Yakima’s Kid-Friendly (and Budget-Friendly) Restaurants

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Originally published in Playdate Magazine

By Molly Allen

When it comes to eating out with kids, it can be a bit of a hurdle. Taking the whole family out can be such a big ordeal, that many parents often choose to stay home instead. There’s the consideration of your child’s behavior. Will they behave and stay entertained? Will they even want to eat anything at the restaurant you choose? And then there’s the budgeting aspect, because sometimes kids’ entrees can be spendy, and often they only want to eat a few bites. Luckily, we can help take the guesswork out of picking a budget-friendly and kid-friendly restaurant for you. We took a look at several local restaurants that serve up a list of great options, all tested and approved by 4-year-old Cleo, who would typically eat pasta for every meal of the day if she had the choice.

Powerhouse Grill

Powerhouse is all about serving up options, especially when it comes to their kids menu. For breakfast, kids can choose from pancakes and french toast, an omelet or oatmeal with fruit. It’s a fairly extensive breakfast menu that offers reasonable portions and kid-approved food for only $4.50 per meal. But even with all those great breakfast choices, lunch and dinner is where the real deal comes in. Powerhouse offers a complete kids meal with the choice of an entree and a side, as well as a drink and dessert. The menu includes pasta, grilled cheese, hand-breaded fish or mini corn dogs. Side options offer plenty of healthy choices such as carrots, cottage cheese, steamed broccoli and fresh fruit. And the best part? All of them will only set you back $5.50 per meal.

Mel’s Diner

Mel’s Diner has been a Yakima staple since 1982, taking guests back in time to the 1950s. And with its classic car theme and bright décor, what’s not to love? With breakfast, lunch and dinner served all day, this location is all about quick service and options. The breakfast menu offers your typical staples such as pancakes and french toast, adding in their Junior Country Fried Steak as an additional option, all ranging from $4 to $8. Lunch and dinner choices include a hamburger with onion rings, a hot dog or grilled cheese. Mel’s also offers an ‘On the Lite Side’ menu with items such as a grilled chicken breast or a 6 oz. top sirloin, all wonderfully portioned for kids. Sides include soup, salad, fries, cottage cheese or tomatoes. Lunches and dinners range from $5 to $10. And don’t forget about dessert! With handmade old-fashioned milkshakes, it’s pretty difficult to get out the door without sharing something sweet.

Cowiche Canyon Kitchen

Cowiche Canyon offers a kids “Apple Box” with five options for kid-friendly meals. Select from a menu including a chicken and broccoli stir fry, pasta with peas, a house-ground cheeseburger, grilled cheese or seasonal fish. Each box comes with Cowiche’s matchstick fries, seasonal vegetables and Yakima apples. And all of those meals come to the table for just $7. Guests love this menu because the kids get a substantial, healthy meal while parents can enjoy their meal as well — and maybe even a signature cocktail. Under the same ownership as Cowiche Canyon, E.Z Tiger just released their “Cub’s Menu,” featuring a bento box that includes a choice of chicken, beef or prawn Yakitori, rice, teriyaki sauce and a treat for the same price.

The Pub

I would venture to guess that many people don’t know The Pub is open to kids. This is something I learned just recently. But with its large game room, fun and interactive kids menu and a number of meal options, it’s the perfect fit. Mom and Dad can sip a great local beer from one of their many taps and the kids can enjoy a good meal while having fun. Kids menu choices at this hangout include a mini cheeseburger, chicken strips or toasted ravioli — each served with the option of fries or fruit. The other big winner? The Pub serves up Yakima favorite, Cheese Zombies, but in flatbread form for the kids. This was a huge hit at our table, and we’re not alone. A number of friends have mentioned that The Pub is their favorite go-to family dinner spot.

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