This Month, Take a Night Off From Cooking

Bring the kids out to eat in Alexandria! (Courtesy photo)

By Erica Barker

ALEXANDRIA,VA- September can be hectic for families, with school back in session and the demands of changing routines. That’s why I recommend checking out one of our many local kid-friendly restaurants for dinner and taking a night-off from cooking. Two of my favorites are T.J. Stone’s and Fat City Kitchen in Alexandria.

Both restaurants have an atmosphere that’s friendly and welcoming to kids, and noisy enough that you won’t be worried about your kids disturbing other diners with their cute, or not-so-cute, noises. They both have booth seating, which is essential for blocking in the little ones, or, I mean, sitting together as a family. But the kids’ menus at these restaurants are where they really excel. Foodies may turn their noses up, but your little ones will love their kids’ menu offerings of classic kid food.

Fat City Kitchen includes chicken strips, cheeseburgers, pasta, grilled cheese, and pizza, and their kids’ meals are just $6. I particularly love the kids’ pizza. It’s huge—enough to share between two kids.

At T.J. Stone’s, kids’ meals are $7 and they offer chicken strips, grilled cheese, mac-n-cheese, pizza, and more. My son’s favorite part of going to T.J. Stone’s is the ice cream sundae they bring out at the end of the meal.

Both restaurants offer crayons and items to color and have attentive service for when you need to get the check to make a quick exit. I highly recommend checking out both T.J. Stone’s and Fat City Kitchen for dinner out with the little ones. Not only do they get to practice being civilized (good luck!), but the adults also get to enjoy some good food. Fat City Kitchen is located at 330 South Pickett Street, Alexandria, T.J. Stone’s is at 608 Montgomery Street, Alexandria,

Kids’ Pizza at Fat City Kitchen. (Erica Barker)

My top picks for your upcoming weekends:

September 7-8: If you’re in the mood for a drive, check out the Burke Centre Festival this weekend. This free festival is perfect for the whole family and features an arts & crafts show, live entertainment, amusement rides, face painting, and more. This popular festival is located at 6060 Burke Centre Parkway, Burke VA and runs from Saturday, 9:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., to Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

September 14-15: Mount Vernon hosts their annual Colonial Market and Fair this weekend. Included in the regular admission cost, the fair features vendors selling food and goods as well as entertainment and activities for the whole family. Admission is $20 for adults, $16 for youth ages 6-11, and free for kids 5 and under.

September 21-22: Head down to Old Town this weekend to enjoy the 17th Annual King Street Arts Festival. This is an annual event for our family, as we grab our stroller and head down King Street to enjoy all of the great art offerings. Be sure to stop by the Carlyle House from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. on both days for their “Crafts at Carlyle” event, where kids can make a piece of art for free.

September 28-29: By this weekend, you may be looking for some fun fall festival events that include pumpkins! Take a drive out to Leesburg Animal Farm for their Pumpkin Village Fall Fest. The festival includes wagon rides, hay maze, games, slides, pony rides, and more. This weekend is a “value weekend” when tickets are $16.95 for adults and $12.95 for seniors & kids 2-12 and the admission includes a free pumpkin.

Erica Barker is the founder of, where she shares fun activities in the Alexandria area for parents and kids and she enjoys exploring the local area while keeping her toddler entertained.

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