Upscale Dining Where Kids Eat Free

Dining out with kids doesn't have to mean foregoing a memorably tasty meal; nor does it have to mean paying for food that your kids may or may not eat. Jean Lemke and Nina Taluc, co-founders of kidwinks.com, have some suggestions on restaurants that offer not only delicious food for parents to enjoy, but also a "kids eat free" special. Their website, www.kidwinks.com, is a free resource for parents in the Chicago area looking for places to go and things to do with their kids. There are many more kids eat free specials which can be found on kidwinks' popular Kids Eat Free Calendar.

"http://www.kidwinks.com/KidsEvents/7/FrancescasPassaggioKidsEatFreeMondays/9464/">Francesca's Passaggio - Kids Eat Free Mondays (Naperville) At the popular chain of Francesca restaurants, the menu features Northern Italian food with zesty, earthy cuisine from Rome and the surrounding areas of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. There are 19 different locations throughout Chicago and the suburbs, and 6 of those offer some sort of "kids eat free" special. At Francesca's Passaggio, kids eat free all day on Mondays, and the kids meals include a drink and scoop of gelato. The other Francesca locations' specials can be found on kidwinks' Kids Eat Free Calendar.

Outing Idea: Make a day of it by first stopping in at the DuPage Children's Museum. This Naperville museum is made up of many different exhibits and has three floors--each one special in its own way. Each exhibit is packed with exciting ways to explore art, math, science and how they work together in the world. There are also three Young Explorers areas designed for children up to 24 months. General Admission: $8.50 per person (ages 1 to 59) Monday Hours: The museum is open only until 1:00 pm on Mondays. Spend your morning here, then head to Francesca's Passaggio for lunch.

Flat Top Grill - Kids Eat Free Mondays. (Chicago and suburbs) Flat Top Grill captures Asian-inspired tastes and preferences throughout all food and drink offerings and presents them in a lively and fun atmosphere, with restaurants often found in hip, urban neighborhoods. On Mondays, kids 10 and under eat free at many Flat Top Grill locations.

Oak Park Outing Idea: Dine at Flat Top Grill in Oak Park then walk just a few steps to neighboring Geppetto's Toy Box. Parents fed up with cheaply made and battery-powered toys will appreciate this European-inspired toy shop that focuses on wood and natural fiber toys from responsible manufacturers. The owners of Geppetto's train their employees to be a resource to customers so parents can understand how each product will benefit their children. They have set up an environment that encourages play - no "do not touch" signs in this toy store!

Dine Without Whine at Four Seasons (Chicago) Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago offers Dine Without Whine, a program to delight parents and children alike. Every Thursday evening, adults can enjoy seasonally inspired menus, attentive service and adult conversation, while kids dine at a special buffet nearby and enjoy movies, video games and activities, all under the care of a licensed babysitter – complimentary for parents. Advance Reservations Required

Outing Idea: Before dinner take a one minute walk to the newly renovated John Hancock Observatory and experience spectacular views spanning up to 80 miles and 4 states. Get to know the real Chicago - its history and its hotspots - with the new multimedia Sky Tour designed to captivate eyes, ears and mind. These hand-held devices come in adult or kids' versions and are included with admission price. Feel the wind at 94 stories above Michigan Avenue by walking along the open-air Skywalk (don't worry – a high-strength stainless steel screen protects you from falling!); and take in the History Wall murals that depict important events in Chicago's history.

Kids Eat Free on Mondays at Moretti's Ristorante (Chicago and suburbs) Award-Winning pan and thin crust Chicago-style pizza is just the most famous part of Moretti's large menu. They offer a varied selection of Italian and American dishes, both classic and modern for lunch and dinner in the casual elegance of their dining room or outdoors on the patio. Prices are in the mid- to low range of Chicago restaurants and the comfortable atmosphere and fast, friendly service make Moretti's a great option for anything from a quick lunch during the workday to a relaxed dinner before a concert or sports event.

On Monday's, all Moretti's Ristorante locations offer "kids eat free" after 4pm. Children under the age of 12 may choose any item from the kids menu at no charge. Children must be accompanied by an adult who is also eating. Offer limited to two free children's meals per paying adult. Edison Park Outing Idea: Have dinner at Moretti's in Edison Park and then let your kids burn off some energy at Monument Park, which is just across the street. The outdoor eating area at Moretti's of Edison Park is right in front of the Metra rail line so kids will be entertained watching trains pull in and out of the station while waiting for their meal. You could even ride the train to this destination, making this outing even more fun and memorable.

Al Primo Canto - Kids Eat Free (2 Chicago locations) Al Primo Canto is a restaurant inspired by the popular and beloved eateries of southern Brazil, known as gelaterias. Here, you may choose the all-you-can-eat family feast, a multi-course experience served family style. It begins with cheese bread and roasted eggplant caponata, followed by salad, pasta, gelato (traditional roasted young chicken), lamb and beef. The chicken, lamb and beef are slow-roasted in a special brick-lined charcoal rotisserie imported from Brazil. Kids 6 and under eat free any day at Al Primo Canto when you order this family feast.

Outing Idea: Have dinner at the Al Primo Canto location on Devon in Edgebrook. If your children are animal lovers, take a 5 minute drive to The Animal Store. This store is a very special place to go for pets and supplies. There are always new arrivals of exotic animals, fish and birds, so there is always something new to see. The staff encourages you to come in and browse and even hold most animals. You'll find the expected mice, gerbils and guinea pigs, along with the more exotic ferrets, tarantulas, prairie dogs, chinchillas, hedgehogs and more.

ABOUT KIDWINKS.COM Kidwinks.com is a boutique website that caters to today's generation of parents who are time-crunched, socially conscious and internet reliant. Kidwinks provides one-stop access to information about kid-friendly events, activities, restaurants, shops and services in the Chicago area. There is no charge to use kidwinks and membership is also free. Members enjoy additional benefits including email reminders and the ability to sort search results by mileage from their home. Developed by two Park Ridge, IL moms, kidwinks has grown to thousands of members. For more information, please visit www.kidwinks.com.