10 of the Best Chicago-Area Restaurants With Kid-Friendly Patios

When summer finally decides to show up (often sometime around July), Chicagoans head in droves to restaurant patios. After all, what can be better than dining al fresco? A drink in one hand, a fork in the other, and fireflies as far as the eye can see … until you get a dirty look from a fellow patron for bringing your toddler along. Ah yes, the age-old question of dining out with a kid in tow. Luckily for you, we’ve scoured the Chicagoland area for the top kid-friendly patios. Now, where are you eating tonight?

Honey Butter Fried Chicken

3361 N. Elston Ave., Chicago

 

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Head to the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago for mouth-watering fried chicken and a top-notch, enclosed outdoor space. Kids and babies are always welcome at this restaurant, and parents will appreciate the super friendly service. Not only that, but you can feel good about your order of a Honey Butter Fried Chicken Sandwich (side of pimento mac and cheese, natch) because the restaurant uses all antibiotic-free, cage-free, humanely-raised chickens. The kid’s menu includes the Honey Buddies meal, which comes with fried chicken strips, mac and cheese, a corn muffin and honey butter, and organic milk or organic apple juice to drink. Healthy it’s not, but that’s not why you came to a place called Honey Butter Fried Chicken, now is it? Enjoy your crispy chicken on a beautiful summer evening, and then roll yourselves home.

Superdawg

6363 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

 

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A trip to Superdawg is the ultimate Chicago thing to do. This iconic drive-in in the Northside Forest Glen neighborhood is worth the trip, and with the giant hot dog duo on the roof, it’s an ideal photo op. The menu will keep the little ones smiling with pure beef hot dogs, grilled cheese, superchickenmidgees (chicken tenders), fries smothered in cheese, and sundaes topped with whole fresh strawberries, chunks of pineapple, and creamy warm fudge. There are picnic tables for outdoor seating if eating in the car sounds like a sundae in a car seat waiting to happen.

Small Cheval

1732 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

 

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Au Cheval is a place that would be tough to take the kiddos — even adults get tired of waiting an hour just to eat a burger, in quarters so cramped you can barely raise your elbows. But Small Cheval, the iconic burger restaurant’s sister spot, has three different locations around Chicago, and you can get the same exact burger without the hassle. Plus, patio with picnic tables and a simplified menu that also includes crispy fries and a vanilla or chocolate shake. Who needs a fried egg on their burger anyway?

Handlebar

2311 W. North Ave., Chicago

 

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If you’re getting the meat sweats just reading this article, don’t worry — there are plenty of patios with options that aren’t soaked in bacon fat. In fact, this vegan Wicker Park staple has a gorgeous gated and tree-covered patio that will make you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy some vegetables. You might want to skip the brunch, because it can get extremely crowded, but lunch or dinner is an excellent choice. Kiddos can enjoy anything from French toast to sloppy joes to smoked gouda mac and cheese. You can order those things too, if you want. We’re not judging.

Citrine

100 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park

 

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For outdoor ambiance overlooking the lively Oak Park neighborhood, head to Citrine Café’s patio. With an outdoor patio surrounded by hanging plants and a super sweet weekday deal (kids eat free off the children’s menu Monday-Thursday from 4:30-6:30 with the purchase of an adult entree), this is an excellent family spot. Not only that, but there’s actually a full menu for kids with more than just grilled cheese: from noodles to mini cheeseburgers and veggie sticks plus a house-made kiddie cocktail, there’s something for every little to enjoy.

Lavergne’s Tavern

6546 Windsor Ave., Berwyn

 

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This tavern is a Berwyn hangout with a freshly renovated and gated outdoor space that overlooks the trains — a huge score for kids who love choo-choo spotting. The menu is accessible but elevated (think Mexican street corn, blistered shishito peppers, and the new plant-based Impossible burger), the beer and wine menu is well-curated, and kids are always welcome, especially on Mondays from 4-10 p.m. when they eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.

Palmer Place

56 S. La Grange Road, La Grange

If you’re looking for more dinner spots in the western ‘burbs, check out the Palmer Place patio for a no-fuss hangout in La Grange. Their umbrella-laden outdoor space has plenty of seating and the kid’s menu is filled with options such as the kid’s fish and chips, spaghetti, and chicken breast with fresh veggies. Parents can enjoy classic pub food in a relaxed setting.

Farmhouse

703 Church St., Evanston

This Evanston restaurant is the place for fresh, local fare and a sun-filled patio. Everything on the menu is as locally sourced as it gets, with fresh produce from the Evanston Farmers Market. The kid’s menu is local and fresh, too, with breakfast options such as steak and eggs, pancakes with maple syrup, and hand-squeezed juices. Lunch and dinner options include pasture-raised kids’ burger and a pint-sized Amish chicken dinner with greens and gravy. Parents will love the menu offerings as well — just try to resist the cheddar and onion pierogies on the dinner menu.

Depot Nuevo

1139 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette

A Wilmette staple, this brightly-colored Mexican spot boasts some of the best outdoor dining on the North Shore. With a spacious wrap-around porch and a side lawn, there’s plenty of space for larger parties and kids to run around on the lawn while you wait for your meal to arrive. The kid’s menu includes tacos with rice and peas, gooey queso fundido, and sautéed shrimp. There’s plenty on the menu for everyone to choose from and the adults have to check out the made-from-scratch margaritas with freshly squeezed juices.

Riverwalk Café

Riverwalk Park, Naperville

Along the river at Riverwalk Park, you’ll stumble upon the outdoor oasis that is Riverwalk Café. It’s the perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat after a morning in the park, paddle boating, or swimming at Centennial Beach. With coloring contests, a kid’s menu (full of tasty snacks like sliced avocado bites, veggies with hummus, and soft-serve ice cream), and even a pet menu (featuring Frosty Paws ice cream cups), this spot will be your tot’s new favorite. Be sure to check out the schedule of free outdoor movies nearby with films such as “Incredibles 2” and “Mary Poppins Returns,” and grab a pre-movie treat (think nachos, pretzel bites, and popcorn) and draft beer and wines by the glass for the adults.