**Updated November 2018**
Every parent knows that eating out with the whole family can get expensive. Even if you choose a moderately-priced restaurant that’s kid-friendly, you’re still probably going to end up paying more than you’d like to – at least, that’s the case if you don’t want your kids to be eating fast food.
Fortunately, there are alternatives.
Many family-friendly restaurants offer freebies to families with kids. Some offer free meals at certain times or on particular days of the week while others offer free desserts or other special deals.
With that in mind, here’s our list of restaurants in the Twin Cities where you can save on a family meal by getting something free for your kids. Most offer something free, but we have included a few with great deals that aren’t free. We’ve also made an effort to seek out some options where kids can get entertainment as well as free food.
KIDS EAT FREE LIST(AND GREAT DEALS)
Please note that while we have made every effort to verify these listings, it is always best to call and check before you leave home. Restaurants sometimes alter their policies on short notice and it’s better to be safe than to get there and learn that things have changed.
ANGELO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT – SOUTH ST. PAUL
Italian food is a perennial family favorite and Angelo’s offers pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and salads at affordable prices.
Their everyday kids’ menu is only $5 per entrée and gives kids a choice of pizza, spaghetti, buttered noodles, ravioli, or hot dogs.
On Wednesdays, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée.
BAJA SOL TORTILLA GRILL – CLOSED.
Baja Sol has multiple locations across the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, they closed their doors in September of 2017. If Mexican cuisine is your choice, check out Chevy’s Fresh Mex.
Their kids’ menu is a great value any day of the week, with prices at just $3.99 during the day and $1.99 after 4 pm. However, on Sundays, you can get a free kids’ meal with each adult entrée you buy. Choices include nachos, chicken strips, chicken tacos, burritos, and a kidsadilla. Each kids’ meal comes with a Baja rice, a kid-sized beverage, and a treat.
BIG LOUIE’S BAR & GRILL – CRYSTAL AND NEW BRIGHTON
Big Louie’s Bar & Grill offers traditional tavern fare such as burgers, sandwiches, pastas, and flatbreads.
They have a regular kids’ menu, but on Tuesdays between 11 am and 10 pm, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée.
There’s a limit of one free kids’ meal per adult meal, and the offer is good at both their Crystal and New Brighton locations.
BLUE HERON GRILL – HUGO
Tuesday nights are magical at the Blue Heron Grill.
Every week, Justin the Magician appears to entertain and thrill kids with sleight-of-hand and other tricks.
Parents can enjoy gourmet burgers, pasta, and other entrees while kids enjoy a free meal from the kids’ menu – choices include corn dogs, burgers, mac & cheese, and flatbreads – and free ice cream for dessert!
Kids’ meals include a beverage and the offer is limited to one free kids’ meal per paid adult.
BROADWAY PIZZA – 16 Locations
Broadway Pizza offers a selection of thin crust, deep dish, and New York-style pizza. They have a pizza buffet that’s perfect for families.
Kids 10 or younger eat free on Monday nights with the purchase of an adult buffet. The limit is one free child’s buffet per adult buffet purchase and beverages are not included.
Note: they have gluten-free options and their website has information about allergens and nuts if that’s a concern.
CELT’S CRAFT HOUSE – APPLE VALLEY
Offering a wide variety of what they call “Authentic Food” Celt’s Craft House is one of the best options we have found for our kids eat free list.
Celt’s offers kids eat free Sunday-Thursday with the purchase of an adult entree.
CHEVY’S FRESH MEX – BLOOMINGTON
Chevy’s Fresh Mex serves up fresh Mexican favorites such as flautas, fajitas, tacos, and burritos.
Bring your kids here when they have a hearty appetite.
The kids’ menu features build-your-own tacos, chicken bites, corn dogs, burritos, and quesadillas. Each kids’ entrée comes with a choice of two sides (grilled veggies, fresh fruit, fries, and applesauce are among the choices) and a kiddie ice cream cone. Beverages are not included but kids’ drinks are only $0.99.
All day long on Tuesdays, you can get a free kids’ meal for every adult entrée you purchase.
DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT – MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has a wide selection of traditional barbecue foods that are prepared without the addition of unhealthy nitrates and nitrites.
They offer a regular kids’ menu with chicken nuggets, sandwiches, and other options, and all kids’ meals come with a drink and a side dish. Kid’s meals are free on Sundays.
Dickey’s has multiple locations in the Twin Cities, so visit their website to find your local location and get the details.
LA PALAPA RESTAURANT – ST. PAUL – CLOSED
Sadly, it is unclear exactly when, but La Palapa closed their doors for good.
If your family is craving Mexican food with some kid-friendly options, then try La Palapa Restaurant in St. Paul.
The menu offers an array of traditional Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, mole, and tacos.
The kids’ menu is limited but extremely affordable, offering both quesadillas and grilled cheese for less than five dollars. Kids eat free with the purchase of a regular meal all day on Wednesdays.
LONE SPUR GRILL & BAR – HOPKINS
The Lone Spur Grill & Bar serves an expansive menu featuring traditional smokehouse favorites and Tex Mex options.
All items on the Kids Menu cost less than five dollars, and unlike some restaurants, they offer quite a few choices including tacos, enchiladas, popcorn chicken, mac & cheese, and pizza.
Kids’ meals come with a choice of applesauce, chips & salsa, fries, fruit cup, or veggies. Beverages are not included.
Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal on Tuesdays and Sundays.
LOTUS RESTAURANT – MINNEAPOLIS
Vietnamese food seems to grow more popular by the day, and there’s nothing better than a hot bowl of pho to warm you up on a cold day.
Lotus Restaurant doesn’t have a traditional kids’ menu, but they have a wide variety of soups, noodle dishes, and other things that will appeal to kids.
Their prices are affordable across the board, and kids under the age of six can get a small portion of any entrée for free with the purchase of a regular adult meal.
There’s a limit of one kids’ portion per entrée you order, but the special is available seven days a week.
MAD JACK’S SPORTS CAFÉ – VADNAIS HEIGHTS
If you’re in the market for a sports bar that serves kid-friendly, preservative-free meals, try Mad Jack’s Sports Café.
The regular menu offers up pizza, sandwiches, wraps, steaks, and pasta. On the kids’ menu, you’ll find mac & cheese, pizza, spaghetti, and chicken tenders at affordable prices.
Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal (one kids’ meal per adult meal ordered) on Sundays after 5pm. Beverages are not included.
MAPLE GROVE TAVERN – MAPLE GROVE
Unlike most of the restaurants on our list, Maple Grove Tavern offers free kids’ meals every day of the week. Any day you come in you can get one free meal from the kids’ menu for every regular entrée you order.
While your kids enjoy their meals, you can nosh on a gourmet burger, salad, or sandwich.
NUTMEG BREWHOUSE – BURNSVILLE & ARDEN HILLS
Nutmeg Brewhouse offers free kid’s meals at both their Burnsville and Arden Hills locations on Mondays.
Their kid’s menu includes chicken fingers, kids noodles, naan pizza, and kids cheeseburger.
Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.
PATRICK’S BAKERY & CAFÉ – 3 LOCATIONS
Patrick’s is located in Maple Grove, Edina, and Minneapolis. They make a point of finding ways to entertain kids while adults enjoy their meals.
Every Wednesday night is Kids’ Night and features face painting and balloon animals with Lulu the Clown. The fun starts at 4 pm and runs through closing time at 10 pm.
The kids’ menu features the usual array of chicken fingers, burgers, and mac & cheese plus a turkey croissant.
However, on Kids’ Night, you can get a free entrée of lesser or equal value for each adult entrée you order, even if your kids want to order off the regular menu. Adult choices include traditional French fare including escargots and beef bourguignon.
Q CUMBERS – EDINA
If eating buffet-style appeals to you, a night out at Q Cumbers is an affordable way to feed the whole family.
While they don’t offer an option where kids eat free, they are a healthy option at an affordable price. Whether it is lunch or dinner, kids prices are adjusted according to their age. A certain price set and the prices are less than one dollar per year.
Beverages are not included.
THE MELTING POT – MINNEAPOLIS
Fondue is fun for the whole family. What kid wouldn’t love dipping their food into cheese or their dessert into gooey chocolate?
The Melting Pot offers traditional cheese fondue as well as regular entrees.
On Sundays, if you order their four-course adult meal, which includes a salad, cheese, an entrée, and a chocolate dessert, you’ll get a kids’ entrée free. The offer is good all day, and beverages are not included.
THE LODGE – STAGE 81 – MINNEAPOLIS
If you’re craving American food with a side of music, bring the family to The Lodge – Stage 81.
They offer an impressive selection of salads, soups, burgers, wraps, and pasta. They don’t have a separate kids’ menu, but kid-friendly selections include mac & cheese, meatloaf, and build-your-own burgers.
All day on Saturdays, kids get a free meal with the purchase of an adult meal. The special runs all day long so come for lunch or dinner.
TEXAS ROADHOUSE – COON RAPIDS
You might not think that a roadhouse would be a good place for kids, but in the case of Texas Roadhouse in Coon Rapids, you’d be wrong.
The regular kids’ menu includes mini cheeseburgers, hot dogs, mac & cheese, chicken tenders, and steak bites, and all entrees are under $10.
Every Monday night is kids’ night. Kids won’t get a free meal on Mondays, but they will get a free dessert and a choice of entertainment, including a coloring contest, games, and a balloon artist.
VALLEY TAP HOUSE – APPLE VALLEY CLOSED
Sadly, the Valley Tap House has permanently closed their doors.
Located in Apple Valley, the Valley Tap House offers an expansive menu that includes sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and slow-roasted pit beef, which has its origins in a Baltimore tradition.
All day on Mondays, you can get a free meal from the kids’ menu with every regular entrée you purchase. Beverages are not included.
VESCIO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT – MINNEAPOLIS CLOSING
Although they have not officially set a date, Vescio’s has announced that they will be permanently closing.
Vescio’s Italian Restaurant offers a combination of delicious meals that adults will love and a kids’ menu with choices that are sure to please even the pickiest eater.
Their children’s menu includes Mozzarella sticks, pizza, spaghetti (with or without chicken), pizza, and ravioli, and comes with a choice of a soft drink or milk.
All day on Sundays, kids 12 and under get a free children’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.
WILDFIRE – EDEN PRAIRIE
Wildfire is a chain restaurant that started in Illinois and now has a location in Eden Prairie.
They offer steakhouse fare including steaks, chops, chicken, and seafood with an assortment of traditional sides such as mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and mushroom caps.
Every Sunday after 3:00, kids can get a free item from the children’s menu when an accompanying adult orders an entrée from the regular menu.
Kids’ choices include burgers, grilled salmon, mac & cheese, and even a kid-sized filet. Every meal includes a side of applesauce and a beverage.
This deal is good every Sunday but is not available on holidays. (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.)
The restaurants listed above are our favorites, but here are a few others that offer free kids’ meals: