Outings + Activities | Family fun | Nutrition

Favorite spots for family brunch

Kid-friendly restaurants serve up weekend feasts 

Remember when Sunday brunch meant reading The New York Times and lingering over lattes in a chic bistro? Fast-forward to breakfast with squirmy toddlers who are more interested in a restaurant's crayons than its cuisine. But if you enjoy going out for breakfast, it's still actually possible to combine kid-friendly dining with culinary fare that's a step above IHOP (where, we must admit, the toddler toys, crayons and smiley pancakes are much appreciated). If you'd like a family breakfast with a bit of soul, check out these restaurants. All welcome children and all stock high chairs.

St. Clouds

It doesn't get much better than this charming cafe in Seattle's Madrona neighborhood. With its welcoming but sophisticated ambiance, great kids' breakfast menu and lovingly prepared food, St. Clouds is the quintessential neighborhood restaurant.

Named after the orphanage in John Irving's novel Cider House Rules, St. Clouds is entered through a small courtyard, which leads into the stylish, warmly decorated restaurant. A basket of toys in the small waiting area is the first clue that kids are welcome. The "Cloudy Kids Breakfast" menu confirms this with such offerings as chocolate chip pancakes, waffles and the Cloud Day Breakfast (one egg, one pancake and a choice of bacon, ham or chicken sausage).

For adults, there's a wide selection of nicely prepared items ranging from omelets and French toast to Asian-inspired dishes. Breakfast entrees are served with toast or a delicious sour cream coffee cake. And good news: St. Clouds accepts reservations.

1131 34th Ave., Seattle
Breakfast served weekends only, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Maggie Bluffs

A spectacular view of the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier make Maggie Bluffs, in Magnolia, a special destination for a family breakfast. Located below the elegant and expensive Palisades Restaurant, this casual bar and grill has nautical-inspired decor and booths as well as tables. On a warm spring day, enjoy breakfast on the outdoor patio while checking out the pricey boats in the Elliott Bay Marina.

Crayons and coloring pages are immediately offered to children, and the kids' breakfast menu includes pancakes (banana, macadamia nut or blueberry), cheesy hash browns or eggs. Young diners can order small portions of bacon and sausage, and although it's not on the menu, you can request a kid-size fruit plate. Adult diners might want to try the scrumptious eggs Benedict made with Dungeness crab, artichoke hearts and citrus hollandaise.

The food at this friendly restaurant is simple but always well-prepared, and the servers go out of their way to make families feel welcome. It's easy to expand breakfast into a family adventure by walking along the pier or to a small waterside park nearby.

2601 W. Marina Place, Seattle
Breakfast served weekends only, 9-11 a.m.

Original Pancake House

Everyone's favorite family style pancake house in Kirkland recently opened a second location in Seattle's Crown Hill neighborhood. Although they're part of a 50-year-old national franchise, both locations feel more personal than one would ever expect of a chain.

The knotty-pine, country-style decor sets the tone for an A+, old-fashioned breakfast. Portions are gargantuan and the menu includes a wonderful selection of waffles (pecan, bacon, fruit) and pancakes (Swedish, banana, coconut, buckwheat, sourdough, buttermilk). The menu may seem expensive until you realize that portions are large enough to share:

  • A family can split two orders of pancakes, plus a light, airy omelet, and still be full.
  • The Junior Plate includes three buttermilk pancakes and a choice of sausage or one egg.

If you have older children who don't need to eat immediately, it's worth waiting for the famous Dutch Baby -- a gigantic, puffy, baked pancake dusted with powdered sugar and served with lemon and whipped butter. Another family favorite is the delicious apple pancake, which is more like a pizza topped with cinnamon-sugar-glazed apples.

Reservations are not accepted but you can call ahead to get on the wait list, which at the Crown Hill location is a must on weekends. And if you end up waiting, enjoy the free, and good, coffee.

10 Parkplace Center, Kirkland

8037 15th Ave. N.W., Seattle
Both restaurants serve breakfast all day: Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

12th Avenue Cafe

This cheerful, diner-style restaurant in Issaquah is a definite winner. With its vintage red, black and white decor, the small, bustling cafe is charming without being too cute, and a welcome discovery in a mall dominated by chain stores. Kids will enjoy the posters of classic airplanes as well as the crayons and box of toys (helpful if there's a wait).

The breakfast menu includes pancakes and waffles as well as classic bacon and eggs, served with fabulous fried potatoes and fluffy biscuits. Although portions are huge, some of the items, such as scrambles, may be ordered for small, medium or large appetites. The kids' menu features a Minnie or Mickey Mouse Pancake and Goofy's Special, which includes one egg as well as either pancakes or French toast, plus sausage or bacon.

Family friendly service and great food make this a popular weekend destination.

775 Gilman Blvd., Issaquah (near Target, not 12th)
Breakfast served all day: Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m.


Don't be misled by this restaurant's intimidating gourmet name! Chanterelle in Edmonds is a cheerful, country-style cafe with a family pleasing breakfast menu that includes cinnamon-raisin French toast, orange cornmeal waffles and truly delicious cinnamon rolls. There's also a nice selection of omelets and basic breakfast fare. Ingredients are fresh and high quality.

Located three blocks from the ferry dock (and pleasant beachfront Brackett's Landing Park), this neighborhood restaurant offers personal, friendly service. Be forewarned: The bakery case in the front of the restaurant is likely to distract young (and old) diners alike.

316 Main St., Edmonds
Breakfast served Monday-Friday 8-11 a.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Deborah Ashin is a Mercer Island-based freelance writer and mother of two.

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