Best Restaurant to Take the Kids - 1999
Chuck E Cheese's
Readers' Choice: Rainforest Cafe
A family restaurant's one thing, but if you're talking about a place that caters specifically to kids the Chuck E Cheese's chain has mastered the art of "fill 'em up and wear 'em down." That goes for kids and parents; you literally have to psyche yourself up for this place, because it's a no-holds-barred assault on the senses with its primary-color playground equipment, grocery store rides, and boardwalk-style video games. Here's the idea: Line the kids up at the deli counter, where sandwiches, salads, and pizzas go for reasonable prices; then sit 'em down in the Show Room, where life-size, Muppet-like characters, including Chuck E himself, entertain the wee ones; then let 'em loose for the next hour or so. For the rides and games, tokens are a must (at $5 for 20), and they sometimes pay off in the form of tickets redeemable for prizes. Service is quick and friendly, the food is good, and the entertainment choices are endless -- all for a not-too-expensive night out. Just one suggestion: Make this a middle-of-the-week treat for the kids. The place is a zoo on Saturday nights.