We stopped by Aroma after a trip to nearby 9/11 Memorial, badly in need of a place to replenish strength with some out-of-town visitors. The casual vibe at Aroma is perfect for families, particularly those with young infants. Toddlers, too, are welcome – they can happily run around without bothering other diners. Cheese particularly loved the stands with packets of chips on them at a perfect height for little fingers to grab. Thank you Aroma staff for your tolerance!
Order and pay at the counter, then take a seat at one of several long tables. High chairs are available, or you can park your stroller at the table with you.
Aroma is a huge, modern cafe with lots of tables with plenty of room between them, and large, comfy chairs. Add in free wi-fi, fast service and delicious sandwiches, and you’ve got a solid, reliable place to stop and take a breath in the busy city.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes. This is a huge space, plenty of room for your SUV-sized stroller. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No. Kid-friendly rating: ♥♥♥♥-
Cupcakes, cupcakes, and more cupcakes. Magnolia is still the go-to place for cupcakes in New York. They’re the perfect mix of fluffy, moist base, with just the right amount of buttercream frosting. Visiting the original, and most famous, location in the West Village however, is a bit tricky when you factor in an infant. The shop is tiny, with nowhere to sit down at all. There is just enough room inside for a giant queue of tourists making the Magnolia stop on their trip.
This doesn’t mean that you should skip the deliciousness however. The best method is to come with a friend if possible, who can wait outside with the baby while you duck in and buy the food. Right across the road is a little square with benches and trees, so you can take your treats there to relax and eat. If your baby is more towards toddler age, head to the park attached to the square so you can let your kid run wild on the play equipment and still enjoy your precious cupcake.
Highchairs: No. Stroller storage: No. Easy access: Yes – one step. However, the bakery is always packed to the rafters, so you’ll be lucky to be able to squeeze in there with a stroller. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No. Baby-friendly rating: ——
A favourite with families, particularly those with babies, 61 Local sums up the general parenting attitude in Brooklyn – drink in one hand, baby in the other. On week days you’ll find mothers groups baby wearing their newborns, and SUV-sized strollers in the corners. Weekends see both parents drop by to meet groups of friends. The tolerant staff only ask that babies are changed in the bathroom rather than on tables. Fair enough. Food is simple and tasty – order and pay for food and drinks at the bar, making for fast getaways when the babes start fussing.
Highchairs: No. Stroller storage: Yes – there is plenty of room for strollers. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No.
61 Bergen Street (at Smith street)
New York, NY 11201
Phone: (347) 763 6624
Hours: Mon-Thu 7am-12am, Fri 7am-1am, Sat 11am-1am, Sun 11am-12am Get directions.
The name says it all – this low-key joint is all about burger, burgers, and more burgers. They are super-welcoming towards families with kids of all ages too, so it’s a solid choice for a casual lunch out. Friendly, fast service certainly helps, as does the very kid-friendly interior, with very basic tables and chairs. No need to worry about toddlers acting up or throwing food around; they’ll certainly be in good company with the other kids enjoying a somewhat rambunctious weekend lunch with their families.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes – lots of room for strollers. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: Yes.
two8two Bar & Burger
282 Atlantic Avenue (Between Smith st and Boerum pl),
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (718) 596 2282
Hours: Mon-Thu 12pm–12am, Fri-Sat 12pm–1am, Sun 12–11pm Get directions.
Deep-fried pizza, deep-fried burgers, deep-fried chocolate. You want it, they fry it. Seriously. If this sounds like the sort of heart attack-inducing lunch you’re after, step on down to the ChipShop for authentic British fare like Haggis, baked beans on toast, fried fish and British-style chips (thick wedges of potato – fried, of course), mushy peas and fried mac and cheese (the menu says “sounds weird but it’s bloody lovely”).
We ventured into the ChipShop after feeling homesick for some British-style chips. This divey little pub feels a bit grotty (sticky tables, sticky chairs, sticky everything!), but on the plus side, no-one cares if your toddler throws their entire meal on the floor.
Highchairs: Yes. They also have booster seats. Stroller storage: Yes – room for strollers. Bring a folding stroller, however, if you’re coming at a busy time, just to be on the safe side. Easy access: Yes – one step to enter. Change tables: Yes. Kids’ menu: Yes.
The Atlantic ChipShop
129 Atlantic Ave (Between Clinton and Henry),
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Phone: (718) 855 7775
Mon-Fri 12pm-12am (bar until midnight)
Sat-Sun 10am-12am (bar until 12am) Get directions.
E.A.T. was opened by Eli Zabar in 1973. It was the first of Eli’s shops, filled with his ideas on what makes for great food – delicious bread, overstuffed sandwiches and salads made in small batches several times a day. E.A.T. is a great cafe to stop by on the way to or from the Met, particularly if you have your infant or toddler in tow. The cafe has lots of tables and space – we were sat immediately during a busy Sunday lunch period. Right after being seated, water arrived – in a bottle for us, and in a cute little cup with a straw for the toddler.
The service continued to be attentive and fast. A bread basket with three kinds of bread and butter quickly appeared (their tagline is “Everything comes with Eli’s Bread!”), and our meals arrived with astonishing speed. Dining was a bit pricey (a cheese omelette was $20), but hey, it is the UES after all, and it’s worth paying a bit extra to have an enjoyable dining experience with babies and toddlers.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes – but minimal. We folded ours next to the table and it was no problem. Take an umbrella stroller or baby carrier if possible. Easy access: Yes – one step to get in, and then navigate through the take away shop before getting to the entrance to the restaurant. Change tables: No. The bathrooms are tiny (also a bit gross) – no room to even change a baby on the floor. Kids’ menu: No. Kid-friendly rating: ♥♥♥♥-
1064 Madison Avenue (between 80th and 81th Sts),
New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 772 0022
Brooklyn babies earn their foodie stripes at Bocca Lupo, noshing on authentic Italian fare with their (often hipster) parents. The restaurant is a mix of modern design, with huge glass windows, and traditional, with beautiful wooden accents. We loved the friendly staff, huge wine menu for parents, and the really tasty paninis and salads.
Bocca Lupo is extremely family-friendly, which makes it really surprising that they don’t have high chairs. Babies can be parked in strollers at tables, and we saw an adorable family with three young kids all lined up on a window bench in a row enjoying Saturday morning brunch.
Highchairs: No. Stroller storage: Minimal – on the day we visited, there was a stroller parked at a table, but others parked outside the restaurant. Bring a stroller you’re prepared to leave outside (just incase), or a baby carrier. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: Yes.
391 Henry street (At Warren St),
Phone: (718) 243 2522
Sun: 10:30am-12am Get directions.
If you’re after a place that’s super-girly AND baby-friendly, you can’t go wrong with Sugar & Plumm. If you have a daughter, you simply must check this place out! She will love it 🙂 Their tagline is “a spoonful of whimsy on the Upper West Side” and it is spot on.
The place is pretty spacious, and divided into a cafe on one side and a little shop and bakery on the other. The staff are dressed in these pretty purple dresses, and are really sweet and friendly. The place is unbelievably baby-friendly, with loads of high chairs, areas to park your stroller, and even super-cute plastic cups with lids that they serve (complimentary) water in for the kids!! LOVE it.
Their desserts are the stars of their menu, and the GRASSHOPPER (mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate sauce, peppermint patty) was a winner. It came in a tall frosted glass and was pretty luscious. Very filling, so two can probably share a milkshake!
I opted for the SMORE’S SUNDAE (chocolate ice cream, marshmallow, graham cracker, chocolate sauce) and really gave myself an ice cream overdose! It was 3 or 4 scoops of ice cream in there, and basically one gigantic sugar overload 😉
A perfect restaurant for the whole family – a huge, dim sum smorgasbord, where no-one cares how much food you drop on the table or floor. No need to worry about a fussy baby – the noise level from the vast amount of people is already so high that a sad baby won’t be noticed.
The food is delicious and fast, with food carts constantly zooming around, piled high with a great variety of small, bite-sized dishes – perfect for eating single-handed while entertaining a toddler if you don’t mind stabbing them (the food, not your toddler) with a chopstick, or asking for a fork.
The only downside is the long wait for a table. Get there early, or have friends get there before you and mind a spot in the queue for your whole party.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes – and you can park your stroller at the table if you prefer. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No. Baby-friendly rating: ♥♥♥–