Most NYC kids have a diet that's heavy on eating out, and why not? New York City has some of the best kid-friendly restaurants anywhere. Of course, dining out doesn't come cheaply, especially in this town—unless you happen to be a child. For NYC kids, there really is such a thing as a free lunch...if you know where to go. At these local eateries, you can feed those hungry mouths for the unbeatable price of $0, while you get a break from playing chef. We know what you'll be making tonight: reservations.
Subscribe to our newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.
Before booking reservations, keep in mind the Key to NYC rules now require all guests ages 5+ to have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine for indoor dining; those ages 12+ must be fully vaccinated to dine indoors.
Here's something to chew on: While the list below is accurate as of January 2022, call to verify these deals are still valid before heading out, as rules often change and restaurants close.
Kids can dig into fried chicken, cornbread, and more for FREE at Brother Jimmy's.
181 Lexington Avenue at 31st Street
At this (mostly) local barbecue chain, children younger than 10 eat free every day with the purchase of a full-priced adult meal (limit two children's meals per adult meal purchased). In addition to mouthwatering comfort food such as pulled pork, chicken, catfish, ribs, and yummy side dishes, kids should dig the old-school arcade games.
372 Van Duzer Street
The only thing better than beer and burgers is free burgers for the kids. Make this spot your Monday night meal ticket and kids can nab a free kids meal plus some tokens to hit up the arcade games while you wait. You'll be left to sip your brew in peace.
RELATED: 20 Restaurants With Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining in NYC
Enjoy free kids' meals and character visits on Wednesdays at Joyce's Tavern.
3283 Richmond Avenue
Wednesday nights are kids' nights at this beloved Irish pub. In addition to nabbing a free meal from the kids' menu, keep your eyes peeled for special guest appearances by kid-friendly characters like Elmo, Bluey, Micky Mouse, and more. Parents will appreciate a generous pour and friendly atmosphere, plus a menu heavy on comfort food classics.
RELATED: Over-the-Top Desserts in NYC
Devour classic pancakes with all the best toppings at IHOP.
National Chains With Kids' Deals
In a city filled with fabulous family-friendly local restaurants, we rarely encourage you to choose a chain. But if you're craving something easy and cheap, these national chains have outposts in NYC and offer kids-eat-free deals. Days, times, and rules vary by location, so check with the server before the bill arrives and gives you heartburn.
Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Uno Chicago Grill
Find out about other great places to eat with kids in our NYC Family Restaurant Guide.
Photos courtesy of the restaurants
This post, originally published in September 2013, has been updated.