Food  |  Parenting

Here Are 7 Restaurants That Are Actually Great for Catering a Kid’s Birthday Party

Move over, Pizza Hut.

Photo courtesy of Little Red Fox.

Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.
2301 Bladensburg Rd., NE; 202-849-3518

Photo by Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.

Kids meals at this local fried chicken and biscuits venture include three pieces of boneless fried chicken, a mini biscuit, a side of choice (the gloriously gooey mac ‘n’ cheese is a surefire winner, but the fruit salad is the more healthful choice), and a drink. There are also classic milkshakes—vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry—topped off with whipped cream and a scattering of sprinkles. Twenty-four hour advanced notice is required, and DC delivery is available through Caviar.

Taco Bamba
Multiple locations

Photo by Greg Powers.

Score DIY tacos from chef Victor Albisu. The Bamba Bar package includes fixings for 80 tacos, including your choice of four meats (carnitas and carne asada both come highly recommended), a trio of salsas, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and servingware. It’s worth adding on sides, like slightly smoky guac made with grilled avocados, elote style corn on the cob, and rice and beans. Orders should be placed at least a week in advance. Delivery is available starting at $15.

Multiple locations

Photo by Wiseguy.

Get a taste of NYC without the Acela trip. The pies here have all the classic characteristics: a sweetly savory marinara, plenty of mozz, and a fold that holds. Kids will love the plain cheese, but the pizzeria’s namesake—dotted with generously portioned meatballs and a trio of ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses—is equally worth ordering. Don’t forget the garlic knots, too. Orders should be placed 24 hours in advance. Delivery is available on orders of at least $100 for a $10 fee (gratuity not included).

Smoked & Stacked
1239 9th St. NW; 202-465-4822

Photo by Smoked & Stacked.

Top Chef finalist Marjorie Meek-Bradley offers sliders packed with pastrami perfectly proportioned for the pint-sized crowd. The milk buns burst with a capelet of Comte cheese, perky sauerkraut, and plenty of thousand island dressing. Sides of coleslaw, potato salad, and tabouli are straightforward but satisfying. Delivery is available.

Little Red Fox
5035 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-248-6346

Photo by Farrah Skeiky.

Vegetarian options abound, including the ALT (avocado-lettuce-tomato) and Greek-accented cucumber sandwiches, béchamel boosted mac and cheese, salads, and soups. Don’t worry, meat lovers, there’s also fried chicken and hoisin glazed ribs. However, the real draw is virtuoso pie maker Kandis Smith, whose crafty crusts are absolutely Instagram-worthy. Whether you want a birthday message, cute creature, or something seasonal, she can top your pie with it. No delivery available.

Federalist Pig
1654 Columbia Rd. NW; 202-827-4400

Photo by Federalist Pig.

Enjoy blue ribbon barbecue from Rob Sonderman, the District’s best pitmaster. Trays of freshly smoked meats (succulent pork shoulder and chopped brisket are a must), sliders, and platters of ribs are all good bets, as are sides such as smoked cheddar mac and cheese and crispy Brussels sprouts. Order 24-48 hours in advance.

Taqueria Habanero
3710 14th St. NW; 202-722-7700

Photo by Taqueria Habanero.

The whole menu of authentic Mexican fare is available, including many approachable favorites like quesadilla, an array of tacos, and enchiladas. Freshly fried chips and chunky guac made with plenty of cilantro and lime juice always go over well. Delivery in DC is available on orders of at least $120 for a $25 fee (gratuity not included).

Parenting writer

Nevin Martell is a parenting, food, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, and many other publications. He is author of eight books, including It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids, Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery, and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip. When he isn’t working, he loves spending time with his wife and their six-year-old son, who already runs faster than he does.