Toddler Approved Quick Bites in KC

When your a parent to a toddler, waiting 30 minutes+ for food is no longer an option. Fast food and kid-friendly establishments are a necessity. My family lives off of chain restaurants and fast meals, even on-the-go. Luckily for us, we live in a city that always has fast food options in every corner (pretty much, anyway).

I’ve been planning to write this blog post because 1) photos have been sitting in my phone album for a long time and I need to make room for new ones ; 2) going to give a shout out to our favorite restaurants because they’ve nourished us and saved us from toddler hangry-tantrums – keeping us full and satisfied for the long haul (am I right, parents?!)

I’ve probably repeated myself on several posts but just a reminder, I’m not a professional writer and I don’t use the best grammar around here – so, forgive me if you see any writing errors – I’m just trying to share my spectacular culinary experiences with you, and especially to the parents who need new food inspiration for their picky toddler(s).

Today I’m sharing where the Massana’s go for lunch or dinner. These are the places we go when we are limited on time or patience (OR BOTH). Here’s a list of restaurants my family loves wholeheartedly:

Popeyes

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We’re a sucker for their 12 piece Bonafide meal, even if my husband insists we only need 9 pieces… my daughter and I’s eyes are always hungrier than our stomachs. We prefer their mild fried chicken with their biscuits and seasoned fries. When my husband orders, he ALWAYS asks for their sweet heat sauce which I don’t mind either. We usually order at the drive-thru and take our food home to enjoy in the comfort of our own dining room. I’m so grateful for their drive-thru, but my daughter hates having to smell the food in the car and wait to get home to eat it all. It’s worth the wait though!

Unforked

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Long story short, I won a social media giveaway in 2017 from Unforked. What did I win? I didn’t win just any ordinary gift card… I won a 1 year supply of Unforked meals for Ricky, Mia and I!!! You got it right – once a month I got to treat my family to lunch OR dinner at Unforked for FREE. We went more than once a month, of course, because their food selections are so so so so good!!! I wish I had saved all the photos I had taken at their restaurant within Crown Center but sadly I lost some from my phone upgrade. Thankfully I found one I can share on here today. We’ve tried all of their quesadilla, tacos, burgers, and fries selections. I can’t say we have tried anything that we didn’t like. . Not only because it was for free, but because they really were quite delicious. My husband also loves their salads, and that says a lot considering he rarely eats salads as it is. I even tried their vegan burger and it wasn’t bad at all. Anytime we are at Crown Center we make time and eat here. I’ve also eaten at their Overland Park location and I’m jealous of their drive-thru. I think we need one like this closer in the Northland!  I like how kid-friendly the place is and love their customer service. Can’t wait to be back again for more!

McAlister’s Deli

When I lived in Saint Louis and near Columbia their tea was a staple. They recently opened up a restaurant in town near our new movie theater which made me really excited to have one so close. They recently reached out to me regarding their Kids Eat Free on Valentine’s Day event and I jumped on the opportunity to promote it and visit. First off, Mia loves their coloring book and stickers kit. And like her mama, she also is a fan of their tea. My husband and I are a fan of their salads, especially their cobb salad. Mia also really likes their wraps and soups. I have a feeling this place will be on a rotation more often now that they are closer to home.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Only ever used their drive-thru but it’s been a blessing for us running short on time. I love their seasoned fries and Freddy’s sauce = the most magical pairing! As a family we’ve tried their cheese curds, chicken tenders, cheese fries, burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs… actually, come to think of it… I think we’ve tried it all. We even like their shakes! Mia’s favorite is screaming from the back seat while we are at the drive-thru saying “I want a kid’s meal please!”.

Pizza Ranch

Their buffet is everything. My family and I take their “all-you-can-eat” quite literal. Rumor has it they have one of the best fried chicken in town. I want to know what the secret is to the spices. Of course we love all of their pizza offerings (not pictured because they don’t survive long between all of us). They also stock up on all the salad fixings. Mia loves their dessert station, more importantly, their soft served ice cream. Plus, Mia entertains herself with the coloring book and crayons they give her. They have plenty of seating so no one generally has to wait too long. On evenings we don’t want to wait around for food to be made, we make sure to stop here and take our time with all the buffet has to offer.

MOD Pizza

Pizza never goes out of style. I love that we can build our own pizzas depending on what we are hungry for and it’s super quick. I like their tea selection as well. Mia rarely shares her pizza with us so she has her own. We love the fun atmosphere and all the artwork around their walls.

Qdoba

Another super quick bite selection for us. We love the fast service. Also, their booth seats are basically couches and oh so comfortable. I prefer their burrito bowls. Mia orders their mini burrito bowls. While Ricky likes their tacos. Super kid-friendly with a relaxed atmosphere. This is in our rotation quite often and love it.

Chipotle

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Also another crowd favorite. Although this one we order to-go and enjoy at home because it’s always packed, as per usual. I don’t like burritos and always go straight for the bowl options instead. I pack my bowls tight which means it lasts me up to 2-3 meals. My husband loves their burritos. Mia and I usually share the bowls. The last few times we’ve added their chips and guac which was a delicious addition to our meals. Who doesn’t love Chipotle?!

Freestyle Poke

My family and I hang out around the River Market more than we hang out anywhere else downtown. With reasoning… they have great food selections! Now, when we are in a pinch for time and want something quick but also healthy… we go to Freestyle Poke. And when I say “we” I mean, mama gets what mama wants. It’s also kid-friendly as they have cooked protein options like their chicken. Mia approves! And mama gets her favorite bowls – usually I order a freestyle bowl if Ride the Wave is sold out.

What my go-to freestyle bowl includes:

Base (white sushi rice OR forbidden rice); Protein (spicy ahi tuna); Mix-ins (avocado, cilantro & shallot); Marinade (freestyle shoyu) ; Top it (seaweed salad, crispy garlic & crispy shallot OR kimchi); sauce (togarashi yuzu mayo).

I can’t stress enough how much we love their customer service. Both mine and my husband’s first time at Freestyle Poke, they were very helpful in giving us recommendations. If you’ve been there, you know how packed the lines usually are, and so we feel bad when we move turtle slow, but their help means a lot to us and made for a great first impression!

Pigwich

My husband’s favorite for lunch. He works downtown so it’s super convenient for him. We’ve gone with him a couple times before they moved to the City Market. We’ve eaten their burgers, cheesesteak, pork brisket, banh mi (my favorite), pork tenderloin and the big pig with their fresh fried chips. I even had their falafel when I ate like a vegetarian for a month.

Shake Shack

We first had Shake Shack last year on Father’s Day. It’s another place we prefer to order to-go because the place is always packed. I was so excited when I heard they opened one up at the Plaza which is even closer! Pro tip: order from their app, have someone you are with save a table either inside or outside and that way you will have a place to sit and enjoy. We’ve had their burgers, chicken burgers, hot dogs, fries (especially cheese fries with bacon bits!), milkshakes and frozen custard.

Culver’s

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We’ve only ever gone with their drive-thru but it’s easier that way when we are on-the-go. We’ve ordered their burgers, chicken tenders, fries and milkshakes. My personal favorite is their cheese curds! I don’t have any photos of the other food because they get eaten very quickly, they’re just so delicious! I did, however, save a photo of my cheese curds because cheese is life.

You probably noticed I mentioned quite a lot of fast food chains with not so healthy choices, but when you have a toddler and are limited on time for whatever reason, being 100% health conscious isn’t on the radar. We don’t go every week because I do meal prep weekly, but when we run out of the food I cook, that is when we use one of these places because it is easier that way. And when your toddler is happy, it means you are safe from any tantrum that might come. I felt this duty as a parent to share our favorites because somewhere out there parents need this type of life line, and I’m here for it too.

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