Family Diners and Restaurants in USA

Family restaurant chains

The US has many chains of family restaurants with a typical American menu and kids’ menus with activities to keep your child occupied and entertained until your food arrives. The kids’ menu comes with crayons and features puzzles, colouring pages and the like. Some well-known family restaurant chains are Denny’s, Friendly’s, Perkins’, Shoney’s, Applebee’s, and Chili’s Grill & Bar (the latter specialises in American and Mexican food).


Americans love Steak. As such, you will find steakhouses around every corner. The best steakhouse chain, in my opinion, is Texas RoadHouse, which has over 200 restaurants in 39 states. Before your meal you get delicious sweet bread buns.

Texas RoadHouse Rolls



Italian food

Italian food lovers will also have a plenty to eat in the US. Some of the big Italian restaurant chains are Olive Garden, California Pizza Kitchen, and The Old Spaghetti Factory.


All-you-can-eat buffet

Another popular type of restaurant in the US is the all-you-can-eat buffet. Some popular ones are Soup Exchange, which has over 60 different food items in its salad bar, soups, pastries, a meat section (only at dinnertime) and of course dessert and ice creams; Home Town Buffet, which is similar to Soup Exchange but with more meat; and Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, both quality restaurants which specialise in salads, soups and baked goods, both highly recommended.


Standard menu and a buffet

In many restaurants there is both a standard menu and a buffet, so you get to pick one or the other or combine the two options. A few famous ones are Bonanza, Ponderosa, and Sizzler whose specialties are steaks and salad bars. Many ethnic restaurants (Indian, Chinese, etc) also have a buffet option.
Many of the buffets mentioned above have significant discounts for children, according to their age. Kids under the age of five pay a very minimal price to enter and eat.



Themed restaurants

A type of restaurant popular with kids, teens and those seeking something special is the themed restaurant. These are more famous for their decor and atmosphere than their food (they all have fairly typical American menus).

Three well-known chains are:

Rainforest Cafe – Every restaurant in the chain is designed to look like a rainforest, with many animals and special effects such as thunder and lightning and frog noises. This chain has branches in 15 states, including some popular tourist destinations such as Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles (right inside Disneyland).
Hard Rock Cafe – A chain of restaurants with decor inspired by rock bands. The walls are decorated with authentic memorabilia of famous bands and rock stars: guitars, records, photos and the like. Rock music plays in the background. Each restaurant in the chain has a nice little gift shop. This is basically a rock hall of fame which serves typical American food. Hard Rock Cafe has branches all over the world, 45 in the US alone.
Planet Hollywood – Every restaurant in the chain is slightly different, but based on the same principle: They all feature a collection of memorabilia from famous movies and stars, showing off Hollywood at its finest. This is another worldwide chain, this one with only five branches in the US, but all are in highly popular tourist destinations: Manhattan, Orlando, Las Vegas, Honolulu, and Myrtle Beach. 

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