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Family Roundup: Eastside Kid-Friendly Dining Options

There are many local options for your family to enjoy this summer, including convenient drive-thrus and toddler- and vegetarian-friendly restaurants and cafés.

School is out which means you are providing the daily “lunch program.” Your family is also probably enjoying the longer days of summer with more evening activities, which means the potential of needing to eat dinner away from home. We have some great dining-out options for families in Bellevue and nearby that you might want to try. They are often easy on the budget, can accommodate a picky eater toddler or a vegan tween, and will also have choices that you will enjoy.

Eastside Meal Deals

Breakfast for dinner anyone? Right now, the Bellevue International House of Pancakes has a deal where your kids can eat free every day, from 4 p.m. to closing at the Bellevue .

is a great option when you need a picnic lunch or dinner. They have a "$5 footlong sub of the month" special.

Kids eat dinner free at in Redmond on Sunday and Wednesday nights. 

On Saturdays and Sundays, take the family to the  where you can enjoy a “Real Big Deal Breakfast” special for $6.99 from 9-11 a.m. including Eggs Benedict or Farmers Scramble. Kids can enjoy a full breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and breakfast potatoes for just $4.99 or pancakes for $3.99.

Refill Deals On Beverages

Also on those hot summer days don’t forget you can get a refill on any size ice tea at for less than 60 cents. You must go on the same day, walk in and use the same cup. Take the lid off before handing over the cup. You can also get FREE coffee refills when you use your registered card–sweet!

The "Can’t Get Out of the Minivan But Want to Avoid Fast Food" Option

I remember the challenge of coming home from a play date or park with my kids napping peacefully in the back of my minivan and being really thirsty or still in need of something for our lunch. The mommy dilemma is, do you pull into a fast food drive-thru or do you wake up your crabby kids so you can all walk into a restaurant or store with healthier meal options? Instead of fast food next time you are stuck in the car, try opting for one of the eastside’s drive-thru Starbucks. There are several on the Eastside, including one in Bellevue near Interstate 90 and Sunset Plaza and another in the parking lot. Ask what “fruit and snack plates” they have available. Try the protein plate, which includes a hard-boiled egg, packet of peanut butter, whole-grain mini roll, and some cheese and fruit. They also often have sandwiches, including egg salad, hot-grilled panni and wraps. The breakfast sandwiches are served all day while supplies last and they can also make a delicious hot lunch. Salads are also available at many locations as well as low-sugar kid snack options including nuts and cheese sticks. 

Dining Out Options with a Tween or Teen Who Doesn’t Eat Meat

Some of my friends have tweens and teens who have begun experimenting with lifestyle choices that their parents don’t engage in and find difficult to support. No not alcohol or drugs. Their kid has given up meat or, even more challenging for some parents, become a vegan.

If you have a recently converted non-meat eater, you will find there are still lots of dining options in Bellevue to enjoy together.  has a delicious garden burger in addition to their expansive menu of beef and turkey burgers.  in Bellevue is a great place to swing into with your vegetarian or vegan teen. You can get a slice of pizza or a sandwich and she can opt for one of the many non-meat “eat there or to go” meal options. Teapot Vegetarian House in Overlake offers a full vegan menu of delicious entrees for lunch and dinner. The Bellevue Chipotle restaurants in and also have vegetarian and vegan teen-pleasing meal options and you can still get your delicious steak or chicken burrito.

Restaurants that Welcome Your Toddler

Dining out with toddlers should be an event at the Olympics. My son enjoyed discovering the properties of physics as a toddler so food, forks and spoons frequently dropped to the floor. A friend had a toddler who would only eat foods that were bland and not brightly colored, preferably white, so she was constantly hunting for places that served white rice or pasta.

There are some great places on the Eastside that will welcome your tots, no matter their mood and cater to their food preferences.  is a popular, family-friendly destination serving breakfast and lunch, conveniently just a short drive from Chism Beach park’s toddler-friendly playground and swim area. and nearby are toddler-tolerant and offer the carb-based meal choices that little kids seem to prefer. The Bellevue Red Robin restaurants in and at are always happy to see you and your toddler in tow, and kids love their mac and cheese.

And when your toddler needs a sugar fix, haul him or her over to in downtown Bellevue. The café’s location in a former IHOP provides ample toddler-roaming room inside and you are close to so you can turn your toddler lose to run off the sugar rush afterwards.

Dining Out Should Ultimately Be About Making Happy Memories

When my kids were younger, my first choice for dining out with them was . I could get them a “kid-pleasing meal” of a grilled cheese at the , a slice of cheese pizza from , or yakisoba noodles from the while I could opt for something more spicy from another of the food court's many other restaurants. They learned to love going there to eat because they would get to ride the shopping center’s old-fashioned, coin-operated rides, visit the library, and dance in front of the stage after a meal. We have many happy memories of dining there together as a family. And that's what a great family-friendly restaurant allows you to do: create happy memories together. I hope you find a great one you like in Bellevue this summer and tell us about it.

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