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15 Great Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Nashville

No fast-food chains were harmed in the making of this list

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Not-so-breaking news flash: kids can sniff out a fast-food chain with a jungle gym faster than any adult in the near vicinity. But grabbing a meal with little ones doesn’t have to mean mediocre burgers and questionably sanitary ball pits. In fact, finding a standout meal that pleases grown-up palates and caters to the school-age crowd is easier than ever. Nashville restaurants are embracing the whole family experience with inventive dishes featuring high-quality ingredients that keep the adults entertained while the little ones run around in an open patio space or color to their hearts' content.

Have a favorite kid-friendly spot we should add to our list? Let us know in the comments below.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Lockeland Table

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The kids’ menu at Lockeland Table features smaller versions of its popular wood-fired pizza, plus special kids’ sides and desserts that include mac-and-cheese, roasted veggies, and Oreo balls. Though the restaurant can feel a bit small for maneuvering children, there is an additional side patio that makes a great option for family dining.

Lockeland Table/Facebook

Joyland Restaurant

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On its surface, it bears all the hallmarks of your typical fast-casual burger joint — counter ordering, kid-friendly primary colors as decor, the smell of grilled beef in the air. But that’s where the similarities end. That’s because Sean Brock’s at the helm here, which means the burgers are a proprietary blend of beef from Bear Creek Farm and the biscuits and beer (yep, there’s beer and boozy shakes on the menu) bear one of Brock’s go-to grains: Jimmy Red corn. Don’t miss the Joy Sticks (a cross between Japanese kushikatsu and Mississippi’s tradition of fried chicken-on-a-stick) and the apple cider donuts — the perfect sweet treat to enjoy on the outside patio on a cool autumn day.

bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit in center of photo, close up, on Joyland printed paper Jeff Scott

Nectar: Urban Cantina

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Tacos are practically a universal crowd-pleaser, but Nectar doesn’t just stop with family-friendly Mexican-inspired dishes. This locally owned Donelson favorite has an outdoor children’s play area that lets adults grab their own kicky beverage from the margarita bar in the outdoor beer garden before settling in for some tacos stuffed with buttermilk chicken, burritos, nachos, and churros. Be sure to check the events calendar for movie nights and concerts on the lawn.

Nectar/Facebook

Frothy Monkey

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This popular breakfast and lunch spot offers a “little monkeys” menu for its guests under 12 years old. Options include silver dollar pancakes, cheesy eggs and bacon, a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and more.

Frothy Monkey/Facebook

It’d be easy to relegate a place like Husk to date-night territory. But then you’d be missing out on chef Ben Norton’s perfect rendition of a grilled cheese sandwich — a dish that’s available for the kids in the group, but definitely warrant an adult “try bite.” The seasonal veggie platter is the easiest way to get little ones to eat their greens with fun and unique preparations, dips, and sauces to experiment with. Outside, Husk’s garden is a great spot to teach little ones about growing local and seasonal produce.

Blue Stripes Cacao Shop: Nashville, Tennessee

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The cookies, pastries, ice cream, and assorted sweet treats at this Gulch cafe have a not-so-secret good-for-you ingredient: cacao. Using the shell, fruit, and beans of the cacao plant, Blue Stripes infuses as much of the superfood as they possibly can into their dishes. Kids will get a kick out their towering cones while adults enjoy egg-stuffed croissant sandwiches and spiked cacao drinks. The shop is sidled up to a little green space that lets little ones burn off the sugar rush while the grown-ups scour the café’s cozy shop for cacao flour, cacao water, and creamy cacao butters.

Blue Stripes Cacao Shop/Facebook

Plant-based parenting is all the rage, and Avo handily fulfills all the veg-friendly requirements for the lifestyle. After scarfing down a serving of mac and cheese (using coconut queso, of course) with a side of sweet potato fries or corn muffins, kids have free rein of the grassy turf outside, which includes a sandy beach volleyball court and picnic tables.

Avo/Facebook

Hugh-Baby's

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This fast-food restaurant concept by Pat Martin (of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint) serves burgers, barbecue sandwiches, and hot dogs. Kids love the patio play area — and roster of creamy old- school milkshakes.

Sam Angel

Pastaria

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With its wood-fired pies, scratch-made pasta, and creamy gelato, Pastaria’s menu is practically made for school-age palates but executes these kid-friendly favorites with enough finesse, deft and quality ingredients (many imported directly from Italy) to keep the adults interested. If the little ones are getting antsy in their seats, take them to the outdoor bocce ball court for a few rounds before dinner.

Pastaria/Facebook

Diskin Cider

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This Wedgewood-Houston cidery is one of the best-kept kid-friendly dining secrets in the city. The expansive and sunny patio lets kids run around while the over 21 crowd kicks back with a few pints (with non-alcoholic options for the kiddos) and live music. Don’t sleep on the brunch menu here — soft-cooked cheesy scrambled eggs for little ones and croissant sammies stuffed with applewood bacon, eggs, white cheddar cheese, and red pepper aioli for bigger appetites.

Diskin Cider/Facebook

bartaco

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Mezcal for mom and refreshing agua frescas for kiddos—a meal at the imminently kid-friendly Bartaco is a no-brainer for everyone in the fam. Come early, though—the crowds get unruly later into the evening. Once there, settle into an indoor booth or tuck into a cushioned nook on the outdoor patio and get your little one situated with the kids’ menu, which includes “not spicy” guac, mini tacos, and a kids tray with a quesadilla, taco, corn wheels, and a fruit skewer. Bonus round: grab a decadently rich brownie from Christie Cookie Co. located just a few doors down.

Bartaco/Facebook

Edley's Bar-B-Que

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Little ones can enjoy a smaller version of Edley’s popular barbecue sandwich plus other items from the kids’ menu, including mini corn dogs, grilled cheese, and chicken tenders.

TailGate Brewery

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TailGate is open to visitors of all ages and offers plenty of family-oriented events. The west Nashville taproom often shows movies on its expansive lawn and hosts family-friendly activities indoors. There is a children’s menu, but the brewery specializes in pizza—a kid-pleasing crowd favorite. Plus, Sweet and Three at the West Nashville location offers plenty of soft-serve ice cream delights for a sweet finish.

TailGate/Facebook

HoneyFire BBQ

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As one of few family-owned businesses in One Bellevue Place, HoneyFire knows what it takes to make little ones (and their grown-ups) happy. While adults enjoy Grand Champion BBQ Pitmaster Shane Nasby’s handiwork, kids can soak up the sunshine on the outdoor patio while enjoying childhood favorites like grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with HoneyFire’s signature barbecue brisket, pulled pork, and chicken sandwiches from the kids’ menu.

Burger Up Franklin

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The kids’ menu at Burger Up features chicken tenders, burgers, and unconventional items like grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The Franklin location offers kids laminated coloring sheets and a basketful of books to entertain themselves with.

Burger Up/Facebook

Lockeland Table

Lockeland Table/Facebook

The kids’ menu at Lockeland Table features smaller versions of its popular wood-fired pizza, plus special kids’ sides and desserts that include mac-and-cheese, roasted veggies, and Oreo balls. Though the restaurant can feel a bit small for maneuvering children, there is an additional side patio that makes a great option for family dining.

Lockeland Table/Facebook

Joyland Restaurant

bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit in center of photo, close up, on Joyland printed paper Jeff Scott

On its surface, it bears all the hallmarks of your typical fast-casual burger joint — counter ordering, kid-friendly primary colors as decor, the smell of grilled beef in the air. But that’s where the similarities end. That’s because Sean Brock’s at the helm here, which means the burgers are a proprietary blend of beef from Bear Creek Farm and the biscuits and beer (yep, there’s beer and boozy shakes on the menu) bear one of Brock’s go-to grains: Jimmy Red corn. Don’t miss the Joy Sticks (a cross between Japanese kushikatsu and Mississippi’s tradition of fried chicken-on-a-stick) and the apple cider donuts — the perfect sweet treat to enjoy on the outside patio on a cool autumn day.

bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit in center of photo, close up, on Joyland printed paper Jeff Scott

Nectar: Urban Cantina

Nectar/Facebook

Tacos are practically a universal crowd-pleaser, but Nectar doesn’t just stop with family-friendly Mexican-inspired dishes. This locally owned Donelson favorite has an outdoor children’s play area that lets adults grab their own kicky beverage from the margarita bar in the outdoor beer garden before settling in for some tacos stuffed with buttermilk chicken, burritos, nachos, and churros. Be sure to check the events calendar for movie nights and concerts on the lawn.

Nectar/Facebook

Frothy Monkey

Frothy Monkey/Facebook

This popular breakfast and lunch spot offers a “little monkeys” menu for its guests under 12 years old. Options include silver dollar pancakes, cheesy eggs and bacon, a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and more.

Frothy Monkey/Facebook

Husk

It’d be easy to relegate a place like Husk to date-night territory. But then you’d be missing out on chef Ben Norton’s perfect rendition of a grilled cheese sandwich — a dish that’s available for the kids in the group, but definitely warrant an adult “try bite.” The seasonal veggie platter is the easiest way to get little ones to eat their greens with fun and unique preparations, dips, and sauces to experiment with. Outside, Husk’s garden is a great spot to teach little ones about growing local and seasonal produce.

Blue Stripes Cacao Shop: Nashville, Tennessee

Blue Stripes Cacao Shop/Facebook

The cookies, pastries, ice cream, and assorted sweet treats at this Gulch cafe have a not-so-secret good-for-you ingredient: cacao. Using the shell, fruit, and beans of the cacao plant, Blue Stripes infuses as much of the superfood as they possibly can into their dishes. Kids will get a kick out their towering cones while adults enjoy egg-stuffed croissant sandwiches and spiked cacao drinks. The shop is sidled up to a little green space that lets little ones burn off the sugar rush while the grown-ups scour the café’s cozy shop for cacao flour, cacao water, and creamy cacao butters.

Blue Stripes Cacao Shop/Facebook

Avo

Avo/Facebook

Plant-based parenting is all the rage, and Avo handily fulfills all the veg-friendly requirements for the lifestyle. After scarfing down a serving of mac and cheese (using coconut queso, of course) with a side of sweet potato fries or corn muffins, kids have free rein of the grassy turf outside, which includes a sandy beach volleyball court and picnic tables.

Avo/Facebook

Hugh-Baby's

Sam Angel

This fast-food restaurant concept by Pat Martin (of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint) serves burgers, barbecue sandwiches, and hot dogs. Kids love the patio play area — and roster of creamy old- school milkshakes.

Sam Angel

Pastaria

Pastaria/Facebook

With its wood-fired pies, scratch-made pasta, and creamy gelato, Pastaria’s menu is practically made for school-age palates but executes these kid-friendly favorites with enough finesse, deft and quality ingredients (many imported directly from Italy) to keep the adults interested. If the little ones are getting antsy in their seats, take them to the outdoor bocce ball court for a few rounds before dinner.

Pastaria/Facebook

Diskin Cider

Diskin Cider/Facebook

This Wedgewood-Houston cidery is one of the best-kept kid-friendly dining secrets in the city. The expansive and sunny patio lets kids run around while the over 21 crowd kicks back with a few pints (with non-alcoholic options for the kiddos) and live music. Don’t sleep on the brunch menu here — soft-cooked cheesy scrambled eggs for little ones and croissant sammies stuffed with applewood bacon, eggs, white cheddar cheese, and red pepper aioli for bigger appetites.

Diskin Cider/Facebook

bartaco

Bartaco/Facebook

Mezcal for mom and refreshing agua frescas for kiddos—a meal at the imminently kid-friendly Bartaco is a no-brainer for everyone in the fam. Come early, though—the crowds get unruly later into the evening. Once there, settle into an indoor booth or tuck into a cushioned nook on the outdoor patio and get your little one situated with the kids’ menu, which includes “not spicy” guac, mini tacos, and a kids tray with a quesadilla, taco, corn wheels, and a fruit skewer. Bonus round: grab a decadently rich brownie from Christie Cookie Co. located just a few doors down.

Bartaco/Facebook

Edley's Bar-B-Que

Little ones can enjoy a smaller version of Edley’s popular barbecue sandwich plus other items from the kids’ menu, including mini corn dogs, grilled cheese, and chicken tenders.

TailGate Brewery

TailGate/Facebook

TailGate is open to visitors of all ages and offers plenty of family-oriented events. The west Nashville taproom often shows movies on its expansive lawn and hosts family-friendly activities indoors. There is a children’s menu, but the brewery specializes in pizza—a kid-pleasing crowd favorite. Plus, Sweet and Three at the West Nashville location offers plenty of soft-serve ice cream delights for a sweet finish.