Frequent scene in the Coker House
Andrea: I’m hungry, but can not bear the thought of cooking.
Mike: Same. Want to take the kids and all go sit down somewhere and have a nice dinner?
A: That sounds great. I will grab a small educational toy that will surely occupy all the children for the 20 minutes while we wait for our food.
M: Excellent, and since they are all appropriately dressed and already wearing matching shoes, loading up will take mere moments.
M & A: laugh hysterically
A: Already ordering it on my phone
I have a secret. I know they can be fantastic places for kids to play, but I can’t eat at one more fast-food restaurant anymore this summer. Luckily there are places popping up all over town that will let the kids get all their wiggles out and give the adults a chance to eat something you don’t order with a number. So check out this list for some suggestions of places you can play like a kid but eat like an adult.
This is one of the oldest spots in Dallas to have embraced the playground. With a large (and sandy!) area to play, the kids can play for hours while you sip a cold one from the local, brewery-focused beer list and farm-to-table fare.
Order: Shisito Peppers, Grilled Pimiento Cheese and Peticolas Velvet Hammer
This burger joint is a new addition to Lake Highlands and has a full menu and a full playground. The menu is simple and the food is good. Even on the hottest evenings, you will load up a family that is full and tired. And isn’t that the goal?
Order: A Big Cowboy Hat Burger, Sweet Potato Fries and a Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake
This jack of all trades coffee shop/restaurant/co-working space is one of the loveliest places in Dallas (well…Richardson) to spend an afternoon. There is an old bus, some faux grass and a chalk wall that has kept my kids entertained for hours.
Order: Almond milk/cold brew slushie and a pecan sticky bun
When you walk into Arepa you may not notice that it is perfect for kids, but after you order your (delicious) arepas, slip down the hallway near the kitchen and there is a small dining area that has a huge chalk wall, kid sized tables and a variety of things to entertain little hands while parents can eat their sandwiches, and finish their meal with a popsicle cocktail.
Order: Smoked Brisket & Chimichurri Arepa and Fried Yucca
If Friday night means Mexican food in your family, Nico’s Cocina has a large back patio area and a playground. A great place to meet friends and have a few margaritas after a long week, and now you can do it without having to pretend your kids are amused by a coloring sheet and three waxy crayons.
Order: Shrimp Cocktail and a Frozen Margarita
Taking kids out to eat is important. We have to teach them how to function in public so that they turn into adults who can function in public. But there is no harm in making it just a bit more enjoyable for all involved. I hope this helps you take home a family with full bellies and sleepy eyes, which is all any of us really want.