According to my 19 month old daughter, a “kid friendly” place to eat is anywhere she can stare at, talk to, and interact with all of the other diners and staff. A real plus is when there is a little room for her to roam without Mama and Papa losing her. My standards are a bit higher than hers, however. In addition to making sure my kid is happy at dinner, I want to be able to enjoy myself a bit too. Luckily, in Denver there are tons of places that meet both criteria. Here are our top 5 favorites:
1- Lowry Beer Garden. Don’t let the name fool you–this place is much more than just beer. It is the perfect spot for delicious pub-inspired food and drinks, where your kids can let loose as well. They have indoor-outdoor seating that makes it easy to roam, a lively enough environment where other patrons won’t notice if your tot is a little loud, and a great kid-friendly menu. Our little one always devours a house-made veggie burger with swiss cheese (without the bun), and tries really hard to steal Mama & Papa’s sweet potato fries and fried pickles. And make sure to have an Apricot Blonde on tap from neighboring-Aurora’s Dry Dock Brewing while you’re there. It’s especially delicious in the summer.
2- Union Station. This Denver landmark is not just the main transportation hub for all commuters in and out of downtown–it also houses some really yummy food and drink options, and it’s perfect for kids. Enjoy a drink from the Terminal Bar while you follow your tot around as they explore the main terminal. Needing some caffeine?– grab a latte and a maple bacon donut to share with your kiddo at Pigtrain Coffee Co. If you’re hungry for a Benedict and some french toast, put your name on the waiting list at Snooze for brunch. During your wait, read some children’s books in the Tattered Cover Bookstore Union Station location. For an extra sweet treat, try an old fashioned shake from Milkbox Ice Creamery. There are too many amazing culinary options inside this legendary location to name them all.
3- Vine Street Pub & Brewery. A great local brewery whose clientele will definitely not make you feel guilty about bringing your kids to a bar. This Denver location is just one of the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery family and their other locations are just as wonderful as well. The Avocado or Hummus & Cheese sandwiches are always hits with our daughter, and we adore their Tempeh Reuben and Colorado Kind Ale.
4- Snarf’s. How do I love thee? It’s impossible to count the ways. Go to the Capitol Hill location, grab an Eggplant Parmesan sandwich for you, a Peanut Butter, Honey, & Banana sandwich for your little one, and walk up to Cheeseman Park for a picnic. Then when your kid runs off for the playground, swoop in and finish off her PBH&B sandwich because secretly you really wanted to order it yourself, and for good reason.
5- Comida @ The Source. The Source is similar to Union Station in that it has a lot of room to explore, and is much much more than just great food. We’ve had sour beers at Crooked Stave while our daughter crawls around outside by the Yacht Club, snacked on a loaf of Olive Bread from Babettes while shopping for dinner provisions at Mondo Market, grabbed an afternoon pick-me-up from Boxcar while sharing nibbles of a Ritual chocolate bar with our daughter. And for when you’re not wandering, Comida is the place to go for a sit down meal that parents & kiddos will both love. The smoked gouda sweet potatoes are perfect for toothless mouths and the watermelon jalapeno margarita is perfect for the grown ups in the group. A super laid back environment and a great place to stretch your little one’s taste buds.
So next time you get out with your kiddos for a Denver culinary adventure, give one of our favorites a try. And remember–family friendly does not have to mean bouncy houses, all you can eat buffets, or chicken fingers & pizza. Denver has so much more to offer!
Any places you recommend for us to check out on our next outing?