Where to “Use Your Noodle”: In Search of Pasta Restaurants for Kids By Edan Goode

Kids and pasta are a natural combination. Maybe it’s that spaghetti noodles look like worms. Or that you can slurp them. Or that they are bland. Or that they come in lots of interesting shapes with interesting names that are fun to say like “fusilli” and “rigatoni”.

Although pasta is one of the easiest things in the world to cook at home, it’s a lot of fun to go out for pasta because you know there won’t be any arguments from the kids about what to order.

Here are a few of my childrens’ favorites:

  1. The Old Spaghetti Factory –   With its interesting décor and train theme, including

    An example of a birthday balloon hat you can get at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

    an actual box car you can dine in, it’s an event to go to Old Spaghetti Factory. For a birthday, count on the staff singing to you and the balloon artist coming ‘round to make a fanciful and wonderfully embarrassing hat for you to wear.  Meals are a good deal with the price including soup or salad (salad or applesauce on the kids’ menu), drink, entrée and dessert.

    (Read a review of  The Old Spaghetti Factory).

  2. Noodles & Company – The Wisconsin Mac and Cheese is, hands-down, my childrens’ favorite dish in the world with its mixture of creamy cheese sauce, topped with two kinds of shredded cheese that melt over the whole mess as you eat.  My youngest says the plain buttered noodles with herbs and parmesan is “the best thing ever”.
  3. Pei Wei – Because noodles aren’t just Italian, the Lo Mein noodles with chicken on the kids menu are a big hit with my kids. They also like the Dan Dan Noodles from the main menu for something a little spicier. With soy sauce, chicken, scallions, garlic, bean sprouts, cucumbers on egg noodles, it gets them out of their simple pasta rut, for which I am grateful.
  4. Olive Garden  – These folks are smart. They give kids a sense of control while keeping them within the confines of the kids’ menu. One of their most popular menu items is the “Create Your Own Pasta” where kids pick the kind of pasta they want, then the kind of sauce and finally the protein they want to add like grilled chicken, Italian sausage or a meatball.

Where are your favorite places to take the kids for pasta?  I’ve only mentioned chains here, unintentionally, only because we haven’t discovered any “mom and pop” places yet. Have you discovered any? Let us know!

Comment below and share your favorite spots for pasta with the family. Mangia!

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