After having kids, eating out usually feels like much more work than it's worth. From corralling impatient kids, to explaining that yes, dinner will be here soon, to having to eat your meal cold because you were helping your kids the entire time, dining out isn't the relaxing experience it once was in your pre-kid days. Luckily, probably because they know how hard it is on parents, some restaurants do their best to make it easier on you. There are many restaurants where kids can eat for free (or at least super cheap) that take some of the stress out of fine dining for families with kids, and at the time of this posting, these places are just some of them.
Although many of these restaurant's policies will vary depending on location (be sure to call before you go), the majority of them offer daily, weekly, or seasonal specials for kids, usually under age 12. Whether you're looking for a quick meal, a fancy dinner, a birthday party location, or a buffet style, this list has a little bit of everything, for every taste.
Even if there's a 75 to 100 percent chance that your kid's meal will end up on the floor, at least you can say it was free (or almost free).
1. Cici's Pizza
According to Frugal Living, kids under 3 eat free from the pizza buffet at Cici's Pizza everyday at participating locations. Check with your local Cici's too, because they often have certain days where older kids eat free too.
According to Denny's websites, kids eat free on select nights of the week at "America's Diner."
According to Frugal Living, Fuddrucker's lets kids eat for $0.99 on Mondays and Tuesdays from 4 to 9 p.m.
4. Jason's Deli
According to an article by Today, kids eat free at Jason's Deli all day on Sundays, and on Mondays too at some locations.
Kids 12 and under can eat for just $1.99 at Piccadilly, according to the restaurant's site. Their kid's menu includes things like chicken tenders, fried fish, and hamburgers with two sides, a drink, and dessert.
6. Pizza Hut
According to Frugal Living, kids under three can eat for free at Pizza Hut's lunch buffet and on certain days of the week they can eat for free during dinner as well. Be sure to check with your local restaurant for specific details.
7. Rock Bottom Brewery
According to Ikea's website, baby food is free with any purchase, and they also run special promotions for kids 12 and under (who generally eat for just $3 anyway).
Though it's widely based on location, according to Frugal Living, kids under 12 eat free every day at IHOP from four to eight in the evening.
10. Ruby Tuesday
According to the website, kids eat free at Ruby Tuesday every Tuesday from five to close with the purchase of an adult entree.
11. Marie Callender's
Kids eat for free at Marie Callender's on Tuesdays and Saturdays at Marie Callender's. And they even get a slice of the famous pie.
12. Steak 'N Shake
According to Today, kids eat for free at Steak N Shake on Saturdays and Sundays with the purchase of an adult entrée that's $9 or more.
13. Lone Star Steakhouse
Kids eat free all day on Tuesdays at Lone Star Steakhouse.
Depending on location, at Applebee's kids can eat for $.99 (or even free) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.