Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Dining in Chicago

You can ring in the New Year with Food, Fun, and Festivities – even if you’ve got kids in tow. Thankfully, a handful of Chicago restaurants have kept families in mind by offering kid-friendly menus and entertainment. Here are three ideas for a festive, foodie New Year’s Eve with the entire family:

Scoozi is a River North Italian trattoria specializing in a wide range of antipasti, brick-oven pizzas, and housemade pastas – all perfect for sharing family-style. On New Year’s Eve, from 4:00-6:00pm, kids 12 and under can make their own pizza and create their own ice cream sundae at a giant sundae bar. At midnight, while mom and dad are ringing in the new year with champagne, kids can toast to an awesome 2012 with sparkling grape juice. Chef John Chiakulas will be preparing a number of signature house specials, including handmade lobster ravioli. Streamers and hats will round out the fun.

Scoozi   410 W. Huron   Reservations: 312-943-5900

The  Berghoff is a Chicago classic: one of the city’s oldest restaurants, it was opened all the way back in 1898. Known for its German cuisine, The Berghoff is famous in Chicago for its Bratwurst, Sauerbraten, and eponymous Berghoff Beer and Root Beer. On New Year’s Eve, from 5 – 7pm, The Bergoff is offering a family-friendly buffet dinner. For a set price (Adults, $59.95; kids ages 2 to 12, $16.95), you’ll all enjoy  a roast beef carving station, creamed spinach, chive mashed potatoes, mac & cheese with toppings, mini turkey sandwiches with cranberry chutney, roasted winter veggies, pear salad with champagne dressing, mini brats and hot dogs, mini desserts (chocolate cupcakes, brownie bites, apple strudel, German Chocolate), a Berghoff Soda Station (vanilla ice cream, Berghoff Root Beer, Black Cherry Soda, & Orange Soda), Berghoff Beer, house wine, soda and bread. Countdown to 2012 activities are planned for the kids and everyone will leave with goodie bags.  

The Bergoff   17 West Adams   Reservations: 312-427-3170

My kids love Churrascuria-style restaurants, where everyone receives a stoplight style dining card. Green means “bring on the food” – and servers will arrive directly at your table to carve your meat selections. Red means “give me a minute to loosen my belt”.  Texas de Brazil in downtown Chicago will be offering a Brazilian-style New Year’s Eve celebration with a family-friendly dinner at a kid-friendly hour. The restaurant will open an hour earlier, at 4 p.m., an hour earlier than usual, on the final day of the year, for a calm dinner setting before the storm of end of the year revelry.   The set all you can eat price ($46.99 for adults and $23.50 for kids ages 6-12 ($5 for kids ages 3-5), gives you access to an amazing gourmet salad area containing more than 60 items, a fresh sushi bar, and full meat service cooked in the traditional Brazilian “Churrascaria” style.   Finish your meal with a special dessert and a glass of bubbly for mom and dad.

Texas de Brazil   51 E Ohio Street   Reservations: 312-670-1006

Toast to the New Year with the Blue Men!

If you have tweens or tweens in your crew, cap of 2011 with the Blue Man Group! My ten-year-old loved this quirky, action-packed show. On December 31st, the Blue Men will be hitting the stage for 4, 7, and 10 p.m. performances. At the 7 and 10 p.m. shows, plan on joining with the Blue Men to toast the new year with champagne and sparkling cider and celebratory party favors. At the 10pm show, countdown to the New Year to the tune Auld Lang played on the Blue Men’s custom-made instrument, the Tubulum. Tickets start at $55. Make your reservations by calling the box office at 773-348-4000 or at

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