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Asheville has some of the most popular and affordable family-friendly restaurants in Western North Carolina. The city's eclectic array of ethnic and regional foods—from Mexican to Italian to Southern comfort food—makes every night out with relatives a feast of options. Below is a selection of kid friendly restaurants in Asheville. These are of some of Asheville's most beloved family sit-down restaurants, endorsed by locals and tourists alike. The palate's the limit!
Asheville's own Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack is a favorite among locals already. With its fare of traditional Southern cooking—from fried okra to collard greens to corn pudding—it really delivers down home cooking in a family style sit-down atmosphere. Rocky's "Family-Style Sides" (which range in size from the pint, which feeds four, to the full-pan, which feeds a crowd of 32) are Western North Carolina family favorites. Rocky's children's menu includes an incredible array of kid-favorites, including drumsticks, chicken cutlets, waffles, and plenty of homemade macaroni and cheese (in short, everything a child might want). Like its name suggests, the place has the hottest chicken sauce in the region, but it also comes in lots of varieties. Rocky's trademark "Coca-Cola cake" is flavored with soda, marshmallows, and pecan. This is a special treat for dessert, birthday parties and other occasions.
Papas & Beer, which has several locations in Asheville, has garnered consistently good reviews as a family-friendly restaurant with a wonderful selection of food. Papas and Beer is known for huge "Italian style" portions (though the food is Mexican and Tex-Mex). The restaurant is a favorite for large family gatherings. The staff is known for being quirky and entertaining, with lots of colorful flare; and, according to numerous online customer reviews, kids are often treated as special guests. Papas' high-energy atmosphere is a perfect match for high-energy kids.
Luella's BBQ takes the traditional Southern "Sunday dinner" to a whole new level. Its "Big Boy Blue's Ribbon BBQ Platter" is served family-style, and includes pork barbecue, pulled chicken, ribs, a selection of "heaping" sides, and plenty of hush puppies. The restaurant is also a member of the Green Restaurant Association, which means that all take-out containers are biodegradable and recyclable. Luella's supports Asheville area farms, and features local meat on their menus, so they're family-friendly in addition to being environmentally conscious, and their food is good for kids and adults alike. Luella's is named after the founder's daughter and his grandmother—so its domestic roots in the community run as deep as its commitment to wholesome and delicious food.
An Asheville favorite, specializing in—but by no means limited to—breakfast! Featuring a range of healthy options, Sunny Point is a great way to introduce kids to healthy eating while compromising nothing of the foods they love. Featuring both breakfast and dinner "Kids Mini Menus," Sunny Point offers lots of delectable choices, from cereal and eggs to a "Kid's pasta bowl." And all have the distinction of being made with fresh, organic and often locally grown ingredients.
Voted "Best of 2012" by the Asheville Mountain Xpress, The Asheville Brewing Company is one of Asheville's premiere destinations, for tourists and locals alike. Take the whole family and share a collaborative experience of making-your-own pizza...one side for kids, one side for adults! With entrees with names like "Popeye's Spinach Burger" it's a fun and lively place to take the young ones. In the North Asheville location, movies are screened (for an extra fee, eat-in the theater) most every night, while the Downtown Asheville location has a large screen flat on the outdoor patio that's perfect for viewing movies or sports all year round. Bring the whole family for a good time.
Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian was voted Asheville's #1 Italian restaurant in 2011 & 2012 by Mountain Xpress readers in the Best of Polls. The restaurant combines traditional Italian food with a hint of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Boston. The family atmosphere is lighthearted and fun. "Imagine eating some of the best home-cooked Italian food and feeling like part of the family," says the restaurant's website. This is the ambiance at Vinnie's. Sunday night is family night - kids under ten eat for free. The "Bambino menu" like its name suggests, is kid-sized portions, and provides choices like spaghetti & meatballs, chicken fingers, and even specialties kids themselves might invent, like spaghetti tacos. There is also family-style "pass the bowl" options available with some items. Every night out at Vinnie's is bound to be a memorable family adventure.
Asheville's reputation for great family dining continues to grow, so dig in! With so many family friendly restaurants to choose from, eating is bound to be an adventure on par with any other part of a great vacation.