Our family has lived in the Milwaukee area for three years now and we’ve only been to a chain restaurant two times in those three years. We’re proud of that, especially coming from California where there are chain restaurants everywhere you turn. We love that we can support local when we go out to dinner and in doing so, we’re enjoying a delicious meal each and every time! We never would have guessed that Milwaukee had so many fabulous restaurants to choose from. And one of the best parts, there are so many that are kid friendly! Of course we go out without our kids now and then, and our kids are a little older (12 & 7) but we haven’t forgotten the days when our kids were young and noisy! I’ve chatted with friends who have kids of all ages and compiled a large list of kid-friendly restaurants in Milwaukee (and the surrounding areas). Hope it helps you to choose the next place you take your family for dinner.
Our Favorite Kid Friendly Restaurants in the Milwaukee Area
Cafe Hollander & Cafe Bavaria – These two restaurants, right on the river in the Tosa Village are two of our go-to places. Not only because they’re extremely close to our home, but because the kids love the menus as well. They don’t only serve “kid” food on the menu and it’s easy to keep the kids happy in an atmosphere that’s always hopping and not incredibly quiet.
Check our Patio & Rooftop Dining Guide for even more locations of these fabulous restaurants, open year round!
Cranky Al’s – Breakfast? The best doughnuts in Milwaukee! Dinner? Super delicious pizza with a sauce that is amazing! Cranky Al’s is one of our very favorite neighborhood stops whether it’s for breakfast or dinner. Joey runs the place and will great you with a warm “hello” and a knuckle-bump. This place is the ultimate in kid-friendly. Kids being a bit loud? Laughing or needing to get the wiggles out? No problem! And everyone in the place just knows that it’s ok. I’d be embarrassed to admit just how often we’re at Cranky’s.
Belair Cantina – We’ve not been to the Belair in downtown, because the one is Tosa is literally a couple of blocks from our house. But, Belair is one of our favorites. A little taste of our home state of California, great prices on delicious food. The kids menu is is simple Mexican food with choices like a taco, burrito, quesadilla and even non-traditional hot dogs fried in a tortilla (our 7-year-old son’s favorite). The chips and salsa are warm and fresh, and the margaritas are delish! Belair always has great music playing, perfect to drown out a crying kid. We love everything about Belair.
Check out the location in Brookfield at The Corners of Brookfield! It’s huge and is surrounded by fabulous shopping!
Pizzeria Piccola – Another spot in the Tosa Village that’s great for families. We especially love to hit this place in the spring and summer and take advantage of the patio on State Street. The selection of pasta and pizza is sure to please everyone in the family. Piccola’s atmosphere is casual, but the food is fantastic!
Maxie’s – Since our kids were very young we’ve not shied away from nicer restaurants, because we want them to know how to behave in that sort of environment and not act like animals. Maxie’s is a favorite for both of our kids, and Matt and I love that it looks and feels a bit like a fancy restaurant, yet we don’t have to dress up and spend an arm and a leg to eat out. You won’t find a kids menu at Maxie’s, but there are plenty of choices that the kids will love. And, it’s one of those great places to get your kids to try something new! We happen to all be big fans of the brisket, mac and cheese and the fried green tomatoes. Yum! BONUS: On Sundays, kids under 12 can get a meal for $1 when a parent buys a meal at regular price.
Blue’s Egg – If a mouth-watering breakfast or brunch is what you’re looking for, you’ve got to try Blue’s Egg. This place is hands down our favorite breakfast place in Milwaukee. From savory to sweet, every single menu item is absolutely to die for! The Smothered Berry French Toast with Almond Crunch (below) is worth every carb and calorie. Kids will love the breakfast selection too!Some other places that are not to miss include:
Transfer Pizzeria, Organ Piper Pizza, Smoke Shack, North Avenue Grill, Balzac, AJ Bombers, Cafe Centraal, Dr. Dawg, Saz’s, and Cafe Benelux. Our family has been to a few of these and they’re great restaurants. The others came highly recommended by friends in the area.
There’s just no way you can go wrong when eating out with kids in Milwaukee. With so many different options to choose from, different atmospheres, different price points and neighborhoods, you could easily try a new place each time you go out! Dining out with kids doesn’t have to be miserable, especially not when you choose a place that welcomes the kids, even after a long day.
P.S. Be sure to check out our Kids Eat Free Guide for more info on area restaurants that offer discounted meals for kids!
What are your favorite kid-friendly restaurants in the area?
Edited to add the following READER FAVORITES for kid-friendly restaurants in the Milwaukee area:
- Beans & Barley
- Classic Slice (Bay View)
- Wasabi (Brookfield)
- Highland House (Mequon)
- The Safe House (Do YOU know the password??)
- Mad Rooster
- Beerline Cafe (Lower East Side) – The sidewalk around the outdoor patio is great to let the kids burn off steam when they are done eating.
- North Star American Bistro (Shorewood) – They have an entire kids room where families are seated so your kids can play. Genius!