Looking for some fun along with your food? From knights and horses to model trains, many New Jersey restaurants offer themed and interactive dining experiences for the entire family. Read on for more than a dozen restaurants in New Jersey that will make your next family meal a bit more magical.
Check out our Family-Friendly New Jersey Restaurant Guide for more ideas for kid-friendly restaurants, including places where kids eat free, the best spots for Shore eats and treats, and more.
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Family-Friendly Themed Restaurants in New Jersey
This diner is perfect for the train lover in your family. You can dine inside a train car or choose to eat in its main room where there is a model train suspended from the ceiling for little engineers to enjoy. The combination of choo-choo excitement and fantastic food choices is likely to put the Clinton Station Diner among your go-to favorites. It's even open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Catch a double feature at New Jersey's only drive-in movie theater! Open for the season from late May (Memorial Day) to November (sometimes beyond, weather permitting) on weekends only. The Delsea serves everything from traditional popcorn, candy, and pretzel bites to dinner items such as chicken parm and perogies. Be sure to check out its impressive gluten-free menu!
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Cheer for a knight during the jousting matches at Medival Times. Photo by Kaylynn Chiarello Ebner
Enjoy a rousing live jousting tournament, marvel at awe-inspiring horsemanship and falconry, and enjoy a medieval meal at this Bergen County family favorite, where you'll be out of your seats cheering for your chosen knight. The food selection is kid-friendly and utensils are a no-no. Check the website for prices and discount codes (gratuity for meal service is not included). Make your reservations on the website! Tip: You can arrive up to an hour before show time to explore the castle and mingle with members of the royal court!
This restaurant is part adventure, part eatery. Rainforest Cafe recreates a tropical rainforest setting, complete with a waterfall and vegetation, and the waiters are “safari guides” who take you on a dining voyage.
Chuck E. Cheese gets top marks from the kids. It's loaded with games, rides, and a budget-friendly menu, and there are 10 locations across the Garden State. Check the local website for the one nearest you.
6. Oreo Cafe — East Rutherford
Here's a sweet option for Oreo lovers. Located at the American Dream Mall, Oreo Cafe is a retail store specializing in Oreos of every kind and gift items, but there's also a dessert counter and tables where you can buy some outrageous, delectable Oreo-themed cheesecakes, sundaes, shakes, and more.
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Dinner is the entertainment at Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse.
New Jersey Restaurants With Family-Friendly Fun
If you're looking for a fun family night out, look no further than Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse. Don't forget kids eat FREE on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the purchase of an adult meal.
The second you arrive at Joe's you realize this is quite the dining experience. From dancing and singing waiters to cracking open lobster and crabs, this untypical chain restaurant involves the entire family in the dining process. New Jersey locations include Clifton, Deptford, and South Plainfield.
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The Melting Pot's fondue is a crowd-pleaser.
9. The Melting Pot – Westwood, Red Bank, and Maple Shade
Enjoy a sweet and savory experience like no other with menu options that include accompaniments for chocolate and cheese fondue, as well as beverages and adult spirits.
This classic diner has its own jukebox. Visit its website to check out the Silver Diner's Kids Club, which offers specials, free meals, apparel, and more! It also has an award-winning healthier kids' menu!
RELATED: NJ Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free
The Pop Shop has an ongoing schedule of kids' events, like this Fancy Nancy story time lunch.
11. The Pop Shop – Collingswood and Medford
Kids love the all-day breakfast options, comfort food, sweet treats, and fun activities at this lively retro eatery. It hosts special events, parties, and catering, and is now offering delivery.
Rosalita's is Tex-Mex with a focus on locally-sourced meats, produce, and dairy. Check out its website for daily specials, or to make reservations and order online. It also offers party packages!
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Don a Benihana hat and watch your meal get prepared in a fantastical way in front of your eyes. Photo by Sara Marentette
13. Benihana – Short Hills, Cherry Hill, Edison
Benihana is the original hibachi restaurant. While sitting in awe of the Teppanyaki being performed in front of you, make friends with the others sitting at your community table, or come in with a large group of your own. And don't forget to sign up for Kabuki Kids to receive a birthday postcard and souvenir mug when you come to celebrate.
Round up the family for a feast to remember at this country steak and rib joint. NJ locations include Old Bridge, Hamilton, North Plainfield, Holmdel, Parlin, and Howell.
These theaters offer a "fork-and-screen" family experience. Featuring a menu of classic favorites—pizza, burgers, and sandwiches—AMC Dine-In Theatre offers full waiter service during the latest feature films.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the restaurants
Originally published 2014, this article was updated in 2023.