Finding restaurants where kids actually eat free can be frustrating and time consuming. During the recession, hundreds of restaurants and dozens of national chains were scrambling to pull in customers and offering a “kids eat free” option was a great way for them to do that.
Now the playing field has shifted. It’s easier for restaurants to get you to fork over your hard won dollars without a kids eat free option. The result is that a lot of the intel out there is out of date. You find a great list of restaurants where kids eat free (supposedly) and then you show up at the door and the twenty-something server breaks the news the promo ended years ago, if he even knows it ever existed in the first place.
So how can cash-strapped parents find restaurants where kids eat free? We’ve done some legwork for you and come up with some solid options. Below, we’ve listed some national chains where kids still eat free. We’ve also listed some national chains where kids used to eat free, but now eat cheap instead. Since there’s hundreds of small mom and pop operations out there serving up the free grub though, your best bet might be to find a local restaurant (or a handful of them) where kids eat free.
To help you find those restaurants, we’ve ferreted out a few websites and apps that will show you restaurants where kids eat free near you, so you can tank up your little bottomless pits, no charge.
Kids Eat Free at Denny’s on Tuesdays
Kids eat free at Denny’s on Tuesdays from 4pm to 10pm.
Denny’s teamed up with DreamWorks to promote their new kids menu. Their new Denny’s free kids menu includes breakfast, lunch and dinner options any time of day, plus nourishing side options like vegetables, fresh fruits, yogurt, juices and salads.
Kids also get their own activity book, chock full of puzzles and games featuring characters from DreamWorks movies. Parents can also download a free app called the DreamWorks COLOR app that lets their kids color in real life, snap photos of their artwork, then upload the photos into DreamWorks games that they can play.
Kids Eat Free at Bob Evans on Tuesdays
Bob Evans’ free kids menu includes fun options like grilled cheese triangles with a seasonal fresh fruit dish, mac & cheese with steamed broccoli, and grilled chicken strips with a fresh garden salad. Notice that they’re always trying to sneak some veggies in. And because they seem to understand the whims of childhood, they also offer breakfast any time, plus dessert, sides and drinks.
Kids 12 and under eat free at Bob Evans every Tuesday.
Kids Eat Free at Pizza Hut
Kids eat free at Pizza Hut when adults pay. When parents buy a full priced medium or large pizza, kids get their own free personal pan pizza or Nestle Ice Pop. The offer is good for two kids per full priced adult menu item. Pizza Hut’s kids eat free option is open to kids 10 and under every Tuesday from 5-7. Make sure you call first to see if your local Pizza Hut participates.
Got more than two kids? There’s also $5.99 kids menu that offers entrees like pizza, pasta or boneless chicken bites, plus side dishes like salads, veggie sticks and potato wedges, plus juices, milk, fizzes and soft drinks.
Steak ‘n’ Shake offers a kids eat free meal for every $8 spent on grown up food by a parent. Their kids eat free menu includes a steakburger and fries, mini corn dogs and fries, mac and cheese with applesauce, hot dogs, grilled cheese and fried chicken. Did we say it was health food? Nope. It’s Steak ‘n’ Shake. But kids eat it free on the weekends. Though we couldn’t find any evidence of this deal on their website, we verified it by phone as recently as 8/19/15.
- Golden Corral used to have a phenomenal all you can eat kids eat free deal, but apparently they underestimated the sizes of the junior appetites out there. However, kids still eat for $2.99 Monday through Thursday. That’s still not bad, considering that giant chocolate waterfall thing they have.
- Fazoli’s year round kids eat free promotion is a thing of the past. However, the Italian gourmand Mecca still serves up free kids meals on August weekends. They also serve year round cheap kids meals for 99 cents between 5 and 8pm on Tuesday nights. The meals come with free activity books.
- Perkins phased out their national kids eat free promotion some time ago, but they still offer a discounted kids menu with a free drink and free treats to kids 12 and under.
Local Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free
If none of the above options where kids eat free or cheap are up your alley, you might be better off linking up with smaller local restaurants and non-national chains that offer kids eat free options. We’ve done some digging and come up with the tools below to help you in your search.
The Kids Eat Free App for the iPhone
Want your kids to eat free? Yeah, there’s an app for that. The Kids Eat Free app aims to help you find restaurants where kids eat free near you. You can search by city, state or zip, and filter your results by mileage radius. The app is nice, but the info in it is user based. That means the only way it knows about a restaurant where kids eat free is if another user uploads it.
As of August 2015, the app still seems to need more users. It works pretty well for users in more populated areas, but not as well for those in rural places. Also, some of the entries are out of date. For example it still lists Golden Corral, though that restaurant discontinued its kids eat free promotion quite a while ago.
The Kids Meal Deals Website and App for Android
The Kids Meal Deals app for Android aims to provide a list of restaurants near you where kids eat free. The app can automatically find nearby restaurants with Android’s GPS feature. It also lets users call directly from the app to make sure each kids eat free option is still valid. There’s also a popular website that serves the same function. Click here to view it.
The My Kids Eat Free Website
There’s a not-so-bad website called MyKidsEatFree.com that claims to showcase 5,378 restaurants in the U.S. where kids eat free. Diners search by state and city and the site returns a list of restaurants. It’s a good idea to verify the offer’s still good with a phone call before you go, since at least one of the kids eat free offers on the site we checked on had expired.
The Our Kids Eat Free Website
No, it’s not “My Kids Eat Free” as above, it’s “Our Kids Eat Free.” Presumably it’ll work for your kids too. OurKidsEatFree.com is another good website that’s trying to build a master list of local restaurants where kids eat free. Just click the link above, then search by city, state or zip code. The site will respond with a list of kids eat free restaurants in your area. As always, you’ll want to call ahead to make sure each kids eat free offer still stands.