Sure, plenty of national chains offer deals where kids eat free, but they might not be that pleasing to the parents who have to eat with the young 'uns. Without the advertising budgets of the big players, St. Louis' hometown restaurants aren't as vocal about their free and super-cheap kids' menus (I'm looking at you, IHOP). But there are plenty of local options for families who don't want to tuck into a steam tray at the nearest chain buffet.
A few things to remember with all of these restaurants: Each has its own parameters for deals, and all have the right to change the deal whenever they please. Family deals have exploded in the past year and a half, as the restaurant industry has shifted to accommodate the down economy. It's sure to continue shifting. If you absolutely must have the cheap deal, contact the restaurant in advance.
Ask in advance what constitutes a kid's meal. One metro-east restaurant's idea of a meal for a six-year-old was a plate of fries and one pre-made chicken tender. Rest assured that restaurant's not on this list.
(Skinflint Parent's Rule #1: A deal's not a deal if you have to feed your kid later.)
Unless otherwise noted, assume the deal pertains to children under twelve years of age. Some places are generous enough to feed two kids for every purchased adult meal and beverage. Most stick to one meal from the children's menu per purchased adult meal.
Free or reduced-price kids' meals usually can't be combined with other offers and might not include a beverage.
Pack up the minivan and feed the family. Or, if you're child-averse, consider this a list of places to avoid.
Got a favorite family deal that's not included? Tell us in the comments!
B. Hall's Bar and Grill Kids eat free all day Tuesday with purchase of adult meal over $6. 3782 Monticello Plaza St. Charles 636-300-8002
Big Chief Roadhouse Kids ten and under eat free on Tuesdays with $8 adult purchase. 17352 Manchester Road Wildwood 636-458-3200
Caito's Restaurant Kids eat from on Mondays and Tuesdays, 4-8 p.m. Two kids' meals with purchase of each adult meal. 414 THF Boulevard Chesterfield 636-530-9222
Chris' Pancakes and Dining Kids ten and under eat free on Tuesdays. 5890 Southwest Avenue 314-645-2088
The Concord Grill Kids ten and under eat free on Tuesdays with purchase of adult meal and beverage. 11427 Concord Village Avenue South St. Louis County 314-849-5239
d.Dooley's 026 Grill Kids eat free Sundays through Thursdays, 4-10 p.m. with adult purchase 568 Old Smizer Mill Road Fenton 636-343-9268
Del Pietro's Kids ten and under eat free Tuesday nights. Includes kids menu items and half-orders of pasta. 5625 Hampton Avenue 314-351-1700
The Emperor's Palace Kids eat free Tuesday nights. 17360 Chesterfield Airport Road Chesterfield 636-537-8188
Frailey's Pub and Grill Kids eat free Monday nights with adult purchase over $7.29. 15850 Manchester Road Ellisville 636-227-2622
Fratelli's Ristoranti Kids ten and under eat free Tuesdays. 2061 Zumbehl Road (in Bogie Hills Plaza) St. Charles 636-949-9005
The Gas House Grill Kids ten and under eat for $1 Sundays through Thursdays. 12643 Olive Boulevard Creve Coeur 314-542-5000
Grappa Grill Kids eat free Sundays. 1644 Country Club Plaza St. Charles 636-940-5400
Global Quesadilla Company Kids eat free Mondays. 189 Lamp and Lantern Village Town and Country 636-256-7600
The Grove Deli Kids eat free Saturdays. 8144 Big Bend Boulevard (located in the back of the building) Webster Groves 314-962-9078
Krieger's Hometown Sports Bar and Grill Kids eat free Tuesdays. 1356 Big Bend Square Ballwin 636-861-1618 and 1684 Clarkson Road Chesterfield 636-530-9665
Lafayette Fire Company No. 1 Kids ten and under eat free Tuesdays 5-9 p.m. 1801 Park Avenue 314-621-5001
Malone's Neighborhood Grill and Pub Kids always eat free with paid adult meal. Five locations, including: 1320 Triad Center Drive St. Peters 636-447-1707
Mike Duffy's Pub and Grill Kids eat free Tuesdays with paid adult meal. Three locations, including: Clayton and South Woods Mill roads (In Clayton Village Shopping Center Town and Country 636-394-8855
O'Leary's Restaurant and Bar Kids eat free Tuesday nights. 3828 South Lindbergh Boulevard South St. Louis County 314-842-7678
The Pasta House Co. Kids eat free Sundays. One kids' meal per adult. Multiple area locations, including: 8213 Delmar Boulevard University City 314-991-2022
The Press Box Bar and Grill Kids eat free Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays after 5 p.m. 1095 Chesterfield Parkway Chesterfield 636-536-9440
Reynold's Roadhouse Kids eat free Sundays. 11488 Dorsett Road Maryland Heights 314-291-6119
Sherlock's Steak & Seafood Free Sunday brunch buffet for kids. 5373 Highway N Cottleville 636-939-9922
The Tin Can Tavern 3157 Morganford Road 314-865-3003 and 1909 Locust Avenue 314-241-9330