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Little Deli
Little Deli
Little Deli/Facebook

27 Kid-Friendly Austin Restaurants That Aren’t Boring

Playgrounds, special menus, and more

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Little Deli
| Little Deli/Facebook

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.

Is a favorite kid-friendly restaurant missing from the map below? Let Eater know through the tipline or via the comments underneath.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kerbey Lane Cafe

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2120 N Mays St
Round Rock, TX 78664
(512) 879-2827
Visit Website

Kerbey Lane has long been a family favorite due to its comfort food-focused menu and casual atmosphere. The local chain also recently turned heads by hiring Joe Anguiano (formerly of Vox Table) as executive chef. 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. Kids also eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult entree at all locations.

Red velvet pancakes from Kerbey Lane Cafe
Red velvet pancakes from Kerbey Lane Cafe
Kerbey Lane Cafe/Facebook

2. The Salt Lick

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3350 E Palm Valley Blvd
Round Rock, TX 78665
(512) 386-1044
Visit Website

One would be hard-pressed to find a family that hasn’t taken a drive to the original The Salt Lick at some point — but those up north can dine on the same familiar favorites at picnic tables near a large playscape. The restaurant is also near the Dell Diamond minor league baseball stadium, making it an easy mark for summer pregame dining. Children under the age of 11 can order from a discounted “small plate” menu.

Barbecue from Salt Lick’s Round Rock location
Barbecue from Salt Lick’s Round Rock location
Callie W./Yelp

3. Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar

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8300 N FM 620 e
Austin, TX 78726
(737) 222-5779
Visit Website

One of the fancier picks for family dining, Oasthouse is a gastropub with entrees ranging from Texas redfish to shrimp and grits, along with the standard burgers and steaks. There’s also a large appetizer list and six-dollar kid meals like grilled cheeseburgers or pasta shells with marinara sauce. Oasthouse’s patio overlooks a large playscape, which it shares with next-door Mexican restaurant Flores in the Four Points shopping center.

Cookies from Oasthouse
Cookies from Oasthouse
Delia S./Yelp

4. Napa Flats

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8300 Fm 620 M100
Austin, TX

This small College Station-based chain serves California cuisine like salads, flatbreads, fish tacos, and wood-fired pizza in a comfortable suburban setting. The patio overlooks a double playscape setup that makes it easy to parents to monitor kids while awaiting dinner. The six-dollar kids’ menu focuses on pizzas and pastas.

A kid enjoying pasta at Napa Flats
A kid enjoying pasta at Napa Flats
Inti St. Clair/Napa Flats

5. Rudy's Texas Bar-B-Q

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7709 Ranch Rd 620 N
Austin, TX 78726
(512) 250-8002
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It’s the Rudy’s 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.

Barbecue from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q
Barbecue from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q
The Velox Standard

6. Culinary Dropout

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11721 Rock Rose #100
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 777-3394
Visit Website

This Domain Northside’s gastropub 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 buttered noodles, cheeseburgers, and mac and cheese for $6 a piece.

Food from Culinary Dropout
Food from Culinary Dropout
Culinary Dropout/Facebook

7. Ramen Tatsu-ya

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8557 Research Blvd, #126
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 834-8810
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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 bowl of plain ramen noodles at either the original restaurant or the South Lamar one.

Ramens from Ramen Tatsu-ya
Ramens from Ramen Tatsu-ya
Ramen Tatsu-ya/Facebook

8. Little Deli & Pizzeria

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7101-A Woodrow Ave
Austin, TX 78757
(512) 467-7402
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With its excellent New York-style pizza, wide selection of sandwiches and salads, tasty desserts, and outdoor dining area, Little Deli serves as the heart of the Crestview neighborhood. On any given summer night, the restaurant teems with families who've walked or biked for an easy, affordable, tasty dinner. Plus, it’s BYOB.

The meatball pie from Little Deli
The meatball pie from Little Deli
Joe C./Yelp

9. Mangieri's Pizza Café

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2133 Lohmans Crossing Rd
Lakeway, TX 78734
(512) 263-0188
Visit Website

The Lakeway Mangieri’s 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 $4.50 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 here.

The Hot Italian pizza from Mangieri’s
The Hot Italian pizza from Mangieri’s
Mangieri’s/Facebook

10. Ski Shores Cafe

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2905 Pearce Rd
Austin, TX 78730
(512) 394-7511
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Ski Shores has just about everything a kid could ask for: video games, boats, a playground, and baskets of fries, wings, and onion rings. The ultra-casual setting is a great post-lake happy hour stop, with beers from Uncle Billy’s, a range of margaritas, and a selection of cocktails. The menu is based on burgers and fried seafood, with a few salads and sides also available.

Ski Shores
Ski Shores
Ski Shores/Facebook

11. Brentwood Social House

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1601 W Koenig Ln, Austin, TX 78756
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 362-8656
Visit Website

The home that houses 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.

Brentwood Social House’s pastries
Brentwood Social House’s pastries
Brentwood Social House/Facebook

12. Foreign & Domestic

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306 E 53rd St
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 459-1010
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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.

Foreign & Domestic
Foreign & Domestic
Raymond Thompson/EATX

13. Central Market

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4001 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 206-1000
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The OG of Austin playground cafes, Central Market has been helping hungry shoppers take a break for over 20 years. The varied menu features standard fare, but there’s something for everyone: pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and grilled proteins (try the falafel sliders or the salmon salad). On Tuesdays, children can eat for free from 5 to 8 p.m.

Central Market’s playground
Central Market’s playground
Brett J./Yelp

14. Olive & June

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3411 Glenview Ave
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 467-9898
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When the family's feeling a bit more upscale, check out the Bryker Woods Italian restaurant’s Sunday night family meal, featuring a rotating prix fixe three-course menu of antipasti, pasta, and an entree. Even better: kids under the age of 12 eat free.

Pasta from Olive & June
Pasta from Olive & June
Olive & June/Facebook

15. Hat Creek Burger Company

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4407 Bee Cave Rd
West Lake Hills, TX 78746
(512) 732-2025
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Hat Creek has become a Westlake institution by converting a former garden center into a local and reliable post-soccer practice or school dinner spot. The bustling location 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.

Hat Creek Burger Co.
Hat Creek Burger Co.
Hat Creek Burger Co./Facebook

16. Contigo

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2027 Anchor Ln
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 614-2260
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Play washers while waiting for pigs in blankets, fries, and tempura green beans. Or visit with one of many friendly dogs in the yard. Mueller-area families love the block-party feel here, and the menu is approachable even to the pickiest eaters.

Contigo/Official

17. Sour Duck Market

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1241, 1814 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 394-5776
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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 Bryce Gilmore et al’s easy-going casual menu, and it’s a family winner.

Sour Duck’s courtyard
Sour Duck’s courtyard
Courtney Pierce/EATX

18. Gourmands

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2316 Webberville Rd
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 610-2031
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While as much a dive bar as a family spot, Gourmands has much to love: there’s a sizable back patio, a solid menu of sandwiches, soups, and nachos, and a great afternoon happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. with $5 appetizers and discounted beer and wine. There’s also an ’80s style arcade here with skee ball, video games, and ping-pong. Kids are welcome here until 9 p.m., with $4 sandwich menu just for them.

The Godfather sandwich at Gourmands
The Godfather sandwich at Gourmands
Alexis P./Yelp

19. The Brewer's Table

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4715 E 5th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 520-8199
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Parents can enjoy a brew or two while kids run around in the lager garden. Plus, there’s kid-friendly food items like grilled cheese and a Cuban sandwich.

Bread from The Brewer’s Table
Bread from The Brewer’s Table
Logan Crable

20. El Mercado

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1302 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 447-7445
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The spirit of old South Austin lives on at El Mercado. 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 $6 kids’ menu, or simply grab a half-order of nachos.

El Mercado
El Mercado
El Mercado/Facebook

21. Home Slice Pizza

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1415 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 444-7437
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There's usually a lot of waiting to be done at Home Slice, from waiting for a table to waiting for the piping hot pizza to arrive. But this place 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 roll of 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.

Kids playing with dough at Home Slice
Kids playing with dough at Home Slice
Jeremy L./Yelp

22. Phil's Icehouse

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2901 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 707-8704
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A shaded patio with a playground is the draw at Phil’s, though the kids also appreciate the hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. A “parent recess” happy hour brings discounts to the beer and wine list from 3 to 5:30pm, and other menu items like Frito pies and onion rings round out the menu for the adults in the party. (Note: there are two additional locations on Burnet Road and North 183.)

Phil’s Icehouse on South Lamar
Phil’s Icehouse on South Lamar
Bobby B./Yelp

23. Austin Pizza Garden

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6266 US-290
Austin, TX 78735
(512) 891-9980
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After an ownership change, this long-standing Oak Hill pizzeria draws big weeknight crowds to the playscape featuring mister fans and tree shade. There’s a reasonable craft beer selection and a small wine list here, along with a kid-friendly menu of pizzas, sandwiches, and salads.

A pie from Austin Pizza Garden
A pie from Austin Pizza Garden
Austin Pizza Garden/Facebook

24. Graceland Grocery

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8600 W US Hwy 290 Service Rd
Austin, TX 78735

A regular stop for families in southwest Austin, Graceland joined neighbor The Rusty Mule as a go-to happy hour destination when it added counter-service dining from Stubb’s Bar-B-Q a couple of years ago — the Stubb’s name has since been removed, replaced by Texas Post Oak Bar-B-Q. Service is rather casual, and waits for food can be significant during peak hours. Generally speaking, though, this is a good spot to catch up with friends while the kids roam the play area.

Graceland Grocery
Graceland Grocery
Graceland Grocery/Facebook

25. The Rusty Mule

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9201 US-290
Austin, TX 78736
(512) 704-6416
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Presently, the food trailers Taco Brother and Q Up BBQ are stationed at this massive hangout spot along 290 in far Southwest Austin. The Rusty Mule allows kids until 9 p.m., along with on-leash pets, making it a good outdoor spot for large groups. Kids can roam among the picnic tables and party lights while the grownups catch up over dinner — it’s a simple and fun excursion.

Rusty Mule
Rusty Mule
Rusty Mule/Facebook

26. Doc's Backyard

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5207 Brodie Ln #100
Sunset Valley, TX 78745
(512) 892-5200
Visit Website

A terraced patio gives parents a great vantage point to watch kids roam the expansive play area and climbing trees at Doc’s in Sunset Valley. The menu is standard bar fare, with tacos, salads, burgers, and nachos featuring heavily. 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.

Dishes from Doc’s Backyard
Dishes from Doc’s Backyard
Doc’s Backyard/Facebook

27. Mandola's

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4301 West William Cannon Drive, DR E-1
Austin, TX 78749
(512) 524-2222
Visit Website

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, but it’s close enough to order food and drink, then watch the kids until dinner is served. A special menu including a scoop of gelato means makes this place a particular kid’s favorite, as does the small section of little children’s tables available. (The adults can grab a happy hour $5 wine or $4 draft before 6 p.m.)

Gelato from Mandola’s
Gelato from Mandola’s
Mandola’s/Facebook

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1. Kerbey Lane Cafe

2120 N Mays St, Round Rock, TX 78664
Red velvet pancakes from Kerbey Lane Cafe
Red velvet pancakes from Kerbey Lane Cafe
Kerbey Lane Cafe/Facebook

Kerbey Lane has long been a family favorite due to its comfort food-focused menu and casual atmosphere. The local chain also recently turned heads by hiring Joe Anguiano (formerly of Vox Table) as executive chef. 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. Kids also eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult entree at all locations.

2120 N Mays St
Round Rock, TX 78664

2. The Salt Lick

3350 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665
Barbecue from Salt Lick’s Round Rock location
Barbecue from Salt Lick’s Round Rock location
Callie W./Yelp

One would be hard-pressed to find a family that hasn’t taken a drive to the original The Salt Lick at some point — but those up north can dine on the same familiar favorites at picnic tables near a large playscape. The restaurant is also near the Dell Diamond minor league baseball stadium, making it an easy mark for summer pregame dining. Children under the age of 11 can order from a discounted “small plate” menu.

3350 E Palm Valley Blvd
Round Rock, TX 78665

3. Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar

8300 N FM 620 e, Austin, TX 78726
Cookies from Oasthouse
Cookies from Oasthouse
Delia S./Yelp

One of the fancier picks for family dining, Oasthouse is a gastropub with entrees ranging from Texas redfish to shrimp and grits, along with the standard burgers and steaks. There’s also a large appetizer list and six-dollar kid meals like grilled cheeseburgers or pasta shells with marinara sauce. Oasthouse’s patio overlooks a large playscape, which it shares with next-door Mexican restaurant Flores in the Four Points shopping center.

8300 N FM 620 e
Austin, TX 78726

4. Napa Flats

8300 Fm 620 M100, Austin, TX
A kid enjoying pasta at Napa Flats
A kid enjoying pasta at Napa Flats
Inti St. Clair/Napa Flats

This small College Station-based chain serves California cuisine like salads, flatbreads, fish tacos, and wood-fired pizza in a comfortable suburban setting. The patio overlooks a double playscape setup that makes it easy to parents to monitor kids while awaiting dinner. The six-dollar kids’ menu focuses on pizzas and pastas.

8300 Fm 620 M100
Austin, TX

5. Rudy's Texas Bar-B-Q

7709 Ranch Rd 620 N, Austin, TX 78726
Barbecue from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q
Barbecue from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q
The Velox Standard

It’s the Rudy’s 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.

7709 Ranch Rd 620 N
Austin, TX 78726

6. Culinary Dropout

11721 Rock Rose #100, Austin, TX 78758
Food from Culinary Dropout
Food from Culinary Dropout
Culinary Dropout/Facebook

This Domain Northside’s gastropub 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 buttered noodles, cheeseburgers, and mac and cheese for $6 a piece.

11721 Rock Rose #100
Austin, TX 78758

7. Ramen Tatsu-ya

8557 Research Blvd, #126, Austin, TX 78758
Ramens from Ramen Tatsu-ya
Ramens from Ramen Tatsu-ya
Ramen Tatsu-ya/Facebook

Your adventurous eater can take down a bowl of ramen, silky broth and all, while your picky eater can enjoy a bowl of plain ramen noodles at either the original restaurant or the South Lamar one.

8557 Research Blvd, #126
Austin, TX 78758

8. Little Deli & Pizzeria

7101-A Woodrow Ave, Austin, TX 78757
The meatball pie from Little Deli
The meatball pie from Little Deli
Joe C./Yelp

With its excellent New York-style pizza, wide selection of sandwiches and salads, tasty desserts, and outdoor dining area, Little Deli serves as the heart of the Crestview neighborhood. On any given summer night, the restaurant teems with families who've walked or biked for an easy, affordable, tasty dinner. Plus, it’s BYOB.

7101-A Woodrow Ave
Austin, TX 78757

9. Mangieri's Pizza Café

2133 Lohmans Crossing Rd, Lakeway, TX 78734
The Hot Italian pizza from Mangieri’s
The Hot Italian pizza from Mangieri’s
Mangieri’s/Facebook

The Lakeway Mangieri’s 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 $4.50 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 here.

2133 Lohmans Crossing Rd
Lakeway, TX 78734

10. Ski Shores Cafe

2905 Pearce Rd, Austin, TX 78730
Ski Shores
Ski Shores
Ski Shores/Facebook

Ski Shores has just about everything a kid could ask for: video games, boats, a playground, and baskets of fries, wings, and onion rings. The ultra-casual setting is a great post-lake happy hour stop, with beers from Uncle Billy’s, a range of margaritas, and a selection of cocktails. The menu is based on burgers and fried seafood, with a few salads and sides also available.

2905 Pearce Rd
Austin, TX 78730

11. Brentwood Social House

1601 W Koenig Ln, Austin, TX 78756, Austin, TX 78756
Brentwood Social House’s pastries
Brentwood Social House’s pastries
Brentwood Social House/Facebook

The home that houses 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.

1601 W Koenig Ln, Austin, TX 78756
Austin, TX 78756

12. Foreign & Domestic

306 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751
Foreign & Domestic
Foreign & Domestic
Raymond Thompson/EATX

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.

306 E 53rd St
Austin, TX 78751

13. Central Market

4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756
Central Market’s playground
Central Market’s playground
Brett J./Yelp

The OG of Austin playground cafes, Central Market has been helping hungry shoppers take a break for over 20 years. The varied menu features standard fare, but there’s something for everyone: pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and grilled proteins (try the falafel sliders or the salmon salad). On Tuesdays, children can eat for free from 5 to 8 p.m.

4001 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78756

14. Olive & June

3411 Glenview Ave, Austin, TX 78703
Pasta from Olive & June
Pasta from Olive & June
Olive & June/Facebook

When the family's feeling a bit more upscale, check out the Bryker Woods Italian restaurant’s Sunday night family meal, featuring a rotating prix fixe three-course menu of antipasti, pasta, and an entree. Even better: kids under the age of 12 eat free.

3411 Glenview Ave
Austin, TX 78703