Delicious: Parent-friendly

Fried chicken, collard greens and a biscuit with homemade pickles. Photo by Mark Davis

Chicken Scratch is one of the hippest new restaurants in Oak Cliff, and it just happens to be a great place for kids. “We didn’t realize how much of a family demographic we’d have,” says manager Nancy Gonzales. The owners of Smoke opened Chicken Scratch in the former Jack’s Backyard space about four months ago with chef Tim Byres at the helm. The large open picnic area with misters makes for a laid-back atmosphere for families. Parents can grab a drink at The Foundry next door, which is 21 and older, while the children play outside in clear view. It self-regulates so both kids and adults can have a good time. “We’re planning on hiring a babysitter, so you can just check your kids in at the door,” Gonzales says. The a la carte menu at Chicken Scratch is pretty universal — hormone-free fried chicken, tamales, home-style sides and popsicles for dessert. The only items not prepared from scratch are the ketchup and mustard. Even the sodas are homemade and named after the staff’s children. The imaginative décor almost entirely comes from recycled materials — the milk-crate chandelier, mason jar plant holders and donated furniture. “It’s like playing in your grandmother’s attic.”

Chicken Scratch
2303 Pittman

Ambiance: Picnic
Price range: $11-$20
Tip: Chicken Scratch is dog- friendly, too.


| Three more spots to take the kids |

1 Papa Joe’s Backyard BBQ
This underrated, family-run barbecue spot keeps kids busy with an outdoor play area. It’s Oak Cliff’s best-kept secret for fall-off-the-bone ribs.
1233 Newport, 214.941.4092
2 Country Burger
If you’re not into patio weather in the summertime, try this neighborhood burger institution, equipped with picnic tables and TVs inside.
401 S. Hampton, 214.330.4743
3 BEE: Best Enchiladas Ever
Here, you can customize enchiladas, satisfying picky children while also experimenting with diverse flavor combinations.
202 W. Davis, 214.941.1233

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  • Instead of a babysitter, howabout just offering table service? Parents can keep an eye on their kids while adults can continue to enjoy each other’s company or the live music without the alternative of losing their table while waiting in line for 30 minutes. I like the food ok, but having to go in shifts to order so you don’t give up your table is really annoying. Jack’s did table service effectively and efficiently with a much larger menu – I have yet to hear a good reason why Chicken Scratch can’t, and I am not alone in my frustration.

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