Why, when you become a parent that the thing you used to love to do – becomes the hardest thing to do?  Being a parent is HARD- but it’s super-hard when you go from independent adult to suddenly having another person (or people) that you are responsible for 24/7.  Who are you?  Are you the same person?  Can you still do the same things?  Before Andy and I had kids, we swore up and down that we would NOT change who we were once we had kids.  We swore we would still travel, still go out and have fun, and of course, eat out at foodie restaurants – just like the old days.  And we HAVE- we have done all those things- just in a modified way.  We believed from the beginning that exposing your children to your life- will help them grow, learn, and adapt so that we could keep doing the same things we always had but doing it together.  One of the greatest joys that we have had as parents is dining out with our kids.  We love going out for an evening, talking, eating great food, and making memories.

Talking to many parents, one of the things that amazes me the most is the young families confusion or belief that you can’t still be who you were, that you have to stay home or modify your life- one of those being the misconception that there is no place to eat out with your kids.  In St. Louis- this is so not true.  You do not have be confined to eating fast food, or at chain restaurants- there are so many local family/kid friendly restaurants that you can go to and have a great evening out- and it doesn’t have to break the bank.  I get it, parents get scared that their kids will act up, that the meal will be miserable, that it’s too expensive- but there are great places here that aren’t like that- sometimes you just don’t know about them.  Well, knowledge is king here are a few of our favorites in this Part 1 Foodies Guide to Dining Out with Kids in STL.

  1. PastariaItalian– inevitably the best go-to in the city for family-friendly dining.  This family-focused dining hall has a killer kids menu with a gelato case in restaurant.  All kids meals are $10 and include an entree (including famous risotto balls), a drink and dessert.  The ceilings are tall and its loud- no need need to worry if junior gets a little rowdy.  Great wine list and pastas are some of the best in the city.  Pastaria is also a kidzxplor Perks partner where you can save 10% off any kids meal.  Lunch and dinner Mon–Fri, brunch sat & Sun. 7734 Forsyth in Clayton. 314-862-6603.
  2. Half & HalfBreakfast/Brunch/Lunch- The pancakes and french toast are to die for for the kids- and the impressive coffee service is great for Mom & Dad.  There’s long lines on the weekend- so get there early- or late.  Breakfast and lunch Tue–Fri, Sat & Sun brunch. 8135 Maryland in Clayton. 314-725-0719
  3. ‘ZZA Pizza & Salads– Oh my ‘ZZA!  Straight from the founder and owner of Pi but in a fast-casual setting.  Pizza and salads rule the roost here and everything is delicious- and everything is $9.00!  Great for eat-in or pick-up to take to next door Forest Park for a picnic.  Checkout the “to-go” wine & beer fridge too with tons of different tastings.  ‘ZZA also has curbside pickup to swing through and get your pizza on the go.  Use your kidzxplor Perk for a kids cheese or pepperoni pizza for only $5.  282 N. Skinker Blvd. in University City and soon to be in the CWE.
  4. 5 Star BurgersBurgers– Easily one of the best burgers in STL- and a great kids menu with Serendipity ice cream shooters for only $1 after the meal.  Great prices with $4.00 kids meals and the burgers are delicious.  8125 Maryland Avenue in Clayton11621 Olive Boulevard in Creve Coeur.
  5. The Shack Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch– Brunch that STL has been looking for for years.  Delicious and broad creative menu with an emphasis on fun as much as food.  Delicious cocoa krispy smoothies for the kids, large portions, great coffee, and great ingredients.  A gluten-free lovers dream as the restaurant is completely gluten-free friendly.  Oh- and a bar with great bloody’s and mimosa’s.  Brunch done right.  Three locations: 13645 Big Bend Road in Valley Park, 14810 Clayton Rd. in Chesterfield & 731 S. Lindbergh in Ladue.
  6. Katie’s Pizza & OsteriaItalian– STL’s darling restaurant that really is that good guys.  Perfect for the parents- and perfect for the kids. Rose’ and a curated wine list for the 21+ crowd with delicious, unique and fresh Italian classics and innovators as well (crispy artichoke salad oh my).  Kids have a pizza & pasta focused menu all under $7.00 with the best buttered noodles that you’ve ever had.  Truly, a parents dream dinner night out.  Everyone goes home happy.  9568 Manchester Road in Rock Hill & 14171 Clayton Road in Chesterfield.
  7. Fozzie’s Sandwiches/Salads- Local sandwich shop believing in the good stuff- all natural ingredients, fresh herbs and vegetables grown from their garden.  Unique sandwich and salad recipes and always delicious- also featuring gyro’s, dogs, and burgers.  Kids wee-wiches are all sub $5.00 and come with delicious homemade chips or fruit (and good fruit- not just melon).  They also have a great shake menu – motivation to get finish your plate.  1170 S. Big Bend Blvd. in Richmond Heights & 11656 Manchester Rd in Des Peres.

Those are just a bit of what the city has to offer- what are your favorite places?