Six Places Family-Friendly Places to Eat, Play and Relax
The temperatures have been in the triple digits for weeks, the kids are bickering for hours on end and your patience has hit its limits. Welcome to summertime in the Valley of the Sun! While residents of the East Coast talk about being snowed in during the winter months, here in the East Valley, we have our own version: We are baked in.
Fortunately, Chandler and its surrounding cities offer a number of family-friendly places that get you out of the house with the kids for a treat or bite to eat in air-conditioned comfort.
Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta
While most kids love pizza and pasta, hungry kiddos are not willing to wait long for their food to arrive. This is not a problem at Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta. General Manager Jason Stephens says they pride themselves in having short wait times.
“Eating out with kids means you always have a ticking time bomb. You can usually get in and out quickly so everyone can eat before a meltdown ensues,” he says.
As a bonus, he says, the whole family can enjoy a nice meal at a budget-friendly price where everyone, even picky eaters, are sure to find something on the menu they like, such as cheese pizza and butter noodles.
As for specials, Stephens says kids meals are free per $8 adult purchase on Wednesdays between 4 and 9 p.m., dine-in only.
590 N. Alma School Rd., Suite 35, Chandler
McMahon’s Ice Cream
When it comes to a family-friendly place to enjoy a cool treat, nothing beats a scrumptious scoop—or two—of ice cream. Jim and Teresa McMahon, owners of McMahon’s Ice Cream, use only the finest ingredients to make their delicious ice cream in small batches, right on site.
“We offer cups, cones, sundaes, shakes, malts and ice cream pies,” Jim says.
While enjoying their sweet treats, families can play a board game like Trouble or Connect Four; each booth has a game set up and is ready to go.
“We know how a Chandler family wants to be treated because we’ve been a Chandler family since 1996,” Jim says. “We don’t just want to sell ice cream; we want to be part of your family’s ice cream memories.”
Customers who mention this article will receive a family special of two kid’s cups and two regular cups for $13.
960 E. Warner Rd., Suite 4, Chandler
Organ Stop Pizza
With its quartet of frisky feline Organ Stop Dancing Cats, talented organists who play a variety of songs from a number of musical genres and, of course, plenty of tasty pizza and an ice cream counter, Organ Stop Pizza is a great place to get a bite to eat and be highly entertained. Co-Owner Jack Barz says Organ Stop Pizza is one of the oldest and largest restaurants in Mesa, with seating for over 700 people on two levels.
“Organ Stop is not only kid friendly, we are multi-generational friendly—meaning we are ideal for families from age 2 to 102,” says Barz, who, along with the other two co-owners, are Chandler residents who all worked at Organ Stop Pizza as teens. “We are very fortunate in that all ages are entertained by our talented organists and amazing Wurlitzer.”
1149 E. Southern Ave., Mesa
When the mercury is rising, paletas—a traditional Mexican fresh fruit and cream pop—are sure to hit the spot. Alvin Hong, owner and co-founder of Paletas Betty in downtown Chandler, says they offer a wide variety of seasonal flavors with something for everyone.
“We have kid-tested flavors like strawberries and cream, fresh-squeezed orange vanilla cream and Mexican hot chocolate,” he says, adding that they have options for those with dietary restrictions. “We have vegan, non-dairy, nut-free, and gluten-free options, in addition to our delgadas line of paletas which have no sugar added.”
Everything is made “obsessively from scratch.” Hong says they grind whole spices, juice the citrus and press their own nut milks.
96 W. Boston St., Suite 100, Chandler
The Perch Pub & Brewery
Parents and kids who are fascinated with birds are sure to enjoy The Perch Pub & Brewery. Service Manager Jessica Larson says the restaurant is home to over 100 rescue birds.
“Every single one has a different personality—some talk, sing and even dance,” she says. “You can even give the birds a nice mist with our hand fan misters.”
The Perch is also filled with family-friendly games such as corn hole, oversized Jenga and Connect Four.
“We also have two checker sets set up on old stumps around the restaurant. Kids can play while mom and dad can enjoy a beer or two,” Larson says, adding that parents can choose from over 30 beers on tap.
232 S. Wall St., Chandler
Kids who are looking for a serious summertime sugar rush will be in proverbial hog heaven at Wimpy’s Paradise, where they can fill up a bag of sweets from the restaurant’s candy wall.
Wimpy’s Paradise also serves burgers, hot dogs, grilled PB&J sandwiches and ice cream treats. Everything on the kid’s menu is always priced at $4.35, says Owner Randy Walters.
“Our business stands out because we welcome families and have a very old-fashioned, ice cream diner-type feel,” says Walters, who also owns Pittsburgh Willy’s.
In August, the diner is offering a Kid’s Fun Meal to all kiddos under age 10. For $3, it includes a hot dog, ice cream cone, Capri Sun and five pieces of candy from the candy wall.
48 S. San Marcos Pl., Chandler