The Junction Diner was born from a child's imagination. Kate and Brad Wahl's son Connor had just turned 1 and received a wooden train set. He played for well over an hour, delighting his parents, who had been searching for something that could keep their son's attention. The next step seemed as natural as a locomotive's forward momentum: they opened a train-themed restaurant to cater to parents and their kids.
Inside The Junction Diner, which has earned a Chicago's Best Family Friendly Spots nomination, a long counter wraps around the room's center like a winding train track. Diners sit on either side, and servers move up and down the middle, carrying plates of food with playful, train-inspired names. Customers at the counter itself can even get their meals delivered by an actual train. The aptly titled "Lil Conductor's Menu" delights kids with mini burgers and cheese quesadillas, while older diners peruse "Box Car Burgers" made with certified Black Angus beef and "Junction Wraps" including the buffalo chicken, topped in buffalo sauce, veggies, and a choice of ranch dressing or blue cheese. Near the dining area, a large table with interactive model trains keeps kids busy while their parents finish meals.
Made-from-scratch recipes and fresh ingredients have been setting The Original Pancake House apart from its breakfast-spot competition since 1953. That's when its owners established an empire committed to ingredients such as pure hard-wheat unbleached flour and butter made from fresh sweet cream.
Today, The Original Pancake House cooks across the country still construct scrambles and omelets from fresh Grade AA eggs. Powdered sugar lines the rims of oven-baked Dutch Baby pancakes, and Granny Smith apples simmer in oven-baked pancakes (two of more than a dozen styles of pancake on the menu). Even the toppings are made in-house, including whipped cream, specialty syrups, and sauces. To complement these flavors, staff fill cups with fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and Kona coffee. Although each location takes on the local charm of its surrounding city, all of them share in common a homey atmosphere that welcomes families with kids' menus.
Name aside, The Original Pancake House isn't just a breakfast spot—in fact, it stays open until 3 p.m. The savory side of the menu holds sandwiches piled with thick-cut meats, caesar salads, and savory dishes.
Find something on the menu for everyone at Louie's Grill in Forest Park.
Parents appreciate this restaurant's kid-friendly attitude, and little ones are often seen dining out with the adults.
Louie's Grill is a prime location to dine with a group.
Fancy-schmancy attire is not required; in fact, guests are told to keep things casual.
Just through the door at this restaurant, you can claim your food. No delivery required.
Parking is plentiful, so guests can feel free to bring their vehicles.
If you're too tired to drive, public transportation will also suffice; right around the corner are stops at Harlem-Forest Park (Blue) and Forest Park (Blue).
Bike parking is quick and easy at Louie's Grill.
For a decently-priced meal that s not too fancy, Louie's Grill hits the nail on the head.
The breakfast menu at the restaurant draws rave reviews, though you can also stop by for lunch or dinner.
Indulge in a wide array of American dishes at Andrea's Restaurant.
Round out your meal with a little tipple — this restaurant has a terrific drink list, including beer, wine, and more.
Eat out with the little ones at this restaurant, and don't waste time scurrying for a sitter.
Perfect for an after-work outing, Andrea's Restaurant won't require you to change outfits before dining as the dress here is super casual.
For those in a rush, the restaurant lets you take your food to go.
Don't waste time searching for parking, we've done all the work for you. Spaces available here.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at Andrea's Restaurant, so come by whenever it fits your schedule.
The best American dishes are cooked up by the great crew at Andrea's Restaurant, and they're waiting to serve you!
Find something for anyone at any time with American food from Andrea's Restaurant.
Enjoy time-honored diner delights at Denny's.
Wifi here is on the house.
Have a large group? No problem. Head to Denny's for easy seating.
Between the music and the crowds, Denny's' noise levels can be intense.
Leaving the couch is half the battle. Your foods awaits your pickup at this restaurant.
Denny's' patrons can find places to park in the area.
You can stop by at almost any time, since Denny's offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Swing by the restaurant at literally any hour — it's open 24 hours a day.
If you are in the mood for some delicious diner classics, come check out the menu at Denny's.
Ease your appetite with delicious bites from Harlo Grill in Melrose Park.
Load up the mini-van and bring the kids to this restaurant — they'll love the menu and scene here as much as mom and dad.
Feeling a little shy? Carryout is available.
Patrons are provided with sufficient parking nearby.
For those who prefer to travel by bike, Harlo Grill is a great option due to its generous bike parking options.
Fancy-schmancy price tags don t always bring the best results, and Harlo Grill s super yummy, mid-range menu is taste-test approved.