Located on Florida’s Panhandle, the coastal community of Seaside lies on the Gulf of Mexico, making it a seafood lover’s dream getaway. Enjoy popcorn shrimp, fresh shellfish, and fried fish. Picky eaters can opt for pizza joints and hot dogs. After settling into your Seaside vacation rental, map out these top kid-friendly restaurants to enjoy good eats with your entire family.
1. The Melt Down
When an eatery is like the Melt Down, it doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant; it pulls off the food truck with covered seating aesthetic, and people come. This food truck offers an astonishing variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, a child’s food haven. Get the classic American grilled cheese for your child, and then go on a grilled cheese adventure of your own. There’s the meatloaf melt, a comfort food favorite, or try the brie and bacon on cranberry walnut bread for an exotic treat.
2. Barefoot BBQ
Just across from the Melt Down is Barefoot BBQ, which combines barbecue cuisine with a carefree, surfer attitude. Kids dine on chicken fingers, corn dogs, sandwich sliders or cheese nachos, and then take the free — courtesy of Barefoot BBQ — frisbee and chase each other across the park while you enjoy your food. Go light with a spinach salad and portabella sandwich or embrace your vacation with some barbecue-smothered meats. Turkey legs, ribs, sausage on a stick, beef brisket, and pork all work to make this menu a tantalizing choice.
3. Great Southern Cafe
The Great Southern Cafe blends old-fashioned favorites with a new twist to make food that both you and your kids can enjoy. The kid’s menu has quite the variety from macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese to popcorn shrimp, chicken fingers, and fresh sides. Let them try their taste buds on fried okra or cheese grits; they may like them. Don’t leave without trying the grits à ya ya — a blend of bacon, mushrooms, spinach, Gouda cheese, shrimp, and grits. Enjoy fresh seafood for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, such as a shrimp po’ boy or crab claw soup.
4. Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs
Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs is located just a block from the beach, so you can take your food to go or grab one of the outdoor seats and enjoy the view. While the kids can easily get behind the frank dog, an all-beef hot dog loaded up with their favorite condiments, you get to expand your eating horizons with the heat dog, a spicy pork hotdog. Top it with peppers, pickles, grilled onions, or homemade chili and a ton of cheese.
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5. Seagrove Village MarketCafe
This family-friendly, low-key cafe is the perfect place to treat your kids to a leisurely dinner and do some souvenir shopping. Pick up burgers or sandwiches — try the famous half-pound market burger — or a seafood platter filled with fresh fish and shrimp. The mac-n-cheese signature side or market fries are a perfect accompaniment for the kids’ meals, though the choices range from fried green tomatoes to garlic mashed potatoes. Really get into the spirit of the South and finish with a slice of homemade chocolate chip pecan pie or key lime pie.
6. Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar
Choosing a pizza joint for dinner is never a bad idea, especially when it has the selection of Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar. While there are some soups and salads available, this restaurant focuses on the pizzas and pies for the whole family to enjoy. The cheese and pepperoni pizzas are perfect for the kids. With just red sauce, cheese, and meat on a wood-fired crust, it’s simplicity in its most delicious form. Try the farm egg pizza, an amazing conglomeration of pancetta, Swiss chard, fontina cheese, Calabrian chili, and sunny-side eggs, or combine Italian with fresh seafood for the clam pie. It has a white sauce with mozzarella cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and Cedar Key clams.
7. Pickle’s Beachside Grill
Located on the beach, Pickle’s Beachside Grill is conveniently accessible while lounging on the beach and playing in the water with the kids. Grab a burger or chili dog for lunch and eat at the open-air counter amid the bustle. Don’t forget to pick up an order of fried pickles, the eatery’s specialty.
8. Shrimp Shack
Shrimp Shack goes perfectly with the relaxed beach theme, featuring a cottage look all the way down to the window flower boxes. Hang out on the deck chairs in front, or lounge on the deck while you savor your food. While you enjoy raw, steamed, or baked oysters or shrimp and lobster, your kids make selections from the “little shrimps'” menu, including peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Finish off with a slice of homemade cake with a different flavor every day.
9. Pizza by the Sea
If you travel up Highway 395 a few miles, you’ll hit Pizza by the Sea, with a big airy back deck covered for plenty of shade. The kids are sure to love not only the pizza, but the baked spaghetti as well, with its melty mozzarella and Romano cheese and tasty marinara sauce. They even serve a pizza sandwich, such as the pepperoni Caesar, which amounts to a pepperoni pizza topped with a Caesar salad. Then there’s yum bowls, which are like a pizza minus the crust. The cheeseburger yum bowl is a guaranteed success with the kids, filled with ground beef and melted cheese topped with pickles and condiments. The exclusive kids’ menu includes a cheese or pepperoni pizza, cheeseburger pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and noodles and butter.
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