When taking kids out to eat, you can almost guarantee that boredom will strike. That’s why themed restaurants are perfect for families looking for a side of entertainment with their meal.
Break up your routine and check out one of Chicagoland’s fun themed eateries for you next dinner out.
Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on safety precautions, vaccine requirements and any last-minute cancellations.
You may be a bit hesitant to bring your kids to a restaurant where the theme is, well, sugar, but rest assured, there’s more to this spot than just candy (like an elaborate drink menu for adults, for instance).
Kids will flip for the restaurant’s Rainbow Sliders (mini cheeseburgers with colorful buns that come with a rubber ducky you can take home) and over-the-top milkshake concoctions (Nutella Banana or Chocolate Rocky Road, anyone?). While Sugar Factory probably isn’t practical for a weeknight meal, the place just screams “birthday party” or special event.
- Address: 905 W. Irving Park Road, Schaumburg
Get an up-close view of airplanes taking flight at Pilot Pete’s, located at the Schaumburg Regional Airport. The place is full of aviation-themed touches, including airplane seats in the waiting area and and model planes hanging from the ceiling. Kids can enjoy crowd-pleasing items like quesadillas, buttered noodles or homemade mac and cheese while watching the runway action outside.
- Address: 23 W. Hubbard St., Chicago; 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago (Water Tower Kiosk); 5 Jackson Avenue, Naperville (Coming soon)
As the name implies, JoJo’s is all about taking milk and turning it into decadent dairy creations; from drool-worthy hot chocolate to elaborate milkshakes and even flavor-infused milks (served with a tray of fresh baked cookies, naturally). The restaurant has plenty of tasty comfort food options, too, like Loaded Grilled Cheese, Pop’s Chicken Pot Pie and of course, JoJo’s Cheese Fries. Parents will enjoy the selection of dessert shots while kids get their fill of sugary Milk Bar goodies.
- Address: 1027 W. Addison St., Chicago
Want to burn some of your children’s energy while waiting for your meal to arrive? Lucky Strike has so much entertainment that both kids and parents will have a blast. This Wrigleyville location has epic views of the field, along with over 100 electronic gaming systems, bowling, air hockey, ping pong and more. For food, there’s everything from gouda mac and cheese bites to boneless wings to keep your whole family fueled up for play.
- Address: 71 W. Monroe St., Chicago
Chicago’s oldest Italian restaurant gives you the closest experience you can get to dining in Tuscany without leaving the Windy City. Grab a booth inside a recreated villa and enjoy the twinkle of “stars” and murals of the Italian countryside while you eat. Classic Northern Italian cuisine is served up here, including pizza, pasta and seafood as well as an impressive kids menu.
- Address: 203 S. Main St., Bartlett; 450 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn; 1567 N. Aurora Road, Naperville
- COVID-19 updates: Naperville location is temporarily closed.
Calling all train lovers! 2 Toots Train Whistle Grill is the place to watch trains chug around and bring you your food. Kids will love being seated right by the train tracks, while adults will rejoice – they actually have delicious all grass-fed beef burgers here and their chili is pretty fantastic. Don’t leave without trying their rich milkshakes.
- Address: 2001 N. Roselle Road, Schaumburg
Take it back … way back to the 11th century! You and your family will be transported to the royal court full of excitement. Indulge in a feast using only your hands while cheering on for your knight as they battle through the tournament.
- Address: 5101 Washington Street, Gurnee
Lovers of all things chocolate need to dine at The Chocolate Sanctuary in Gurnee where they pay homage to the cacao bean with entrees, appetizers, drinks, and dessert as an ingredient. The real star though is obviously their fantastic dessert menu. Stop by on Sundays for their decadent Sunday brunch.
- Address: 6170 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee
Welcome to the jungle! While eating the kids will be entertained with the trumpeting elephants or the wild gorillas. Word of caution: every so often there’s a storm that may be a little frightful for littles. Don’t forget to get the chocolate lava volcano!
- Address: 835 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Your kids and their favorite dolls will be spoiled beyond belief when they dine at the American Girl Cafe. Pull up a chair for you and the doll. Dolls even have their own place settings! It’s sure to be an experience to remember for the entire family.
- Address: 60 E. Ontario St., Chicago
- COVID-19 updates: Temporarily closed
This spy-themed spot has been popular with tourists for years, but it’s worth the visit for native Chicagoans as well. The restaurant takes their theme seriously from the moment you step inside. Restaurant-goers must tell the door person the password or else undergo a series of “tests” to prove they’re not spies.
Once you’ve found your way inside, little ones can munch on “Goldfingers” (chicken nuggets) or “Undercover Mac & Cheese” from the kids menu, while adults get their own top secret fare, like Clandestine Chili and the Mission Impossible bacon burger. While kids wait for their food to be prepared, they’re welcome to check out the secret passageways and spy gadgets throughout the restaurant.
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