A kid-friendly Butch McGuires? Yes, really!

Chances are when you think of the Rush and Division section of Chicago’s Gold Coast, late-night revelry, not family-friendly fare comes to mind. But Chicago landmark Butch McGuire’s is out to change that by offering a kids-eat-free program for weekend brunch and weekday lunch.

If you go

  • Butch McGuire’s
  • 20 W. Division St., Chicago
  • (312) 787-4318

“There are a lot of parents in the neighborhood and we want them to know that Butch’s is a great place for families to eat together,” says Bobby McGuire, Butch’s son, who now runs the legend his father founded.

With my twin 4-year-olds in tow for Sunday brunch, it occurred to me I’d never seen McGuire’s in broad daylight, let alone ever considered bringing my kids there for food. Yet kid-friendly it was, with my girls happily coloring and doing puzzles on the inside of the children’s menu as we waited for our meals at a long wooden booth with plenty of elbow room for tiny artists.

The French toast portions are huge and delicious-and adventurous eaters who want a bit of booze with their brunch will enjoy a decidedly Rush and Division twist on this classic: “Car Bomb French Toast,” Texas toast dipped in a batter of Guinness and Baileys and topped with Jameson maple syrup.

A special treat on weekends only is McGuire’s “Fall-Off-the-Bone” baby back ribs, dry rubbed, then slow-braised and finished on the grill with its secret barbecue sauce. The full or half-rack of ribs are served with creamy homemade coleslaw (to die for!), hand-cut French fries and baked beans. Our affable waiter, who admittedly might have been a bit biased, thinks they rival some of the most famous ribs in Chicago-and we couldn’t disagree.

If the tasty food isn’t enough to tempt you into a visit, the new kids’ special might. For each adult meal ordered, a child eats free from the children’s menu during brunch and lunch hours (Sunday-Friday 11 a.m-3 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Bobby is the first to admit that McGuire’s doesn’t have a kid-friendly reputation-yet. “Some people come in and don’t even realize we have a kitchen!” he laughs. However, he plans to challenge that misconception one free kids meal at a time.

This mom, for one, is sold.

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