The Kids Eat For site lets you find days and times kids eat for free; you can also see a map, kid’s menu, and reviews on Yelp. While the front page tells you to search by ZIP, you can also plug in a restaurant name if you’re looking for a specific eatery.
ZIP searches take you to the list of restaurants in your metropolitan area. So when I plug in 60148, for example, which is the ZIP for Lombard, IL, I get a list of the weekly calendar of kids eat for free deals in the Chicago area, rather than a list of Lombard locations:
This would be more useful if it used my ZIP to give me the closest restaurants first, as the iPhone app does (see below). However, the info is definitely handy, and I like how it gives you the days each restaurant is running the kids eat for free deals — that could be handy if you want to, say, go out tonight!
It looks like Kids Eat Free is currently limited mostly to major cities. If you don’t see your city on their homepage and choose “find a kids eat free deal near you,” it lets you browse by state. I picked Oregon, and get a choice of several cities:
So, you’d want to play with it a bit to see how useful it is for your location.
The iPhone app
I most appreciated how the iPhone app makes use of the built-in geolocation to find restaurants in your area where kids eat for free. Based on my current location, it gave me a list of restaurants in order from closest to furthest. Here’s what else I like:
- It lets you easily click through to the reviews on Yelp, which could be handy for new restaurants or if you’re traveling.
- It gives you maps and phone numbers so you can easily get to your restaurant of choice, which could also be especially handy for travel.
Two minor annoyances:
- When I let it find restaurants near my location, the first hit it came up with was Lone Star Steakhouse in Lombard. Lone Star Steakhouse went out of business probably 2 years ago, and is still sitting empty. Both the website and app let you add deals, but I don’t see a way to correct deals other than just using the generic contact form.
- Maybe this is just my own incompetence, but it took me a minute to figure out the interface. I picked Baja Fresh from their list (because you know how I love me my Baja Fresh!), and clicked through to see the days kids eat free. On the screen that pops up, it does list the days kids eat free (Sunday and Monday at mine), but doesn’t list the times (after 4PM). I kept trying to hit the + for further info, but that just popped up the same screen bigger — until I’d played with the app probably 4 times, I didn’t notice that you could scroll through screens. The info on times is on the second screen.
That aside, this could be a handy app, especially when you’re traveling. I’m not sure I’d spend $2.99 except for travel, though, since locally I could just use the website at home before heading out — I’d like to see this as a $.99 app. But then, I’m frugal. 😉
(I received a free download of the iPhone app from Kids Eat For and was not otherwise compensated to write this review.)