The Weiner’s Circle

Your cool parent cred will skyrocket after you surprise the children with a trip to the Weiner ‘s Circle. The cash only, hole-in-the-wall joint serves some of the city’s finest dogs (bright green relish, cucumbers, tomatoes, mustard and no ketchup), not to mention the meanest cheese fries west of Lake Michigan. The best part about it is that the ladies who serve you are paid to actually give you a hard time. See if your children can outwit the ladies. When the weather’s nice, you can all sit on a picnic bench together and watch the people and traffic of North Clark Street go by.

Contact number: (773) 477-7444

Location: 2622 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

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The Palm Court Lounge at The Drake Hotel

Discover your children’s etiquette skills at a traditional afternoon tea in the Drake’s illustrious Palm Court Lounge. Feast on savory finger sandwiches, fruit bread, and scones with cream and jam while you sip your choice of tea (the fresh blackberry herbal flavor is scrumptious). Discuss your children’s latest adventures while a golden harp lulls your adult worries away and enjoy skillful, intermittent caroling by costumed professionals. Reservations are recommended unless you enjoy standing in very long lines.

Contact number: (312) 787-2200

Location: 140 East Walton Place,Chicago, IL 60611

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The Original Billy Goat Tavern

In 1937, William “Billy Goat” Sianis bought the Lincoln Tavern for $205. His ban on GOP members during their 1944 National convention resulted in a stream of Republicans demanding service, sowed the seeds of the Original Billy Goat Tavern and national fame. A famous skit on the then-fledgling Saturday Night Live featured a parody of the cries you hear when you first enter,”Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No fries — chips! No Coke — Pepsi!” Verse your children in the Curse of the Billy Goat, which some believe still plagues the Chicago Cubs; the team has not won a World series since 1908.

Contact number: (312) 222-1525

Location: 430 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

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“Hot dog stand” doesn’t quite do this classic, 1940’s-style drive-in and sit-down restaurant justice. High school sweethearts Maurie and Flaurie Berman opened the original Superdawg’s doors in 1948 and continue to welcome regulars to their newly renovated locale with a signature “Hiya!” This North Side rendezvous boasts a modern speaker system, neon-flecked drive-in canopies, and gracious indoor dining. Share stories of your youth with your children while you experience the trademarked Superdawg, which is not to be confused with a frankfurter. This baby is a pure-beef hot dog served on a poppy seed bun and accompanied by crispy, crinkly Superfries, traditional trimmings, including mustard, piccalilli, kosher dill pickles, Spanish onions, and hot peppers. Cool down with a double rich chocolate or mellow vanilla Supershake; they’re so thick the straw seems ridiculous.

Contact number: (773) 763-0660

Location: 6363 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60646

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Svea Restaurant

You and your child can escape the city clamor for a cozy, traditional Swedish meal served with heat, speed, and friendliness at the inimitable Andersonville hub, Svea. Obsessed patrons pay weekly homage to this quaint, old-fashioned restaurant’s fare, whose highlights include lingonberry pancakes, Svensk sausage, limpa toast, and Swedish meatball sandwiches with mashed potatoes. Choose a table for two or a seat at the vintage counter and take in the charm of owner Glenn Olsen’s Scandinavian folk art. Cash only.

Contact number: (773) 275-7738

Location: 5236 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640

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Rock ‘N Roll McDonald’s

All children will flip for the Rock N’Roll McDonald’s. Kitsched out to the max in 1950s memorabilia, the huger-than-usual McDonald’s is also conveniently located in the middle of the Loop. It’s also a hotspot for celebrities, so keep your eyes peeled. After you finish with your Happy Meal madness, you can all easily stroll over to Michigan Avenue and walk it off.

Contact number: (312) 664-7940

Location: 600 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60610

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Lazo’s Tacos

The corner of Western and Armitage makes for fine, Mexican dining in Chicago. For fabulous food mixed with great entertainment (that comes in the form of a Mariachi band sometimes), you and your hungry children should not pass up Lazo’s Tacos. The food is delicious and the times are just great.

Contact number: (773) 486-3303

Location:2009 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647

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Harold’s Chicken Shack

If you and your family are of the fried-chicken persuasion, you better get your hides over to Harold’s as soon as possible. It’s a staple in Chicago, with locations all over the city (though primarily a South Side phenomenon), it’s relatively cheap, and (unsurprisingly) finger-licking good. Harold’s secret to success is that the chicken isn’t fried until you order it. If you and your children are feeling brave, make a fry sandwich while you’re there: Take the fries and chicken (once they have well soaked up their sauce) and stick them in between two slices of bread.

Contact number:  (312) 362-0442

Location: 636 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605

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Gino’s East

Chicago-style pizza lovers belong to several few different camps. There are those who love Giordano’s, those who love Lou Malnati’s and then there is Gino’s. All are honestly delicious (and ridiculously filling), but the thing that makes Gino’s the most kid-friendly is the fact that kids are not only invited to, but — in fact — are encouraged to write all over the walls. A new Gino’s East opened on Wells Street, making for a new location for your children to express their graffiti skills while you all munch on a slice of Chicago tradition.

Contact number: (312) 943-1124

Location: 633 North Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60610

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Foodlife at Water Tower Place

Now here’s a dining establishment that will truly make every member of your family happy. Foodlife is still an innovation in dining, despite the fact that it’s been a staple in the upscale Water Tower Place mall for quite some time. You don’t pay for your food as you go. Instead, you have a little card that you tally as you go, with you and your children choosing from different stations across the restaurant, picking from every type of food imaginable. Barbecue? Check. Smoothies? Check. Stir fry? Check. Soup? Check. Excited children? Check. You’ll all leave with full tummies and big smiles.

Contact number: (312) 335-3663

Location: 835 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Learn more here.