Traveling with kids can prove to be quite the challenge when it comes time to eat. Luckily, Philadelphia has dozens of top-notch kid-centered restaurants that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters and keep little ones occupied throughout the entire meal. If you’re visiting the city with your kids, these are the top restaurants you should check out.
If you’re in the market for a slightly higher-end dining experience, Jones on Chestnut Street strikes the perfect balance with its traditional comfort food like fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf with whipped potatoes and buttered peas, and beef tenderloin in red wine sauce with baby carrots and herbed potatoes. Like the food, the atmosphere is cozy, too, with many booths upstairs and downstairs.
Nifty Fifty’s in the Northeast section of the city is a 1950s-style venue that caters to kids’ love of sugary drinks, classic diner food, and arcade games. The retro diner boasts an impressive selection of malts and milkshakes, including tiramisu, apple pie cheesecake, Fluffernutter, and chocolate banana flavors. If that’s not enough to make kids go crazy, the diner also offers more than 100 handcrafted soda flavors that range from standard cola and Dr Pepper to the offbeat yet delicious toasted marshmallow and cotton candy. For families with little ones in tow, the restaurant also serves complimentary name-brand baby food.
The Pop Shop
For those of you looking to escape the city buzz, take a short 15-minute trip to Collingswood, N.J., just across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The quaint town is family-friendly, and it is home to The Pop Shop, a 1950s-style soda fountain shop. The Pop Shop offers "quirky American-diner comfort cuisine" with a kid’s menu divided into "big squirts" (age 6 to 12), "little squirts" (under 5), and "baby squirts" (babies). For the older crowd, The Pop Shop has sandwiches, burgers, and salads, however, grilled cheeses are what they do best, with a choice of 30 different delicious versions. There are also old-fashioned fountain drinks like egg creams.
Max Brenner on Walnut Street is the ultimate Philadelphia stop for chocolate lovers of all ages. While the place offers fanciful drinks and gourmet fare for adults like chocolate martinis and Thai-style chicken satay, there is also kid-friendly fare, like Really Cheesy-Really Crunchy Mac & Cheese. But the highlight of this restaurant chain (there are locations in Boston, Las Vegas, and New York City) is its chocolate.
Chocoholics will be satisfied with meals like The First Chocolate Burger, served with strawberry ketchup and vanilla cream mustard, and the Huge Chocolate Syringe, which is exactly what it sounds like — a large chocolate-filled tube kids can squirt right into their mouths. All sorts of chocolate milkshake concoctions and sundaes are also available for the younger crowd, although adults might have a hard time resisting these drool-worthy treats, like banana tempura fondue, a "Snowy Vanilla Popsicle,", and chocolate chunks pizza (double chocolate melting chunks served with a choice of hazelnut bites, bananas, peanut butter, or roasted marshmallows).
Cameron Simcik is the Philadelphia Travel City Editor for The Daily Meal.