Family restaurants are quirky things. In any given family, who the child is must be determined. I am going to assume you have normal children, and as such a limited budget of sorts. I am going to address both large chains and small and independent restaurants. I am going to do my best here.
Let’s start with Country Waffles. This is a small chain that just serves lunch and breakfast, but it has many items for kids, enjoys them and won’t set up back too much. They are in many places in the Bay Area including Hayward, Dublin, Danville, Livermore and Gilroy among others.
Another unique place, but hard to get into on the weekends is Val’s Burgers in Hayward, CA on B Street and Kelly. This is a 50’s type burger place that just does burgers, fries and shakes (lunch). It has a great kid’s menu and the interior is unusual enough that even an easily bored person will be entertained. You can also watch your order being cooked.
Elio’s Family Restaurant at 260 Florista Boulevard in San Leandro is another great choice for families. The interior is decorated like an old supper room at a casino, yet has a great vibe and friendly staff. Price rise, it is reasonable depending on what you order. They also have great daily specials. Elio’s does lunch and dinner.
Dave and Busters located at the Great Mall in Milpitas is another restaurant that kids of all ages will grow to love. This place combines a restraurant with a video arcade. Both are pretty darn good. This place can get pricey, but when we bring kids we go the arcade area, order snacks and game tickets and let them play. The arcade has a wine and beer sports bar that allows adults to watch their games and keep an eye on the kiddies. Another option is the $16 meal option that include game play. All good, but save for a special occasion if your budget is limited.
In the South Bay I would recommend Flames Coffee Shops. There are five of these in the South Bay. They are decorated in a tropical festive style and the food is great and reasonable priced. I like the one next to the Winchester Mystery House. The decorations and the festively dressed staff will keep any kid entertained.
Some good kid options with chains are Armadillo Wiley’s which has several locations. The Wiley ordering system will keep your kid busy alone. Fudrucker’s seems to attract kids of all ages. Red Robin is good if you like hamburgers. Chevy’s has some kid friendly events they can watch and kids enjoy their presentation. TGI Friday’s and Applebees also have kid friendly decorations. Don’t forget IHOP, which is very kid friendly and budget friendly. Coco’s and Carrow’s have satisfied my kids also at one time or another. And, surprisingly, the Capital Hill Drive-In has good food, good movies and some stuff for kids including a pretty nice arcade.
Other options include buffet type restaurants such as Home Town Buffet and the Golden Corral. I like eating there, the price is right and the food is usually good. However, if you bring little kids, you spend your meal up and down with them at the service bar. We should also not skip Chuckie Cheese, which the kiddies love; less so those who are adults due to their food choices. Their salad is getting better. You do not need to be attending a party to visit this place; but it is difficult to get in on the weekends at certain times, say after 2 pm or so. You can usually save quite a bit if you use the monthly coupons Chuckie provides in the newspaper.
Clearly this list barely touches on this subject. Going to visit these restaurants will give your family a good start and add to your day. We like to combine a restaurant visit with some other outdoor activity to complete the family outing day.