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The Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in Chicago Right Now

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This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Between appetizers, entrées, and desserts, let’s face it: dining out can get pricey (especially when feeding the whole family). Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable options in Chicago that showcase truly quality fare for everyone at the table, right down to the pickiest of the party. The best part? You won’t have to nix the perfect drink pairing at any of these spots — each one offers an ice-cold stock of Coca-Cola. Here are 11 places to check out right now, and you can rest assured, none of these crowd-pleasing options will break the bank.

A number of Chicago restaurants have resumed dine-in service at 25 percent capacity. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit chicago.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine

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It’s all about sharing at this family-run restaurant, where the team serves large-format dishes steeped in East African spices. Start with the Shiro, a house specialty of chickpea stew with garlic and ginger that’s served with injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread perfect for dipping. Follow it up with the Zil-Zil Tibs, a colorful platter of beef, jalapeno, and tomatoes that packs a punch. A Coca-Cola could come in handy to balance things out.

A variety of dishes, in takeout containers, from the Chicago restaurant Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine.
Courtesy of Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine

Smoque BBQ

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You can’t go wrong with a chopped brisket or pulled-pork sandwich here, and the half-slab of baby back ribs goes for just under $20 (complete with slaw and two sides). If you’re planning family meals ahead of schedule, you can take home brisket or pulled pork by the pound, too.

Brown Bag Seafood Co.

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There’s something for everyone at this seafood spot, with its mix of freshly caught fish, but let’s take a moment to focus on the kids’ menu. The little ones can pick between options like grilled salmon, fish bites, or a grilled chicken sandwich, each one going for $7 or less.

BIG & little's Restaurant

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Comfort fare gets a little twist at this neighborhood favorite, where loyal fans line up for dozens of eat-with-your-hands dishes. The menu features nine kinds of burgers, five po’ boys, and 17 different taco preps (not including breakfast options). You might especially want to try the banh mi and mango chutney tacos, the softshell crab po’ boy, and the Al Pastor Burger, with fried pork belly and grilled pineapple. Wash it all down with a Coke, only to follow it up with some of the citywide-famous fries.

Pizzeria Serio

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Cater to the entire crew at this Chicago staple, where East Coast, Neapolitan-style pizza is the signature. Taste Italian-inspired appetizers, like cheesy flatbread, mini calzones, or bruschetta, then move on to the main event — the pizza. House specialties include the Big Cheese (with provolone, asiago, and mozzarella) or the Spinach (with goat cheese, ricotta, and fresh garlic). Post-pie, a round of cinnamon sticks, baked to perfection, make the perfect way to cap off a meal.

A plate of mini calzones with marinara sauce from the Chicago restaurant Pizzeria Serio.
Courtesy of Pizzeria Serio

Strings Ramen Shop Lakeview

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For a surefire dinner solution the whole family can agree on, make it noodles — especially from this ramen shop that locals swear by. More than a dozen ramen varieties are on the menu, ranging from a comforting miso ramen with turkey to a series of Jigoku bowls, featuring the spiciest of chilies and even ghost peppers. Kids can choose tamer dishes, like a more modestly sized ramen portion, pork over fried rice, or vegetable dumplings.

A bowl of ramen from the restaurant Strings Ramen Shop in Chicago.
Courtesy of Strings Ramen Shop
DLM Photography

Zizi's Cafe

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You can go for a variety of Middle Eastern dishes at this Turkish restaurant, a favorite in the neighborhood for its expansive menu and quality service. Begin with a round of reliable starters, like hummus and dolma, then settle in for more substantial fare: falafel, kebab, and pide, a flatbread with toppings like lamb, chicken, or spicy sausage.

An egg dish in a metal tray from the Chicago restaurant Zizi’s Cafe.
Courtesy of Zizi’s Cafe

Mundano

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Expect big flavors and low price points at this Lincoln Park hangout, where you can dine on New American dishes in a relaxed space. And everyone is bound to get their veggies here. Case in point: plates like grilled radishes and a squash tostada. Sweet corn spoon bread or savory churros are other menu musts, along with kid-friendly fixes like quesadillas and shrimp pasta.

Burger Bar

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Nearly a dozen different burgers are up for grabs here, ranging from the basic to the elaborate (with toppings like jalapeno chorizo, smoked pulled pork, or a fried egg). And though patties are the prime attractions, the menu also offers up guacamole, mac and cheese, and four different kinds of wings. 

Big Star

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Did someone call for tacos? This Chicago go-to serves them seven ways, including al pastor, barbacoa, and classic chicken. There’s a kids’ quesadilla on the menu, and you won’t want to miss the Big Star Nachos or Sonoran Hot Dog, wrapped in bacon and covered in all the best toppings.

A plate with three tacos from the Chicago restaurant Big Star.
Courtesy of Big Star

Eleven | Eleven

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At this restaurant and bar, a rotisserie grill is responsible for two of the signature dishes: spit-roasted BBQ cauliflower with slaw, and a half chicken with marinated chickpeas and hummus. Meanwhile, there are plenty of choices for the kiddos, too, including the cheddar cheeseburger, bucatini pasta with parmesan, or the fried chicken sandwich, served on fluffy ciabatta bread. 

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine

A variety of dishes, in takeout containers, from the Chicago restaurant Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine.
Courtesy of Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine

It’s all about sharing at this family-run restaurant, where the team serves large-format dishes steeped in East African spices. Start with the Shiro, a house specialty of chickpea stew with garlic and ginger that’s served with injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread perfect for dipping. Follow it up with the Zil-Zil Tibs, a colorful platter of beef, jalapeno, and tomatoes that packs a punch. A Coca-Cola could come in handy to balance things out.

A variety of dishes, in takeout containers, from the Chicago restaurant Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine.
Courtesy of Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine

Smoque BBQ

You can’t go wrong with a chopped brisket or pulled-pork sandwich here, and the half-slab of baby back ribs goes for just under $20 (complete with slaw and two sides). If you’re planning family meals ahead of schedule, you can take home brisket or pulled pork by the pound, too.

Brown Bag Seafood Co.

There’s something for everyone at this seafood spot, with its mix of freshly caught fish, but let’s take a moment to focus on the kids’ menu. The little ones can pick between options like grilled salmon, fish bites, or a grilled chicken sandwich, each one going for $7 or less.

BIG & little's Restaurant

Comfort fare gets a little twist at this neighborhood favorite, where loyal fans line up for dozens of eat-with-your-hands dishes. The menu features nine kinds of burgers, five po’ boys, and 17 different taco preps (not including breakfast options). You might especially want to try the banh mi and mango chutney tacos, the softshell crab po’ boy, and the Al Pastor Burger, with fried pork belly and grilled pineapple. Wash it all down with a Coke, only to follow it up with some of the citywide-famous fries.

Pizzeria Serio

A plate of mini calzones with marinara sauce from the Chicago restaurant Pizzeria Serio.
Courtesy of Pizzeria Serio

Cater to the entire crew at this Chicago staple, where East Coast, Neapolitan-style pizza is the signature. Taste Italian-inspired appetizers, like cheesy flatbread, mini calzones, or bruschetta, then move on to the main event — the pizza. House specialties include the Big Cheese (with provolone, asiago, and mozzarella) or the Spinach (with goat cheese, ricotta, and fresh garlic). Post-pie, a round of cinnamon sticks, baked to perfection, make the perfect way to cap off a meal.

A plate of mini calzones with marinara sauce from the Chicago restaurant Pizzeria Serio.
Courtesy of Pizzeria Serio

Strings Ramen Shop Lakeview

A bowl of ramen from the restaurant Strings Ramen Shop in Chicago.
Courtesy of Strings Ramen Shop
DLM Photography

For a surefire dinner solution the whole family can agree on, make it noodles — especially from this ramen shop that locals swear by. More than a dozen ramen varieties are on the menu, ranging from a comforting miso ramen with turkey to a series of Jigoku bowls, featuring the spiciest of chilies and even ghost peppers. Kids can choose tamer dishes, like a more modestly sized ramen portion, pork over fried rice, or vegetable dumplings.

A bowl of ramen from the restaurant Strings Ramen Shop in Chicago.
Courtesy of Strings Ramen Shop
DLM Photography

Zizi's Cafe

An egg dish in a metal tray from the Chicago restaurant Zizi’s Cafe.
Courtesy of Zizi’s Cafe

You can go for a variety of Middle Eastern dishes at this Turkish restaurant, a favorite in the neighborhood for its expansive menu and quality service. Begin with a round of reliable starters, like hummus and dolma, then settle in for more substantial fare: falafel, kebab, and pide, a flatbread with toppings like lamb, chicken, or spicy sausage.

An egg dish in a metal tray from the Chicago restaurant Zizi’s Cafe.
Courtesy of Zizi’s Cafe

Mundano

Expect big flavors and low price points at this Lincoln Park hangout, where you can dine on New American dishes in a relaxed space. And everyone is bound to get their veggies here. Case in point: plates like grilled radishes and a squash tostada. Sweet corn spoon bread or savory churros are other menu musts, along with kid-friendly fixes like quesadillas and shrimp pasta.

Burger Bar

Nearly a dozen different burgers are up for grabs here, ranging from the basic to the elaborate (with toppings like jalapeno chorizo, smoked pulled pork, or a fried egg). And though patties are the prime attractions, the menu also offers up guacamole, mac and cheese, and four different kinds of wings. 

Big Star

A plate with three tacos from the Chicago restaurant Big Star.
Courtesy of Big Star

Did someone call for tacos? This Chicago go-to serves them seven ways, including al pastor, barbacoa, and classic chicken. There’s a kids’ quesadilla on the menu, and you won’t want to miss the Big Star Nachos or Sonoran Hot Dog, wrapped in bacon and covered in all the best toppings.

A plate with three tacos from the Chicago restaurant Big Star.
Courtesy of Big Star

Eleven | Eleven

At this restaurant and bar, a rotisserie grill is responsible for two of the signature dishes: spit-roasted BBQ cauliflower with slaw, and a half chicken with marinated chickpeas and hummus. Meanwhile, there are plenty of choices for the kiddos, too, including the cheddar cheeseburger, bucatini pasta with parmesan, or the fried chicken sandwich, served on fluffy ciabatta bread. 

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