Wednesday, February 21, 2007 | Cincinnati.Com » CiN Weekly » Dining Guide » Where kids eat free

Where kids eat free

Family friendly


While the arrival of a newborn child is exciting to parents, the euphoria is a trade-off for one of parenthood's cruelest sacrifices - a dramatic decline in the quality of the dining out experience. Child-rearing trades candlelit dinners for tantrums and stained clothing. And, all too often, eating out with a child means a recently purchased food item is going to end up grounded beside a high chair. It happens, but the financially savvy parent can afford a smile rather than a wince if the discarded bit of sustenance on the floor was on the house.

Check out our day-by-day guide to some local places where kids eat free.

MONDAY: MIKE AND JIMMY'S CHOPHOUSE GRILL

DEAL: Get up to two free kids' meals for each adult entree purchased

Part Chicago-style steakhouse, part classic bar, Mike and Jimmy's Chophouse Grill is a classy place for a family night out. With a warm, elegant atmosphere and an energetic bar, Mike and Jimmy's might be a crust above the average family restaurant. But whoever said that having kids means you don't deserve fresh lobster, chops or a well-prepared porterhouse?

WHEN: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: 2809 Dixie Hwy., Crestview Hills

PRICE: $10.95-$28.85

CONTACT: 859-344-0444 or www.mikeandjimmys.com

MONDAY: RED STAR TAVERN

DEAL: One free kids' meal for every adult meal purchased

Children deserve a swanky meal out now and again. Those fast-food kids' meals can get a bit passé for even the most pedestrian of toddlers. For the finest in family-friendly fare, head to Red Star Tavern where the chic décor includes retro-modern booths and tables. The full menu offers appetizers and entrees ranging from sandwiches to steaks, with quality vegetarian options, tasty sweets and kids meals. And because getting picky kids to eat can be taxing, there are 27 varieties of martinis for moms and dads.

WHEN: Open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and noon to 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday

WHERE:5045 Deerfield Blvd., Deerfield Twp.

PRICE: Dinner sandwiches $7.95-$10.95, entrees $9.95-$24.95

CONTACT: 513-398-0070 or www.redstartavern.net

TUESDAY: CAZADORES

DEAL: Kids eat free

Finding an authentic Mexican restaurant that's kid-friendly can be a challenge, but at Cazadores, you'll find both. The fiesta-like atmosphere - DayGlo piñatas, velvet paintings, mini sombreros - is balanced by genuine dishes such as birria estilo Jalisco (shredded beef cooked in a tangy red sauce) and pollo tropical (grilled chicken cooked with pineapple and melted cheese). And with family amenities such as chicken fingers and the ever-appealing kids-eat-free night, Cazadores is a safe bet for the whole brood.

WHEN: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: 1061 Reading Road, Mason. Also at 750 Ohio 28, Milford and 1350 E. Second St., Franklin.

PRICE: $1.95-$24.99

CONTACT: 513-459-9464 or www.cazadoresrestaurants.com

WEDNESDAY: PIZZA TOWER

DEAL: Kids get a personal one-topping pizza for free (maximum two kids 10 and under per paying adult) from 4 to 9 p.m.

Picking a restaurant that makes kids and adults happy can often be a challenge of dizzying proportions, but that likely won't be an issue at the Pizza Tower. Kids are handed dough to play with upon entering the tower-modeled building, and the combination Italian/family restaurant and American pizza joint is sure to please all. Menu items range from fried mushrooms and shrimp pasta alfredo to specialty pizza and calzones.

WHEN: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

WHERE: 8945 Governor's Way, Symmes Twp.

PRICE: $3.09-$19.05

CONTACT: 513-683-8400; www.pizzatower.com

THURSDAY: CICI'S PIZZA

DEAL: Kids 3 and under eat free

Too often, "family friendly" means either A) it's an adult eatery with a few generic kids' meals or B) it's a kids' place that's just parent-tolerable enough to not provoke a mascot tackle. CiCi's makes a valid attempt to cater to both groups, however, with buffet items including various pizzas, pastas and salads. There's also an arcade room that mysteriously drains any available quarters from the surrounding area.

WHEN: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

WHERE: 7645 Voice of America Centre Drive, West Chester Twp. Also in Colerain Twp., Fairfield, Finneytown, Florence, Hamilton, Springdale, Union Twp. and Westwood.

PRICE: $4.49; $2.79 ages 10 and under. Drinks $1.19 with buffet, 98 cents for kids.

CONTACT: 513-463-2424 or www.cicispizza.com

FRIDAY: TOOT'S

DEAL: Free kids' hot dog, ice cream and balloon

Some of the most endearing features of Toot's are the ubiquitous "tootisms" - corny jokes and conversation-starters that pepper every surface not already claimed by sports memorabilia and televisions. Housed in an old barn, Toot's is a neighborhood place, a family-friendly eatery that serves up a wide variety of surf and turf offerings, from oysters (the house specialty) to baby-back ribs. Burgers and shrimp baskets are popular choices, as well.

WHEN: Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday

WHERE: 12191 Montgomery Road, Loveland

PRICE: $4.37-$13.32

CONTACT: 513-697-9100 or www.toots.com

SATURDAY: SALSARITA'S

DEAL: Kids eat free (taco or quesadilla, chips, cookie and drink) with each adult entree purchase after 4 p.m. (dine-in only)

"Subway-style" Mexican restaurants - where workers make your food in front of you - are a popular addition to the fast-casual dining front. But Salsarita's ups the ante with a bright, lively décor that reflects the cantina-style menu. Choices include a variety of Mexican staples like burritos, tacos and quesadillas made with a variety of fresh ingredients.

WHEN: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday

WHERE: 9344 Union Centre Blvd., West Chester Twp. (The Crestview Hills location, at 2426 Baxter Ave., offers free kids' meals on Sundays.)

PRICE: $4.49-$6.59

CONTACT: 513-860-2920 or www.salsaritas.com

EVERY DAY: MAGGIANO'S LITTLE ITALY

DEAL: Children 4 and under eat free and kids ages 5-12 eat for half-price (family-style)

Sometimes you want to scrub the grit from your kids' faces, dress them in an outfit that matches and head out for a meal that doesn't involve a dancing plush mouse or a creepy, towering clown. Maggiano's is a good direction when this mood strikes a parent. This chain restaurant is classy, with polished wood and antique embellishments throughout, but it's also comfortable enough to bring fidgety toddlers. The menu offers families options, too, with both individual and family-sized servings of Italian standards.

WHEN: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

WHERE: Kenwood Towne Centre, 7875 Montgomery Road, Kenwood

PRICE: $10-$30

CONTACT: 513-794-0670 or www.maggianos.com


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Cici's Pizza
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Cici's Pizza

Maggiano's Little Italy
Maggiano's Little Italy

Mike and Jimmy's Chophouse Grill
Mike and Jimmy's Chophouse Grill

Mike and Jenny Long enjoy a meal with sons Gabe (left) and Ben at Toot's in Loveland.
Mike and Jenny Long enjoy a meal with sons Gabe (left) and Ben at Toot's in Loveland.

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