Twelve places to dine with children in the State College area

Being a parent doesn’t have to cramp your eating out style. State College offers a plethora of family-friendly restaurants, and if you time it right, you might just land your kids a free Tuesday night dinner.


Dine Anytime


Waffle Shop


Location: 1229 North Atherton St. and 1610 West College Ave.


Good for: Breakfast and lunch


With two “original” locations, the Waffle Shop rarely disappoints. Your biggest difficulty will be realizing that regardless of the temperature or season, there will be an outdoor line for a weekend breakfast. If you are lucky enough to go for a weekday breakfast, not only will you likely evade the line, you’ll be able to grab the specials at great prices! One chocolate chip pancake, one egg, one strip of bacon and one sausage link is available to kids of any age for just $4.29. If this restaurant has any downside, it’s simply that the hours are only 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

What parents are saying: “It’s loud. It’s fast. It’s good. And the servers often totally understand why you have to take your food, coffee to go!”




Location: 1450 North Atherton St.


Good for: Lunch and dinner


Hoss’s may not be first on most dining lists. Its faded maroon and yellow sign is often overlooked for flashier choices, but its aging simply means it has stood the test of time. Hoss’s is an excellent choice for families with young kids. Children five and under eat free at the soup, salad and dessert bar, which means endless bread, veggies, crackers, raisins, fruit, applesauce and soft serve with all the fixings. What youngster isn’t having a heyday with that? Pair their Bring Your Own Beer (BYOB) policy with a sirloin and baked potato and the parents will leave satisfied, too!


The Corner Room


Location: 100 W College Ave.


Good for: Breakfast, lunch and dinner


If you frequent downtown, The Corner Room is a well-known establishment. It is one of the only restaurants in State College that offers a variety of choices for all three meals of the day. Their kids menu isn’t just a small corner tucked in the back either. With 10 breakfast options, and nearly as many lunch/dinner options, you can feed your kids 12 and under for less than $3 at breakfast and $4 at lunch or dinner. And if you’re feeling generous, you can top off their meal with a two-topping sundae for just $1.99.  


Rey Azteca


Location: 485 Benner Pike


Good for: Lunch and dinner


In the mood for some Mexican? Rey Azteca has extensive menu choices even for the “niños.” Kids can choose anything from a taco salad, to the more American burger and fries. So if you’re in the mood for a great burrito, but your kid won’t touch beans and rice, opt for Rey Azteca. You can get yourself Burrito Deluxe and your child a Niño H. Otherwise known as chicken fingers and fries.




Location: 1938 North Atherton St.


Good for: Breakfast in a pinch, but mainly lunch or dinner


Everyone needs an option where no one exits the vehicle. Chick-Fil-A’s drive-thru line at noon and 6 p.m. are a testament to their ability to rise to the challenge. Be aware that your taillights may be hanging into Atherton Street if you try to drive-thru during the rush hours, but those who frequent the area tend to keep left! Their kids menu is standard, but their fresh fruit and organic juice options are often appreciated. You see the most benefit with youngsters if you attend some of their community events or enjoy the play place.


Dine Out on Tuesdays!


Tuesday night is the night for dining out with kids. There are specials all over town including the great choices below.  


Robin Hood Brewing Co.  

Location: 1796 Zion Rd., Bellefonte

Good for: Dinner

Robin Hood Brewing Co. offers a kids night on Tuesdays that ups the ante with a craft to go along with the kids meals. Their unique “Craftwiches” offer a variety of enticing options, and the extensive menu also includes pizza, burgers, tacos, and salads.  




Location: 211 Patriot Ln.


Good for: Dinner


Need a quick Mexican fix? Moe’s offers a free kids meal with the purchase of an adult meal every Tuesday. The order-at-the-counter atmosphere makes it an easy place to take children — you can pack up your food and leave at a moment’s notice!


Baby’s Diner


Location: 131 South Garner St.


Good for: Dinner


Looking for a ’50s style dinner at 2019 pace? Baby’s Diner offers two free kids meals per paying adult. For larger families this can be especially cost-effective. Choose from your standard American fare and top it off with a milkshake or a “teeny weeny” sundae, which comes with the free kids meal!  


For Fancier Family Fun


Let’s be clear: unless you’re dining at the Carnegie Inn, nearly all of State College can be considered casual dining. Nonetheless, there are the places you might take your date or your kids, and the places you’d never take a date, only kids. The list below is the former.  


Otto’s Pub and Brewery


Location: 2235 North Atherton St.


Good for: Dinner


Otto’s is, without a doubt, a State College favorite. Their locally sourced food and personal brewery ensure a unique culinary experience. They class up their otherwise traditional kids menu with the option of Salmon with Lemon Herb Butter, along with some healthier (and delicious) side options. The timing is important, because no one wants a long wait with kids. Try to beat the dinner rush, because they don’t take call ahead seating. You might decide it’s a family favorite and purchase a Pub Club membership, which allows you to make reservations in the future!

What parents are saying: “Great options! And it’s loud enough that I feel he isn’t disruptive to other diners.”


Governors’ Pub  


Location: 211 W High St., Bellefonte


Good for: Dinner


The Governors’ Pub in Bellefonte offers an option for those just outside of State College. Their pub fare menu includes Yank’s Shepherd Pie and Porcupine Meatballs, but if you play the safer side of dining you can still grab their fish and chips, meatloaf, or a variety of sandwiches and salads. Kids can expect the standard hot dog, grilled cheese, and chicken tender options, and their meal includes a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Outdoor seating, though it is limited, is always a bonus with kids!


Happy Valley Brewing Co.  


Location: 137 Elmwood St.  


Good for: Dinner


If you time it just right, you and your youngsters can enjoy a night at Happy Valley Brewing Co. If you hit the dinner rush, the wait will be too long for little ones. If you aim for an early dinner, you won’t be disappointed. While the adults can indulge in items like a Bayou Bowl or Wood-Fired Trout, the kids can either join you or select from mac and cheese, chicken fingers, or buttered noodles.


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