I'm here to tell you that you should all be buying kid's meals anywhere you eat. They are the best. I know you think they won't fill you up, but they will. You don't need a whole meal. It's too much food. It's sad that we've been lead to believe that we need so much food. We're spending too much money and getting too fat and the food industry is profiting from our stupidity.
Ordering a kid's meal can be tricky, depending on where you are. At McDonald's it's certainly easy to order one. They don't care that you're 25. Some places are not so lax in their age restrictions. But the first thing to remember is that even if there is an age restriction on the menu, it's probably not enforced. So don't let it stop you. The secret is confidence. When you order just say, matter-of-factly, that you want the kid's chicken fingers. If you don't act like it's strange, nobody else will think it is. This strategy holds up for many other circumstances as well—such as explaining to people that Judy Garland is your favorite actress.
You can usually tell if it's going to go well or not during your first communication with the server. Is it a guy or girl? Are they a slave to the rules and regulations of the establishment? Are they friendly or grumpy? All of these things will factor into your ordering strategy. If they are of the opposite sex, a little flirting never hurts. If they seem to be in a good mood, it's probably pretty clear sailing. There will be times that you'll get a stuffy, grumpy server who's to afraid to break the rules and they'll refuse your kid's meal. Don't be afraid to show your displeasure. There's no reason they should be forcing you to order their huge meals. In retaliation, maybe order just an appetizer and make sure to only order water. Also, leave a crappy tip.
Speaking of tips, if you do order the kid's meal, make sure to leave a tip for a full priced meal. You want to reward the server for their courage in standing up to the establishment.
Now, onto the best kid's meals in the Chicagoland area. I want to point out that all the good kid's meals come with a dessert of some kind. My absolute favorite place to order a kid's meal is Fuddruckers. It's $4 and you get a cheeseburger, fries and a drink. The burger is smaller than their usual burgers, but their burgers are HUGE! The kid's one is just right. You also get a kid's cookie.
I recently discovered a new kid's meal at the Atlanta Bread Company. You get a half sandwich, chips, a drink and a delicious big cookie. All for around $5. I also recently discovered the Culver's kid's meals, with which you get a scoop of custard.
In the sit-down restaurant category, Friday's has never failed to give me the kid's meal, and they're good. I've also done pretty well at Applebee's, though I think they denied me once. But their kid's chicken fingers are good.
So start ordering kid's meals. Show the restaurant industry that you're not going to stand for their over-sized meals and their ridiculous prices. Kid's meals are where it's at.