Eating Out With the Kids: It Doesn’t Have To Be An OrdealNov 21, 2021 08:15PM ● By ANN MARIE O’PHELAN
- As any parent can attest, going out to eat with the kids can be challenging. They get bored, don’t like the food, and sometimes make a mess. It’s always a relief to find a restaurant that understands. While most parents are all too familiar with fast-food spots and concession stands inside busy arcades with loud, larger-than-life atmospheres, there are some good local restaurants that are perfect for parents and their little ones.
At Parrot Key Caribbean Grill in Fort Myers Beach, the kids will be happy with the lively atmosphere and the fun children’s menu. While the adults enjoy Caribbean-inspired seafood, salads, and plates of pasta, along with tropical drinks, the kids can chow down on favorites such as chicken fingers, grilled cheese, and cheese pizza—all with a free side and beverage. The flip side of the menu features a spot they can use to color and create beautiful Parrot Key art with the provided crayons. High chairs are available.
The young diners may also find a welcome distraction in the activity and picturesque view from the waterfront restaurant, which is located at Salty Sam's Marina. “We love kids at Parrot Key!” says Ryan VanDenabeele, director of marketing and events at Salty Sam’s.
In addition, the kids will be intrigued by the all-ages Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise, which leaves from the marina every day. “Kids turn into fun-loving pirates with face paint, plastic swords, and have a great time,” says VanDenabeele. Once the Pirate Cruise returns to Salty Sam’s, many families stop at Parrot Key for a meal. Parrot Key t-shirts and other pirate-themed memorabilia are available at the on-site Ship Store.
Another option for dining with kids in Southwest Florida is Pinchers. With locations in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs, Naples, and beyond, a Pinchers is never too far away. This is a lucky thing for hungry kids and their families—especially when the question is, “Are we there yet?”
What makes Pinchers perfect for kids—besides the fresh seafood and other American favorites—is that the interior is brightly colored, and there’s lively music. What makes it appealing to parents is that kids under 12 eat free—with a paid adult meal.
The kid’s menu features spaghetti with marinara or butter sauce, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and more. Drinks and the restaurant’s famous smiley fries are included. “The popcorn shrimp are always a big hit,” says Kevin Rooney, VP marketing.
Plus, the kid’s menus include fun games (crayons provided) to keep them occupied, at least for a while. Booster seats and high chairs are available.
In North Naples the Seed to Table Market offers an interesting place to bring the little ones to shop and enjoy some tasty treats along the way. The market offers fresh produce, a fish market, bakery, deli, ice cream shop, juice and smoothie bar, restaurants and food kiosks, and more, along with an indoor playground. The kids are securely checked in and out of the playground so they can enjoy themselves while their parents are shopping or eating.
Menu items include burgers, steaks, tacos, fish, and pizza, and the kid’s menu has favorites like macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, chicken sandwich, and cheese quesadilla. Kids under 10 get a free breakfast every day—French toast, pancakes, or breakfast burritos— with the purchase of an adult meal. High chairs and boosters are available.
Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.
2500 Main Street, Fort Myers Beach
Southwest Florida Locations
28580 Bonita Crossing Blvd., Bonita Springs,
5991 Silver King Blvd., Cape Coral
10029 Gulf Center Drive, Fort Myers
2360 West First Street, Fort Myers
18100 San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers Beach
6890 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach
1200 Fifth Avenue South, Naples
Seed to Table
4835 Immokalee Road, Naples
TIPS FOR EATING OUT WITH KIDS
Choose restaurants that cater to kids.
- Arrive before they are starving.
Bring quiet activities to occupy them.
Opt for early lunches and dinners.
Stay calm and considerate to servers and patrons.