A family trip to Mystic may include the historic Mystic Seaport and interactive Aquarium. A boat tour or visits to quaint shops rounds out the smiles and sweet memories. Now you’re downtown at the edge of the Mystic River watching boat traffic but don’t want this fabulous day to end. Ice cream and candy shops beckon but your parental responsibility kicks in and you wonder where to find real food your kids will eat. The surprising answer is Happy Hour… with the whole family. Yes, really. Savvy adults have enjoyed food and drink bargains this way for years but there’s no reason why families with children can’t do the same thing. Mystic abounds with family-friendly options.
There are fabulous adult beverage specials and full menu options at each of these restaurants but let’s focus on feeding the kids first. Once they’re happy, you will be too. Here are selections from happy hour menus where you can catch a light dinner or shared “gappetizer”. Rest your tired feet and re-charge everyone’s batteries with a late afternoon meal that’s easy on the budget. None of these items are from “kid menus” (but some restaurants offer them too) so order enough for everyone without restrictions or reservations. All menu items are subject to change.
$1 slices for happy hour at Pizzetta
Pizzetta has $1 slices of thin-crust cheese or pepperoni pizza in a very casual atmosphere or order an entire cheese or pepperoni pizza for $8. Half off all appetizers including clam chowder, eggplant Parmesan, hummus platter or vegan nuggets. There’s plenty of covered outdoor patio seating in good weather and pet are welcome on the patio. Really good gluten-free pizza is available as a whole pie. Mon-Thurs. 4-6 p.m. and Fridays from 3-6 p.m. 7 Water St.
BONUS: The fabulous French bakery SIFT is next door.
Scotch egg $4 during happy hour at Friar Tuck’s
Friar Tuck’s Tavern serves $5 kid cheeseburgers and $3.50 Tuck wings (6) either plain or with barbeque or buffalo sauce. Hand-cut fries are divine. All are served in a funky sports-vibe stone & wood dungeon. Look for the cool cartoon sign identifying the hobbit door entrance. Mon.-Fri. 3-6 p.m. 15 Water St.
BONUS: 2 hours of free docking for small boats is nearby at 37 Water St.
DRWB@24 – order at the counter
DRWB@24 serves house-made guacamole with tortilla chips & pico de gallo for only $3. Select mini burgers are $3 each and there is usually a quesadilla on the “small plates” menu. A cheese platter with fruit and crackers is great for sharing. Check out bright, relaxing upstairs dining area for an elevated view of downtown Mystic. Made-to-order smoothies satisfy even fussy appetites while board games and free WiFi provide moments of quiet entertainment. Mon. – Fri. 4 -7 p.m. / 24 W. Main St.
BONUS: Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream is only 15 adult-sized steps away.
Mystic Pizza’s $5 appetizers include mozzarella sticks, chili cheese fries, homemade onion rings and potato skins. Mac & cheese and grilled cheese with fries are perennial favorites with kids and adults for $6.75 . Booths and tables are comfortable and casual. Multiple TVs show clips from the movie Mystic Pizza and logo tees are available. Be sure to take a photo in front of the entry sign that inspired the movie. Mon-Thur. 3-6 p.m. 56 W. Main St.
Ancient Mariner‘s “Prime Time” seating for children is limited to a few booths near the front door and is the atmosphere is a bit dark but ½ price appetizers and their epic $5 mac & cheese is worth a stop. The $5 garlic bread tower is great for sharing because who wants to be the only one with garlic breath? Tuna tartare and Mariner Calamari make this a great stop for seafood lovers. 3-6 p.m. every day except holidays. 21 W. Main St.
Chapter One on West Main Street
Chapter One exudes contemporary elegance but their $5 soup of the day and $5 Backyard Burger are satisfying without being overly fussy. The $6 chicken quesadilla or cheese fries are so good you’ll be glad you dropped in but be sure to try the $7 bacon mac & cheese for melty bliss. 5-7 p.m. every day. 32 W. Main St.
The hip Engine Room on the edge of town has $5 “old-fashioned” cheeseburgers & hot dogs. Juicy rotisserie chicken is half price and the grilled cheese is a perennial favorite. High chairs are available. 4-6 p.m. every day. 14 Holmes St.
Balcony seating with a view at Harbour House
Harbour House atop the hill at the intersection of Rts. 1 and 27 provides $1 wood-fired wings, $7 wood-fired flatbreads, $6 sliders (3 minis) or nachos, and $2.50 fish tacos with a fabulous 180 degree view overlooking Mystic. Mon-Fri 3-6 p.m. Sat & Sun 2-6 p.m. 3 Williams Ave.
BONUS: Free coloring page & puzzle for kids.
Wherever you eat, I hope you’ll share your positive experiences on social media and return soon. Fun lives here year ‘round. If you’d like to keep up on things to do, food & drink and events in Mystic please sign up.