Pittsburgh has a vibrant cultural scene full of sports, entertainment, and art. The Steel City’s culinary scene is no different, frequently ranking as one of the best food cities in the United States. Foodies come from all over to get a taste of the ‘burgh, but who are the critics we really have to worry about? The kiddos, of course. For special nights out (or the ones you simply can’t muster up the inspiration to whip up a dinner), here’s a list of the best picky-eater-approved, kid-friendly restaurants in Pittsburgh:
As one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic restaurants, Eat ‘n Park has been (quite literally) delivering smiles to the city of bridges since 1949. Known for its smiley cookies, delicious pies, and extensive menu, the chain is a household name for family-friendly meals across Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Not only will your kids love the variety, but Eat ‘n Park has donated over $10 million to children’s hospitals in the area – and it doesn’t get much more kid-friendly than that.
If there’s anything a parent of a picky eater knows, it’s that customization is key. Emporio, with three locations in the Pittsburgh area, takes this concept to heart by providing guests with customizable meatballs and pasta dishes. With a variety of sauces to coat your choice of meatballs in, your little ones will have a ball picking out their own dinner. Best of all, Emporio is surprisingly vegetarian and gluten-free friendly.
Located in Lawrenceville – one of the hippest neighborhoods in the country – Church Brew Works is ready to provide you with a truly unique dining experience. As a restaurant inside of the building that was once St. John’s Baptist Church, the whole family will enjoy learning about the history of this beautiful restaurant. Church Brew Works’ kids menu includes sandwiches, pasta, desserts, and even pierogis (a Pittsburgh favorite).
Pinched between Shadyside and East Liberty, Noodlehead is a noodle joint inspired by the street vendors of Thailand. I know what you’re thinking – Thai food is spicy, and the little ones don’t do too well with spicy food. Noodlehead, however, allows you to customize your spice on a scale of 1-5, making their noodles delicious and the just-right spice for little mouths. With all entrees costing either $6 or $9, there’s always room in the budget a trip next door to Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream for dessert.
Café Raymond is a little gem you can find right on Penn Ave. in the Strip District. Chef Ray – who was born and raised in Pittsburgh – specializes in artisan breads and the all the delicious locally-sourced combinations he can squeeze between two slices. Not only is the food always fresh and delicious, but the portions are huge, making it a perfect choice for kids with smaller appetites who might be better off sharing their meal with you or another sibling.
Ranked the best pizza in Pennsylvania in 2017, Mineo’s in the must-have pizza in Pittsburgh. Mineo’s has been located on Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill since 1958, and for three generations they have been whipping up pizza with dough made daily from scratch, sauce curated with Italian tomatoes, and hand-grated cheeses. Although their pizza is typically a crowd pleaser, picky eaters can choose from the variety of pastas and sandwiches on the menu to find something they like.
Double Wide Grill is a fun, automobile-themed restaurant on East Carson Street in Southside. Despite its specialty in barbecue foods, Double Wide Grill has a large vegan and vegetarian menu as well as an extensive kids’ menu. All kids’ meals are serves with a side, a drink, and a cookie or ice-cream to top off family dinner. During the summer months the restaurant is even dog-friendly, featuring a large patio for your K9 friends to enjoy as well.
Burgatory is a customizable burger joint with multiple locations across the Pittsburgh area. Their kids’ menu has a handful of fun, tasty meals for the kiddos to enjoy. For kids who clear their plate, they even promise a free cherry coke float with the purchase of a kids’ meal to provide that little extra incentive to your picky eaters. For picky eaters with a bigger appetite, the customizable nature of the restaurant ensures that the whole family leaves happy and with a full belly.
Grilled Cheese and tomato soup is a childhood comfort food classic. The Yard turns this nostalgic love of gooey grilled cheese into an art form by creating delicious, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches full of some surprising additions (a personal favorite: creamy, messy mac & cheese grilled cheese. Yum!). With locations all throughout the city – including downtown and Shadyside – it’s an easy place to stop in for a meal that will leave the whole family smiling.
Admiring one of the best views in the country at the Mount Washington Overlook can work up an appetite. Lucky for you, DiFiore’s Ice Cream Delight is less than a block down Shiloh Street and has delicious subs and snacks for the family to enjoy. And how could I forget – it’s an ice cream paradise. They have hand-scooped ice cream and dipped soft-serve cones and sundaes that’ll make everyone’s mouth water. Everyone needs a treat every once in a while, and DiFiore’s is perfect for it.
Feeding your picky eaters can be a challenge sometimes, but with a variety of restaurants throughout the city, you’re sure to find something delicious that the whole family will enjoy.