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Where to feed young ones without breaking the bank

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By Cassandra VanKeuren
Special to The Herald
Often I am out and about with my son and wonder where I can get good and affordable food during our trips to places like the pool or the park.
This summer I decided to research local kid-friendly restaurants so I could be ready when my son asks: "What's for lunch?"
The first place I wanted to find was something close to what I consider my second backyard: Forest Park in Everett. I found two restaurant picks nearby.
My first was Teriyaki and Burger Stop.
Honestly, I kinda thought this place was like every other teriyaki place in Everett. But what caught my eye is that it's always busy and it has a drive-thru.
The day I visited I was thoroughly impressed by how clean it was.
Burger Stop has an extensive menu and is super affordable. Of course, they have teriyaki and they have burgers, but what I really loved were some of their mash-ups.
The spicy teriyaki chicken burger ($1.69) was my favorite. It had grilled teriyaki chicken, grilled onions, mayo and spicy garlic chili sauce. Amazingly tasty.
They also have a teriyaki chicken burger that is, without the spice, $1.59. For that price you could feed a whole car full of kids for under $15!
Also on my visit I had the chicken teriyaki special ($5.95). That had a huge portion of chicken, rice and iceberg salad. I loved that the sauce was not too sweet.
Please note that they dress the salad with ranch dressing. If your kid has a dressing phobia like my son, you will have to request that it be left off.
Overall: The Burger Stop has loads of items including burgers and fries for super cheap that will please even the pickiest kids.
My other pick is a sit-down restaurant, Beijing Garden.
The reason that I recommend this place is their outstanding lunch menu. I have often visited here with friends with kids in tow. Most everything on the lunch menu is $5.50. I love that they don't skimp on the veggies either.
My son's favorite thing is the sweet and sour chicken ($5.50) and my standby is black bean sauce chicken ($5.50). Both come with soup.
The Lynnwood Pool is a favorite summertime stop for us. By the time we wait in line, swim and get dried off, we are famished. I found a great place right near the pool, Dave's Burgers.
Whether you want to treat the kiddos to a milkshake or feed them lunch, Dave's Burgers provides.
The kids' menu is your typical kid fare, corn dogs and chicken strips, all served with fries and a soda for $3.50. I liked the option of grilled cheese, my son's favorite.
Dave's milkshakes are lovely and thick. With 30 different flavors you will have a tough time choosing. On my visit, I chose strawberry. Strawberry is my test to see if they use real fruit and they most certainly do.
My other favorite thing is that Dave's is both a walkup restaurant and a drive-thru. Perfect if you have kids with wet heads.
In Marysville, near the library and at Jennings Memorial Park, it's a bit tough to find a great place to take kids. But I did track down AJ's Burgers.
This is such a cute place. The decor is fun with Polaroids of employees decorating the walls and great art.
The menu is mostly burgers and shakes, but they do have some healthier wraps and some fried seafood on the menu. Everyone is friendly and very attentive.
The kids' menu runs at $4.99 for a meal and the kiddos can order burgers, corn dogs, chicken strips or grilled cheese. That comes with a small fry and small soda. AJ's also has an extensive milkshake selection.
On my visit I ordered the special Anaheim chili burger with fries and a root beer milkshake ($10.50). The burger was huge and was made with a hand-formed patty, mild chilies, Monterey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo.
The burger was perfect, the fries were done well and the milkshake also was a hit. I was really impressed with the freshness and neatness of everything. A really great place to fill up the kids and to satisfy your milkshake and burger cravings.
If Mom is in need of a pick-up, head right next door from AJ's to Vinaccio Coffee. The coffee is free trade and roasted on site. As an added bonus the kids' drink menu is just $1.
In Arlington, after you and your kids are done at the Absolute Air Park, you can head to the super family friendly Pedeltweezers Chinese & Pizza. I say super family friendly because the owners have their kids in the back hanging out, play kid tunes and the paint is definitely kid inspired.
I went for lunch and ordered Kung Pao Chicken with fried rice and hot and sour soup. All was tasty and was a great value.
For the kids, I recommend sharing a lunch special because the portions are so big. Try barbecue pork chow mein (my son's pick) or beef with broccoli.
I did not try the pizza. They only sell whole pies. But rest assured that I will be back to take home a pizza. How could you not with names like Genghis Khan and The Forbidden City?
Near the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett is Kama'aina Grindz. It's not the place someone would think of for kid-friendly dining but they have a great kids' menu.
My son's favorite at Kama'aina Grind is the Crispy Panko Chicken served with steamed rice and edamame ($6). Big points from me for serving my kiddo a veggie that he loves.
Also on the kids' menu is Miso Ramen ($5); Huli Huli chicken quesadilla ($6); and mini spam musubi ($3), which is crisp spam wrapped in rice and then wrapped in seaweed. Think spam sushi. Crazy but tasty.
My son loves this place and I am happy because there is plenty on the menu that is amazing.
If you visit the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, stop by the Compass Cafe adjoining the museum. You will not be disappointed. The cafe has at least a half dozen freshly made salads, lots of paninis and the best mac and cheese my son's ever had. This place was such a happy surprise. I would definitely go back for the salads alone.
We all know what it is like to have hungry kiddos. These places should be great options if you did not bring lunch or are sick of PBJ sandwiches on every outing.
Share with us in the comments if you have some great kid friendly places for eating out. Here's hoping you have a great summer and happy kids with full bellies.
Teriyaki and Burger Stop
3517 Rucker Ave., Everett; 425-259-4291
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Beijing Garden
3719 Rucker Ave., Everett; 425-339-9319.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Dave's Burgers
19509 44th Ave. W, Lynnwood; 425-672-1470.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
AJs Burgers
4711 64th St NE, Marysville; 360-925-6544
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Vinaccio Coffee
4711 64th St NE, Marysville: 888-875-1955
Hours: 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Pedeltweezer's Chinese and Pizza
20265 74th Ave. NE, Arlington; 360-403-8382
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Kama'aina Grindz
2933 Colby Ave., Everett; 425-322-5280.
-Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and closed Sunday.
Museum of History and Industry, Compass Cafe
860 Terry Ave. N, Lake Union Park, Seattle; 206-324-1126.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until 8 p.m. Thursdays.
Story tags » DiningGo See Do

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