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A slider burger with fries on a tray.
A little burger from the kids’ menu at Phil’s Icehouse.
Phil’s Icehouse

26 Kid-Friendly Austin Restaurants That Aren’t Boring

Playgrounds, special menus, and more for children and adults

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A little burger from the kids’ menu at Phil’s Icehouse.
| Phil’s Icehouse

Dining out with kids is a perennial challenge: Where can a family go to eat that has an interesting menu for parents without falling back on the standard chicken nuggets and discs of previously frozen pizza for the little guys? Sure, there are some playscapes on this list, but what you won't find here are boring menus that condescend to parents or their small fries.

Presented without judgment, here are 27 of Austin’s best restaurants that are kid-friendly too. There are free children’s meals at Kerbey Lane Cafe, a dedicated kids’ room at Brentwood Social House, playable pizza dough from Home Slice, and kids’ menus galore. And, yes, kid-haters, this also works as a great list of restaurants to avoid, if that’s your thing.

For similar restaurants, scope out Austin’s best all-day restaurants, pizzerias, burger spots, sandwich shops, and salad places.

This article was originally written by Melanie Haupt and Tom Thornton.

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Kerbey Lane Cafe

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Kerbey Lane has long been a family favorite due to its comfort food and casual atmosphere. The restaurant’s Round Rock location has an enclosed playground for running off that plate of pancakes, along with Kerbey’s usual menu and chipper service. Typically, kids eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult entree at all locations. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The Salt Lick

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One would be hard-pressed to find a family that hasn’t taken a drive to the original Salt Lick at some point — but those up north can dine on the same familiar favorites at picnic tables near a large playscape at the Round Rock location. It’s also near the Dell Diamond minor league baseball stadium, making it an easy mark for summer pregame dining. Children under the age of 10 can order from a discounted small plates menu. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Mama Betty's Tex-Mex y Cantina

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The Davis Spring restaurant is named after the owners’ mother, who raised three kids on her own while working in Mexican restaurants. The kids' menu offers flautas, grilled cheese, and lots of other options, and the patio has a small grassy area with some games. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar

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One of the more upscale picks for family dining, the northwest gastropub (with a far south location) serves up entrees like pork and spaetzle, along with the standard burgers and steaks. There’s also a large appetizer list and $10 kid meals like grilled cheeseburgers or pasta with marinara sauce. Oasthouse’s patio overlooks a large playscape in the Four Points shopping center. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Rudy's Texas Bar-B-Q

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It’s the barbecue chain you know, only with a huge playground complete with rock walls and slides adjoining the restaurant’s patio. As with all Rudy’s, there are breakfast tacos in the mornings, and barbecue for lunch and dinner. This location is convenient for stops when heading to or from the lake. Takeout and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A table of meats, breads, and more.
Barbecue from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q.
The Velox Standard

Culinary Dropout

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The Domain Northside location of the New American chain serves hearty fare like pork ribs, fried chicken, and fish and chips, and has a full cocktail bar and happy hour specials. The restaurant’s secret weapon is an outdoor lawn games area, complete with a ping-pong table, corn hole, and foosball. The children’s menu includes the standard crispy shrimp, cheeseburgers, and mac and cheese for $10. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Ramen Tatsu-ya

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Your adventurous eater can take down a bowl of ramen, silky broth and all, while your picky eater can enjoy a half-bowl of plain ramen noodles at all locations of the mini-chain. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Little Deli & Pizzeria

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With its excellent New Jersey-style pizza, a wide selection of sandwiches and salads, tasty desserts, and an outdoor dining area, the Crestview deli serves as the heart of the Crestview neighborhood, plus a second location in Windsor Park. On any given night, the restaurant teems with families who've walked or biked for an easy, affordable, tasty dinner. Takeout orders can be placed in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Mangieri's Pizza Café

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The Lakeway location of the Austin pizzeria gets high marks from the neighborhood for its thin-crust pizzas, but parents head there to allow kids to roam around the enclosed playground. The $6.99 kids’ menu is better than most, with roasted chicken and broccoli and fettuccine alfredo offered in addition to pizza options. Adults will find a lengthy menu of pastas, calzones, and antipasti. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are delivery orders as well as Uber Eats and DoorDash orders; and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

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Three words: conveyor belt sushi. Plus, eating dishes will earn you prizes. There are indoor dine-in services.

A conveyor belt with covered sushi pieces.
Kura Revolving Sushi Bar.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

Brentwood Social House

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The homey Brentwood pastry shop and coffee house features a room full of children-friendly goodies, like toys and smaller chairs. Let the kids play around while munching on scones, tarts, and croissants. Takeout orders can be placed in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Foreign & Domestic

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The North Loop restaurant’s children-friendly efforts include dedicated kids’ menus for dinner and brunch, with simple dishes like pancakes, buttered noodles, French toast, and ice cream. Plus there are crayons for coloring time. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Hank's Austin

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Don’t be fooled by Hank’s gorgeous minimalist decor — the restaurant has a few toys for kids like rocking horses and the staff is notably extra-accommodating. The $5 kids’ menu has burgers, carrots and hummus, and, for brunch, there are chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A restaurant dining room.
Hank’s.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

Central Market

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The OG of Austin playground cafes, Central Market has been helping hungry shoppers take a break for almost 30 years. The varied menu features standard fare, but there’s something for everyone: pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and grilled proteins (try the black bean burger or the salmon salad). There’s a dedicated kids’ menu with burgers, grilled cheeses, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chicken tenders, plus, kids eat free on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Hat Creek Burger Company

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The Westlake location of the Texas chain has become a neighborhood institution by converting a former garden center into a local and reliable post-soccer practice or school dinner spot. The bustling restaurant has a large screened patio overlooking a large playscape just below. While the lunch and dinner menus stick to burgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads, there’s also a daily breakfast here with breakfast tacos, pancakes, and breakfast bowls. Takeout and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Sour Duck Market

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The large outdoor area is very kid-friendly, from the gravel ground to random yard toys to board games to misters. Pair that with an easy-going casual menu (yes, there’s a dedicated kids’ menu with a breakfast taco, quesadilla, and cheeseburger), and it’s a family winner. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A restaurant outdoor patio.
Sour Duck’s courtyard.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

The menu at Tex-Mex chain and Austin original, Chuy’s, is a crowd-pleaser for anyone, but the kids’ menu (with typical fare like a burger, chicken tenders, and enchiladas) comes with a choice of sides (mac and cheese, fries, or rice and beans), a drink, and dessert. Kids will love the funky decor, too. Takeout and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Cidercade Austin

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A great experience for all ages, Bishop Cidercade has over 150 arcade games with unlimited play for $12. It also serves pizzas, wings, and of course, hard cider. Note that it becomes 21+ after 8 p.m. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

El Mercado

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The spirit of old South Austin lives on at the Bouldin Creek restaurant. There’s standard Tex-Mex fare like beef enchiladas and crispy tacos, laid-back service, and a garden-style patio with party lights and a small playscape for the kids. Children can order from the special kids’ menu, or simply grab a half-order of nachos. Takeout orders can be placed over the phone or in person; there are third-party deliveries (DoorDash, Grubhub); and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Home Slice Pizza

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There's usually a lot of waiting to be done at the Travis Heights pizzeria, from waiting for a table to waiting for the piping hot pizza to arrive. But the restaurant gets that waiting is the hardest part, and kids love playing ping-pong on the back patio, the coloring sheets and complimentary ball of pizza dough to play with while waiting for dinner, and the Smarties that come with the check. Oh, and the pizza's pretty good, too. There’s an elaborate outdoor area at the North Loop location. Takeout orders can be placed online or in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Fresa's

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The South First location of the popular taco shop has a large play area for kids, including a chalkboard wall. The kids’ menu includes tacos, queso, a quesadilla, and a bowl — plus, there are things like nachos for everyone to enjoy. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A person dipping a quesadilla into a green sauce.
Breakfast quesadilla from Fresa’s.
Fresa’s

Abby Jane Bakeshop

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Obviously, any place with pastries will go over well with most kids, and there are lots of alfresco tables to play around at this Dripping Springs bakery. Preorders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Phil's Icehouse

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A shaded patio with a playground is the draw at the ice house, though the kids also appreciate the hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. A “parent recess” happy hour brings discounts on draft beer from 3 to 5:30 p.m., and other menu items like Frito pies and onion rings round out the menu for the adults in the party. There are two additional locations on Burnet Road — which includes Amy’s Ice Cream — and North 183. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are Favor deliveries; and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Doc's Backyard

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A terraced patio gives parents a great vantage point to watch kids roam the expansive play area and climb trees at Doc’s in Sunset Valley. The menu is standard bar fare, with tacos, salads, burgers, and nachos all featured heavily. The kids’ menu includes chicken strips with gravy, bean and cheese tacos, bean and cheese nachos, and cheeseburger sliders. There’s an excellent selection of Texas craft beer on tap, while cocktails lean toward the light porch pounders with vodka and tequila mixers. The outdoor seating area is large here, but quite popular — expect a short wait during peak hours. Takeout orders can be placed in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Mandola's

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The massive Arbor Trails branch of this casual Italian favorite has a large patio just around the corner from the Arbor Trails mall playground. While there’s not a direct line of sight, it’s close enough to order food and drink, then watch the kids until dinner is served. The kids’ menu meals includes a scoop of gelato means makes this place a particular favorite for children , as does the small section of little tables available. The adults can grab discounted wine or a $4 draft beers on the happy hour between 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Takeout and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Meanwhile Brewing

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The sheer size of Meanwhile Brewing means there’s plenty of room to run and play, while food trucks (including ice cream truck Bésame) offer a range of dining options. Meanwhile offers beer, wine, low-ABV cocktails and mocktails, coffee, and chocolate milk. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

A grassy lawn with picnic tables and a covered stage in the back.
The outdoor stage area at Meanwhile.
Chris Mumford/Meanwhile Brewing

Kerbey Lane Cafe

Kerbey Lane has long been a family favorite due to its comfort food and casual atmosphere. The restaurant’s Round Rock location has an enclosed playground for running off that plate of pancakes, along with Kerbey’s usual menu and chipper service. Typically, kids eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult entree at all locations. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The Salt Lick

One would be hard-pressed to find a family that hasn’t taken a drive to the original Salt Lick at some point — but those up north can dine on the same familiar favorites at picnic tables near a large playscape at the Round Rock location. It’s also near the Dell Diamond minor league baseball stadium, making it an easy mark for summer pregame dining. Children under the age of 10 can order from a discounted small plates menu. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Mama Betty's Tex-Mex y Cantina

The Davis Spring restaurant is named after the owners’ mother, who raised three kids on her own while working in Mexican restaurants. The kids' menu offers flautas, grilled cheese, and lots of other options, and the patio has a small grassy area with some games. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar

One of the more upscale picks for family dining, the northwest gastropub (with a far south location) serves up entrees like pork and spaetzle, along with the standard burgers and steaks. There’s also a large appetizer list and $10 kid meals like grilled cheeseburgers or pasta with marinara sauce. Oasthouse’s patio overlooks a large playscape in the Four Points shopping center. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Rudy's Texas Bar-B-Q

It’s the barbecue chain you know, only with a huge playground complete with rock walls and slides adjoining the restaurant’s patio. As with all Rudy’s, there are breakfast tacos in the mornings, and barbecue for lunch and dinner. This location is convenient for stops when heading to or from the lake. Takeout and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A table of meats, breads, and more.
Barbecue from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q.
The Velox Standard

Culinary Dropout

The Domain Northside location of the New American chain serves hearty fare like pork ribs, fried chicken, and fish and chips, and has a full cocktail bar and happy hour specials. The restaurant’s secret weapon is an outdoor lawn games area, complete with a ping-pong table, corn hole, and foosball. The children’s menu includes the standard crispy shrimp, cheeseburgers, and mac and cheese for $10. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Ramen Tatsu-ya

Your adventurous eater can take down a bowl of ramen, silky broth and all, while your picky eater can enjoy a half-bowl of plain ramen noodles at all locations of the mini-chain. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Little Deli & Pizzeria

With its excellent New Jersey-style pizza, a wide selection of sandwiches and salads, tasty desserts, and an outdoor dining area, the Crestview deli serves as the heart of the Crestview neighborhood, plus a second location in Windsor Park. On any given night, the restaurant teems with families who've walked or biked for an easy, affordable, tasty dinner. Takeout orders can be placed in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Mangieri's Pizza Café

The Lakeway location of the Austin pizzeria gets high marks from the neighborhood for its thin-crust pizzas, but parents head there to allow kids to roam around the enclosed playground. The $6.99 kids’ menu is better than most, with roasted chicken and broccoli and fettuccine alfredo offered in addition to pizza options. Adults will find a lengthy menu of pastas, calzones, and antipasti. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are delivery orders as well as Uber Eats and DoorDash orders; and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

Three words: conveyor belt sushi. Plus, eating dishes will earn you prizes. There are indoor dine-in services.

A conveyor belt with covered sushi pieces.
Kura Revolving Sushi Bar.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

Brentwood Social House

The homey Brentwood pastry shop and coffee house features a room full of children-friendly goodies, like toys and smaller chairs. Let the kids play around while munching on scones, tarts, and croissants. Takeout orders can be placed in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Foreign & Domestic

The North Loop restaurant’s children-friendly efforts include dedicated kids’ menus for dinner and brunch, with simple dishes like pancakes, buttered noodles, French toast, and ice cream. Plus there are crayons for coloring time. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Hank's Austin

Don’t be fooled by Hank’s gorgeous minimalist decor — the restaurant has a few toys for kids like rocking horses and the staff is notably extra-accommodating. The $5 kids’ menu has burgers, carrots and hummus, and, for brunch, there are chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A restaurant dining room.
Hank’s.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

Central Market

The OG of Austin playground cafes, Central Market has been helping hungry shoppers take a break for almost 30 years. The varied menu features standard fare, but there’s something for everyone: pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and grilled proteins (try the black bean burger or the salmon salad). There’s a dedicated kids’ menu with burgers, grilled cheeses, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chicken tenders, plus, kids eat free on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Hat Creek Burger Company

The Westlake location of the Texas chain has become a neighborhood institution by converting a former garden center into a local and reliable post-soccer practice or school dinner spot. The bustling restaurant has a large screened patio overlooking a large playscape just below. While the lunch and dinner menus stick to burgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads, there’s also a daily breakfast here with breakfast tacos, pancakes, and breakfast bowls. Takeout and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

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Sour Duck Market

The large outdoor area is very kid-friendly, from the gravel ground to random yard toys to board games to misters. Pair that with an easy-going casual menu (yes, there’s a dedicated kids’ menu with a breakfast taco, quesadilla, and cheeseburger), and it’s a family winner. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A restaurant outdoor patio.
Sour Duck’s courtyard.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin

Chuy's

The menu at Tex-Mex chain and Austin original, Chuy’s, is a crowd-pleaser for anyone, but the kids’ menu (with typical fare like a burger, chicken tenders, and enchiladas) comes with a choice of sides (mac and cheese, fries, or rice and beans), a drink, and dessert. Kids will love the funky decor, too. Takeout and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Cidercade Austin

A great experience for all ages, Bishop Cidercade has over 150 arcade games with unlimited play for $12. It also serves pizzas, wings, and of course, hard cider. Note that it becomes 21+ after 8 p.m. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

El Mercado

The spirit of old South Austin lives on at the Bouldin Creek restaurant. There’s standard Tex-Mex fare like beef enchiladas and crispy tacos, laid-back service, and a garden-style patio with party lights and a small playscape for the kids. Children can order from the special kids’ menu, or simply grab a half-order of nachos. Takeout orders can be placed over the phone or in person; there are third-party deliveries (DoorDash, Grubhub); and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Home Slice Pizza

There's usually a lot of waiting to be done at the Travis Heights pizzeria, from waiting for a table to waiting for the piping hot pizza to arrive. But the restaurant gets that waiting is the hardest part, and kids love playing ping-pong on the back patio, the coloring sheets and complimentary ball of pizza dough to play with while waiting for dinner, and the Smarties that come with the check. Oh, and the pizza's pretty good, too. There’s an elaborate outdoor area at the North Loop location. Takeout orders can be placed online or in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Fresa's

The South First location of the popular taco shop has a large play area for kids, including a chalkboard wall. The kids’ menu includes tacos, queso, a quesadilla, and a bowl — plus, there are things like nachos for everyone to enjoy. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A person dipping a quesadilla into a green sauce.
Breakfast quesadilla from Fresa’s.
Fresa’s

Abby Jane Bakeshop

Obviously, any place with pastries will go over well with most kids, and there are lots of alfresco tables to play around at this Dripping Springs bakery. Preorders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Phil's Icehouse

A shaded patio with a playground is the draw at the ice house, though the kids also appreciate the hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. A “parent recess” happy hour brings discounts on draft beer from 3 to 5:30 p.m., and other menu items like Frito pies and onion rings round out the menu for the adults in the party. There are two additional locations on Burnet Road — which includes Amy’s Ice Cream — and North 183. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are Favor deliveries; and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Doc's Backyard

A terraced patio gives parents a great vantage point to watch kids roam the expansive play area and climb trees at Doc’s in Sunset Valley. The menu is standard bar fare, with tacos, salads, burgers, and nachos all featured heavily. The kids’ menu includes chicken strips with gravy, bean and cheese tacos, bean and cheese nachos, and cheeseburger sliders. There’s an excellent selection of Texas craft beer on tap, while cocktails lean toward the light porch pounders with vodka and tequila mixers. The outdoor seating area is large here, but quite popular — expect a short wait during peak hours. Takeout orders can be placed in person; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Mandola's

The massive Arbor Trails branch of this casual Italian favorite has a large patio just around the corner from the Arbor Trails mall playground. While there’s not a direct line of sight, it’s close enough to order food and drink, then watch the kids until dinner is served. The kids’ menu meals includes a scoop of gelato means makes this place a particular favorite for children , as does the small section of little tables available. The adults can grab discounted wine or a $4 draft beers on the happy hour between 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Takeout and delivery orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Meanwhile Brewing

The sheer size of Meanwhile Brewing means there’s plenty of room to run and play, while food trucks (including ice cream truck Bésame) offer a range of dining options. Meanwhile offers beer, wine, low-ABV cocktails and mocktails, coffee, and chocolate milk. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

A grassy lawn with picnic tables and a covered stage in the back.
The outdoor stage area at Meanwhile.
Chris Mumford/Meanwhile Brewing

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