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.
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.
60 E. Ontario, River North, Chicago
Have train-obsessed littles in your family? Take a trip to the western suburbs and check out this choo choo centered diner. “Junior conductors” can choose from favorites like cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets and there’s plenty of choices for the grownups, too. Meals are delivered to your family’s table via a train, making waiting for food an experience in itself. If they’re wanting even more railroad action, there’s a giant train set up front for kiddos to tinker with.
1510B 75th St, Downers Grove, IL
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.
55 E Grand Avenue, Chicago & 5445 Park Place, Rosemont
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.
905 W Irving Park Rd, Schaumburg
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.
23 W Hubbard 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.
1027 W. Addison, 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.
2502 N. Clark, Chicago
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