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This giant school bus is waiting on the playground for your kids to run wild around it at The Shack in Cypress.

Brother’s Pizzeria

The staff here treats everyone, but especially kids, like regulars. The walls are full of little customers’ artwork, done in crayon on paper plates and signed with backward letters. All that friendliness—combined with the impeccable New York–style pies, consistently among the best in the city—means no member of the family leaves unhappy. 

Café Mawal

This hidden gem, located inside a converted house, caters to a diverse crowd, including children who romp through the grass and climb the three-tiered decks in the sprawling backyard. Amid the family-cookout vibe, parents relax with cups of coffee and plates of grilled Middle Eastern goodness. Our favorite: the addictive Mawal-style chicken, fragrant with garlic and turmeric.

Jax Grill

At this laidback local stalwart, the grill is the way to go, with burgers topping the list, although the kitchen also puts out good fried fare and respectable red beans and rice. Both locations offer ample outdoor seating and, more important, a small selection of arcade games, for when the younger patrons get restless.

Jenni’s Noodle House

This local chain turns out Americanized renditions of pan-Asian classics, from pho to ramen. Stick-on tattoos and a picture menu call out to the kids, while fat rice noodles with soy sauce and butter call out to everyone—although you’ll only find them on Logan’s Menu, designed for the under-10 set. Bonus: the Heights location has a playground.

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The patios at Jimmy Changa's feature easy access to their on-site playgrounds, the Jungle Jimmy.

Jimmy Changa’s

This Tex-Mex chain from the owner of Gringo’s and Bullritos has all of the following: an anthropomorphic monkey mascot; a playground to rival any playground, anywhere; a water fountain that involves fire; chips and queso; and free soft-serve cones. Yes—that was the sound of Mr. Changa himself dropping the mic.

Little Matt’s

This West U favorite may be a kids’ restaurant—draws include a wall mounted with iPads, a front-counter candy shop, and a slew of arcade consoles—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t adult-friendly. Parents can relax with a free glass of wine (the place lacks a liquor license; make sure to leave a donation) and a respectable burger, while the kids drain that college fund, one quarter at a time.

Mia’s Table

With a menu full of classic comfort foods and a relaxed, Hill Country living-room vibe, this place is great for Sunday supper with the kiddos. Parents can sit back with a drink and an admirable chicken-fried steak, while little ones get to order from a menu of perennial kid favorites including grilled cheese, corn dogs and chicken fingers.

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Both dogs and kids are welcome on the patio at the family-friendly Mia's Table in Upper Kirby.

Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch

There’s room for children to run amid this Midtown café’s patio picnic tables, where parents keep an eye out as they partake in Maw Maw’s Mellowrama Punch and Southern favorites like the famous meatloaf sandwich. The kids’ meals—think PB&J sliders, grilled cheese sandwiches and mini corndogs—come in old-school lunchboxes.

Niko Niko’s in Market Square

Long lines at the Montrose location of this perennial favorite make it a hazard to child-toting diners. The solution? Try the Market Square Park outpost, where lines are shorter and kids have room to stretch their legs while you grab gyros for the family. If you’re in luck, you might even catch a concert or free movie night on the plaza.

The Shack Burger Resort

This Cypress favorite is exactly what it sounds like—a shack. It’s the perfect spot for a good burger, a good beer and a good time for all: there’s a playground complete with monkey bars, climbing logs and a big, colorful school bus. The only problem? Corralling the kids when it’s time to go home.

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In this Article

The Shack Burger Resort

$ American/New American, Hamburgers Multiple Locations

This Cypress favorite is exactly what it sounds like—a shack. It’s the perfect spot for a good burger, a good beer and a good time for all: there’s a playgro...

Editor’s Pick

Niko Niko’s Market Square

$ Greek 301 Milam St,

Located smack dab in the middle of the urban green space of Market Square Park, this outpost of Niko Niko’s offers a streamlined version of the menu at its p...

Natachee's Supper 'n Punch

$$ American/New American 3622 Main St.

There’s room for children to run amid this Midtown café’s patio picnic tables, where parents keep an eye out as they partake in Maw Maw’s Mellowrama Punch an...

Mia’s Table

$$ American/New American, Barbecue, Hamburgers 3131 Argonne St.

With a menu full of classic comfort foods and a relaxed, Hill Country living-room vibe, this place is great for Sunday supper with the kiddos. Parents can si...

Little Matt’s

$ American/New American, Hamburgers 6203 Edloe

This West U favorite may be a kids’ restaurant—draws include a wall mounted with iPads, a front-counter candy shop, and a slew of arcade consoles—but that do...

Jimmy Changa’s

$ Mexican/Tex-Mex Multiple Locations

This Tex-Mex chain from the owner of Gringo’s and Bullritos has all of the following: an anthropomorphic monkey mascot; a playground to rival any playground,...

Jenni’s Noodle House

$$ Pan-Asian, Vegan, Vegetarian Multiple Locations

This local chain turns out Americanized renditions of pan-Asian classics, from pho to ramen. Stick-on tattoos and a picture menu call out to the kids, while ...

Jax Grill

$ Hamburgers, Southern Multiple Locations

At this laidback local stalwart, the grill is the way to go, with burgers topping the list, although the kitchen also puts out good fried fare and respectabl...

Brother’s Pizzeria

$ Italian, Pizza Multiple Locations

Brother’s Pizza emulates those New York-style slice joints that offer big, floppy pennants of pie for eating on the street. We were sold when we stopped in f...