Here's what I think every family-friendly restaurant should offer---childcare!
You get together with a group of friends at a restaurant. Drop the kids off in the Kid Zone or whatever it might be called. The kids can play, nosh on pizza or chicken nuggets.
And, the adults eat, drink and talk. Yes. Actually talk to each other without breaking out the Legos or crayons or picking up food off the floor. Wouldn't that be amazing??
As far as I know, nothing like that exists. But, maybe one day right?
Until then, we meet up with friends at the most kid-friendly places possible. When it's just Scott, the kids and I, we brave fancier restaurants, and we just expect the kids to sit and behave. But, if you throw their friends into the mix, it's an entirely different environment.
We have tried JJ Twigs in Lake Zurich twice with friends and their kids and it has been a great experience. The kids are given popcorn as soon as they sit down and the pizza is great. I love the Mexican pizza, but the kids are happy with just cheese. I'm so not a video game fan, but I let my issues slide for a night. JJ Twigs has a video game area that keeps the kids busy until the quarters run out. The waiters and waitresses are so laid back they don't mind a handful of kids running around the lobby like crazies at the end of the night.
While the food isn't sophisticated or healthy, it's fun for a get together with friends.