Kids eat free at local restaurants

LOS ANGELES The slumping economy means slumping sales at many dining establishments, but is also means value for parents.

"We want it to be quick and fast, but not taste like fast food," said parent Greg Haskins.

Pancakes, pizza, chicken fingers and fries, at Coco's /*kids eat free*/ Tuesday and Wednesday evenings when accompanied by an adult.

"We're doing it because of the economy so we're trying to get more people to come in and giving a break to some of the people, you know, to help their families that are in need," said Mike Brown, area director of Coco's.

A nice concept considering a child's meal adds on average four bucks per plate to the tab. Restaurants like Ruby's realize the value.

"Certainly we like giving them away for the little ones because they bring their parents in," said John Schirmer, district manager of Ruby's Diner.

Ruby's Diner offers kids eat free Tuesdays after 4 p.m., while Carrows serves up their petite promo plates Wednesdays and Thursdays after 4 p.m.

"It's a good program for our restaurants," said Ramiro Silva, Carrows director of operations.

Do your homework, you could have free meal for your child daily - not that the economy warrants that kind of patronage.

Applebee's, Norm's, and TGI Friday's are a few restaurants serving kids free on Monday, while Bennigan's, Chick-Fil-A and Denny's offer the deal on Tuesdays.

No one advertises Friday as a free day, but La Grande Orange Café in Pasadena and Junior's Deli in LA are two places we found kids eat everyday for free with certain time restrictions.

Free of charge doesn't mean free of fat. What is usually offered is grilled cheese, chicken fingers, pizza and pancakes. All tasty, but with health and weight concerns in mind remember kids will eat fruits and veggies when served often enough.

All the spots we visited had better substitutions without an extra charge.

While restaurants are getting better about offering healthier menu items remember that change often comes from public demand. So order milk in lieu of soda, swap out the fries for rice, and add some fresh fruit.

A good resource to find kids eat free deals in your neighborhood is

Kids Eat Free Restaurants

  • La Grande Orange Café
    Pasadena, CA
    Everyday kids eat free after 7 p.m.

  • Jacopo's (pizzeria)
    Beverly Hills, CA
    Mondays and Tuesdays kids eat free

  • Café 50's
    West Los Angeles, CA
    Wednesdays kids eat free

  • Junior's Deli
    Los Angeles, CA
    Everyday kids eat free (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.)

  • Scott's on the Strand
    Hermosa Beach, CA
    Tuesdays kids receive free cheese pizza

  • P'sketti Spaghetti House
    Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
    Kids eat free Wednesdays (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.)

  • Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Sundays kids eat free after 4 p.m.
    (12 years & younger)
    One kid's meal per adult entrée

  • Back Bay Bistro
    Newport Beach, CA
    Thursdays kids eat free
    (12 years & younger)
    One kid's meal per adult entrée

  • Michael's on Naples
    5620 E. 2nd St.
    Long Beach, CA 90803
    Tuesdays kids eat free- Tuesdays
    (12 years & younger)
    One kid's meal per adult entrée
    Featured Kids Menu items - Michael's featured pasta dish with a salad

Chain restaurants:
  • Sharkeez -- Sundays
  • Islands Restaurant -- Tuesdays (12 and younger)
  • IHOP -- Everyday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Hooters -- Sundays
  • Marie Callendars -- Mondays
  • TGI Fridays -- Mondays
  • Applebee's -- Mondays
  • Norm's -- Mondays 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Tony Roma's -- Mondays
  • Coco's -- Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • Ruby's Diner -- Tuesdays after 4 p.m.
  • Dennys -- Tuesdays
  • Chick-Fil-A -- Tuesdays
  • Bennigan's -- Tuesdays
  • Carrows -- Tuesdays
  • The Loft -- Tuesdays
  • Carrows -- Wednesdays and Thursdays
  • El Torito -- Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • National Sports Grill -- Saturdays
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