PARENTS Magazine: 10 Best Family Restaurants

No cooking happening for me tonight! I’m off to enjoy some delicious food for our last PTA meeting of the year. Nice way to say good-bye to the current school year, wouldn’t you agree? Since I’m taking the night off, I thought I’d share with you some information I received about the best family restaurants that I received in my email the other day. Two of my favorites are on the list – Panera Bread and Atlanta Bread Co. Not all of them are in my area, but maybe they are near you, if so leave a comment and tell me about them! One day I may be passing through your part of the country and will need a good “fast-casual” type restaurant for lunch or dinner! Below is the excerpt from the email I received, I added weblinks to the restaurants so you can check out their menus without a lot of fuss.

Parents magazine revealed the exclusive findings from its first-ever 10 Best Fast-Casual Family Restaurants survey. At a time when many household budgets don’t allow for meals out at sit-down restaurants and fast-food places aren’t exactly known for healthy menus, “fast casual” restaurants, a hybrid of the two, are increasingly popular with families across the country. Fast-casual restaurants provide quick meals, usually made from healthier ingredients, served in a more upscale setting.

The results of the 10 Best Fast-Casual Family Restaurants survey are the culmination of a two-month study which examined 50 restaurant chains nationwide. Parents focused on honoring restaurants with a variety of healthy kids’ menu offerings, family-friendly conveniences and overall value. The results of the survey will appear in the July 2009 issue of Parents magazine on newsstands nationwide June 16, 2009.

According to the Parents survey, the 10 Best Fast-Casual Restaurants are:

#1 Cosi
· 147 locations in 19 states
#2 Jason’s Deli
· 210 locations in 27 states
#3 Noodles & Company
· 205 locations in 18 states
#4 Fazoli’s
· 260 locations in 26 states
#5 Panera Bread
· 1,264 locations in 40 states
#6 Zpizza
· 91 locations in 16 states
#7 Atlanta Bread
· 103 locations in 24 states
#8 Corner Bakery Café
· 115 locations in 11 states
#9 Taco Del Mar
· 260 locations in 20 states
#10 McAlister’s Deli
· 283 locations in 22 states

“These days, tight household budgets make going out to eat as a family a real treat,” said Dana Points, editor-in-chief of Parents. “The ten restaurants on Parents' list are affordable, healthy and family-friendly.”

Each restaurant answered a 25-question survey and submitted nutritional information for all of the items on their kids’ menus. Parents then examined the calories, fat and sodium in each dish on the menu. Healthfulness and range of choices on the kids’ menu made up 70% of each restaurant’s score. The survey, which made up the remaining 30% of each restaurant’s overall ranking, included questions about family conveniences, value promotions, and kid-friendly features.

For more information about Parents magazine’s Top 10 Best Fast-Casual Family Restaurants, visit

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Cate O'Malley said…
Well at least we have 3 out of 10 in our area. Love Panera salads!
Carla said…
I've only heard of Panera Bread. Great food but a bit pricey.
nora@ffr said…
sound wonderful!! nice blog.. keep it up!!
Good to know... especially that we have 5/10 of the restaurants in our area! :)
Pam said…
I love Panera Bread Company, it has great soup, salads and sandwiches. We have a Taco Del Mar but I have yet to try it - I guess I will now.

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