4 date night spots where you can bring the kids

We have a hard time getting out without our kids.

Because our oldest has a better social life than us at age 15.

It’s okay, we get it. We will get it back again sometime.

I can hear “The Circle of Life” playing in my head as I type this.


We don’t have family that lives here, no cousins, uncles, aunts or grandparents. Occasionally, we have amazing sitters when THEY don’t have dates or school obligations.

So when the husband and I want to get out for a night alone, it usually means eating dinner at four in the afternoon on a Wednesday or going while the kids are at school. In order to compromise, we have started bringing our children with us.

I can hear the collective gasps from all over the Chicagoland area. I know; can you imagine the horror!

It isn’t that bad. Really. Okay, it is, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Here are a few great places for creating a date night that can work for both kids and parents alike.


Wildberry has three locations in Chicago area, but the Libertyville location is our favorite. Winner for best pancakes in Chicago, their food is amazing, but their lunch is incredible as well.

This is a great family friendly place, not a date “night” place as they are only open for breakfast and lunch, but a date “day” instead.

Wildberry is loud and very busy, the staff is incredibly friendly and accommodating, so kids are encouraged. I love places like this.

The perfect place to create your date day for your family.

The Libertyville location is at southwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Buckley Road at 1783 N. Milwaukee Ave. Visit their website to see the other locations, as well as their extensive menu.

Emil’s Tavern on Center

Emil’s in Grayslake is one of two locations, the other being in Mundelein, which is the original location.

This is our go to place for family date night.

The kids love this place because they feel like they are going to a grown-up restaurant/pub, and we love it because we feel like we are going to a grown-up restaurant/pub.

The food is outstanding, and we get to have a beer and watch a game while the kids have fun eating pizza and listening to loud music. It’s a win win.

Did I mention the pizza is ah-mazing??

Emil’s Tavern on Center is located at 161 Center St. in downtown Grayslake. Check out the website for their daily specials.

Austin‘s Saloon

Austin’s in Libertyville is a cool place, and I have never been there. But I have always, always wanted to go.

So this is why I am writing about it—they have a cool outdoor seating area, and those are really hard to find in Lake County. This is our next hit on our family date night outing, and so I am including it in the round up.

When I contacted them, they said they are crazy busy on weekends, so reservations are a must. But weeknights are much less busy, so we are going to try them out then. Not to mention, they have half-price pizza on Tuesday and Thursday nights, so might need to hit them up on the patio one of those nights. Oh, and kids eat free on Sundays after 4 p.m., so definitely keep that in mind, and make reservations.

Of course, to sit on the patio, it needs to be above 60 degrees. By the way, this place has a really cool vibe, so you will score major cool parent points with your tween/teen if you take them here.

Located at 481 Peterson Rd. in Libertyville. Head here to check out their website because there is a ton of information about the menu, live music and more.

Real Urban Barbecue

I mention this place because it is messy, and when you have kids, well, it goes hand in hand.

Real Urban Barbecue is all down-home barbecue, from sides to dessert. They have everything to please your pickiest eater from salads to appetizers.

If you’ve never had a hoe cake, well then you’ve never lived. Or a burnt end.

But for a date night with your kids, this place is perfect because if they make a mess all over themselves, who cares? And quite honestly, if you make a mess all over yourself, who cares?

So lick your fingers, get messy and have some fun! Life is too short to eat snooty food with big names and not be able to lick your fingers every once in a while. That should be embroidered on a pillow.

Real Urban Barbecue is located at 1260 S. Milwaukee Ave. in Vernon Hills. Head over to their website to see the other locations throughout Chicago.

So who needs the wine, the roses and the romantic violin music?

You got ribs, burnt ends, pizza and pancakes! Life is good.

And someday, you can do this all over again with the grandkids.


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