Get your ham with a side of jam and your gravy with a dash of groovy at these local eateries.
Words by Chris Karel
Studies have shown that exposing kids to live music performances can help with concentration and learning, socialization and even empathy. But getting little ones to sit through an entire concert can be challenging. That’s why restaurants with live music can be a good alternative: Adding food to the mix gives kids something else to do (fill up on fries) when the novelty of the music wears off. Plus, nobody’s expecting you to stay for the whole show, so when the kiddos have had their fill of both the food and the tunes, you can just pay up, get up and go!
Next time you’re craving a musical meal, check out one of these family-friendly locales that offer live music:
8417 International Dr., Orlando
Country is king at this ICON Park honky-tonk inspired by Blake Shelton. The restaurant and live music venue features a constant line-up of artists from 11 a.m. to closing every day of the week. Shelton fans will get a kick out of menu items named for some of the country star’s most popular songs, like the “Some Beach Fish Sandwich” and the “Boys ‘Round Here Po’ Boy Platter.” Little ones will find their own greatest hits on the kids’ menu. Make sure you save some room for the Lucky Charms mud pie!
Menu: Menu – Ole Red Orlando
Lineup: Events Archive – Ole Red Orlando
Tin Roof Orlando
8371 International Dr., Orlando
Another ICON Park favorite, Tin Roof Orlando serves as a launching pad for local acts. Bands that do well here might be added to the chain’s national roster. In 2019, Tin Roof Orlando added the Green Room, an adjacent space to the main dining area. Now families coming for Sunday brunch can choose between two musical sets: a reggae duo might be playing on the main stage while a DJ spins party beats in the Green Room. While Tin Roof normally hosts performances seven days a week, it’s a good idea to double-check their schedule before you go.
Menu: Tin Roof Orlando Menu
Lineup: Tin Roof Orlando Calendar
Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe
205 E. 1st St., Sanford
This downtown Sanford mainstay has been Central Florida’s epicenter of traditional German music, culture and cuisine for over 20 years. While there’s a musical act on tap every Monday through Thursday at 6 p.m., the stars of the show are Jimmy and Eckhard, a duo that’s been entertaining guests at Hollerbach’s since 2006. These polka pros perform Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings as well as in the afternoons on the weekend. And if watching men in leather shorts rock out on a squeezebox makes you hungry, Hollerbach’s menu is full of authentic dishes you won’t be able to pronounce. But why choose when you can order the King’s Feast and get a little bit of everything? There is a kids’ menu offering schnitzel (a.k.a. tenders), mac and cheese or sausage (a.k.a. hot dog).
Menu: Full Menu | Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe | Sanford FL (hollerbachs.com)
Lineup: Entertainment | Sanford, Florida | Hollerbach’s (hollerbachs.com)
Vanbarry’s Public House
4120 S. Orange Ave., Orlando
This Edgewood eatery is locally owned, and it shows. The staff is genuinely friendly, the food is fresh and delicious, and the décor is whimsical. Vanbarry’s features live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6–10 p.m. and on Sundays from 12–3 p.m. Acts range from Stevie Wonder-inspired R&B to rock and pop classics. The stage is located off to one side, so parents have the option of sitting on the opposite side of the dining room to protect little ears or sitting right next to the stage to drown out sibling squabbles. You can also grab a seat on the spacious patio and let the tunes wash over you through two big roll-up doors. If the food and music aren’t enough to keep the kiddos busy, there’s an impressive pile of board games you can play at your table. PLAY Tip: For a great day out, pair lunch or dinner here with a stop at Cypress Grove Park around the corner. Both the restaurant and park are Central Florida gems that deserve to be discovered.
Menu: Vanbarry’s Menu NO PRICES AUG 8 2022 (orlandopublichouses.com)
Lineup: Vanbarry’s Public House | Facebook
The Wharf at Sunset Walk
3274 Margaritaville Blvd., Kissimmee
This seafood restaurant and oyster bar adjacent to the Margaritaville resort is cavernous inside, with seating spread over the ground floor and a mezzanine overlooking a large stage. The Wharf features live music starting at 6:30 p.m. every night of the week and throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, starting at noon. Performers run the gamut from blues and soul to rock and roll. The menu has blackened mahi, fried shrimp and other seafood-restaurant staples, but the pièce de resistance is the Seafood Pot Pie. Served in a cast iron skillet, this version of the quintessential comfort food replaces the traditional chicken with lobster and shrimp. The kids will love this dish as much as the adults, but if it’s a bridge too far for your tikes, there’s a kids’ menu featuring mac and cheese, fish and chips and grilled cheese sandwich.
Menu: Menu – The Wharf (wharfatsunsetwalk.com)
Lineup: Music Calendar – The Wharf (wharfatsunsetwalk.com)
Crooked Can Brewing Company and Plant Street Market
426 W. Plant St., Winter Garden
Located along the quaint, bustling main street of downtown Winter Garden, Crooked Can is not your usual brewpub. Rather than trying to juggle both the suds and the grub, they leave the cooking to the vendors in the attached Plant St. Market. There, you and your brood will find booths specializing in sushi, pizza, mac and cheese, BBQ, ceviche, tacos and more. Pick up something delicious in the market, then find a table in the brewery or on the patio where you can soak up the ambience (and a pint of their award-winning beer) and enjoy the live music while you eat. The brewery hosts performers on Fridays at 6 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. On the way out, grab a handcrafted popsicle or decadent donut from the market for the ride home (or the walk to the car).
Menu: Plant Street Market – Eats, Shops, & More | Crooked Can Brewery
Lineup: Events – Crooked Can Brewery – Orlando | Winter Garden
Winter Park Village
510 Orlando Ave., Winter Park
This family-friendly hot spot is home to Bar Louie and The Hangry Bison. The Hangry Bison hosts local acts with a focus on acoustic music on Thursdays at 6 p.m., while Bar Louie features live music on Thursday nights and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Both restaurants serve unique takes on standard bar food, including burgers, sandwiches and salads as well as kids’ menus. Afterwards, take a stroll through Winter Park Village’s retail shops or catch a movie at Regal Cinemas.
Menus: Bar Louie Winter Park Menu
Lineup: Bar Louie Events
Hungry For More? Here are a few more spots around town worth checking out:
- Raglan Road Irish Pub, Disney Springs
- Boxi Park, Lake Nona
- Grills Lakeside Orlando, Orlando
- Mango’s Tropical Café, I-Drive
- Johnny’s Other Side, Orlando
- Wekiva Island, Longwood
- The Porch South Orange, Orlando