Kid-Friendly Restaurant Reviews: IHOP

One of our new “regular” lunch spots, at least on the weekends, is IHOP. IHOP is relatively new to our town, having replaced our Denny’s not too long ago. I’m sure it’s different everywhere, but we seem to have a much better experience having lunch at IHOP than we do having dinner at IHOP; the quality of service is like night and day. (Pun intended, I suppose.)

Kid-Friendly Atmosphere

IHOP has the newer gray plastic high chairs (like the ones at Friendly’s) instead of the older wooden ones that are still popular in many restaurants. They also offer booster seats for toddlers, though it’s hard to keep a wiggly toddler in the booster seat unless you request a booth instead of a table.

Kid-Friendly Menu

IHOP offers a fair selection of both breakfast and dinner items for kids. My son really likes the Rooty Jr, which consists of a fruit-topped pancake with whipped cream, one egg, one bacon, and one sausage. He likes the strawberry topping and to get all bacon instead of sausage. Kids can also order a junior omlette or chocolate chip pancakes.

Another great feature of the kids menu is the “IHOP For Me” section. This is a healthier selection for kids, where I believe everything is supposed to be under 600 calories. Our IHOP allows adults to order off of the kids menu, and I like to order the baby cakes, which includes five silver dollar pancakes and scrambled egg substitute. A fruit cup is available, as is a small piece of fish.

My biggest complaint about the kids menu is that the meals do not come with beverages, the way most restaurants do it. The kids meals already cost about $4.99 or more, and it gets a bit expensive to add on a drink for a three-year-old. I generally bring a sippy cup full of apple juice for my son to avoid the additional charge.

Kid-Friendly Service

Until recently, my son had gotten his own paper menu and crayons to draw with when we got seated. I don’t know if we’ve just hit them at unlucky times where they ran out, but he hasn’t gotten them on our last three visits.

One great attraction at our local IHOP is the wandering balloon artist. IHOP invites him in to entertain their customers. He works solely on tips. But he does amazing things with balloons, and he remembers our son when we visit. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch him work, and not just for the little guy If the balloon pops before we leave the restaurant, he comes over to fix it. We tip him very well.

And Everything Else

Sure, you can make pancakes at home anytime. But the selection of pancakes at IHOP is amazing, and somehow the pancakes we make at home never taste quite as good. If you and your kids like to eat breakfast all day long, IHOP is a great choice!

My kid-friendly restaurant reviews are accurate as far as the restaurants in my local area are concerned. I would hope that the restaurant chains would be more or less consistent in their policies and service, but please be aware that your local restaurant manager may run things differently.

Christina Gleason (975 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


  1. I love IHOP (Harvest Grain & Nut pancakes rock!) but my DH always gets food poisoning when we eat there. He tends to get more lunch items than breakfast items. Not sure if that’s the cause. Anyway, be careful out there!


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