Let's face it. Dining out with kids can be a challenge. Their attention spans are, well, limited. And meltdowns happen to the best of us. We found over 25 Milwaukee restaurants that are locally-owned, delicious, AND kid-friendly. Whether they have a playroom, a killer coloring sheet, or just a really friendly wait staff, our team and readers have identified the following restaurants as A-OKAY for families. Check out our Kids Eat Free list, too! Do you know another restaurant we should add? Email email@example.com.
1. Organ Piper Pizza
4353 S. 108th St., Greenfield, WI 53228
This Milwaukee landmark, opened in 1976, boasts delicious thin crust pizza and the country's finest organists to entertain you. (Did you know that one of the organ players here is also the organ player at Miller Park?) There is also an arcade and a small merry-go-round. This place is known for being boisterous and noisy, so your kids will likely fit right in!
2. Safehouse (Currently Closed)
Location: Top Secret
(Okay, okay, it’s 779 N. Front St., Milwaukee, WI 53202)
The Safehouse, if you can find it and figure out how to pass the agent authorization process, is a unique experience for the whole family. Your kids will love this restaurant meets spy adventure, where every turn presents interactive elements, spy technology, gadgets, and riddles. You’ll learn about 50 years of spy history and see the world’s largest puzzle wall.
3. AJ Bombers
1247 N Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
This burger joint actually allows you to write on the wall with markers, which is great news for any family with young kids. There are all kinds of kitschy decorations to keep you entertained. Don’t miss the peanut delivery system that sends you peanuts through a rocket tube near the ceiling. Get a free burger on your actual birthday!
4. Hubbard Park Lodge
3565 N. Morris Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53211
Located in picturesque Hubbard Park on the Milwaukee River, their Sunday Lumberjack Brunch includes warm, fried donuts, family-style plates of pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns, breakfast sausage and bacon, an omelette bar, and a selection of fresh fruits, cereals and juices. The log cabin feel is cozy and inviting for your whole family.
How to get there: Bike there via the Oak Leaf Trail, or park in the lot at the intersection of North Morris Blvd. and E. Menlo Blvd. Access the park and lodge through a pedestrian tunnel running under the Oak Leaf Trail. Your kids will love this short nature walk, and you'll get to burn off some extra calories on the way home.
5. Highland House
12741 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon, WI 53092
Feast on Carribean-style fare with a care-free island atmosphere and plenty of food options for all ages. There is even a video game room for antsy kids and adults. It’s just one mile north of North Shore Cinema making it the perfect stop before or after a movie with your kids.
6. Beans & Barley
1901 E North Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
This East Side staple offers healthy vegetarian (and non-vegetarian) options, a fun store to peruse while you're waiting, and an all-homemade deli.
7. Stonefire Pizza Co. (Currently Closed)
5320 South Moorland Rd., New Berlin, WI 53151
Stonefire Pizza Co. was built for a family fun night. You’ll find something for everyone at the buffet, and you can even watch a movie while you eat. Afterwards, explore 40,000 square feet of games and attractions including a rock wall, bounce houses, touchscreen arcade games, bumper cars, classic pinball, skee-ball, amusement rides, a ninja course, and more.
8. Cafe Centraal
2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View, WI 53207
9. Cafe Hollander
2608 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211
7677 W. State St., Wauwatosa, WI 53213
20150 Union St., Brookfield, WI 53045
Lowlands Group restaurants strive to bring the Dutch concept of “gezellig” to their restaurants, which is roughly translated as a cozy atmosphere or the warm feeling you get when spending time with friends.
Their food is made from scratch, often organic, and they use Wisconsin suppliers for many products. There is no high fructose corn syrup in their food, and their beef is grass-fed and grain-finished with no antibiotics. They have plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, and every choice on the kids’ menu comes with fresh fruit and vegetables.
10. Classic Slice
2797 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207
Classic Slice is indeed a Bay View classic. The slices are so huge they can probably feed more than one child. There are always plenty of families in this casual pizzeria, so you won't get the evil eye when your toddler throws a fork across the room.
11. Maxie's Southern Comfort
6732 W. Fairview Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53213
Stop in for Family Night on Sundays when kids 12 and under eat for $1.00, and enjoy traditional slow-smoked Creole and Cajun barbecue and southern comfort cooking of all kinds.
12. Milwaukee Public Market
400 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
You won't have to worry about keeping your kids still and quiet at the bustling Milwaukee Public Market, though you will have to deal with some crowds. The best part? You’ll find lots of different food options to please everyone’s pallet, and you can eat in the casual dining area upstairs. You’ll find a local coffee shop, artisan cheese and sausage, fresh fish, soups and salads, a variety of ethnic food options, and an amazing bakery. Don’t miss the vegan restaurant with a real vintage bus.
13. Miss Katie's Diner
1900 West Clybourn Street Milwaukee, WI 53233
Milwaukee's original 50's diner on the Marquette University campus has hosted Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Henry Winkler, and more legendary figures.
14. Original Pancake House
16460 W Bluemound Rd, Brookfield, WI 53005
Expect fresh orange juice, great coffee, friendly servers, especially delicious pancakes, and omelets larger than your head. There are always plenty of families here and comfortable large booths to accommodate squirmy kids. They offer coloring sheets for children and kids’ meals.
15. Transfer Pizzeria
101 W. Mitchell St., Milwaukee, WI 53204
16. Bavarian Bierhaus
700 W Lexington Blvd., Glendale, WI 53217
17. Dr. Dawg
6969 N. Port Washington Rd #100, Glendale, WI 53217
This comfortable gathering spot is a quick, casual place for burgers & Chicago-style hot dogs.
22 N. Main St., Hartford, WI 53027
Your kids will love exploring the 5,000 square foot game room, and you’ll love the family specials and Just for Kids menu.
19. Nines American Bistro
12400 N. Ville Du Parc Dr., Mequon, WI 53092
Nines American Bistro offers a more formal dining room or a casual sports bar atmosphere with 13 HD TVs. The Playdium Game room features 4,000 square feet of interactive games for kids. They even offer special programming for kids on the weekends so you can enjoy a date night or brunch.
20. North Star American Bistro
19115 W. Capitol Dr. #100, Brookfield, WI
Enjoy traditional American favorites along with more sophisticated fare at this upscale but casual eatery. Both locations have a separate family dining room. At the Shorewood location, the family section has toys, a chalkboard and ample play space. There is a full children's menu, and kids eat free on Sundays (changing soon to Mondays, call ahead to confirm).
21. Bel Air Cantina
2625 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211
6817 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53213
410 W. Town Square Way, Oak Creek, WI 53154
250 High St., Brookfield, WI 53045
This modern Mexican restaurant has a few locations around the Milwaukee area, and they offer a special "niños" menu for the kids.
22. The Chocolate Factory
W62 N577 Washington Ave., Cedarburg
13475 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove
7963 S. Main St., Oak Creek, WI 53154
1077 Summit Ave., Oconomowoc, WI 53066
161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee, WI 53072
2120 E. Moreland Boulevard, Waukesha, WI 53186
1402 S. Main Street, West Bend, WI 53095
This local chain offers fresh subs with warm crusty rolls and fresh, premium ingredients, plus a delicious homemade mayonnaise. Top it off with local Wisconsin ice cream or choose from a variety of sundaes. (If you love The Chocolate Factory, be sure to visit the airy Pewaukee location right along the beach on Pewaukee Lake.)
23. Fish Fry in the Parks
Whitnall Park Golf Clubhouse
Grant Park Golf Clubhouse
During the warm weather months from Memorial Day through Labor Day, you can have your Friday night fish fry in the beautiful surroundings of the Milwaukee County Parks.
24. Cafe Bavaria
7700 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53213
25. Pizza Crafters
N56W15560 Silver Spring Dr, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Pizza Buffet & Chalkboard!