Three Restaurant Chains for Family Dining

Posted April 22nd, 2014 by Sandie in Around Town, Dining Out, Food, Living

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When my family first moved from New York City to D.C., we were amazed at how many more chain restaurants there were compared to our old streets of Brooklyn. While we enjoy going to independently owned restaurants, there’s definitely room for affordable chains that are family friendly and happy to see kids come through the door. Because let’s face it, there are plenty of restaurants where children just aren’t appreciated. Here are three chains my family recommends going to for an occasional meal out:

Bobby’s Burger Palace: Celebrity chef Bobby Flay knows his beef. And like Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, Bobby’s Burger Palace is all about the quality beef (although if you prefer chicken or ground turkey, you can order that too). Bobby’s Burger Palace focuses on paying tribute to the United States by naming its various burgers by the cities that inspire them. For example, the Miami is basically a burger version of a Cuban sandwich: pressed with ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mayo & mustard; the New Mexico is spicy but awesome: queso sauce, roasted green chiles, pickled onions; and the L.A. is topped with avocado relish, watercress, cheddar and tomato. There are many other burgers too; it’s like eating your way across the country, one burger at a time! And if you have the appetite (and the calories) to spare, try the milkshakes, which are an amazing treat: pistachio is my favorite, but my kids love the black & white and mint chocolate chip. My husband would trade a kingdom for more of their onion rings. And my vegetarian daughter loves the grilled cheese and crunch salad. Definitely give it a try if you want awesome burgers. DC-area locations include Montgomery Mall, Bethesda and GW University, 21st and K Street.

Olive Garden: I hadn’t been to the Olive Garden in at least 15 years, when they contacted me about trying out their new menu and sharing their upcoming Take Your Kid to Work special. Since my husband was out of town, I took my crew to the Laurel location, and they were ridiculously impressed with the unlimited breadsticks and salad. We probably could’ve just eaten those two items, but of course there were pasta dishes to share. My two littles wanted basic pasta dishes from the kids’ menu, but my oldest tried the customizable “Cucina Mia” dish for $9.99, and I splurged for the salmon bruschetta. In celebration of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day this Thursday, the Olive Garden is inviting families to eat out by offering one free children’s menu item (children under 12) for every adult entrée purchased using the coupon at OliveGarden.com. DC -area locations include Hyattsville, Laurel, Sterling, Vienna, and Woodbridge.

Silver Diner: The area old-school diner is great for a family meal out; they even have special Kids’ Nights with magicians, clowns, and other performers. They also offer a Kids’ Club that provides free birthday meals and other incentives for frequent diners. As a former New Yorker, I’m a big fan of having a chocolate egg cream with my healthy entrée options. The kids dig getting their meals (sliders, personal pizzas, and cheeseburgers are their favorites) in a ’50s car cut-out and picking out songs from the table-to-table jukeboxes. We don’t go often, but when we do, we’re never disappointed.  DC-area locations include Greenbelt, Gaithersburg, Laurel Rockville, and Clarendon, Fair Oaks, Reston, Springfield (and more).

Disclosure: Thanks to Olive Garden and Bobby’s Burger Palace for offering discounted or complimentary meals for my family.

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One Response to “Three Restaurant Chains for Family Dining”

  1. Tara

    We are big fans of Bobby’s Burger Palace, but love Rock Bottom in Bethesda. Very kid friendly but you actually feel like you are in an adult restaurant! -Tara