Flat Top Grill ASIAN This cr eate-your-own-stir-fry r estaurant often has lines, but
never fear, they mo ve quickly. Kids lo ve creating their o wn dishes, and if y ou've never
been here before, you might want to follo w the suggested r ecipes on the giant black-
boards. Choose from more than 25 homemade sauces and 70 fresh ingredients including
rice, noodles, seafood, chicken, beef, veggies, and sauces—all for one low price. Best yet,
the price includes multiple visits to the food line (a lifesav
er if y our brilliant culinar y
combination has gone awry).
3200 N. Southport Ave. (just south of Belmont Ave.). & 773/665-8100. www.flattopgrill.com. Kids' menu,
highchairs, boosters. Main courses lunch around $9, dinner around $12; kids' stir-fry (under age 11) $5. AE,
DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm; Sun 9am-10pm. Bus: 76.
John Barleycorn AMERICAN/BURGERS Want to get a feel of what it's like to live
in a Chicago neighborhood? S top in to J ohn B arleycorn, which has been a popular
neighborhood pub and r estaurant since the 1960s. There's a heavy emphasis on food
here, so y ou won't feel like y ou're taking y our kids to a bar . Located in a 19th-centur y
building, the restaurant has that well-worn feel that makes you feel immediately at home.
You won't find any pretensions here: Relax with a cold drink and a thick, juicy burger in
the outdoor patio . The pub has a storied histor y, and r eputedly ser ved John Dillinger
frequently when operating as a speak-easy in the 1920s. A collection of handmade ship
models or a quick game of darts should entertain your kids while you're waiting for your
658 W. Belden Ave. & 773/348-8899. Highchairs, boosters. Reservations not accepted. All main c ourses
under $8. AE, DISC, V. Mon-Fri 5pm-2am; Sat 3pm-3am; Sun 3pm-2am. Subway/El: Red Line to Fullerton.
John's Place AMERICAN This neighborhood favorite combines uncompli-
cated food with an inviting setting of exposed brick walls and har dwood floors. Families
make up a fair shar e of the cr owd at lunch, thr ough the afternoon to early dinner
Although the place wasn 't designed to attract kids, it 's a natural for the sophisticated
30-something par ents who populate the neighborhood and first came to J ohn's while
dating. The menu emphasiz es vegetarian meals, organic foods, and salads. S ome of the
highlights of the menu ar e seafood enchiladas, barbecue-glazed pork tenderloin, and, of
course, the burgers. The wild line-caught Alaskan salmon, which comes seared as a sand-
wich at lunchtime, is a knockout. On the weekend, health-conscious eaters will enjoy the
free-range Amish chicken eggs served during brunch, and kids are sure to go for pumpkin
pancakes and French toast. On a busy afternoon, all 25 of the restaurant's highchairs are
put to use.
A second location is found in the R oscoe Village neighborhood, at 2132 W. Roscoe
St. ( & 773/244-6430 ).
1200 W. Webster Ave. & 773/525-6670. Kids' menu, highchairs, boosters. Reservations not accepted. All
main courses under $8. AE, DISC, V. Tues-Thurs 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-11pm; Sat 8am-11pm; Sun 8am-
9pm. Subway/El: Red Line to Fullerton.
La Creperie Finds FRENCH Germain and S ara Roignant have run this inti-
mate gem of a cafe since 1972, never straying from the reasonably priced crepes that draw
repeat customers aplenty. (Hey, a crepe is just a pancake rolled up, right, kids?) The decor
is heavy on '70s-era br own, but if you find the main dining r oom more dark than cozy,
head to the back patio (enclosed in winter), which spar kles with strings of white lights.
Onion soup , pâté, and escargots ar e all good star ters, but the highlights her e ar e the
whole-wheat crepes—each prepared on a special grill that G ermain imported from his
native Brittany. Single-choice fillings include cheese, tomato, egg, or ham; tasty duets