It’s the time of year when we are out and about a lot more and when it is just easier to eat dinner out (or maybe that’s just how I justify it to myself). We have some recommendations below, and make sure to scroll all the way down to enter our giveaway! Here are a few of our family-friendly favorites around town:
If I could come up with two words to sum up why we keep coming back to this eatery, it would be: Kerbey queso. Although my kid isn’t a fan for the time being, I’m glad, since that means there is more for me. On a more serious note, though, when we visit the original location (on Kerbey Lane, right off 35th Street) we rarely, if ever, have to wait to be seated. I think the only time we did encounter a wait was on a Tuesday, when kids eat free. There are plenty of families, so no need to be on top of my child, for fear of harsh looks.
I am now officially hooked on the veggie burger (called the Hipster) with mozzarella and avocado, even though I’m a meat eater (the seasonal menu always tempts me, though). My husband checks the web for the Pancakes of the Week, in hopes they will have either the Cinnamon Roll or Beignet varieties. As for my child, he has been happy with the burgers, pancakes and chicken tacos. We take out of town guests of all ages to Kerbey because there is a lot to choose from, including local food guests might want to try, like migas. There is also a guide to tell you what is gluten-free and vegan. The service is fast and we are usually in and out quickly. Oh, and the pancake mix is sold online and at area grocery stores and it’s a great addition to a holiday gift basket (just sayin’).
Many restaurants have come and gone in this particular part of the Arboretum, but there’s a reason that the Blue Baker has stuck around. It’s very casual, it offers a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads and pizzas and it has some super tasty baked goods (that you can usually sample while you are deciding what you want to order). I made a habit out of bringing home focaccia bread after my meal, and finally decided to get a rewards card, so every once in a while I am surprised with a free loaf. It’s proven to be a great place to go for lunch with friends who have younger kids, because in temperate weather there is an outdoor patio where kids can explore. Kids (and adults) also can enjoy watching the bakers at work. Blue Baker also offers Bakery Tours that we’ve taken advantage of the kids enjoy.
I’m sure some of you will be surprised I suggested this burger joint, which is known for its lines. Hear me out! It’s taken us a while to crack the code, but we have had some luck going at off times (yes, this can mean 5pm) at the location on Anderson Lane. Usually, we head out with a Plan B in mind. We can usually see from some distance if the line is going to be too long. If it looks manageable, we park and one of us stands in line and the other takes our child on a “looking trip” to Terra Toys. We use texting to give the other a heads up that it’s time to come inside. So, even if you arrive at 5pm, by the time you are through the line and seated and get your food, it is time to eat. Hopdoddy doesn’t have a kid’s menu, but the burgers are large enough that my kid and I split a Classic Burger (plain and dry) and we all share fries. The shakes are quite tasty and we also like the Maine Root drinks.
Home Slice Pizza
When you are talking about kid-friendly food, it doesn’t take long to think about pizza. That said, we parents know that there is pizza…and then there is pizza. Home Slice offers some very tasty pies, and ordering by the slice gives you the option to get what you want instead of settling for your children’s favorite. It does pay to go early at Home Slice as it’s not a big secret that the pizza is good. One nice thing for parents is that kids are usually offered a little bit of dough to play around with while the food is getting ready (not to eat, although I’m sure many kids have tried). If you are exploring South Congress or don’t want to wait for a table, you can also try the walk-up window. Also, one note if you are anxious about testing out the back-in parking on SoCo, Home Slice borrows part of the parking lot of the church just south for its customers.
I had the chance to try out PDQ in Cedar Park with my son for dinner and both of us agreed that we’d be back. I play indoor soccer right down the road, so I drive by weekly and had been curious about the place. PDQ stands for People Dedicated to Quality, and the concept behind the restaurant was developed by one of the co-founders of Outback Steakhouse. The menu was developed around the chicken tender, although there are salads, sandwiches and grilled chicken (and turkey). The restaurant uses chicken which is free of antibiotics and employees make dressings and dipping sauces in-house daily with no preservatives. Fresh squeezed lemonade is available (made from simple syrup made on-site), as well as Cheerwine, a soda which is a favorite where the company was founded. Fries are cut on site and prepared with soybean oil, to make them healthier. The menu is rounded out with shakes and cookies.
You can either order at a counter or you can drive through to get your food. The kitchen is designed to be open, and there is a small outdoor eating area as well. I had a Chicken Caesar Salad, which was great and helped me feel a little less guilty about my eating habits, since I have been not-so-stellar about eating healthy with all the busyness that often comes during the holiday season. I also had a bite of a crispy tender with the creamy garlic sauce, which was quite tasty. One last thing I sampled was pretty unique: blueberry coleslaw. I’m not really a coleslaw person, but I had a bit and appreciated another chance to ingest some vegetables. My son had the Kids Meal with grilled chicken tenders and fries and gave the cookie a hearty thumbs up (and the rest of the food, as well). I liked the handwashing station (similar to what you see at Mighty Fine, but which is shorter and more like an actual sink, so kids don’t have to go into the restroom to wash hands) and the counter service. The food came out quickly and we were able to finish with plenty of time to get to my game. If you purchase a child’s t-shirt and your child wears it in, he or she gets a free cookie. Lastly, I learned that construction is on schedule for another PDQ which will be located in the parking lot of the Cedar Park Costco.
Would you like to win a $25 gift certificate to PDQ’s Lakeline location?
Two lucky winners will be chosen at random and each will receive a $25 gift certificate. What do you have to do to win? Leave a comment below or fill out the form. All entries must be received by midnight CST on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014. The winner will be notified via email with 24 hours to respond. If there is no response from the chosen winner, a new winner will be notified. The giveaway holds no cash value. Only one entry per household, please. Must be 18 years of age. Open to residents in the continental United States only.
Thanks to everyone who entered! The giveaway is now closed. We have contacted the winners.