Updated May 8, 2024 - Parenting

10 kid-friendly restaurants in Charlotte that parents also love

seoul food charlotte

Outdoor play area at Seoul Food - Mill District. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

We've put together a list of 10 must-try kid-friendly restaurants around Charlotte that are delicious but also cool for parents and guardians.

Why it matters: Going out to eat with kids is fun but often requires some planning. Does the restaurant have ample outdoor space for running around? Do the bathrooms have changing tables? Is there a kids' menu?

  • These are restaurants that we've visited ourselves with kids, plus others that are recommendations from readers. They're listed in no particular order.

My thought bubble: I have a 2-year-old. While she appreciates grilled cheese and chicken fingers, she eats whatever we eat these days. So for us, it's more important that a restaurant has a cool patio/outdoor area than a specific kids' menu.

Suffolk Punch (SouthPark)

Suffolk Punch, which became one of South End's most popular hangouts when it opened in 2017, expanded to south Charlotte with a spot at the mall in 2023. It's expanding to Huntersville this year, too.

The vibe: The restaurant/brewery's facility is a sprawling, indoor/outdoor space that includes a taproom, room for live music and a kids' area complete with play structures, artificial turf and slides. It's a family haven, especially whenever the weather's nice.

  • The kids' menu includes classics like cheese pizza, chicken fingers and mac n' cheese.
Suffolk Punch Brewery in SouthPark
Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Inizio Pizza

Award-winning pizza spot in Dilworth (2230 Park Road) and south Charlotte (10620 Providence Road).

The vibe: The kitchen feels like it was designed with kids in mind. Your toddler can stand on a bench and watch the pizza makers roll out the dough, add ingredients and slide the pizza into massive ovens.

  • Each pizza comes with a cup of margarita sauce for crust dipping. Order the classic margarita pizza (it’s delicious). End the meal with Inizio’s gelato — ask for the tiny spoons.
inizio pizza
Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Hawthorne's New York Pizza

Neighborhood pizza spot at 1701 E 7th St. in Elizabeth

The vibe: Hawthorne's is a family favorite with robust kids' menu offerings, including pizza, cheese ravioli with marinara and angel hair pasta with marinara or butter sauce (all come with a fountain drink). Parents, go with their Hawthorne’s Sicilian, New Yorker or the Elizabeth Special.

Fun fact: Hawthorne's claims that its "Inducer" pizza has helped prompt the arrival of 450 babies since 2017. It's a Buffalo wing pizza layered with chicken, mozzarella cheese and in-house medium-hot buffalo sauce.

Hawthorne's Pizza in Charlotte North Carolina
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Providence Road Sundries

Low-key spot at 1522 Providence Road serving quality bar food since 1933.

The vibe: It's super family-friendly on the right side of the restaurant; the left side has a bar vibe.

  • The kids' menu has the classics — cheeseburgers, spaghetti, grilled cheese — and the regular menu ranges from wraps and tacos to bowls and wings.
Providence Road Sundries in Charlotte
Photo: Axios archives

Seoul Food - Mill District

A restaurant with a bar and indoor entertainment (karaoke and games), plus a sprawling outdoor area at 421 E 26th St.

The vibe: The courtyard/patio boasts a sizable splash pad(!), a big gazebo, a playground and space for meetups, yoga and other activities. Grab an adult beverage and an app the family will enjoy, from boneless wings to bao buns.

Seoul Food Mill District
Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

People's Market (Elizabeth)

A beloved market/deli at 1609 Elizabeth Ave. in Elizabeth that's expanding to Myers Park and LoSo.

The vibe: There's something for everyone at this unpretentious gathering spot in Elizabeth, housed in the former Earl's Grocery space — whether it's a pickle pizza or mouthwatering breakfast burrito, or a burger or chicken nugs for the kids.

inside people's market
Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Mattie's Diner

A fixture at the Music Factory for years, Mattie's Diner reopened at 3100 The Plaza in 2022 after a nearly eight-year hiatus.

The vibe: The diner's known for its Jersey vibes, its classic breakfasts, its famous meatloaf and its milkshakes. You can watch the crew flipping burgers and pancakes in the original old-school diner part of the restaurant — or dine al fresco on the spacious patio.

Mattie's Diner in Charlotte North Carolina
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Good Wurst

A sandwich shop/deli serving up house-made sausages, smoked meats and Montreal-style bagels that started in Plaza Midwood and has expanded to South End and north Charlotte.

The vibe: OK so there's not technically a kids' menu, but I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't love hot dogs and egg sandwiches. Plus, their indoor seating areas are spacious and welcoming — fitting for a family with kids.

GOod wurst in Charlotte
Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

Optimist Hall

A former textile mill that was transformed into a sprawling, always-buzzing food hall at 1115 N Brevard St.

The vibe: With dozens of dining options, you'll be sure to find something for any kind of palate in the family, whether it's pizza (Ava), Indian (Botiwalla), grilled cheese (Papi Queso), ramen (Bao and Broth) and lots, lots more. Order your food and dine with the family outside in the dog-friendly central courtyard.

Optimist Hall food hall in Charlotte
Photo: Axios archives

JJ's Red Hots

Hot dog spot at 1514 East Blvd. in Dilworth that's beloved by customers of all ages.

The vibe: Kid's menu items at JJ’s Red Hots come with a side (chips, fruit salad, fries) and a drink (soda, milk, juice box) and include skinless hot dogs and chicken tenders.

JJ's red hots in charlotte
Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Editor's note: We first published this guide in October 2019. We updated it in May 2024.

  • This guide has been corrected to reflect that Providence Road Sundries no longer has arcade games.

Related Axios Charlotte parenting guides: Family-friendly activities to check out in Charlotte, private school tuition data and parental leave policies at Charlotte's biggest employers.


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