Top Family-Friendly Restaurants in Birmingham

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Photograph 044 by Lauren Mancke found on minimography.com

One of the things I love most about Birmingham is our vibrant culinary scene. Even though our metropolis is relatively small compared to the larger, more well-known “foodie” magnets, we aren’t playin’ around. For goodness’ sake, we’ve got the 2018 James Beard Most Outstanding Restaurant in America winner up in here, y’all!!

But today, we are sharing our top picks for the tiniest foodies in our lives. Going out to eat is such a special outing for families, but it can also be very stressful for the momma in the bunch. Questions such as: Will there be clean bathrooms? Are their kid-friendly options on the menu? Will it matter if my child screams his head off for 75 % of the dining experience? can prevent us from taking the leap and getting out of the house at times if we can’t track down the answers quickly. Forget about that fear, Mom! Because from now on, you can consult this handy dandy guide for all the tips and tricks you need to plan your next family meal out!

Side note: The restaurants have been broken down into two categories: (1) Kid-Friendly and (2) Budget-Friendly. Then, we’ve alphabetized them for ease of reference! Enjoy!

Kid-Friendly/Entertainment for Kids

One of the most disappointing things when planning for a meal out is getting all excited about trying out a new restaurant only to arrive and get those “What are you doing here?” looks once the little ones become visible behind the hostess desk. The following restaurants will never kick you out, Girl. In fact, call ahead now and book your next night out for some fun!

Ashley Mac’s {Multiple Locations} – This mom-owned and mom-run restaurant is a mother’s dream! Boasting a fully-stocked kids menu with all the traditional faves (I see you, perfectly-put-together PB&Js), they also include healthy options, too! Your child can select from several choices including grilled chicken, fresh fruit, and their recently added kiddo favorite: macaroni and cheese! Kids receive Wiki Stix to play with as a free add-on to their meals as well as a perfectly sized brownie to encourage happy plates! Then, on your way out, don’t forget to stop by the cases of ready-to-serve meals, appetizers, side dishes, and desserts available for quick pickup if you are in a hurry or need to pack some food on your way out of town. As an added bonus, Ashley Mac’s offers family meals every weeknight for takeout all under $35 to feed a family of four! You can’t beat that price for the quality you receive! 

Babalu {Downtown} – We were won over on our first time there when we discovered that this spot will do the firework candle cake experience for your birthday! My four year old lived her best life as the entire restaurant sang her “Happy Birthday!” A memory book experience for sure! As a side note, please do not leave without trying their Garlic Rosti Teriyaki Potatoes. Just do it. Don’t let me down, y’all. Try them. Ah, man. All this talk about these potatoes has me jonesin’ for some Babalu. See you there, friend!

BarTaco {Homewood} – This little oasis tucked away in Homewood just miles from the big city is a literal dream. You will honestly feel like you have been transported to the coastline within seconds of entering this place. The food is delicious and very well priced. They have a small platter for children consisting of a quesadilla, taco, fruit skewer, and corn on the cob wheels for $6!! I love that they provide healthy options for kiddos at such a great price. Each child will receive a full-sized coloring book as they enter, and if that doesn’t keep them pacified, there are several outdoor areas for them to get some energy out!

The Boot {Hoover and Inverness} – This super cool local restaurant has something for everyone. Their outdoor seating is a dream and they even make their own ice cream! The menu is stocked with a variety of options and the service is always friendly and attentive.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza {Hoover} – Beyond the scrumptious menu, you will find a restaurant devoted to kids enjoying their experience. Request some pizza dough for your child to enjoy playing with while you wait. Pro Tip: If tiny hands are washed and ready to go, Brixx will even cook your child’s creation!

Chuy’s {The Summit} – Offering a super cool view from the top of The Summit, Chuy’s has a cool vibe perfectly suited for families in all stages of life. The food is affordable and the environment is fun!

Cowfish {The Summit} – Sushi + Burgers = Everybody wins. If your kids enjoy unique outings, this is a must-do summer hot spot. I’m dreaming of their Crab Rangoon Dip as I type. They even have PB&J sushi rolls. How cool is that? Plus, don’t forget to take a picture with the cowfish on the way out!

Dave’s Pizza {Homewood} – Offering 17+ unique pizza selections, this place is sure to have what your pizza lovin’ tot is looking for. Their caprese stuffed mushrooms sound like a literal dream come true for us mommas, too. As a random side note, they boast having the “Best Chicken Salad You’ve Ever Had or It’s On Us!” So, yeah, I’m willing to check that out for sure!

Davenport’s Pizza {Mountain Brook} – A Mountain Brook staple since 1964, this homegrown pizza shop offers delicious pizza and a game room for kids and adults!

First Watch {Multiple Locations} – Have any chocolate chip pancake lovers in your house? If one of your kids is hankering for some hotcakes, make a date at First Watch! They also have fresh fruit crepes for kids that will put a smile on any momma’s face.

Five Guys {Multiple Locations} – Not only do they have some of the best burgers in town, Five Guys manages to make each dining experience special as well. The Brookwood Mall location uniquely has a second story, which always thrills kids to climb to the top to enjoy their burger!

Front Porch {Hoover} – Calling all Ross Bridge residents! If you aren’t already aware, you have a dynamite little spot right at the front of your neighborhood that offers fun and affordable fare with menu options to please all ages and tastes. From pizza to sandwiches to a banana pudding that finds its way into my dreams at least once a week, this place should be your new weekly spot. Fun Factor: It’s so cool to watch all the golf carts arrive beginning at 5:00 p.m. each day. 

Full Moon BBQ {Multiple Locations} – Providing you a BBQ experience quintessential to the South, Full Moon also treats their youngest patrons with a lot of love. Each kids meal comes with a moon-themed temporary tattoo and a half-moon cookie. With prices under $5 and a family-friendly environment, you can’t go wrong with the Moon!

Gilchrist {Mountain Brook} – An old school pharmacy/soda pop shop, Gilchrist is another Mountain Brook staple. Their meals are very inexpensive, but they leave you begging for more of the amazing taste. Kids will also love that they offer milkshakes, too. Stop in for a fun lunch on your way to or from the zoo!

Grille 29 {Homewood} – You may be thinking, “I thought Grille 29 was upscale dining . . .” You are absolutely correct. But, on Sundays they have an extra special treat for the kiddos: a Junior Brunch consisting of cheesy eggs, a mini muffin, bacon, and fruit. Plus, your children will love the gigantic fish tank creating the centerpiece in this beautifully designed restaurant.

Homewood Gourmet {Homewood} – For delicious and healthy food in a kid-friendly atmosphere, look no further than Homewood Gourmet. Plus, don’t forget to check out their fully stocked coolers to find a plethora of pre-cooked scrumptious-ness, including full family meals, to enjoy later at home!

Jason’s Deli {Homewood} – Don’t forget the Brookwood Mall classic, friends. This place is stocked with healthy options for your kiddos and a cute ice cream station for good eaters! They offer coloring books for your children to enjoy while waiting, and all of their sandwich meat is nitrite/nitrate free. Pro Tip: The crowds are very slim at dinner, so if you are looking for a fast dining experience with little ones, check out Jason’s next time!

Jim ‘n Nicks {Multiple Locations} – Calling all macaroni and cheese lovers, this place is your dream land. Offering BBQ to make any Southerner proud and a mac and cheese dish that deserves a spot on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, this place is a must-visit. Kids are treated to coloring pages and a fully stocked menu to please most all preschool palates. Plus, the cheese biscuits that you are treated to are enough to add it to the monthly circulation!

Kool Korner Sandwiches {Vestavia} – A beloved spot in Vestavia, Kool Korner offers a litany of delicious sandwiches. Tiny mouths will love the fresh meat and laid back vibe!

Little Donkey {Homewood} – Hidden away in Homewood, Little Donkey is a delight for the youngsters. Between the outdoor seating, yummy food, and creative coloring pages, Little Donkey won’t disappoint. After dinner, cruise on down the street for a special Steel City Pops Treat for dessert!

Mafiosa’s {Mountain Brook} – This is a Birmingham Bucket List must do, friend. On certain nights, Mafiosa’s allows kids the super fun privilege of cooking their own pizza! What a memorable way to spend an evening!

Melt {Avondale} – Once a foodtruck, now a brick-and-mortar powerhouse, Melt is where it’s at. The food is dynamite and the environment could not be more inviting. Each table has games for kids (and adults) to enjoy before, during, and after the meal. 

Moss Rock Tacos {Hoover} – Children are greeted with smiling faces and coloring sheets galore. Moss Rock Tacos offers a wide variety of taco options as well as unique appetizers. Plus, their bathroom murals are a must see.

Mr. Chen’s {Homewood} – Offering “authentic Chinese cooking,” Mr. Chen’s is a warm and welcoming environment for families. Another huge perk: you can order online!

Olexa’s {Mountain Brook} – Calling all #GirlMoms! If you are looking for a quaint little spot to take your Princess(es)-in-training, Olexa’s is the perfect place for you! I take my girls there for “tea parties” on the regular and we are always welcomed with arms wide open. Their kids’ meals offer hearty portions and they offer mandarin oranges as a side. Don’t forget to try a piece of their locally famous vanilla buttercream cake before you head out the door!

Paramount {Downtown} – Why not take the kids downtown for a special night out? Paramount offers a wide variety of “grub” as they refer to it and even have a fully stocked arcade room. Sounds like a fun night out for the whole family!

Pizitz Food Hall {Downtown} – For all you McWane Center lovers, this place is about to be your new lunch time jam. Located directly across the street from the McWane Center, Pizitz offers every possible option your culinary tastebuds could imagine. From ramen to ice cream to cocktails, they have it all!

Pie 5 {Hoover} – This is a perfect night out for families. Each member can create their own pizza and enjoy it within five minutes! Kids will love the ability to feel like they are part of the cooking process!

Pizzeria GM {Homewood} – Ok, Birmingham locals, this one’s for you! If you have ever eaten the majesty that is Gianmarco’s, you will adore this place because it is owned by the same family! The pizzas are so unique and so delicious you will feel like you’ve been transported to Italy! As an added bonus for families, there is a lot of outdoor seating and the restaurant is conveniently located right next door to a public park. Pizza and a park? Sounds like a winner!

Post Office Pies – {Avondale} – Another spot offering you the fun chance to “build your own pie,” Post Office Pies provides fresh ingredients in a trendy spot.

Real and Rosemary {Homewood) – One of our newest hot-spots in Homewood, Real and Rosemary is a hidden gem. Tucked away in Homewood, this healthy eating spot is full to the brim with sneakily good-for-you nourishment. They offer tons of fresh veggie options for your little ones. They even have “Feasting Thyme” meals for families of four available to pick up after 3:00 p.m. for an easy dinner at home. Plus, they have a toddler toilet in the women’s restroom . . . I mean, thank you from every mother everywhere!

Soho Social {Homewood} – With a large area located just outside (perfect for kiddos to run the “sillies” out), this restaurant is ideal for a quick bite with friends. Tell the mini corndog lover in your life that he has found his home away from home. Kids can also choose from fries or mini “cutie” oranges as sides.

Sol Azteca {Vestavia} – This place is just plain fun for the whole family! The staff plays live music for birthdays or special events (complete with the sombrero, of course), and have an extensive menu particularly great for pleasing the picky eaters in your life. The atmosphere is very welcoming and comfortable for families of all sizes.

Taco Mama {Multiple Locations} – With locations all over town, this taco joint is the perfect spot for moms-on-the-go. With super fast service, kid-friendly atmosphere and budget-friendly priced fare, this will become your new go-to in no time. Side note: please live your best life and try their Watermelon Margarita — you will not regret it!

Taziki’s {Multiple Locations} – Even though every single resident of Birmingham will protest until the end of time to have the Weekend Special added to the permanent menu, the food offered on their daily is equally as delicious! They have several healthy options for children and the environment is extremely welcoming for families of all sizes. Plus, if you are ever in a pinch for dinner, definitely give one of their family feasts for four a try! You will receive SO much food — enough for delicious leftovers to enjoy throughout the week.

Tip Top Grill {Bluff Park} – Soak in the beauty at the “tip top” of Bluff Park. Enjoy a delicious hamburger or hot dog as you gaze out at one of the most beautiful views in the ‘Ham. Plus, their pricing is top notch as well. All of their hot dogs are priced at under $3 each, so you could feed a family of four for under $20 easily!!

TopGolf {Downtown} – If you are looking for a night to remember for your kids, don’t look further than our newest hot spot: TopGolf! Between the thrill of the bright lights and chance to hit some balls, kids will love this unique night out. They offer all the delicious fare that is sure to bring smiles to the little ones’ faces including burgers, mini-hot dogs, and chicken tenders all for $6 each!

Tropicaleo {Avondale} – “Bringing the island life to Birmingham,” Tropicaleo offers a wide variety of unique fare to its patrons including jibaritos and plantain chips! They do offer gluten- and vegan-free options as well, even on their kids’ menu! Check it out if you want to escape the feel of the concrete jungle for a bit and engage your taste buds in a culinary adventure!

Tropical Smoothie Cafe {Inverness} – Kids’ meals come with smoothies, that . . . wait for it . . . can be made without added sugar! Hallelujah! This fun spot also offers wraps and baked chips for healthier options as well. 

Twisted Root Burger {Vestavia} – Let me just leave these kid-friendly dream amenities for you right here: outdoor play area, massive chalkboard, over-sized Connect Four game, corn hole, and covered seating for the parents. The play area is safely gated and tucked back from parking areas. This is the perfect spot for your next “play-date meal” with friends.

Urban Cookhouse {Multiple Locations} – Kids are greeted with the friendliest smiles and immediately set up with coloring sheets and bowls of Cheerios to munch on until their delicious grilled chicken and mac ‘n cheese arrive! The outdoor seating is where it’s at when dining at this neighborhood favorite.

Vecchia {Hoover} – Located just beside a gorgeous, grassy lawn in the Preserve, Vecchia boasts some of the most delicious pizza in the city. Their brick oven brilliance is bar none. The restaurant is open and very kid-friendly. The kitchen is surrounded by glass, so children will love watching their pizza being made right in front of them! There is a wrap-around patio with comfortable outdoor seating as well. Added bonus: kids eat free on Tuesday nights!

Zoe’s {Multiple Locations} – A mom hot spot, Zoe’s offers some of the healthiest and most delicious grab-and-go fare in town. The restaurants are all kid-friendly and the food is sure to be served up within minutes of ordering. Plus, don’t forget to check out their family meals for four available for takeout. What a mom win!

 

Budget-Friendly

Baumhower’s Wings {Hoover} – Kids eat free on Tuesdays!

Beef O’Brady’s {Hoover and Helena} – Located in Hoover, Beef O’Brady’s has kids eat free on Thursday nights. Plus there is a game room inside. If that’s not enough entertainment for you, the brand new Let’s Play location is right across the street!

Moe’s BBQ {Hoover} – Kids eat free on Tuesdays!

Moe’s Southwest {Multiple Locations} – Kids eat free on Tuesdays!

O’Charley’s {Fultondale and Alabaster} – Kids eat free! Need I say more…?

Pizza Express {Inverness} – Located in Inverness, this spot offers large one-topping pizzas at only $8.99 on Mondays; kids eat Free on Thursdays and Sundays (with the purchase of one large pizza and two adult drinks).

Steak ‘n Shake {Multiple Locations} – Kids eat free on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

Zaxby’s {Multiple Locations} – On Mondays, kids eat for $0.99! Who knew?!?

Well, I don’t know about you, but after all this talk of delicious food, I’m off to get my grub on at one of these spots!

Do you have any other recommendations for kid-friendly and/or budget-friendly spots in town? Please let us know in the comments so we can get them added to the list!

Author Note: As with any “deals,” the budget-friendly restaurant options are bound to change from time to time, so always do a quick Google search or place a quick call to the restaurant before heading there with the fam! Happy dining, BHM friends.

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Erin H
Erin is a proud Bama girl, writer, speaker, lawyer, friend, lunchbox packer, boo-boo kisser, sweatpants wearing Momma to her two precious girls: Bellalise (5) – a sweet, gentle-natured soul, and Annalise (4, going on 14) – the life of every party. She met her husband Marshall during law school and drug that Cajun boy back to the Heart of Dixie, a place he now proudly calls home as well. They live in Birmingham where their dining room is currently being used for laundry overflow. Outside of writing, Erin’s hobbies include scrapbooking, tennis, online shopping (don’t tell Marshall), crafting, cooking with her girls and a clean fridge – an outright miracle worth celebrating these days. She is the author of the must-have read for Moms: Cheers to the Diaper Years: 10 Truths for Thriving While Barely Surviving, and the soon to be Girls-Night sensation: The Remarkable Housewives of the Bible series! When she isn’t attending toddler tea parties or wiping up spaghetti stains, you can find Erin writing on her blog: ErinBrownHollis.com and on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter @erinbrownhollis. She welcomes all moms to find a community of love and acceptance on her site where she shares recipes, crafts and encouragement weekly.