Parenting is hard work, and let’s face it, sometimes at the end of a long day mom and dad just don’t feel like cooking. But despite the wealth of top-notch eateries in Asheville, the simple act of taking kids to a restaurant can present unique, stress-inducing challenges. Thankfully, plenty of local dining destinations warmly embrace their littlest customers, whether via a laid-back setting, baskets of toys delivered to the table, child-friendly food items, kids-eat-free specials or a designated play area to keep little ones busy during a wait. Here in Beer City, even many of the local craft breweries welcome children and host family-friendly events throughout the year.
Here are a few of the many area establishments that go the extra mile to make families with children feel right at home:
- There’s a good reason Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co. wonthe 2014 Mountain Xpress Best of WNC award in the Kid-Friendly Restaurant category: The Merrimon Avenue eatery’s huge game room; funky, fun décor; brew-and-view movie house and kid-friendly menu make it a one-stop food and entertainment center for families. The fact that the beer is brewed right on the premises makes it a win-win for parents.
- The Bywater, third-place winner in the 2014 Best of WNC Kid-Friendly Bar category, boasts a rotating array of local food trucks at its waterside site in the River Arts District, making it an ideal place for picnics and outdoor fun.
- Highland Brewing Co., a well-known East Asheville hangout for many local families, is in the process of adding a rooftop beer garden, but until that amenity is finished, the brewery’s roomy indoor bar area, patio and grassy outdoor music venue provide plenty of safe space for roaming, socializing and impromptu games of Frisbee for adults, kids and canines alike. At least one or two food trucks are always on hand to provide a quick bite.
- Also on the east side of town, Haw Creek’s Creekside Taphouse offers a big outdoor play area, indoor games, cornhole and, of course, the eponymous stream to keep little ones busy while the adults sip a local brew or order from the menu full of fun munchies, burgers, sandwiches and barbecue.
Among the Asheville restaurants featuring kids-eat-free specials are:
- Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian — One free kid’s meal per adult entree all day Sundays
- Mamacita’s — One free kid’s meal with adult meal and drink Sundays
- Mela Indian Restaurant — One free kid’s meal per adult entree 5:30-9:30 p.m. Mondays
- The Cantina — Kids eat free all day Tuesdays
- Urban Burrito — One free kid’s meal per adult burrito or salad purchase 4 p.m.-close Tuesdays
- Mojo Kitchen and Lounge — One free kid’s meal per adult entree 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays
- Chai Pani — Two free kids’ meals per adult entree, all day Wednesdays
- Earth Fare —Kids eat free with $5 purchase from the food service department, 4-8 p.m. Thursdays
- Dough — Kids eat free with purchase of an adult meal Fridays
- Lucky Otter — Kids younger than 4 eat free from the kid’s menu, and older kids can order from the kid’s menu for $1.50, every day