Eight MORE Destination Restaurants for Families

Chef and author Patrick Evans-Hylton dished out his picks for tasty restaurants the whole family would enjoy, and thanks to excellent reader feedback, we have eight more to tease your palate!



The Homeplace Restaurant

With a name like “The Homeplace,” one can only be curious about just how their cookin’ compares to grandma’s. True to what one would probably hope for, this restaurant is in a farmhouse, the food is southern, and the service is family style, all-you-can-eat.

  • Open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday;  lunch and dinner on Sunday.

Kids Will Love:  Cows graze nearby and the grounds are expansive, offering plenty of room to mill around while you wait to be seated. For sure, they’ll want to sit in the gazebo.

Favorite Review: “Best family dining and a beautiful view” – Brad W.

Insider’s Tip: Go early. For good reason, there is always a wait at The Homeplace.



One of the most photogenic places on the Blue Ridge Parkway and an annual pilgrimage for many families, Mabry Mill is an early 1900s water powered grist mill and saw mill. The restaurant serves famous buckwheat pancakes and other southern favorites like country ham, macaroni and cheese, and bread pudding.

  • Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Breakfast is served all day.

Kids Will Love: Visit the blacksmith shop and check out the additional Appalachian pioneer demonstrations.

Favorite Review: “OMG, so this all kinds of wonderful … I had the sampler which included a pancake of each; buckwheat, sweet potato, and cornmeal! Each were scrumptious and mostly too grand to finish with the accompaniment of bacon. Bacon. Just thought I’d make a whole sentence for bacon.” – Chris M.

Insider’s Tip: Enjoy a meal on a weekday in the fall, as the weekends are a wee busy.

Mabry Mill. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.

Mabry Mill. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.



Extensive seafood, wild game (alligator, anyone?), and traditional steaks, chicken, and sandwiches are served alongside delicious sides like red skin mashed potatoes, seasoned rice, or the vegetable of the day. Consider the “World Famous” Islamorada Sandwich, mahi mahi smothered in goodness.

  • Open for lunch and dinner daily.
  • Patio, fireside and aquarium side seating is available.

Kids Will Love: There’s a 12,000 gallon saltwater aquarium full of amazing fish to study, plus an additional aquarium and laser shooting game in the connected Bass Pro Shop.

Favorite Review: “This is the perfect place to bring kids! Beyond the choices in food that should please any picky eater, there is a giant aquarium set up right in the restaurant.” – Barbara P.

Insider’s Tip: Ask about the day’s fresh catch.



Put this on your bucket list. The Chesapeake Grill is on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Everyone passing through must stop here and eat at least once. The menu features local seafood, salads, a variety of sandwiches, and larger entrees of fish or steak. The kids menu is exactly what you’d expect to find.

  • Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Kids Will Love: Huge ships will appear and approach on the horizon as they make their way in and out of the Chesapeake Bay.

Favorite Review: “Great service but the view was even better. The view is worth sitting in the patio.” – Charmain V.

Insider’s Tip: Go outside and eat on the patio! A pier provides an additional cool experience for the kids.



There’s plenty to choose from at Waterfront Market & Café. Here, you’ll truly do dining your way. Choose what you want to eat and then where you want to eat it. Choices include salads, flatbreads, sandwiches, wraps, sushi, and other seasonal surprises.

  • Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Check out the Blue Plate Specials for unexpected offerings.

Kids Will Love: Docked yachts and those coming and going will be exciting for them to see.

Favorite Review: If you want healthy food that tastes amazing for around the ten to fifteen dollar range this is the place to go. Very friendly staff and amazing food!” – James H.

Insider’s Tip: Take your food outside to the dock.

Waterfront Market. Photo by R. Kennedy for Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association.

Waterfront Market. Photo by R. Kennedy for Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association.

ALSO SEE: 30 Places to Dock & Dine



If you’re vacationing on or near Chincoteague Island, seek out Etta’s for dinner. The menu is loaded with fresh seafood, fish-topped salads, hearty beef for the non-seafood crowd, pastas, and a kid’s menu any little tike would love.

  • Open daily for dinner at 5 p.m. with the last seating at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. on Saturday).
  • Ask about the catch and dessert of the day.

Kids Will Love: Outdoor seating will give you the best view of Assateague Lighthouse, boats coming in and out of the channel, and a NASA rocket launch from Wallops Island!

Favorite Review: “Great view. Great service … Had my kids with me who ate off the kids menu. Waitress enter acted [sic] with kids well and made sure food for them came out as it was ready.” – Thomas V.

Insider’s Tip:  Etta’s is great for well-behaved family members of all ages (that goes for you, too, Uncle Bob).



Charley’s has an extensive menu that includes appetizers like pork belly and ahi tuna, a variety of salads, unexpected sandwiches like fried eggplant, and everyday favorites like bacon wrapped chicken breast and filet mignon. Children will be excited to find their everyday favorites, as well, like grilled cheese, chicken tenders, and macaroni and cheese, of course.

  • Open daily for lunch and dinner. Open for breakfast Tuesday through Saturday.
  • Weekly live music featuring a range of genres.

Kids Will Love: The patio overlooks the Appomattox River, but there are interesting things to see inside, too. Charley’s is inside a historic tobacco warehouse.

Favorite Review: Great service and excellent variety of lunch and dinner options. Crabcake sandwich & fries were on point! Highly recommend and will definitely be coming back.” – Jason C.

Insider’s Tip: Love pasta? Ask about the Italian Buffet.



Have you ever had bison barbecue? You can get that in sandwich form at The Swinging Bridge, or try the buffalo burger. I take mine with the hand-cut potato chips. For dinner, opt for something awesome like the Rainbow Trout or Wild Red Salmon. There’s also meatloaf, steaks, and chicken, if you prefer. The typical children’s menu is in place and ready for your youngsters.

  • Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Try an old time, Soda Jerk-inspired milkshake or ask about the cake of the day for dessert.

Kids Will Love: There is an actual swinging bridge inside the restaurant that they’ll want to walk across.

Favorite Review: “This is a very cool ol place. Great country setting paired with southern country food. They make great buffalo burgers. The place itself is clean and would make a great day trip to see. It’s like eating in an old lodge or cabin in the woods. There’s a little gift shop too.” – John H.

Insider Tips: The delicious pan-fried chicken is only offered on Sunday.


© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2015. |

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Casey Higgins

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!