Before we become parents, it's pretty easy to go out for dinner. All we have to do is pick a restaurant and a time and head out. But once we have kids, things get a bit trickier, especially since for the average family, going out to eat as a family can get a bit pricey.
But we still want our children to experience the fun of going to a restaurant and ordering crispy, hot fries or a nice cheeseburger. Thankfully, there are many restaurants where children can actually eat for free, as long as it's on a certain day of the week.
Here are eight restaurants where kids can eat free. Moms should definitely keep these in their back pocket for a fun family night out.
Denny's is a classic restaurant and many people go there regularly for breakfast. We know that kids love breakfast foods like bacon and pancakes. Moms have probably had the experience of going out for breakfast with their family and hearing their little ones ask for bacon and pancakes (or waffles) as soon as they walk in the restaurant door.
Kids can eat for free at Denny's on Tuesdays between 4 and 10 p.m. Denny's offers this as long as children are under the age of 10. As long as one parent gets an entree, they can order two kids' entrees. This is great news as the kids' menu offers mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and chocolate chip pancakes... aka what your kid can't wait to eat. This seems like a great option for parents with two or more children.
Everyone knows that IKEA has an amazing restaurant, and their hot dogs and ice cream are seriously good. Moms can agree that bringing kids to IKEA can be hit or miss: sometimes, your kids are super well behaved and they move through the store laughing... and other times, there are tons of meltdowns.
One thing is for sure, though: kids can eat for free at some IKEA restaurants on Tuesdays. (There's something about that day, right?) This isn't at every single location so parents will have to check, but it's still news to be very happy about. Bring on the hot dogs.
6 Pizza Hut
Children love pizza... but maybe just plain tomato sauce and cheese, and please hold the spice, and please don't put anything weird on it... you get the idea. Okay, so we all love pizza, and moms know that it can be an easy thing to order when you're not sure what to make for dinner and everyone seems grumpy.
It's always fun for a family to go out for pizza, and Pizza Hut is another restaurant where children can eat for free. It looks like there's a theme here: Tuesday is also the day when kids can eat for free, this time at Pizza Hut. It's for the entire day, so moms can also take their kids on a special lunch date.
5 TGI Friday's
At TGI Friday's, families are in luck on both Mondays and Tuesdays because these are both days when children can eat for free.
This restaurant has a solid kid's menu: pasta with marinara sauce, Fettuccine Alfredo pasta, chicken tenders, and mac and cheese. TGI Friday's even has the best thing of all: buttered pasta. That's right, kids can literally order pasta that has butter on it. This is a mom's dream come true since she can rest easy knowing that her kid will get exactly what they want to eat. It's funny how children gravitate toward buttery pasta, but they really do, and moms will love that it's free.
Applebee's is another restaurant where kids can eat for free. It sounds like this is on Tuesdays and some say this isn't at every single Applebee's, but it's still a good deal: if one adult entree is ordered, then you get one free entree from the children's menu.
Kids will be thrilled to go out for dinner at Applebee's as there are not only fan faves like chicken fingers and cheeseburgers but the menu also has cheesy pizza and chicken quesadillas. And, yes, the pizza is actually called cheesy pizza, not cheese pizza. Our kids are going to love this.
3 Steak ‘n Shake
Before you had kids, you might have cooked a nice, leisurely steak dinner on a Saturday evening or gone to a nice restaurant. These days, now that you have a family, Saturday nights look very different, as does the entire weekend.
Of course, you wouldn't change it for anything and the weekends are full of fun. But you can still go out to eat on the weekends, and thanks to Steak 'n Shake, kids can eat for free on Saturday and Sunday if you order something that is $9. Adults can order their Steakburgers and kids can choose from mac and cheese, hot dogs, and all of the things that they adore.
2 Bob Evans
Kids can also eat for free at Bob Evans on -- yes -- Tuesdays. You can get free kids' food as long as you get an adult entree and it's after 4 o'clock.
What are some of the meals that your little ones can order at Bob Evans? There are chicken tenders, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken, grilled cheese triangles, mac and cheese, and chicken and noodles. The mac and cheese also comes with broccoli, so that definitely makes moms happy. There's also a turkey entree that is served with carrots, gravy, and mashed potatoes. Yum. It's nice that this restaurant offers the typical kid stuff along with some other options.
Of all the restaurants where kids can eat for free, IHOP has a really awesome deal: from 4 until 9 pm every day of the week, kids can eat for free. This isn't every single location, like some of the other offers on this list, but it's still amazing to imagine that parents can bring their families to an IHOP and get such a good deal.
When we get a craving for pancakes for dinner (which happens pretty often), we can rest assured knowing that we can bring our kids to IHOP and everyone will be thrilled. Where will we go first?!