By Stephanie Bernaba
Dining out with kids can be tricky. Some people don’t even try. Sometimes it’s a hassle just getting everyone in the car, let alone finding a place everyone will like. And finding a restaurant that tolerates, even welcomes families with kids, is an even bigger challenge. So, I’ve searched the state up and down for places the whole family will enjoy. If you’re looking for glitz and glamour, you won’t find it here. But you will find some great food, and family outings that fit snugly into your budget. So go out, relax, and enjoy that ever-elusive family meal!
622 George Washington Highway, Lincoln
(401) 334-3200, www.asiagrille.com
When your family is in the mood for Chinese, head to Asia Grille. Boasting a relaxed atmosphere, two large dining rooms, and an even larger menu, Asia Grille is a great choice for the hungry family. With oversized entrées and combination plates, sharing, mixing, and matching to please picky kids is a breeze. As a testament to Asia’s staying power, their takeout line is often out the door – even on weeknights! The restaurant is also allergy-friendly. Just remember to inform your server! The greatest thing about Asia, though, is its location, in walking distance to shopping, a movie theater, and a bowling alley with games for the kids. Make a night of it! Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Eat in or take out.
El Fuego Mexican Grill
344 Main Street, Wakefield
(401) 284-3353, www.elfuegomexicangrill.com
Fresh, cooked-to-order Mexican is on the menu at El Fuego. Offering a large selection of tacos, quesadillas, nachos, and burritos, as well as fresh daily specials, El Fuego can satisfy even your strongest Tex-Mex cravings. Specials include Hawaiian and buffalo-style items. They are also very allergy-friendly, and have several seafood and veggie options (try the fish burrito!). Their prices are low, and their portions large. Their children’s menu offers pint-sized versions of their fresh, local fare. And no entrée on El Fuego’s menu is over $9.99. As a starter, try the warm tortilla chips and salsa, and for dessert – churros! Open seven days for lunch and dinner. Eat in or carry out.
554 Kingstown Road, Wakefield
(401) 792-8940, www.bluebirdcaferi.com
The Bluebird Café offers diners tummy-pleasing tastes of New Orleans, Mexico, the Southwest, and the Caribbean. Featuring falling-off-your-plate breakfasts such as blueberry buckwheat pancakes and husband-approved jambalaya hash, the Bluebird Café hits the spot for the whole family. If you’re ready to spice things up a bit, try the huevos rancheros or Boudin, a Cajun sausage filled with pork and rice. Restless kids? Hit the book nook for some kid-approved reading. Offers daily specials and specialty coffees. Open for breakfast and lunch (closed Tuesdays), and for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Fridays. Eat in or take out. BYOB.
Crazy Burger Café & Juice Bar
144 Boon Street, Narragansett
(401) 783-1810, www.crazyburger.com
Featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2009, Crazy Burger has become a bit of a household name. Offering a large selection of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian fare, along with juice and smoothie bars, Crazy Burger satisfies the surfers and the sandcastle smashers alike. Kids love the homemade milkshakes and the eclectic décor, and moms and dads love the Magic Green Soup (it really is magic!), homemade pickles and ketchup, and the Mumbai Turkey Burger. Be warned! The dining room fills up fast, so arrive early! Open seven days for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eat in or take out.
The Charlestown Rathskeller
489A Old Coach Road, Charlestown
(401) 792-1000, www.thecharlestownrathskeller.com
Nestled deep in the woods of Charlestown, the Rathskeller is a hidden gem. With ample seating, a large outdoor recreation area, and an impressive sampling of American fare, the Rathskeller is a treat for both kids and adults. Unique plates like roasted beet salad, mussels frites, and, of course, their famous truffle pecorino fries, will please Mom and Dad, while a full kid’s menu and fresh lemonade will satisfy tiny tummies. With so much great food to choose from, you’ll have no choice but to come back again and again! Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Eat in or take out.
West Warwick, Wakefield, Kingston, Narragansett, Middletown, Wickford, Charlestown
With all the pizza options out there, people have become very choosy – and not just the kids! Kingston Pizza offers families both really tasty pizza and reasonable prices. With a full menu including calzones, salads, dinner specials, and the ever-popular hot wiener (at select locations – check local menu offerings), it would be nearly impossible to not find something your family would like. Sprinkle in specialty creations like the Garlic Rose pizza, with cloves of fresh garlic and roasted roma tomatoes, and the 735-I Beemer, featuring spinach and feta, and you’re certain to get everyone’s motor running. Kingston Pizza offers flavorful sauce, top-shelf toppings, and fresh, thick, crispy crust. They also offer gluten-free crust and several vegetarian options. And what’s best – when you order a large pizza, you get a small cheese for free! I dare your kids to turn it down. Open seven days for lunch and dinner. Eat in, take out, or delivery.
456 Main Street, Wakefield
(401) 783-9370, www.mewstavern.com
You may know Mew’s as a busy watering hole, or for its famous wood-grilled pizzas, but did you know that Mew’s is also a great place to dine with your family? With an extensive menu, creative specials, and countless beer selections, Mom and Dad can enjoy the meal of their dreams while kids munch on nachos and delicious kid-sized options. The dining room has a large tree guests can sign at its center, and hanging from the ceiling and walls there are items like boats and dollar bills, which definitely sparks mealtime conversation. And have you tried their amazing southern barbecue? I recommend the half chicken with their house-pickled veggies. For a twist on the ordinary, try the Rhody Red Eye Burger or the Pork Belly Fried Rice. Swing by the lobby on the way out to buy a tee or sweatshirt to commemorate your trip. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Eat in or take out.
6900 Post Road, North Kingstown
(401) 885-8383, www.sevenmoonsonline.com
If you know Seven Moons simply for its extensive menu and friendly takeout, you’ve been missing out. In addition to offering seven types of South Asian cuisine, Seven Moons offers a novel dining experience for the whole family. Kick off your shoes in the sushi lounge, with Japanese-style seating (each table seats four), and an open sushi bar, or enjoy your dinner in one of several traditional dining rooms. Try the Seven Moons Lettuce Wraps or Crispy Chicken Wings with Red Pepper (a personal favorite), while your kids expand their palates with kid-friendly Chicken Tatsuda and Green Tea Tempura Ice Cream. Seven Moons has a full bar and is allergy-friendly. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and dinner only on Sunday. Eat in or take out.
Village Haven Restaurant
90 School Street, Forestdale
(401) 762-4242, www.thevillagehaven.com
If you’re looking for pay-one-price, family-style eats, Village Haven is the place to go. Village Haven offers a family-style dinner featuring chicken, salad, pasta, french fries, and ice cream for dessert. And kids under four eat free! If that isn’t enough food, Village Haven also offers a full menu with daily specials (try the sirloin tips!). Large party? No problem! Village Haven has several dining rooms, and can reserve your table in advance, great for birthdays and celebrations. They even do weddings! Ask your server for a bag of their famous cinnamon rolls to go. Open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and for lunch and dinner on Sunday. Eat in or take out.
Wine & Cheese
1861 Smith Street, North Providence
(401) 349-3446, www.wineandcheeserestaurant.com
If you’re looking for a traditional Italian dining experience, you’ll find it at Wine & Cheese. With entrées ranging from spaghetti and meatballs to baked fish, and a full lineup of pizzas, calzones, and salads in between, Wine & Cheese is a great place for a night out with extended family. Not into Italian? Try the Wine & Cheese Burger, a hand-pressed Angus burger with sautéed spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and provolone cheese. Kids love the cheese ravioli, bread, and butter, and the moms (well, this one) love the garden salad and sausage and broccoli rabe. Celebrating? Ask about their function room, which can accommodate up to forty people. Open seven days for lunch and dinner. Eat in or take out.
Stephanie Bernaba, of Richmond, is a writer, photographer, artist, and mother of three school-aged children, who creates handmade gifts and jewelry, searches for unique treasures, gardens, and works for the Preservation Society of Newport County. She blogs about how to eliminate waste by using existing resources and can be found at www.instagram.com/stephaniebernaba.