You know how everyone says that raising a kid in the city is crazy expensive? Not during happy hour. Here are seven of our favorite picks (one for every day of the week!) where your little one can eat for free or cheap—and live large.
RELATED: Where kids eat free in Chicago
Monday (and the rest of the week!): Chop Shop
Where: 2033 W. North Ave., Chicago
Here’s one way to shake the Monday blahs—head to Wicker Park’s only sustainable butcher, deli, restaurant and bar (which also happens to be housed in a 100-year-old former auto body shop). Yes, they’ve got a 6,000-square-foot event space and concert venue, but they’ve also got steak and frites to die for. And on weeknights between 5-7 p.m., your tiny carnivore eats entirely for free.
Where: Various locations in Chicagoland
Another reason the internet’s a pretty grand invention? By using the Chili’s My Rewards app, you will get free dinner for your kids. (Limit two kids’ meals to every one adult meal purchased. You also get a free dessert on your birthday!) Perfect for those nights where one kid wants cheesy chicken pasta, another wants a burger … and you want a frosty margarita in an open and affirming environment. Bonus: You know there’s a Chili’s near you. You know there is.
Wednesday (and every other weeknight!): Uncommon Ground
Where: 1401 W. Devon Ave., Chicago and 3800 N. Clark St., Chicago
There’s so much to love about Uncommon Ground’s ecologically-conscious business model from their rooftop gardens to their sustainable maintenance practices. Plus, their kids’ menu is just another [organic] feather in their cap. On weeknights between 5-6:30 p.m., kids 12 and under eat free with each purchase of an adult entree. Whether they’re chowing down on a mini grass-fed beef Smashburger or a grilled Wisconsin cheddar cheese sandwich, you’ll feel good about their dining options—and snagging some off of their plate.
Thursday (and nightly!): Hutch American Kitchen + Bar
Where: 1477 W. Winnemac Ave., Chicago
It doesn’t get much cozier than Andersonville’s Hutch, a neighborhood spot with rustic decor, an actual—and namesake—hutch along one interior wall, and wheel-shaped chandeliers casting a warm glow over your Happy Hour. Kids eat free nightly between 5-6:30 p.m. and the kiddo fare is standard (burgers, tenders, etc.), but the PB&J sandwich is crustless and, if you time it right, you can score yourself a $3 glass of champagne. Who’s happy now?
Friday (or any night you need to get your Italian on): Frasca Pizzeria + Wine Bar
Where: 3358 N. Paulina St., Chicago
Buttered noodles and a root beer float, anyone? Kids eat free every day from 4:30-6 p.m. at this comfy neighborhood eatery rooted in the Italian word for branch—a “frasca” was symbolized by a wreath of branches hanging over the door of a welcoming eatery. Whether you’re sampling Frasca’s specialty pizzas or indulging in their impressive wine list, this is a great spot to bring your own lil’ sprouts.
Saturday (or any day, really): Texas de Brazil
Where: 210 E. Upper Illinois St., Chicago
Oh, so your kids eat big, you say? Bigger than Texas? Try this on for size: Everything at churrasco-style eatery Texas de Brazil, from its slow-roasted meats to its impressive buffet station is half price for kids 6-12. Even better? Only five bucks for kids ages 3-5, and kids under 2 eat free. Every day! That should tide ‘em over (at least until breakfast).
Sunday: Shaw’s Crab House
Where: 21 E. Hubbard St., Chicago
Teach ‘em young that “brunch” is a sport—one that we all can win. Shaw’s legendary brunch is more fam-friendly than you might’ve thought since kids under 6 dine for free. Another important life lesson? Multiple choice: what with the five buffet stations including chilled seafood, hot options like fried shrimp and crab cakes, and a beyond-decadent dessert table. (Good luck!)
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