Detroit’s been on the rise in recent years, and one benefit has been an explosion of good, cheap and interesting places to eat that are family-friendly – but not dumbed-down for the younger set. Stop in before a Tigers game, a foray into the Cultural Center or after a bike ride on the Dequindre Cut and sample a taste of the city’s rebirth.
- Address: 1266 Michigan Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-262-6547
This Corktown spot was opened by a couple of Canucks a few years ago. No wonder some rave about their Poutine: The French Canadian dish of French fries topped with brown gravy and curd cheese is naturally kid-riffic. Vegetarian/vegan options also abound.
- Address: 4240 Cass Ave., Suite 103, Detroit
- Phone: 313-638-1467
With a wide range of Thai food entrees, appetizers and tasty small plates, this midtown Detroit spot is a great place to order a bunch of different options and split as a family.
- Address: 2200 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit
- Phone: 313-962-5588
Appearing virtually unchanged since its 1970s heyday, the horse racing-themed bar features a menu of inventive sliders – the gut bombs of late nights in college these are not. Try fried bologna, Coney dog, grilled cheese sliders – or the PB&J slider that we can attest to at least one 4-year-old picky eater devouring!
- Address: 4101 Third St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-818-0324
Newly opened in the summer of 2016, this Detroit location of the franchise has the ultimate family-friendly menu, ranging from fried chicken and sides like baked beans, mac and cheese, seasoned fries and more. The kids menu for kids 12 and under also offers a grilled cheese, tenders, wings and legs.
- Address: 441 W. Canfield St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-262-6115
The Detroit location of this Michigan-based restaurant serves up delicious pizzas for adults – and for kids! The kids menu is complete with cheese and pepperoni pizza options, plus burgers, chicken fingers, fries and a salad. Your kids will love sitting at the exact spot President Barack Obama ate at during his visit to Jolly Pumpkin.
- Address: 2163 Michigan Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-964-5000
Another Corktown keeper, this is a super spot to get a great burger, some tasty tots and a marvelous milkshake.
- Address: 1300 Porter St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-961-2000
Not your average sandwiches, served in a retro-funky space across from a great playground. Take your food to-go and have an impromptu play date with families from the neighborhood and the nearby Most Holy Trinity School. Meats are roasted in-house, and vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are plentiful.
- Address: 2465 Russell St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-567-2900
There’s a reason this place has a line extending down the block on market Saturdays: The food is that good. Grab a table (likely shared with others) and enjoy house-made soups, sandwiches and more that reflect the abundance of delicious food right out the door.
- Address: 22200 Fenkell St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-533-0950
Drive around some of the dodgier areas of Detroit and you’ll likely see a bunch of “You Buy, We Fry” joints – but honestly, most of them have so-so seafood. But Scotty’s has been a seafood staple since 1950, cooking up crispy cod kids and adults will crave.
- Address: 66 E. Forest Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-974-6661
For veggie families, or people looking to try some new foods, Seva is choice. From those delicious yam fries with spicy mayo dip and General Tso’s cauliflower to start, and delicious picks like black bean and sweet potato quesadillas, vegan Coney dogs and Reuben sandwiches, you can’t go wrong!
- Address: 4107 Cass Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 877-569-7246
Skip the wait at the sit-down location and head to this Midtown outpost for barbecue by the pound or terrific take-out sandwiches. The Yardbird (Amish chicken topped with mustard, mushrooms, cheddar and bacon) has received lots of props, but we can’t help but join the fan club.
- Address: 2457 Russell St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-567-7879
Neighbor to Russell Street, this place has revolutionized what we think of as Detroit pizza. Amazing as the D’s Sicilian-style, thick-crusted signature pies are, Supino offers a cracker-thin crust, minimally topped – because you don’t need tons of topping when they are of this quality.
- Address: 4870 Cass Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-782-4180
Any place that serves up numerous (and kick-butt) twists on the classic mac and cheese – plus soups, salads and wraps – is a win for kids. Bonus: mom and dad can grab something adult to drink, too.
- Address: 511 W. Canfield St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-831-9470
A wide variety of foods – including a kids’ menu with dishes like grilled-cheese fingers – plenty of seating, parking in an actual lot right across the street – there is a lot that recommends this restaurant to families.
- Address: 4160 Cass Ave., Suite A, Detroit
- Phone: 313-818-0084
OK so it’s not a restaurant, but the Detroit location of this Ferndale-based ice cream shop is a fun stop for families coming from dinner (or not) when visiting the area. Plus, they have a rotating menu of unique ice cream flavors, with new tastes hitting the menu every Sunday.
- Address: 569 Monroe St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-209-4499
Head over to Greektown to grab a bite at this burger shop, part of the Wahlburgers chain started by the Wahlberg brothers. Boasts quality ingredients – and there are even options for the veg crowd. The “Smahlburgs” menu (that’s for the kids) features burger, hot dog, chicken fingers, grilled cheese and mac and cheese.
This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated for 2016 by Megan Krueger.