Top 10 Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Des Moines

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As a parent I have a list of favorite restaurants I go to without the kids and then I have a list of kid-friendly restaurants I like to take the family.  Here are my Top 10 Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Des Moines (Central Iowa):

10. Panera Bread – With 7 Central Iowa Locations Panera Bread offers a great selection of soups, salads and sandwiches for the kiddos.  Meals include choice of organic squeezable yogurt, apple or baguette.  Kids Menu

9. Pizza Ranch – Tuesdays are Kids Night at the 3 Central Iowa Pizza Ranch Locations.  This means one FREE Kid’s Buffet with the purchase of an Adult Buffet at regular price.  Buffet includes a variety of pizza, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables, salads and desserts.  Gluten Free Pizza is also available.

8. The Machine Shed – Located on Hickman Road in Urbandale, The Machine Shed is a great option for breakfast (or anytime of day) and offers a great family environment.  The kids will enjoy looking around the gift shop and getting a taste of down home cooking. Menu

7. Bandana’s BBQ – Just a short drive north to Ankeny will land you at Bandana’s BBQ.  If you’re a fan of BBQ than this is definitely the place to take your family.  The kids menu gives you smaller portions or all their tasty meats and sides include green beans, Cole slaw, baked beans, cut corn or applesauce.  I recommend the smoked turkey paired with their Chicago Sweet BBQ sauce.  It’s the best in turkey in town! Menu

6. Red Robin – Do you like a lot of options?  Red Robin provides lots of options for both you and your kiddos.  The Kids Menu offers 9 different meals with healthy sides that include, steamed broccoli, freckled fruit salad and apples.  Check out our review here.[divider]

[divider] 5. Spaghetti Works – A great downtown Des Moines option, at Spaghetti Works kids eat free on Mondays.  Have you ever wanted to try a Peanut Butter and Jelly Pizza?  Then this is your place.  Read our review here.

4. P.F. Chang’s – Over in the Lake District at Jordan Creek Mall you will find P.F. Chang’s.  Kid menu includes gluten free options and the prices will fit into your budget.  For more thoughts, click here.

3. Noodles & Company – Okay, let’s just admit it.  All kids love Mac and Cheese.  And sometimes you have to give in and let them have what they want.  Noodles and Company offers a tasty Wisconsin Mac-N-Cheese dish that will keep the kiddos happy.  Options of adding chicken, meatballs or tofu helps you add some protein to the dish.  Read more here.

2. Chipotle – Looking for some awesome Mexican food that the whole family will love?  Then head to one of Chipotle’s Central Iowa Locations.  Not only does the food taste great, but the ingredients are high-quality (all dairy products are hormone-free and most of the meat is antibiotic-free).  My kids love splitting a Carnitas Bowl along with Chips and Guacamole and will eat up every last bite.  Menu

1. Jason’s Deli – This inexpensive, family-friendly, West Des Moines spot serves up organic produce, nitrate-free lunch meat, and whole-grain bread on both its kids’ and adult menus (gluten free options too).  Throw in the fact that the kids menu has lots of options and this is a homerun for the family.  Don’t forget to get your free ice cream when you are finished eating! Menu


Thomas Brogan

Thomas Brogan, a native of Des Moines, was the original founder of Des Moines Parent and is a father to an 8 & 10-year-old. In his free time, he likes to explore nature, try new local restaurants and enjoy life as best as he can. Check out more of Thomas at

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