When venturing into New York City with kids of any age, it’s important to have a pretty good idea of the places you’ll find kid-friendly foods. Print out a map of your day-trip destinations and then pinpoint some good munching spots nearby. If you can calculate a predictable mealtime, make a reservation.
Not sure where to go? Here are three spots I’ve discovered with my two little munchers (18 months and 4½ years) that could/should be worth a visit in and of themselves! What’s even better, all the menus are varied and an entire kid’s meal (entree, drink, and dessert) can be had for under $10! Now that is happy munching!
161 Hudson St., NYC (between Hubert and Laight Sts.); 212-226-0345; Moomah.com
Moomah is a great spot to bring your tot in TriBeCa. Not only is the extensive menu local, seasonal, and organic (with dairy-free and gluten-free choices), but kids are encouraged to play while they eat with incredibly beautiful and engrossing art projects! What’s more, if you visit on a Saturday or a Sunday, the back room, usually reserved for private classes, is transformed into a “funky forest” for children to explore. The cafe just got its liquor license so it can be a great way for parents to unwind after sightseeing or shopping.
2. Blue Smoke
116 E 27th St., NYC (between Lexington Ave. and Park Avenue South); 212-447-7733; bluesmoke.com.
Tots love digging into the ribs at this Murray Hill “urban barbecue” joint, and the Wikki sticks and cool communal bathroom sink are fun kid features. A great addition: the server brings your child a cookie to decorate, which is baked during your meal and presented in a “to go” bag with the check. Most weekends it’s difficult to find a table without kids—must be the yummy children’s menu that includes dessert (the cookie is a bonus) and uber-friendly staff.
3. Ruby Foo’s
Times Square, 1626 Broadway at 49th St., NYC; 212-489-5600
When headed to a show or to check out the scene in Times Square, do not get sucked into a touristy restaurant with sub-par food and over-the-top prices. Yes, they have grilled cheese and hot dogs, but more adventurous eaters might want to try the spare ribs or the steamin’ shrimp dumplings. Kids will also get a kick out of the free origami paper-folding lessons every Sunday from 11:30-4pm, not to mention the “Dirt `n Worms” dessert, a chocolate pudding topped with Oreo cookies and gummy worms inside.
Carla Sullivan maintains a website that is strictly devoted to children’s menus at NYC restaurants at minimunchers.com. Visit the website for menus, reviews, and kid-friendly ratings.
Photo is from Moomah.