Dining out with children is rarely easy, and it only gets trickier if you add in any kind of dietary restrictions. If you also have a picky eater or two, going out to eat might just turn your break from cooking into a puzzle more complicated than a Rubik’s cube. I have been gluten-free for 9 years and have 5 children, so I have had my fair share of dining drama. Below I’ve compiled some of my absolute favorite places to eat. I had no shame. I created this list without regard for date night potential, whether it’s locally-sourced, best patio, or best desserts. I love all of those resources, and WMB has plenty of them for you to peruse, but this just ain’t one of them. The sole purpose of this list is to document where I’ve had the best luck dining out with my children, ate something other than an unseasoned grilled chicken breast without sides, and at least semi-enjoyed the whole experience:
CFA is amazing to dine with kids for a variety of reasons (cleanliness, customer service, PLAY AREA, healthier options), but the fact that they have grilled nuggets AND a gluten-free bun makes this hands-down my favorite place to go with kids. I’m not sorry.
Il Vicino has some of my favorite gluten-free pizza, plus you can get a dough ball for the kids to play with while you wait!
Because, well, it’s Knolla’s! This local favorite pizza chain offers a gluten-free crust that I can enjoy while my family gets the classic New York style.
Oh, McAlister’s, I love you. The tea. The gluten-free bread for sandwiches. The autumn squash soup. As if that weren’t enough to make me drag my kids there, though, they have .99 kids’ meals for dine-in and $1.99 for carryout EVERY DAY.
Jason’s has a good gluten-free bread and great variety of salads, soups, and potatoes that I enjoy–but they get bonus points for having a really nice kids’ gluten-free menu, too.
Barbecue in general is a good gluten-free option, but I am partial to this one. They’re close to our house and have great family-sized options!
Remember how I said I had no shame? I wasn’t kidding. Five Guys is happy to serve your burger on a tray or lettuce wrap, and the Cajun fries are gluten-free. I repeat: the Cajun fries ARE gluten free. The fries come in perfect sharing quantities, and they also give free kids’ drinks!
I love their GF pizza and my kids love 1) to create their own pizzas and 2) the Kids’ Bundle with dessert! Win-win.
One of the few burger places to offer a gluten-free bun, Red Robin also has a great kids’ menu and free milkshakes for kids on Mondays. Everyone loves the fries and campfire sauce!
It’s part of a small airport where your kids can watch actual planes on the runway, plus it has a playground. It would probably get a shout out on this list even if I could only have a garden salad, simply because it’s SO kid-friendly. Thankfully, they also have a number of menu items that are gluten-free, so it doesn’t have to come to that.