This article shares the best kid-friendly restaurants in Columbia. We have dined with our kids at every single restaurant on this list and highly recommend each.
This guide highlights restaurants that are great for kids in Columbia. Don’t miss our roundup of 20+ fun things to do with in Columbia with kids.
While there are a ton of great restaurants in Columbia, not all offer the best kid-friendly dining experiences. Trust us, we know from experience!
Lucky for you, we have made it our mission to find the best places to eat out with kids in Columbia. Whether you are after a fun experience at a drive-in or maybe want to settle in a cozy booth, this guide shares our top picks. The list includes a mix of table-service and counter-service restaurants, and we note the order methods for each accordingly.
What You’ll Find In This Article
- Map Of Restaurants
- Our Top Picks
Where To Eat With Kids In Columbia
Below is a map featuring each of the restaurants highlighted in this guide. We hope the map view helps you find a great family-friendly restaurant close to you.
Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Columbia, SC
Below you’ll find a list of family-friendly restaurants in Columbia. We hope it’s useful whether you are visiting Columbia with kids for the weekend or are a local looking for new restaurants to dine with the family.
BBQ Restaurant in Five Points with kids meals + awesome nachos
Home Team BBQ is an awesome BBQ restaurant in Columbia that’s perfect for the whole family. Their casual, vibrant, noisy atmosphere makes it an easy place to enjoy a meal with kids.
Home Team has a dedicated kids menu with a BBQ slider, taco, quesadilla, grilled cheese, pb&j, chicken fingers and a cheeseburger. One thing to note is that kid menu items don’t come with a side or drink– they can be added, though, for $2 each.
We can’t mention dining at Home Team without calling out the nacho appetizer. It’s such a fun place to start and a family-favorite. Just make sure to ask for jalapenos on the side if your kids aren’t into spicy things.
You could also opt to order one of the many platters and eat family-style instead. The three-meat platter with two sides is a great place to start. Or if your family is really hungry, get The Board! It comes with wings, sausage, 1/2 rack of ribs, pulled pork, turkey, 3 pint-sized sides, bread and pickles!
You may already be familiar with Home Team– it’s out of Charleston and they have 7 locations total, including one in Aspen, CO. Before Columbia got its own Home Team, we would make a point to visit if ever in the Isle of Palms/Sullivan’s area. It’s one of the top restaurants on Sullivan’s Island.
Down-home meat and three (plus a great breakfast!) in Columbia
Slide into a booth with the entire family at Lizard’s Thicket, Columbia’s locally-owned comfort food chain. It’s the perfect place to introduce your kids to the concept of a meat and three.
Lizard’s Thicket is a casual table-service restaurant open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This may not be the case everywhere, but we are pretty sure your kids will love Lizard’s Thicket’s vegetable menu. It includes creamed corn, candied yams, country skillet apples and even Jell-O! The macaroni and cheese is also a kid-favorite.
Lizard’s Thicket has fried chicken. chicken strips, baked ham, smoked sausage and even fried flounder on their kid-style menu. It’s called the ‘small plates for all ages’, which means it’s not limited by age! Entrees from this menu come with 2 vegetables and choice of cornbread or a roll.
There are 13 Lizard’s Thicket locations around the Columbia area. There are a few in the Northeast area, one in Irmo, another in Blythewood a few in Lexington and even one in Florence!
Cool brewery at a small airport + near a playground!
Hunter-Gatherer at Owens Field Airport is our favorite brewery to take kids in Columbia. Not only is it right across from a great playground, but you can watch planes take off and enjoy delicious pizza.
There’s outdoor seating and plenty of room to get some energy out.
Hunter-Gatherer is tucked away in Rosewood and has a hidden gem feel. It’s just really unexpected after driving through a neighborhood for a few minutes!
Owens Field Park is across from the airport and the brewery. It’s home to a playground, skate park, disc golf course, track field, soccer fields and even a BMX park. You’ll often see families head over to Hunter-Gatherer after visiting the park.
Casual deli with epic cinnamon rolls on Devine Street
What better way to entice kids to a delicious lunch than the promise of a side of ooey gooey mini cinnamon roll? That’s just what you get The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli!
The kids menu at Devine Cinnamon Roll includes a ham & cheese sandwich, cheesy hot dog, turkey & cheese, grilled cheese or a kid breakfast platter. Each kids meal comes with a small drink, chips and a mini cinnamon roll!
If you are there for breakfast, try the Big Max with black pepper bacon and mustard. It’s such a nice flavor combo! It comes with a mini cinnamon roll, too.
For lunch, choose from hot dogs, grilled paninis and a variety of specialty sandwiches. Cinnamon Roll Deli is truly one of our favorite places to get a sandwich in Columbia.
The cinnamon rolls are made from a Hawaiian sweet bread recipe and topped with a vanilla butter whipped cream cheese icing. Cinnamon roll flavors run the board from the classic original cinnamon to strawberry cheesecake, bourbon caramel and even apple cobbler. The original cinnamon rolls are also available in mini format by the dozen.
Classic American fare with kids meals served on frisbees!
Henry’s is a casual restaurant on Devine Street with a really laidback, sports-bar like atmosphere. They have covered patio seating, and a large bar inside with TVs. It’s a great spot to watch a game!
The kids menu at Henrys is for 12 and under and comes with a Gogurt and juice box, as well as choice of fries or a fruit cup. And get this– kids meals come served on a Henry’s frisbee!
Kid entrees include a burger, grilled PB & J, grilled cheese, chicken tenders, hot dog, corn dog or a ham & cheese sandwich.
And for the adults, you’ll find excellent sandwiches, wraps, salads and burgers on the menu. The Signature Burger with dijon-infused white cheddar and sauteed mushrooms is a crowd-favorite!
They also have a Carolina Cheesesteak topped with melted pimento cheese. Or a classic Philly Cheesesteak with provolone if that’s more your style.
Breakfast all-day in a cool spot in West Columbia
When it comes to breakfast, brunch or lunch with kids, Cafe Strudel should be on your list! Café Strudel is a breakfast and brunch restaurant in West Columbia. It’s a really casual spot, with table-service and a self-serve coffee station.
The kids menu for breakfast includes French toast sticks and silver dollar pancakes. They come with choice of egg and a breakfast meat. For a bit extra you can add blueberries, chocolate chips or strawberries to the pancakes.
There’s also a classic breakfast plate for kids with an egg, breakfast meat, bread and choice of grits or hashbrowns.
For lunch, kids can choose from a grilled cheese, chicken tenders and cheeseburger sliders with a side of fries. Or they can order off the breakfast menu! The kids menu comes with crayons.
And for the adults, we recommend the hangover hashbrowns at Cafe Strudel! It includes cheese, onions, banana peppers, tomatoes and sour cream, and comes topped with your choice of egg. They also have omelets, breakfast platters, a breakfast burger and awesome chicken & waffles.
Casual pizza place on Rosewood
Dano’s is a neighborhood pizza place in Columbia with delicious pizza, a casual indoor dining room, and an airy outdoor patio. It’s the perfect place to take kids for a night out when you just don’t feel like cooking at home.
We really like their antipasto salad and the classic pepperoni pizza.
Local deli with multiple locations + kid sandwiches
Groucho’s is one of Columbia’s iconic eateries and an excellent restaurant for kids.
They have both a kids menu with a PB & J, grilled cheese and hot dog, as well as junior versions of their signature sandwiches. The Junior Apollo with ham, turkey and cheese on a roll is a classic choice.
Their sandwiches and kids meals come with chips and a pickle. Don’t miss the famous Formula 45 dipping sauce!
For the adults, try the large version of the Apollo or the STP sandwich— it’s topped with bacon crumbs! They also have great deli salads and a ton of other specialty sandwiches. Don’t forget a sweet tea with crushed ice!
You’ll find several Groucho’s locations around town (and the state!) Our personal favorite locations are Five Points and Forest Drive. We also love ordering Groucho’s online and heading to a Columbia playground for a picnic.
Fun kids menu for breakfast with 2 locations in Columbia
Eggs Up Grill is a breakfast franchise that serves classic breakfast dishes and coffee daily.
Their menu includes everything from eggs benedict and breakfast burgers to pancakes and french toast. They also have a shrimp & grits bowl and even steak and eggs. For drinks, you will find drip coffee, tea, juice, soft drinks.
We love Eggs Up for breakfast with kids in Columbia because the kids menu is so fun to order off. And it comes with crayons and includes a few games!
The kids menu is ‘pick 3’ style with a ton of fun options. Choose from eggs, pancakes, French toast, waffles, a cheese omelet, grilled cheese, a few breakfast meats, frits, home fries and fruit. It’s always interesting to see what combinations your kids come up with!
The kids menu at Eggs Up also comes with a choice of milk, chocolate milk, OJ, apple juice, tea or soft drink.
There are two Eggs Up in the Columbia area. One is on Devine Street and the other is in Forest Acres on Forest Drive.
Chicken fingers and chocolate-dipped ice cream cones!
Zesto is a classic drive-in burger joint in Columbia. It’s the perfect spot for a burger paired with a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone. Our kids especially love adding sprinkles (and who can blame them!)
There isn’t a dedicated kids menu at Zestos, but pretty much everything at Zestos falls into the category of ‘food that kids love to eat.’ Choose from a hot dog, corn dog, chicken strips, a drumstick, fried chicken and more!
We all know your kids only want ice cream, though! The chocolate dipped cones steal the show, but there are also milkshakes, sundaes and soft-serve.
Cross Hill Market
Outdoor dining at a BBQ restaurant
Midwood Smokehouse by Whole Foods is an excellent destination for barbecue with kids in Columbia. It’s a casual spot with outdoor seating and a kids’ menu with crayons.
You can relax on the patio out front while your kids enjoy chicken tenders or a little barbecue sandwich. They also have a kids mac & veggies dish, grilled cheese, cheese slider and a quesadilla. Kids meals come with choice of one side.
And if you are wondering what the adults should order, try a combo platter that comes with four proteins and two sides!
If that sounds like too much, check out one of their BBQ plates. The Carolina pork plate is dressed in Eastern NC vinegar sauce and pairs perfectly with mac & cheese and collards.
Za’s Pizza on Devine Street is a great option if you are looking for a nicer night out with kids but still approachable.
You’ll find great options for pizza and sandwiches on the menu as well as a dedicated kids menu. Kids can choose from spaghetti, mac & cheese or pizza.
If you need to treat your kids to something special after the meal, try the french silk pie! Or the peanut butter silk pie. Both are outstanding!
Za’s has outdoor seating out front when the weather permits.
Walk-up dairy bar with kids meals and ice cream
Rosewood Dairy Bar is the perfect destination for chicken fingers, sweet honey mustard and soft-serve ice cream.
It’s a casual order-at-the-counter place with a few tables outside and a separate indoor dining area. The dining area feels like a blast from the past. There are a few quarter candy machines, an old pay-to-play stereo and even a few arcade games.
Kids meals are served with french fries and a small drink. Choose from a hot dog, grilled cheese, corn dog, chicken leg or 2 tenders.
Your kids will love ordering outside at the walk-up storefront. It’s such a novel experience in Columbia!
near Cross Hill Market
Festive Mexican restaurant near Fort Jackson
Coco’s & Beer is a great place for Mexican food in Columbia. It’s located just next to the Cross Hill Market (the Whole Foods shopping center.)
Their portions are huge which is always a plus in our book! And the atmosphere is festive with both indoor and outdoor seating available. We prefer outdoor dining there if the weather allows!
The kids menu at Coco’s and Beer is quite extensive! It has the classic kids cheese quesadilla, as well as options for a taco, burrito or enchilada. These all come with rice, beans and a drink.
They also have non-Mexican fare kid options, like chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, macaroni + cheese and a cheeseburger. Kids meals are available for those 10 and under.
Cross Hill Market
Greek fare with order-at-the-counter service
Taziki’s is a Greek restaurant in Columbia with pitas, gyros, salads and a ton of great dips.
It’s located in the Whole Foods shopping center and makes for an easy dinner out.
The kids meals at Tazikis include a chicken + cheese grilled tortilla, a grilled cheese pita or a chicken + rice dinner. Kids meals are served with a drink and fruit or chips.
Another option when dining with a family is to get one of Taziki’s family feasts. You can order for a family of 4 or 6, and it includes a salad, rice or potatoes, and pita. Proteins you can choose from include grilled chicken, beef, lamb and more. You can also order a pasta meal on the weekends!
Pancake breakfast in a diner-like setting
The Original Pancake House is a fun place to kids for breakfast in Columbia. Inside you’ll find an old diner-like feel, with tons of booths along the walls.
They have quite a variety of pancake flavors, though we typically stick with their apple pancakes because they are so good! Their bitty dollar pancakes are also great!
Apart from pancakes, you’ll also find brioche French toast, crepes, omelets, Belgian waffles, pigs in a blanket, home fries and even a dutch baby (served with whipped cream, lemon and powdered sugar.)
Original Pancake House offers coffee, hot chocolate, milk, tea, freshly squeezed juices (orange and grapefruit), apple juice, and tomato juice. It can get pretty busy on the weekends, but it’s worth the wait!
Pizza restaurant in the Vista
Mellow Mushroom is a locally owned regional pizza chain based in Atlanta, but it feels very local on Gervais Street! It is just across from the State House and is an excellent dining option if you are in The Vista with kids.
They have several great pizza options, as well as a build-your-own version. They also have vegan pizza and gluten-free crust.
We love the Kosmic Karma and the Wild in Havana pizzas. And their Greek Salad is amazing!
Pro tip: request an extra side of esperanza dressing to dip your pizza in! If you’re opting for takeout pizza you can always order Mellow Mushroom online.
Burger restaurant with a kids menu and a sports bar feel
Burger Tavern 77 is a table-service burger restaurant in Columbia, SC. They are conveniently located near Five Points on Devine Street and have an absolutely epic burger menu, as well as salads, nachos and more.
It has a sports bar atmosphere (and the drink menu to back it up!) but it’s also safely in our kid-friendly dining category. I mean, they even have a kids menu! It includes kid-favorites like grilled cheese, chicken tenders, burger sliders and grilled chicken sliders. All kids meals at Burger Tavern 77 come with fries or veggies + dip.
With burger styles ranging from a Brunch Burger to Greek Burger to a Pimento Cheeseburger it can be tough to decide. Luckily you can always go with their Burger Trio which comes with three of their most popular burgers as mini sliders (Charleston, Memphis and Classic.) The French Onion Soup Burger with sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions and Swiss is always a great choice, too!
And if you are looking for something a bit less classic, check out their menu section for unique burgers. It has everything from a peanut butter and pralined bacon burger to a glazed sugar donut burger!
Mediterranean fare in a casual setting in downtown Columbia
Pitas is a Lebanese family-owned Mediterranean restaurant in downtown Columbia, SC. They are only open on weekdays for lunch and dinner. There are a ton of nearby businesses, so lunch is always pretty packed! Dinner is a great time to dine with kids at Pitas, though.
Their food is so, so delicious and colorful. We love their tzatziki wrap with grilled chicken, their chicken tahini wrap and their sample platter with hummus, tzatziki, baba ghanouj, veggies, tabouli, olives, pickles and pita bread.
It’s an unexpected menu item, but definitely try their chicken burger! It comes topped with chipotle mayo and is the best in town. They also have a tzatziki burger with ground beef (and topped with tzatziki sauce!) And if they have their feta pimento cheeseburger on the menu, try it! We think it’s one of the best burgers in Columbia.
Italian restaurant for a ‘fancy’ night out with kids
Ok, if you are familiar with Il Giorgione you may be thinking that it feels a bit odd on this list. And yeah– it kind of is!
It’s definitely not the first place that comes to mind when we think about dining with kids in Columbia, but it is a great option for a ‘fancy restaurant’ night.
They don’t have a kids menu, but they do have pizza and pasta. And gelato! And cannoli!
We recommend Il Giorgione for those with older kids who want to give them a memorable night out. It’s very approachable, but more upscale than some of the other spots on our list. Your kids will feel very special!