns.  Angel's playground is not fenced in but in a open space near lots of picnic tables and under shady trees. 


  4. Stubb's Bar-B-Q at Graceland Grocery - (West Austin) 8600 US-290 W Austin, TX 78736 Stubb's has live music some nights and not only one play area but two playgrounds.  The whole restaurant is gated with lots of space for kids to run around. It is sure to keep you kids busy while your BBQ is delivered to your outside dinning location under the trees.   


  5.  North by Northwest – (Southwest Circle C Area)  5701 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78749  - A craft brewed beer restaurant with a playground and tvs with open outdoor seating.  The kid’s meal includes 2 corn dogs and spaghetti.  There is no fence here. 


  6. Salt Lick – (Driftwood) 18300 FM 1826 Driftwood, TX 78619  - This famous BBQ joint in driftwood TX is CASH ONLY and BYOB.   You can bring your own coolers of wine / beer.  If you forgot there is a wine tasting room onsite that is no children allowed. There is a kid’s ranch that is a fenced in area with multiple playgrounds that you can wait at for your table or eat at if you pick up your BBQ to go or after dinner.  While waiting for your table, which can be a long time as this place is very popular, you can listen to live music and they sell popcorn and fresh squeezed lemonade.  They even have a few kids’ size picnic tables.  



  7. Waterloo Ice house - (Southwest Circle C Area) 9600 Escarpment Blvd  Austin, TX 78749 - This place has breakfast all day.  Kids will love pancakes for dinner.  The playground is shared with the surrounding shops but is fenced and there is an Austin Scoops ice cream shop next door.  


  8.      Doc’s Backyard – (Sunset) 207 Brodie Ln #100 Sunset Valley, TX 78745 - This restaurant has a lot of fried food on the menu but one of the nicest playground I have seen.  It is not fenced in. 






  9. Ski Shores  - (Lake Austin) 2905 Pearce Rd Austin, TX 78730 This super cute restaurant has live music some nights, a fenced in playground, waterfront dinning where you can feed / see fish and turtles, sandy beach area as well as an arcade area. 


  10. Mandola’s Italian restaurant – (South West Austin) 4301 W William Cannon/ So Mopac, Bldg E-1 Austin, TX 78749  Mondola's has pasta and a scoop of gelato for the kids menu as well as a bocce court and an un fenced playground around the corner.  The Bee Cave / 620 / 71 location has a fenced in playground.  12815 Shops Parkway, Suite 400 Bee Cave, TX 78738
William Cannon Location

Bee Cave Location



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