The list below represents my informal, but thorough polling of friends on the island, with kids. We know pretty much every kid likes McDonald’s, but this list represents restaurants that serve food grown-ups like, but caters to kids as well. Either with a kid’s menu or they are friendly and willing to work with you on dishes for your pickly lil’ eaters. Most of these restaurants are outside the tourist zone and cater well to the year-round local customers. You can click on the heading/title of each restaurant and it will route you to the restaurant’s web page for hours, directions, menus and specials.
One of the nice things about Casa Rojas is the fact that it is in the Pavilion, so it’s in the same building as the movie theatre and just across the street from Bainbridge Performing Arts (live theatre). Casa Rojas has a kid’s menu (to color) and their staff and seating are kid-friendly. My kids love chips and salsa, add a bean burrito and they are good. But, I can order my steak fajitas and we’re all happy. Now if the kids are really having a melt-down, there is Casa Rojas Express next to Rite Aid. However, my friend Wendy, who helped me with this list, thought we couldn’t really count that as a separate restaurant ;) $$$
The Treehouse Cafe has great salads (love the spinach and Cesar) and adult pizzas (Point White Pesto is a family favorite). Now, most kids will not eat food with that much flavor ;) but Treehouse has a great kid’s menu too – and it is reasonably priced. They also have pizza dough to play with a crayons and paper – just ask. My youngest loves their spaghetti and meatballs. Personally, I have always liked the leather couch at Treehouse. It used to be a seating option, for your meal, but now it is a nice place to lounge if you have to wait for your take-out or a table. It is also indulgent to sit outside in the sun (when it is out ) with the new expanded outside seating. Another perk for the kiddos is that they have an old fashioned ice-cream case and serve scooped ice cream. Always a request after dinner! $$$
Sawan’s does not have a kid’s menu, but my husband and I love Thai. The staff at Sawan’s is super nice. Their seating is great for kids and I think it has the nicest Thai ambiance on the island. For kids they will do things like dial down the spice to a one or zero star and my kids will chow down on their chow mein. My oldest daughter just loves white rice, add some veggies and we’re good. However adults can enjoy grown-up food like Green Curry or Shrimp Pad Thai. As an added bonus, there is a playground right outside the restaurant. But, my youngest daughter’s favorite part – is the thin mint they give you with your bill. She fondly refers to Sawan’s as the restaurant that gives you chocolate. $$$
On a nice day it is great to eat outdoors and enjoy a view of Eagle Harbor. Even in the winter, they convert their patio into an indoor/outdoor patio. Doc’s has a wide range of choices for adults and the standard kid’s menu, like chicken strips or a hot dog. However, Doc’s is a nice option because adults can get a very grown-up seafood dinner, like grilled salmon, yet, the kids are happy with their food too. They also have a fun kid’s sundae for dessert. $$$
If you can throw your peanut shells on the floor, you know you are ok to bring your toddler to this restaurant. BI BBQ gives you a basket of warm peanuts (in the shell) when you sit down. Peanut cracking is a very fun and addictive activity to pass the time while you wait for your food. They have a clever western motif, plus a TV and free wi-fi too. The owner’s child, Jazz, is usually there too . . . another sign of a very kid friendly spot. They have a kid’s menu to color and are so nice about making something your child will eat. $$ Updated 4/2013 – Their restaurant on Winslow Way is now closed.