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Enjoy Good Food & Fun Times at Tampa's Family-Friendly Eateries



Sometimes it's difficult to find a restaurant that will suit the whole family. Parents have to find something casual, maybe with high-chairs or booster seats, and goodness knows having crayons can be a life-saver. Luckily, Tampa offers traveling families lots of kid-approved options to choose from. To help you find the perfect option for your family, 10 Best has compiled a list of ten of the city's top choices.

For a fun old-Florida experience, check out Cody's Original Roadhouse. This restaurant allows kids to be messy and throw their peanut shells on the floor while they draw on the table. Perfect, right? The food's pretty good too, featuring hearty and traditional roadhouse fare. The kid's menu here is pretty good as well with a more extensive menu that you usually see. All this and a fair price too.

If you're in a hurry, but cringe at feeding your kids unhealthy fast food, try the EVOS difference. EVOS is a local take-out restaurant that features many of the usual staples, such as burgers and fries, prepared with a healthy twist. They use fresh organic or vegan ingredients and air-bake their french fries instead of using the deep fryer. They also offer a good selection of salads and wraps as well. 


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10
Citrus Park


Tampa has one Johnny Rockets restaurant conveniently located in Citrus Park Mall next to the movie theaters. It's the perfect spot to take the family after a day of shopping or seeing a movie. If you haven't been before, this international chain offers guests a classic American diner experience. From the waiter's paper hats, to the cozy booths, to the jukeboxes, the atmosphere will take you back to a less complicated time. The food is classic American diner as well featuring juicy burgers, tasty hot dogs, and cheese dripping sandwich melts. Pair your meal selection with your favorite milkshake, malt or float for the complete experience.


9
Channelside
Splitsville
Photo courtesy of Splitsville


Conveniently located at Sparkman Wharf in the Channelside District, Splitsville bills itself as a "luxury lanes and dinner lounge." This may be the coolest bowling alley you've ever visited with modern and comfortable seating in addition to the well-maintained bowling lanes and selection of arcade games. Splitsville goes far beyond the ordinary with its full menu of traditional and upscale dishes as well. It does get quite busy, especially if there is an event going on at Sparkman Wharf, so reservations are recommended, especially if you want to bowl. Deciding to bowl after you arrive usually means a solid wait.




Tampa's version of Cody's Original Roadhouse, a small Florida chain of restaurants, is one of the city's favorite places to go with family. The atmosphere is casual and relaxing and the decor is a creative take on an old-fashioned Florida gas station. Kids are kept entertained with peanuts in the shell, coloring, and balloon making while the parents relax and peruse the extensive menu. Dishes include USDA prime and choice steaks and prime rib, juicy rotisserie chicken, tender pork back ribs, fresh fish and much more. Kids get their own fairly extensive menu featuring perfect kid foods. All this at a price that won't empty your wallet!


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Beef O'Brady's is a Tampa institution delighting area families since 1984. Beefs, as it is affectionately known, is famous for its family-friendly pub atmosphere, with a game room for the kids and a large number of TVs for sports fans to enjoy. Menu items feature typical pub fare with an Irish twist. You'll find burgers, wings, wraps and burritos. Perhaps their most popular entree is their crunchy beer-battered fish and chips. This location is the where it all began, but never fear, if you are not in the Brandon area, there are many, many other locations to choose from throughout Tampa Bay. Visit their website to find the location nearest you.


6
Carrollwood


Sweet Tomatoes is an all-inclusive buffet-style cafeteria that specializes in soups and salads. Great family dining that provides healthier alternatives for both adults and kids. This restaurant features an open and airy atmosphere with tons of booth seating. The menu varies each month providing a new variety of salads, soups, pasta dishes and specials to choose from. The salad bar features 50 fresh ingredients as well as specially prepared and tossed salads. Items are made from scratch each day including their moist muffins and fresh focaccia bread. Finish off your meal with a selection from the dessert bar which features a self-serve ice cream bar.


5
South Tampa
Square 1 Burgers


Owned by well-known Tampa restaurateur, Bill Shumate, Square 1 Burgers is a reference to Bill returning to his burger-making roots. Square 1's mission is simple, build the best burgers and provide an awesome dining experience. They seem to be doing a great job as they are consistently named one of Tampa's best burgers by local websites and publications. The restaurant is clean with trendy decor. In addition to a large selection of Angus beef burgers, the menu also features lamb and buffalo burgers for the more adventurous. For the non-meat-eaters in your party, there is a delicious vegan burger option too.


4
Soho


EVOS is a local fast food chain that focuses on making your favorite fast food dishes more healthy, like using organic or vegan ingredients and air-baking their french fries instead of using the deep fryer. They use naturally raised beef and chicken and wild-caught Alaskan Salmon. The end result is a reduction in calories, fat, and processed ingredients, and an increase in fresh, delicious flavors. There's also a wide selection of wraps, salads, smoothies, and shakes. Again, all prepared with fresh, organic ingredients. You will come out satisfied, but without the guilt.




For some people, an authentic New York pizza experience requires a casual, hole-in-the-wall setting. If you are one of those people, Eddie & Sam's is the place for you. But the authenticity doesn't end there! The water used to make their signature pizza dough is actually shipped directly from New York. The pizzas come out crisp and hot from the oven and include such favorites as primavera, Hawaiian, and Sicilian. The menu also features hot and cold sandwiches and buffalo wings. Eddie & Sam's has been a lunchtime favorite of the nearby office crowd for years, but it's also handy to downtown hotels for a great nighttime snack.


2
North Tampa


Serving hungry Tampa locals since 1973, Mel's takes the simple concept of a hot dog and makes it as good as you could imagine. These dogs aren't the bland approximations you find at some fast food places. Instead, they're all-beef and come on poppy-seed buns, loaded with goodies like sauerkraut, onions, relish, pickles and hot peppers. They're offered in a variety of styles, too, so pick your favorite and taste what a hot dog should be like. If you're in the mood for something else, Mel's also has sandwiches, veggie burgers, corn dogs and more. A great location near Busch Gardens and affordable prices only add to the appeal of this Tampa institution.


Topgolf Tampa
Photo courtesy of Topgolf Tampa


Located in Brandon, a 15 minute drive from downtown is Topgolf Tampa. This unique entertainment complex offers a 3-level golf range for players of all ages and abilities to hone their skills playing target-oriented games. A state-of-the-art gaming system logs players in and keeps track of both the game and the score using microchipped golf balls. There are 109 golf bays that can accommodate up to 6 people and are rented by the hour. Each bay has a host that provides full food and beverage service. In addition, there is a large restaurant and bar, games lounge and outdoor patio. If you're on a budget, try and visit on Tuesday which is half price for the hourly bay rental.


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Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye

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