Where to dine out with the kids in Winnetka

Kids’ meals?


Loud atmosphere to cover whining, tantrums and sibling fights?


Waiters that won’t roll their eyes when your kid dumps his meal on the floor?


If you’re like me and happen to have your own foodies-in-training, try these Winnetka restaurants, where you won’t be judged if your child decides mid-meal to use the restaurant as a race track.

Fred’s Garage

We’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Fred’s Garage to Winnetka and we weren’t disappointed when it opened.

Fred’s Garage was built in an old gas station and serves all of your favorite American classics in a creative, fun way. But don’t worry: it’s not so creative that your kids will reject it on the grounds that it looks or tastes odd.

They’ve got everything you crave, from grilled cheese sandwiches and cheeseburgers to fried cheese curds and a good old-fashioned chicken club sandwich.

Essentially, it’s everything you ever wanted to eat as a child…which makes it the perfect place to take your own child.

Stacked and Folded

It’s a simple concept: stacked (get it in sandwich form) or folded (taco form).

The kids’ menu at Stacked and Folded is huge and includes fan favorites like the macaroni and cheese balls and grilled cheese, or the more sophisticated turkey burger and broccoli cheese quesadillas.

Parents can go for the guilty pleasure cheese steak sandwiches or can be more sophisticated with a poke tuna taco.

There is something to please all palates.

Original Green Bay Cafe

If you want a killer breakfast or lunch with the kids in downtown Winnetka (open daily until 2:30 p.m.), Original Green Bay Cafe is the place to be.

Order everything from pancakes to eggs or cinnamon raisin French toast (the best ever) and your food will arrive in minutes (key for impatient, hungry kids).

For lunch, dig into the burgers and sandwiches (or stick to the breakfast menu) and reward your kids for being the best – with a homemade cupcake.

Cafe Buongiorno

This is your classic fantastic diner. They’re very accommodating to kids and will adjust the meal to their demands. Case in point: they didn’t bat an eye when our 6-year-old ordered the tuna melt sans cheese, served cold.

“So you want a tuna sandwich?”

“No, I want a tuna melt without cheese and I want it cold.”

Cafe Buongiorno is known throughout Winnetka for its soups, and they make them from scratch daily.

Expect to bump into someone you know when you dine here. It’s a go-to for everyone in town.

Grateful Bites

Pizza: it’s as good for kids as it is for parents.

This pizza joint, Grateful Bites, does it right. If you want to go totally crazy, try the sourdough thin crust, or keep it casual with the staple wood-fired Margherita pizza.

The Hubbard Woods Grateful Bites pizza place is a relative newcomer to Winnetka, and it’s buzzing day and night with groups dining in and ordering out.

Thank goodness they can turnover their pizzas quickly, as it feels like most of Winnetka appears to dine here at least once a week.

Little Ricky’s

It’s another reliable local favorite of kids and adults alike, and you can add Little Ricky’s to your staple roster.

Everyone who dines here will soon have a “regular” order, between the hamburger sliders, pulled pork bbq sandwiches, the ribs and more. The kids menu has the standards: Mac & Cheese; Mini Burgers; Noodles with butter or marinara; or Grilled Cheese.

It’s loud because it’s a small restaurant, and it’s a fabulous place to watch a game or just to hang out.

Written by Danielle Braff