Eating Adventures

The Best Place to Eat With Kids In Ten Denver Neighborhoods

Linnea Covington
Acova's outdoor play area is a hit with energetic kids and their exhausted parents.

If you have kids, you know this scenario well: It's meal time, everyone is starving, and you're in a neighborhood you don't know. Fortunately for your frayed nerves and grumpy youngsters, we've scouted out ten Denver neighborhoods (both official and newly named) and discovered each one's most family-friendly eatery. These restaurants tout great kids' menus, settings conducive to little eaters, and something unique to make them especially appealing to both parents and children.

click to enlarge The Sicilian pizza at Hops & Pie. - LINNEA COVINGTON
The Sicilian pizza at Hops & Pie.
Linnea Covington

Berkeley: Hops & Pie

3920 Tennyson Street

There's no shortage of good options for dining out with kids in Berkeley, but Hops & Pie adds the attraction of  a pile of toys and an endless supply of pizza dough to play with. Your kids will probably find the toys near the entrance as soon as you walk in, and you can just ask your server for dough from the kitchen. Once the tots are entertained, dive into a hand-tossed or Sicilian-style pizza, delectable sandwich or plate of chipotle-mango pork tacos. Five dollars will get your kid a ten-inch pizza to themselves (or split if you have two little ones), or a grilled cheese sandwich, quesadilla, plain mac and cheese or buttered noodles with Parmesan. A drink — milk, root beer or apple juice, for example — is also included. For the adults, there's a long beer list worth reading, which will make the whole dining-with-kids experience even better.
click to enlarge Chicken and waffles is just one of the many adult dishes you can get to go with your kid's meal. - LINNEA COVINGTON
Chicken and waffles is just one of the many adult dishes you can get to go with your kid's meal.
Linnea Covington

Baker: Punch Bowl Social

65 Broadway

With bowling, board games, karaoke and arcade games, Punch Bowl Social packs in plenty of entertainment for kids and adults before and after dinner. The staff, decor and layout impart an easygoing vibe, so even if you don't make it back to your table when that tray of nachos arrives, no one will sweat it. Chicken tacos, hummus with celery and potato chips, grilled cheese sandwiches and pepperoni and mozzarella flatbread are among the many food choices designed just for little ones. Go for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch and know that a good dining adventure awaits the whole gang.

Congress Park: Blue Pan Pizza

3509 East 12th Avenue

Most parents know that the trick to getting their kids engaged while dining out is to give them something fun to do. At Blue Pan Pizza, it doesn't get more fun than making your own pizza. Kids get to spread sauce, sprinkle mozzarella and add toppings, then the kitchen takes over to bake and serve your child's culinary masterpiece. If your kids are weird and just don't like pizza, they can order a meatball with bread or chicken and veggies instead. And because the Congress Park pizzeria is a roomier outpost than the original West Highland location (which also has a kids' make-your-own-pizza menu item), there's plenty of space for the whole family to eat in comfort.
click to enlarge Etch A Sketch and macaroni and cheese — a great kid combo at Next Door American Eatery at Union Station. - LINNEA COVINGTON
Etch A Sketch and macaroni and cheese — a great kid combo at Next Door American Eatery at Union Station.
Linnea Covington

Downtown/LoDo: Next Door American Eatery

1701 Wynkoop Street

Why every restaurant doesn't have an Etch A Sketch available for kids is a mystery. Your little ones can test out the toy while dining downtown at the Union Station location of Next Door American Eatery (which also has several other metro Denver outposts). Not only does the OG tablet device keep younger guests occupied, but the kids' menu also proves a winner. Children can choose from a vegetarian beet burger, mac and cheese, grilled or fried chicken tenders, a cheeseburger slider or a grilled cheese sandwich. Sides like kale chips, crispy smashed potatoes and grilled broccolini push the standard boundaries of kids' fare, but pickier eaters can stick with tomato soup, carrots or apple slices. Add an ice cream sandwich for dessert and your kid will never argue about going out to eat again.
click to enlarge Kids can be kids while parents relive the ’80s and ’90s at FNG. - LINNEA COVINGTON
Kids can be kids while parents relive the ’80s and ’90s at FNG.
Linnea Covington

Highland: FNG

3940 West 32nd Avenue

Troy Guard's Highland joint, FNG, opened a little over a year ago, and it's been a neighborhood hot spot ever since, both for adults and kids. With a menu full of tater tots, tiny sandwiches and burgers (okay, sliders, but don't tell your kids), and macaroni and cheese topped with goldfish, it's easy to see why the younger set is happy here. But beyond the food, the little ones will love the vintage lunchboxes full of goodies to play with while they eat. The best times to go are for lunch or an early dinner, but even when it's busy, the staff and venue remain friendly to pint-sized guests.