Now that I’m five years and (almost) three children deep into this motherhood thing, I’m here to set the record straight — having children does not need to impact your social life. The great thing about children? They can go wherever you go!
I learned quickly that one of the best things about raising a family in Akron are the endless restaurants that welcome children of all ages.
Here are a few of my favorite family-friendly restaurants in the Akron area!
Appropriately named, considering it’s proximity to Lock 3 in downtown Akron, this gourmet grilled cheese restaurant is perfect for all ages! Grownups can enjoy an extra large variety of craft beers, both on top and hard-to-find bottles, while everyone will certainly enjoy the grilled cheese selections.
All of the signature sandwiches are numbered one through 13. My personal favorite is the Number Six — Cheddar, grilled apples, and applewood smoked bacon on a country buttertop bread — served with a side of goldfish crackers.
For the kids, I’ll get the Number 1 to split — it’s a basic sandwich, but it’s way better than any sandwich I could make for them at home!
The restaurant itself is quite narrow but the staff is always so helpful in making sure my kids are seated at a table that is out of the way.
Family pro tip: The portions are large so if you have a couple of small kids, I recommend splitting a grilled cheese.
Located on the corner of State Road and Chestnut Blvd in Cuyahoga Falls, this hidden gem is a must for seafood-loving families. My husband and I have been going to this restaurant for the last six years. The staff has watched our family grow and continuously urges us to bring the kids with us instead of opting for a sitter.
If going on a weekend, call and make a reservation. They definitely get busy, but as long as you have a reservation, your family (highchairs and all) will most certainly be accommodated.
The kids will be in awe of the art on the walls (the walls are literally works of art themselves). It’s a great distraction until the kids get their meals. Our favorites? The crab cakes, pulled pork, and lobster bisque (ask for extra bread!). But really, my kids will eat anything on the menu — even the seafood etoufee!
Family pro tip: They do not take credit so make sure you have cash! Also, it’s BYOB, so bring a bottle of wine!
This fast-casual deli, located right on Main Street downtown, is the epitome of a family restaurant — and it’s truly an Akron staple.
The owners and most of the staff are family members, and the menu is full of even more family members with sandwiches like the “Where’s Jason?”, the “Mom Come Get Me — I’m Sick,” or, my favorite sandwich, the Old Bald Guy.
Being a family-owned and family-run restaurant, it’s the perfect spot to bring your family for a quick, delicious, and homemade lunch. There are no kids menus, but they just make every kid feel so welcome.
Family pro tip: Get a slice of the cheesecake, too.
Located on Steels Corners Road, just minutes from Blossom Music Center, this drive-in (and dine-in) hot dog restaurant serves incredibly fun hot dog creations, spicy hamburgers, a pound of seasoned fresh-cut french fries, homemade custard, and Thirsty Dog root beer and beer!
We’ve been taking the kids since they opened several years ago and each and every time we are in, we are treated like family. The owners always greet us with open arms before filling our bellies with delicious food. The kids love to sit and color, put Monster Dog stickers all over, and eat as many fries as their tiny tummies can handle.
Mom and dad love that they can sit back and relax while someone else makes dinner! Oh – and the Retro Lite beer — brewed by Thirsty Dog specifically for Retro Dog — doesn’t hurt either!
Family pro tip: Get ‘the Pounder’ of fries and split with everyone.
Located at the corner of State Road and Broad Boulevard in Cuyahoga Falls, the Blue Door is the perfect breakfast or lunch spot for any family.
Their commitment to ‘good food,’ free of chemicals, is something that is important to us as a family, and a value we hope to pass on to our children. So when the kids want to order a chocolate croissant for breakfast, we let them! And the croissants are truly delicious!
If you’re in the mood for lunch, I highly recommend the Chicken and Waffles, but my oldest will tell you that you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Pro tip: Arrive early on the weekends — they will be very, very, busy and they do not offer reservations for breakfast/lunch.
This should be a no-brainer for anyone visiting Akron, but just in case you needed a gentle reminder, Luigi’s restaurant is perfect for families of all ages and sizes.
You cannot go wrong with Luigi’s Pizza. You just can’t. Ask my kids.
They are still cash-only, and if you go on a weekend, arrive early or be prepared to wait. But Luigi’s has family-friendly down to an art. They know families want to get in and out as quickly as possible and avoid any significant wait for meals to arrive, so everything comes fast — be ready to eat!
My kids love the massive amounts of cheese on the pizza, and this mama loves the massive amounts of cheese on the salads. It’s the perfect place to grab a pizza with the whole family any day of the week!
Family pro tip: Order the large. It won’t go to waste. And never, ever, decline cheese on your salad.
Honestly, this list could go on and on. I’ve found that most places are more than willing to welcome children with open arms — even many breweries are family friendly (I’m looking at you, HiHo!).
So parents — existing and expecting — don’t be afraid to get out and explore with your kids, regardless of their age. Go out to eat, enjoy, and remember that everyone has been there and everyone deserves a meal out of the home.
And thank you to those amazing restauranteurs and staff for welcoming this generation, with their arms and hearts full, to dine at your establishments. We want to have our cake and eat it too — and you truly make that possible.