Food + Dining
As our readers well know, it takes more than a few crayons to make a restaurant family-friendly. But where are those elusive spots with menus that adults love as much as kids? And what about pizza, treats, ice cream, frozen yogurt and coffee? We asked, you answered.
2016 Food + Dining — Winners + Finalists
2016 Golden Teddy Awards — Other categories:
Winner: Mod Pizza
If you’re craving a slice, readers say, pick your pie at Mod Pizza. This, you guessed it, modern pizza place has 10 locations in the Seattle metro area, including restaurants in Bothell, Redmond and Sammamish. Don’t expect delivery, however. Mod believes pizza is best straight from the oven, whether that’s yours or Mod’s (its boxes supposedly keep pizza warm for 20 minutes).
Homegrown favorite Pagliacci Pizza first opened on the University District’s famous Ave way back in 1979. In the nearly four decades since then, Pagliacci has expanded to more than 20 locations throughout Seattle and the Eastside (including three on the University of Washington campus). There’s more to this pizza joint than good eats, however. Read up on its pizza-tossing parties for a creative birthday celebration that will make a mini chef out of your kid.
Founded in Columbia City in 2004, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria has set up shops in Seattle, Bellevue and Issaquah, giving the masses traditional Neapolitan pizza (read: wood-fired with no fancy toppings). It’s got the paperwork to back up its tradition, too. Ask about the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana for a quick Italian history lesson.
Sometimes you’ve just got to go with a classic, right? Readers think so, making Papa Murphy’s a finalist. The chain has plenty of locations for picking up its take ’n’ bake pizza, with stores throughout western Washington, including one as far west as Aberdeen.
Find Zeeks Pizza throughout Seattle, Lynnwood, Kirkland, Issaquah, Bellevue, and Bothell (to name a few locations). As for where that memorable name came from? Zeek was a surfer buddy of founders Tom and Doug, who once mused that “life is too short for crappy pizza.” We couldn’t agree more.
The only non-franchise in the finals, Ridge Pizza is a neighborhood establishment located in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge (fun fact: The Ridge Pizza website offers a detailed read on all things Phinney Ridge). The menu includes pizza (obviously) but also salads and sandwiches for the less pie-enthused in your crew.
Winner: Red Robin
We’ve got three words for you: bottomless steak fries. Red Robin claims first place for overall best restaurant, and we have a hunch those fries have something to do with it. You’ll have plenty of chances to have some for yourself, because Red Robin has more than 40 locations in Washington state. Find the bird as far north as Bellingham and as far east as Spokane.
Go Greek at Vios Café & Pub. With locations on Capitol Hill and in Ravenna, Vios offers traditional Mediterranean fare with fans particularly craving the lamb skewer, spanakopita and galaktoboureko (that’s creamy custard in flaky phyllo). Families also rave about the play areas, which keep kids busy.
Elliott Bay Brewing Company in Lake City claims a spot in the finals (also find locations in West Seattle and Burien). Readers highlight the traditional pub fare (fish and chips, burgers and beer), ample space and laid-back, if oft busy, setting. “Always lively [and] family-friendly,” notes one happy customer.
A 10-minute walk from Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney Market Pub & Eatery gets plenty of foot traffic from families. Look for the train table and kid-friendly eats, which include Sriracha Parmesan chicken tenders and mac and cheese.
This Lynnwood staple is no stranger to the Golden Teddy list. PlayHappy Café offers a 2,000-square-foot play area (bring socks!) designed for little ones 6 and under. There’s also a spot for babies and toddlers, complete with white picket fence, and plenty of lounging space for accompanying adults.
Who hasn’t heard of the place “where a kid can be a kid”? Chuck E. Cheese’s has three Seattle-area locations: Bellevue, Lynnwood and Silverdale. Also, Tacoma. All offer that classic mix of pizza, prizes and play.
Technically, Ballard Pizza Company, Frelard isn’t only in Ballard proper. Also find this local spot in Frelard (you know, that magical area between Ballard and Fremont right along Leary Way). At both, restaurateur Ethan Stowell seeks to offer “whole pies, fat slices” with a family-friendly atmosphere sure to please the pickiest of eaters.
Ever heard of this little establishment? We thought so. Six decades in and McDonald’s continues to offer burgers, fries and, of course, that famous Happy Meal. Whether you’re looking for a McFlurry or the latest action figure, McDonald’s won’t be hard to find; just look for the famous Golden Arches.
Winner: Top Pot Doughnuts
Dozens of doughnut-crazed votes came in for Seattle darling Top Pot Doughnuts. Famous for its hand-forged goods, Top Pot got its start 14 years ago in a small brick store on North Capitol Hill. Now you can find Top Pot throughout the area, with cafés in Tukwila, Bothell and beyond.
Self-proclaimed home of “Seattle’s most celebrated cupcakes,” Trophy Cupcakes features plenty of delectable, kid-friendly flavors, including cookies and cream, snickerdoodle and s’more. Trophy also keeps an eye on the latest themes (think Captain America, Minions and sparkly unicorns).
You won’t get just cupcakes at this Seattle favorite. Cupcake Royale also scoops up house-made ice cream. Can you say “sugar rush”? The 13-year-old bakery also bills itself as the first cupcakery to open outside of New York City. “You can imagine that many of our friends and neighbors didn’t know quite what to expect,” the company says of those early days.
Mighty-O Donuts offers organic fare because, as the company puts it, “It makes sense.” Mighty-O got its start at Seattle’s University District Street Fair in May 2000; now it has storefronts in Green Lake, Ballard and on Capitol Hill.
It’s hard to pick between these two spots: PinkaBella Cupcakes and Grateful Bread Bakery. The first you’ll find in malls around Seattle (Alderwood, Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond and Southcenter); the second calls Northeast Seattle and Duvall home. Both offer baked goods readers rave about.
Hello Robin Cookies got its start because of another Golden Teddy winner, Molly of Molly Moon’s. The latter encouraged baker Robin Wehl Martin to set up shop in Capitol Hill. And yes, you can get ice cream with your cookies.
Mama Donna Lawson is the baker behind West Seattle’s Stuffed Cakes. Her goal? “Make the yummiest cake you’ll ever eat.” That includes stuffing them with any number of delectable treats including preserves, pineapple curd and peanut butter cups.
Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt Shop
Winner: Molly Moon’s
With six locations and cool flavors like Stumptown coffee and vegan coconut strawberry, it’s no surprise that Molly Moon’s wins our ice cream category yet again. If its fabulous flavors aren’t enough of a treat, the ice creamery sources 90 percent of its ingredients from the Pacific Northwest!
What’s not to love about DIY frozen yogurt? Menchie’s is a long-standing family favorite, with more than a dozen locations around the Puget Sound region, tons of flavors and toppings, plus no-sugar, vegan and gluten-free options.
Full Tilt Ice Cream may be old school with its pinball machines and other arcade games, but its ice cream is totally 21st century: gourmet flavors, vegan options and more.
With freshly made flavors and decadent mix-in options, Cold Stone Creamery has it all. Kiddos will enjoy watching their creations come together as skilled hands fold in their selections (gummy bears and sweet cream ice cream, anyone?) on an icy granite stone.
Bluebird Microcreamery & Brewery is a great way to beat those extra-hot July days. With just as many flavors as Molly Moon's, reviewers say this is a great place to go.
Of course, our readers couldn't help but mention Baskin-Robbins, an established ice cream classic.
Yogurtland boasts the use of antibiotic- and hormone-free milk, plus tons of toppings, dairy- and gluten-free options and over 200 flavors.
If your kiddos are hopping for toppings, Peaks Frozen Yogurt Bar is the place to go! The only downside: the options are overwhelming!
Fresh Food (Grocery store, market or farmers market)
Winner: Trader Joe’s
What do you want in a grocery store? Free samples and coffee? Affordable prices? Family staples and fun gourmet snacks? We aren’t surprised that our readers love to go to Trader Joe’s for its fresh selection because this fun grocery store checks everything off the shopping list.
PCC Natural Markets features a homegrown atmosphere, “Kid Picks” labeling and more than 10 Seattle-area locations. With its fresh produce and a convenient prepared-food section, we totally understand why Pacific Northwest parents love PCC.
For busy local parents, Fred Meyer “one-stop” shopping is essential, but the best part is Freddy’s Playland: free one-hour child care, so you can zip through the aisles solo and indulge in a moment (or two!) of peace.
We all know the magic of Whole Foods. According to one reviewer, it’s a great choice for Pacific Northwest parents for two essential reasons: the “friendly, genuine staff” and the “excellent, wide variety of items.” We’re sold!
Ballard families love visiting the Ballard Farmers Market, which boasts diverse local vendors.
With a variety of meats, cheeses and local produce plus fun handmade gifts, Metropolitan Market is a fun visit for teh whole family.
Central Co-op boasts local and organic items, sustainably harvested seafood, foods for special diets and so much more.
Columbia City Farmers Market includes fresh food and fun events. It's right near Columbia Park so bring your picnic basket and make a day of it!
Kid-Friendly Coffee Shop
With a location on almost every street corner, Starbucks is a favorite for caffeine-crazed parents. This hometown hero is consistent and convenient, and its drive-throughs are a lifesaver on those really busy mornings.
Fuel up on espresso and house-made goodies at PlayHappy Café (formerly PlayDate Café) while your kids let loose in the 2,000-square-foot play space. PlayHappy also hosts parties, provides preschool and offers classes!
Green Bean Coffeehouse, in Greenwood, serves quality coffee and has tons of seating, plus a train table. It’s also a nonprofit dedicated to community development.
Coffee connoisseurs will love that Issaquah Coffee Company, nestled in the charming Gilman Village, uses Stumptown coffee beans. Kids will love the play area, which includes a train track!
Dubsea Coffee is known for their welcoming environment, inclusive array of snacks and use of Stumptown Coffee—everything you need in a coffee shop!
Parents love Tougo Coffee Co for their expert baristas, outlets (for when you need to get some work done on your computer) and a play area for the kids.
Winner: The Ultimate Melt
Gourmet grilled cheese? Yes, please! The Ultimate Melt features fancy version of this family classic, such as a pesto chicken melt, a carne asada fiesta and, of course, the original, with a handful of great add-on options. If your kids love grilled cheese (and really, who doesn't?), they will love The Ultimate Melt.
The Box on Wheels is no stranger to our Golden Teddy voters. They serve “creative and affordable Asian fusion cuisine" in Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond and beyond. Bonus: We hear their portions are generous!
Winner: Crossroads Bellevue Food Court
Got a hankering for Japanese food? Or maybe Italian? Mexican? Korean, Mediterranean, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese? Crossroads Bellevue Food Court has you covered. Add in free entertainment at the Market Stage on weekends, it's a great family-fun night destination.
Din Tai Fung serves Taiwanese, Shanghainese and Dim Sum — but not before a long wait, because this place is popular! But don't let that dissuade you, Yelpers say it's totally worth it.
If your family is craving noodles, go to Pho Hoa, which has five locations across Washington. The flavors are so good, kids won't know it's healthy. Plus, they use locally-sourced ingredients!
Punjab Sweets is your perfect place for sweet-tooths. Not only that, reviewers refer to it as the "best authentic Indian food" in the Seattle area! Next time your family is craving sweets, give this cross-cultural eatery a try.
Favorite Date Night Destination
Winner: Alki Café
Who says "date night" has to be at night? Our Golden Teddy voters recommend Alki Cafe for a casual morning or midday escape. While the kids are at summercamp, Alki Cafe makes a great brunch-for-two option. With a beautiful view, attentive service and "super delicious" eggs Benedict, surprise your sweetheart with a sans-kids brunch and linger a while.