Austin is known for it’s hip, local music scene, and no surprise, for it’s cuisine.  From local trailer park food serving chef prepared delicacies to 5 star fine restaurants and everything in between.   The laid back charm of this capital town makes just about every restaurant, Kid Friendly.  I am passionate about healthy food for everyone, and especially for children.  There is an alternative to fries as a side.  More and more restaurants are recognizing the importance to serve more healthy kids’ meals, so I added the filters below.  I was challenged a bit in researching for this blog as  1) we don’t eat out often and 2) we can usually find food for our children just about anywhere we go, as they adapt well.
Tip:  Don’t automatically order from the kids menu. Your children may find something they like on the adult menu, let them split an entree; save money and eat healthier!

In this review, I looked for places that met at least one of these criteria:
– Had an attraction (play scape, water feature, animals/fish, etc.)
– Had lots of area to move around, inside/outside feature
– Better than the standard ‘kids menu fare’
– Doesn’t take a long time to get your food, yet, it wasnt’ fast food

And, honestly, I tend to lean towards fresh, fast, and healthy when it comes to picking spots to eat with my kids.  Then, what you pick starts to become their favorites and they’ll request it!

If you are looking for a exclusive review of burgers and pizza places for kids – Check out this great review from Land of Labe.

Waterloo Icehouse – 14900 Avery Ranch Blvd., Austin, TX 78717
The Avery Ranch North location has a playscape outside, a large outdoor patio with picnic tables, fun and interesting décor to keep your attention, and many options on the menu.  Options include all day breakfast, huge salads, tacos, fried anything you want, sandwiches and burgers, and daily specials.

The kids menu offered many different entrees and you could get a fruit or vegetable as a side.  The drink choice is also juice or milk or soda – instead of the soda only option like some places. Breakfast all day long too! We ordered a kids cheeseburger with veggies (steamed broccoli and carrots) on the side.
With 8 locations in Austin, there is one near you!

Mesa Rosa – 15515 FM 620, Austin, Texas 78717
With four locations in North Austin and Round Rock – this is popular place in North Austin!  The location on 620 offers outdoor patio seating and large indoor dining space too!  Very family friendly with a large menu selection.

Kids favorites – Share fajitas with the family and they get to make there ‘own fajita taco’, quesadillas, rice and beans and chips and hot sauce of course!  And, maybe, just maybe, we had the fried ice cream there one time!  Kids loved it.

Freddies Place – 1703 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
A seriously hip dive in South Austin with plenty of outdoor space to explore. Tons of kid centered activities – check out their calendar.  Movies outside and live music for the whole family to enjoy, washer pits and TVs, just to name a few of the many attractions this place has going for it!
Gluten Free menu options, breakfast and a wide variety of good eats!

Chicken and Waffles – $8.99

Kid Favorites – PBandJelly, Cheddar Cheeseburger or Waffle.
So, tell me, are you going to try the FredElvis? Check out Freddies to find out what it is!

Reunion Grille – 1501 E. New Hope Dr., Cedar Park, TX 78613
If you haven’t visited this place yet, you should check it out.  Reunion Grille if just off the 183A Toll and offers a large 1 acre outdoor roaming around space, children’s playscape, and a stage for live music every weekend.  It features family-friendly, gourmet comfort food dining in a Texas inspired rustic modern décor atmosphere. One of its better features – they take reservations! (with some exclusions)
My friend Shannon, pictured below, is enjoying a sunny meal at Reunion – her new favorite place!  See the kids playscape in the background?

The Kids Menu entrees include one side of mashed potatoes, broccoli, applesauce, fries, or mac-n-cheese.

Shannon’s Kid’s Favorites – spinach strawberry salad, hamburger

Blue Baker – 10000 Research Blvd., Building A, Austin, TX 78759
When it comes to an ‘attraction for kids’ – this place has it!  Watch them make their bread dough for your sandwiches, or watch pounds of butter go into your favorite cookie recipe.  Their bake shop is enclosed with huge glass walls where you can watch the magic happen.  They have a large selection of deli sandwiches, soups, salads, and pizzas. Order your meal at the counter and pick a booth or table to sit at!  Don’t forget your cookie.

Chuy’s – 11680 North Research Blvd., Austin, TX 78759
Although now a chain spreading quickly – Chuy’s is an Austin original.  We like the North Research location, again, because of it’s outdoor seating option.  Outdoor seating does several things for you when eating out with the family.  1) Kids have a little more room to ‘spread out’  2) Fresh air sometimes does wonders for fussy babes  3) You can usually get seated more quickly if you request outdoor dining.

Kid Favorites – Fajitas, Chicken Tacos, Quesadillas, Rice and Beans, and the Kids Coloring Sheet!

Tropical Smoothie Café – 14900 Avery Ranch Blvd, Suite B 400, Austin, TX 78717
Okay, so not inclusive to Austin.  But, these little locations, 3 of them in Austin and Cedar Park offer fast, fresh and healthy.  Kids can dine on just a smoothie alone (with umpteen different flavor combinations to choose from) or sandwich and/or salad.

IKEA Park in Round Rock – Razzoos/Mighty Fine/Sandellas Flatbread Cafe
With a mighty fine playscape park that sits outside the back of several restaurants, you have choices, and so do your kids. We used to frequent this “Park” for lunch before my kids were in school full time.  You can eat lunch outside, and then continue to hang out at your table while the kids play on the playscapes (2 of them!)  My daughter loves this location because of the unique qualities of the playscape.  Razoos has a fun atmosphere with live music, and much to look at.

Sandellas Kid Favorites – wraps, flat breads, and pizzas.
Razzoos Kid Favorites (from a friend) – Blackened fish and mac-n-cheese.

Torchys Tacos – 1311 South First Street, Austin, TX – Trailer Park
Many locations throughout Austin to choose from – you are not too far from one.  After our first visit to the 620 location, we went back a day later – because we wanted more!  It was my 8 year old daughter’s pick for brunch – so it must be a kid friendly eatery!  Plus there is a playscape at the 620 location.

They have an Independent – Veggie Taco – which I think I’ll try tomorrow when we go.  But, the Fried Avocado and Chicken Fajita are good too! With so many tacos to choose from, I’ll share my kids’ favorites.

Kid favorites – Egg and Bacon Taco, The Trailer Park Kids Meal (fried chicken tenders that we put into a tortilla)

Shady Grove –  1624 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX  78704
Known for its laid back outside/inside casual eating – where they ask you to stay awhile.  It’s been our family spot for lunches just before a ride on the train at Zilker or a swim at Barton Springs. Fun place to hang out on a pretty day while you wait for your table.  My kids own a T-shirt from here too!

A house favorite here – The Hippie Chick – the mushroom/veggie sandwich
But, I’m pretty sure my kids always get hamburgers here.

If you have a favorite kid friendly eat place in the Austin area, and I missed it, please let me know so I can check it out. Thanks!

There are 70+ more guides written by local food bloggers – check out the 2013 Austin City Guide.
If you want to check out last year’s City Guide, here it is: 2012 Austin City Guide.