Kiddie meals: 5 family-friendly local restaurants

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Chick-fil-A opened in its new Provo location on Jan. 9. Chick-fil-A is a good restaurant for kids with a play place and fun, clean environment. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

A new Chick-fil-A location opened in Provo on Jan. 9. Chick-fil-A is a good restaurant for kids with its playplace and fun, clean environment. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

Dining out with small children can be a large pain, especially if you choose a restaurant not suitable for the pitters and patters of little feet. Fortunately, many Utah County eateries are family friendly. Here are just a few of the local restaurants where it’s easy to enjoy a meal out with your kids.

1. Blue Lemon

For mothers who go out to lunch, Blue Lemon in Highland has healthy, fancy(ish) food and a casual atmosphere that works well with children. Patrons order at the counter, then choose a table in the large, open dining room. Blue Lemon has plenty of high chairs and kid’s meals that include fettuccine alfredo, curly mac and cheese, and Tuscan Cheese Flatbread. As an added bonus, the café’s sugar cookies may be sufficient bribery to keep your kids well-behaved.

11073 Alpine Highway, Highland, (801) 756-7993, and other Utah locations, bluelemon.com

 

2. Chick-fil-A

This restaurant is the very definition of kid friendly with everything from a play place to free cereal servings for babies too little to chew chicken. It’s adult friendly too, in that it’s a fast food place with palatable (you might even say delicious) menu options. As a parent, you can feel good about the educational books in the kid’s meals while enjoying your own tasty chicken salad or hand-spun milkshake.

183 NW State Road, American Fork, (801) 763-2697, and other Utah locations, chick-fil-a.com

 

3. Costa Vida

Here’s a little secret: If you want to enjoy a Utah County fresh-mex meal but have to take your kids along, head to the Costa Vida location that adjoins the FatCats bowling alley in Provo. A brilliantly positioned play place sits just off of Costa Vida’s cashier station, and it even has a few tables located inside. This allows parents to eat Costa Vida’s tasty made-to-order Mexican fare while the children slide, jump and crawl on the play structure. Costa Vida has a kid’s menu featuring scaled-down versions of top menu items, but your kids may be too busy playing to even worry about food.

1200 N. University Ave., Provo, (801) 373-1876, and other Utah locations, costavida.net

 

4. Provo Beach Resort

Food is a secondary concern at this Provo entertainment venue, which offers bowling, laser tag, miniature croquet, a ropes course and an indoor “Flowrider” wave machine. But with all the exertion children do get hungry, and Provo Beach Resort has both the Pier Café, with items like chicken fingers and bacon cheeseburgers, and Ike’s Creamery, an ice cream shop with malts, shakes, sundaes and banana splits.

4801 N. University Ave. #210, Provo, (801) 224-5001, provobeach.com

 

5. Texas Roadhouse

Especially in the evening, the wait at Texas Roadhouse can be long, which is hard on children and harder on their parents. But once inside and seated, children can be as noisy and obnoxious as they please. No matter how loud they yell, the blaring country music will probably still be louder, and you’ve got to love a restaurant that’s fine with people shelling peanuts on the floor. Texas Roadhouse offers both kid’s meals and Ranger Meals, the latter featuring entrees like chicken, ribs or steak in sizes suited to smaller appetites.

1265 S. State St., Orem, (801) 226-2742, and other Utah locations, texasroadhouse.com

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Elyssa Andrus has worked as a journalist for 14 years, most recently as the lifestyle editor at the Daily Herald newspaper in Provo. She is a contributor to the KSL-TV show "Studio 5" and is co-author of the book "Happy Homemaking" (Cedar Fort, 2012) with Natalie Hollingshead. She lives with her husband and four young children in Utah Valley.

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