Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Isabella's, Upper West Side: Kid-friendly Restaurants, New York

It doesn’t get more kid-friendly than Isabella’s. They’ve got the whole shebang – high chairs, take reservations, friendly wait staff who entertain the kids, crayons, kids’ menu … they’re doing it right, and, as a result, Isabella’s is known as one of the most kid-friendly, elegant, dining spots in Manhattan.

Isabella's, Upper West Side
Ready for brunch!

On our way to the Natural History Museum, we went to Isabella’s for brunch. We were seated as soon as we arrived, thanks to our reservation, and the staff immediately gave Cheese crayons (which she immediately put in her mouth and ate).

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Isabella’s looks like such an elegant dining establishment, it’s hard to believe that it’s kid-friendly. The staff are the friendliest we’ve encountered anywhere, talking with Cheese and entertaining her for us (thank you!!!), as well as being efficient and courteous to us.

 

Isabella's, Upper West Side. Kid-friendly restaurants, New York.
Me and my Cheese.

Last Bite: Isabella’s deserves it’s reputation as a premiere kid-friendly restaurant – we can’t recommend it highly enough for a relaxing meal with your family.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes. Bring a folding stroller though as in rush hour, you’ll struggle to find a place for anything bigger.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

Isabella’s
359 Columbus Ave
New York
Phone: (212) 724 2100
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm Sat-Sun 10am-11pm
Reservations

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Smorgasburg DUMBO: Kid-friendly Places To Eat, New York

Spring in New York means many things. The end to hibernating indoors, cherry blossoms in Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and the return of outdoor food fairs. Smorgasburg just reopened again in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and we joined the crowds to soak up sun and food from some great local vendors.

Smorgasburg, DUMBO
Dramatic backdrop.

The location is amazing. Seriously, how can you beat a food fair situated right under Brooklyn Bridge, on the waterfront, with Manhattan in the distance? You just can’t, so for the most scenic food fair in New York, Smorgasburg wins every single time.

Smorgasburg, DUMBO
Dough doughnuts – always the crowd-pleaser.

Our favourite vendor at Smorgasburg is Dough, the makers of possibly the most delicious doughnuts I’ve ever eaten in my life. They go fast and usually have a huge queue – but they restock during the day, so doughnut-lovers need not go without their precious Dough.

Other vendors for Smorgasburg DUMBO and Williamsburg are listed together on their website, so you can check in advance if there are things that you and your kids like to eat. They have a huge variety, including basic things pizza, grilled cheese, fries and shakes, so fussy kids and mini foodies are both catered for.

On opening weekend, the crowds were huge and lines were long. Our advice – get there early (it opens at 12pm).

Smorgasburg, DUMBO
Eating out in the sun, on a chilly day.

Smorgasburg is right on the waterfront, next to Jane’s Carousel, a picnic area with tables and chairs, as well as a huge grassed area. Nearby are also playgrounds for toddlers and big kids. Bring a ball for the kids to kick around, or a mini stroller if your toddler loves to push things like ours does, and you’ve got a perfect day for the whole family – as long as the weather holds!

Last bite: Great choice for meeting a group of friends or enjoying a day in the sun. Great variety of food – lines can be long, so arrive early.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: It’s open air, so bring your jumbo stroller if you like.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Smorgasburg DUMBO
Tobacco Warehouse
30 Water St DUMBO, Brooklyn
Hours: Sun 11am-6pm, rain or shine.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Spring Cupcakes At La Patisserie: Kid-friendly Cafes, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Most weekends we drop by La Patisserie for a quick croissant or omelette. This morning, I spotted these new cupcakes, looking adorably sweet and spring-ready (even if the weather outside isn’t quite so pretty right now!). Check them out if you’re around this area of Brooklyn over the weekend.

La Patisserie Boerum Hill
Chocolate mousse cupcakes.
La Patisserie Boerum Hill
Raspberry cupcakes

Highchairs: Yes, there is one highchair.
Stroller storage: There is room if they fit through the narrow front door. Think Bugaboo Bee or smaller.
Easy access: Yes. One or two easy steps.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

La Patisserie
411 Atlantic Ave
(between Nevins St & Bond St)
Brooklyn, NY
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat-Sun 8am-9pm

Get directions.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Brooklyn Roasting Company: Kid-friendly Restaurants & Cafes in DUMBO

Down an industrial alley near the Brooklyn waterfront, there’s a secret locals like to keep. The Brooklyn Roasting Company is hidden inside a non-descript doorway, a place for DUMBO residents to relax, meet with friends, and indulge in some good coffee. Amazingly, such a hipster haven is actually a really kid-friendly cafe.

Brooklyn Roasting Company
Three out of the four babes we had in there.

While it looks small from the outside, the interior is surprisingly roomy, and we’ve had no problem fitting three jumbo strollers inside.

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Artisan pop tarts.

Brooklyn Roasting is really all about coffee, but they also do food, like baguettes with fillings like mozzarella, pesto and sun-dried tomato, and sweet treats like palmiers, Dough donuts and artisan pop tarts.

If it’s a warm day, grab your coffee and snack and walk down the street to Brooklyn Bridge Park to soak up the sun, or take a pony ride at Jane’s Carousel.

Last bite: Your best bet in DUMBO for decent coffee. Drop in for light food, or to take refuge on a super hot/cold day.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: No. There are a few steep steps to get in.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Brooklyn Roasting Company
62 Water St,
Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 875 1269
Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-8pm Sun 10am-6pm

Get directions.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Bark Hotdogs: Kid-friendly Restaurants, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Finding a great vegetarian hotdog is like discovering a unicorn in Prospect Park. That’s how much I love a good, veggie dog. Last summer I discovered Bark Hotdogs when they set up shop in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I won’t lie, I ate at their concession stand at least three times a week. Bark Hotdogs are actually based in Park Slope – right smack in the middle of our walking path between our home and Prospect Park, making them the perfect stop-off for a really kid-friendly meal.

Bark Hotdogs, Park Slope - kid-friendly restaurants, Brooklyn
Roomy interior with lots of kids.

Bark is super kid-friendly, as evidenced by the random kids we captured just in the picture above. The menu is full of things kids love to eat (hotdogs, burgers and fries, oh my!) as well as beer and wine for adults. I appreciate how both parties are well catered for.

Order and pay at the counter, and park your stoller in the big space there if it doesn’t fit by your table.

Bark Hotdogs, Park Slope - kid-friendly restaurants, Brooklyn
Vegetarian hotdog and fries.

What makes their hotdogs so good? For me, is basically that they taste amazing (kind of smokey), without that weird, rubbery texture you usually get with fake meat dogs. My husband always gets the regular meat dogs and he says they’re delicious, so it would seem Bark offers something for everyone.

Bark Hotdogs, Park Slope - kid-friendly restaurants, Brooklyn
What happens when you put a highchair up to a bench…

While there are highchairs, there are only two tables of regular height, so when we put Cheese in a highchair, this is what she looked like. Instead we popped her on our laps until space at a regular table opened up.

Bark Hotdogs, Park Slope - kid-friendly restaurants, Brooklyn
Vanilla malt shake. Amazing.

The shakes deserve a mention because Cheese and I (ok, just me then) are obsessed with finding the perfect shake. We ordered a classic vanilla malt, and, as you can see, Cheese was a huge fan. It was everything a shake should be – thick, very malty, and totally delicious.

Last bite: Delicious food, fast service, lots of space. The perfect place to bring kids of all ages.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Not a specific menu, but the entire menu is kid-friendly in general.

Bark Hotdogs
474 Bergen St,
Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 789-1939
Hours: Mon-Thur 12pm-11pm, Fri 12pm-12am, Sat 10am-12am, Sun 10am-10pm

Get directions.

Bark Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Eat & Play In Madison Square Park: Kid-friendly Restaurants And Playgrounds, New York

Tourists love the Flatiron building. Actually, I do too. We end up in this area of town a lot, sometimes passing through with visiting friends, sometimes on our way to or from something fun like a gallery or shopping.

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Popular bird sculpture – a new addition to the Flatiron area.

I’m always happy to stop at Madison Square Park, right next to the Flatiron building, because it has the key ingredients (ha!) for a successful outing with little kids. Good food, plenty of options, and a fantastic playground, all in the one block.

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Bread – who doesn’t love carbs?

Best Place For Overwhelming Food Options: Eataly
Eataly is where to go when you don’t know what you want to eat. It has so many options, from eat-in restaurants to takeaway counters, that there is literally something that everyone will like, even the fussiest of kids. My personal favourite is Le Vedure, the restaurant that focuses on vegetables – it was a huge hit with miss Cheese too, who really enjoyed the cannelloni.

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Baby wants cannelloni.

Eataly
200 5th Ave
New York, 10010
Phone: (212) 229 2560
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9:30pm

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Shake Shack – for burgers on the go.

Best Food To Grab And Go: Shake Shack
From its humble origin as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park, Shake Shack sure has grown. It’s now the go-to fast-burger of choice for a lot of New Yorkers. Personally, I love their crinkle cut fries and thick, custard shakes. The Shake Shack we know, love and line up for today, officially opened in MSP in 2004. It’s in the perfect location to grab fast, decent food when you’re in the area, and sit in the park to eat it. Be warned though, keep your babies and toddlers away from the shakes – they’re totally addictive, even for the under 2s set.

Shake Shack
Southeast corner of Madison Square Park
Near Madison Ave. and E.23rd St.
Phone: (212) 889 6600
Hours: Open daily, 11am-11pm

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Madison Square Park playground.

Best Place To Let Kids Burn Off Steam: Madison Square Park Playground
Madison Square Park is a huge, beautiful area with a kids’ playground, dog run, and big grassy area. The MSP playground is large and super clean, with a dedicated toddler area as well as the bigger kids’ gym. Good luck keeping your little toddler in their designated area though! The big kid area is just too enticing for little toddlers like our Cheese.

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Madison Square Park – peek-a-Cheese!
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Madison Square Park playground.
Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Sarabeth's TriBeCa: Kid-friendly Restaurants, TriBeCa, New York

Sarabeth’s is a New York brunch institution. We finally visited our closest branch in TriBeCa and were not disappointed. A visit to Sarabeth’s requires some planning – make sure to reserve your table via OpenTable well in advance. We arrived right on time and were shown straight to our table – complete with kid’s menu and crayons already waiting for the toddler. A highchair was whisked over, and a sippycup with water in it was handed to Miss Cheese. Way to create a happy atmosphere for the party from the get-go.

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Room front of house.
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Crayons, kids menu/coloring in, sippy cup. Score!

I ordered an omelette for me, pancakes for the Cheese – of course the little girl wanted to eat my omelette, so I ended up with the pancakes. Both were delish though, so not a bad exchange.

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Spinach and goat cheese omelette, side of croissant.
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Eggs Benedict.
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Kid’s pancakes.
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Happy Cheese and pancakes.

Sarabeth’s TriBeCa is such a clean, elegant place to stop by for lunch. Service is fast and friendly, the food is always cooked to perfection. Most importantly for us, everything ran smoothly and quickly, so our toddler didn’t get a chance to get bored and start fussing. This particular branch is large, with lots of tables and space in between, so you never feel cramped. There were also lots of kids happily dining with their families, so we were in good company. And when they’re so kid-friendly, why wouldn’t there be lots of kids? Baby-haters need not worry though – even with several kids of various ages in the restaurant, it’s still a place that adults minus kids will enjoy for the ambiance and really great food.

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Keep on digging …

Two blocks from Sarabeth’s is the Washington Market Park playground. We actually went before lunch as we were early – it was great to have the kid run out off her energy before wanting her to sit still in a highchair for a while. Cheese particularly loved the sandpit in the toddler area. It’s a huge playground though, with two big play gyms for big kids as well as the toddler area.

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Washington Market Park, Tribeca – little kids’ area.

After lunch we went to another nearby park – Battery Park, right on the Hudson River. We used to visit this park a lot when I was pregnant, so it was fun to come back again with the baby now 19 months old. I love this park because it has a lot of Tom Otterness sculptures – if you’re a local, you’ll have seen his adorable figures all throughout the 14th St-Union Square station. In this park however, the sculptures are huge and encourage kids to interact with them. Cheese was even more enthralled with the sculptures than she is by most regular playgrounds. She climbed all over them and was so upset when we had to leave to go home for bed.

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The Real World sculpture series by Tom Otterness, Battery Park.

 

Last bite: Sarabeth’s is the perfect pleaser for both kids and parents who want to eat well in a relaxed, but still elegant, restaurant.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes. They have an area in the front entrance where you can leave your stroller.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

Sarabeth’s
339 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 966-0421
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-10:30pm, Sat 8am–11pm, Sun 8am–10pm

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Get Easter Treats at Betty Bakery; Kid-friendly Cafes Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, NY

We dropped by our local bakery, Betty’s, this morning to pick up some delicious Easter snacks. If you’re like us, you enjoy eating your way through Easter. Yum! Happy Easter everyone!

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Marzipan Bunnies – Betty’s Bakery, Boerum HIll
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Easter cake and cookies – Betty’s Bakery, Boerum Hill.
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Easter Cookies – Betty’s Bakery, Boerum Hill.
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Petits Fours – Betty’s Bakery, Boerum Hill.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: No. There is space for a few strollers in the store however – we’ve fit three at once and still had room for other customers.
Easy access: No. There is only one step, but it’s a narrow door frame and tricky to manoeuvre the stroller in.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Betty Bakery
448 Atlantic Ave,
Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 246 2402
Hours: Tues-Thurs 7:30am-7pm, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Closed Mondays.

Get directions.

Betty Bakery on Urbanspoon

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain; Kid-friendly Restaurants, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

We often end up at the Farmacy on a Sunday afternoon when we’re craving a grilled cheese and shake, and want somewhere close, low key and extremely kid-friendly. I have an obsession with finding the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, and Brooklyn Farmacy has the best grilled cheese I’ve found so far.

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Brooklyn Farmacy, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY.

The shakes at Farmacy are phenomenal – we always order a vanilla malt thick shake to share.  It arrives in an old fashioned glass, so thick that it’s hard to slurp up through the straw.

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Sharing a shake, Brooklyn Farmacy, Carroll Gardens, NY.

What makes the grilled cheese so special? The cheese is plentiful and sharp, and oozes out the sides of the bread. The bread is crispy but not hard, and is toasted in a sandwich press rather than being fried, so it’s never oily.

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Grilled cheese glory. Brooklyn Farmacy, Carroll Gardens, NY.

One more reason why we keep coming back to the Farmacy – it’s one of the most kid-friendly, baby-friendly, and, thankfully for us, crazy toddler-friendly restaurants in Brooklyn. No one minds if your toddler, like ours, spends their entire time there running around the store and playing with the old fashioned scale in the entrance. Bless you, Farmacy, we love you.

Highchairs: Yes – but only one. There is, however, plenty of room to keep your baby in their stroller at your table.
Stroller storage: Yes – if it’s not too busy you can leave your stroller in the back room or by the front door.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No (there is a large bathroom where you can change your baby on the floor if needed).
Kids’ menu: Not a special menu, but most of the food is friendly for bigger kids.

Brooklyn Farmacy
513 Henry Street (at Sackett st),
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: (718) 522 6260

Winter/Spring Hours: Mon-Thur 10am-10pm, Fri 10am-11pm, Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 8am-9pm

Get directions.

Brooklyn Farmacy on Urbanspoon

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Little Muenster and a Pony Ride; Kid-friendly Things To Do, DUMBO

I’ve been known to travel all over the city in search of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. There’s just something about crisp bread and melted cheese that makes my day. On the hunt for more local grilled cheese makers, we checked out Little Muenster in DUMBO – a teeny, tiny little storefront with a few stools at a bar, right next to the register and kitchen area.

Whiteboard menu on the footpath, Little Muenster, DUMBO.
Tiny storefront – Little Muenster, DUMBO.

While Little Muenster pride themselves on making “super fancy grilled cheese”, I ordered a classic, plain ol’ white cheese on white bread, with a side of tomato soup. It arrived quickly in takeaway containers – if it was nicer weather, it would have been perfect to eat at the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park. Instead, we perched on the stools and enjoyed our lunch.

Classic grilled cheese and tomato soup – Little Muenster, DUMBO.

Kids love a good (or even bad!) grilled cheese – fact. Missy Cheese polished off half of mine and wanted more. An added benefit of the tiny store is being able to talk to the staff as they cook your grilled cheeses – they also highly enjoyed watching our Cheese inhale her sandwich.

Grilled cheese thief – Little Muenster, DUMBO.

Afterwards, we took a stroll through DUMBO, checking out the new Heartwalk installation at the Pearl Street Triangle. The massive 30-foot art installation was made from Hurricane Sandy-salvaged wood by Situ Studio, a 20 Jay Street-based design studio. You can check it out until April 30.

Heartwalk installation, DUMBO.

It’s pretty impossible for us to visit DUMBO without a ride on Jane’s Carousel. Cheese yells out “neigh!” when she sees a horse, so we can’t walk past without taking her for a ride. It’s worth noting that living in Brooklyn, Cheese’s exposure has to horses has been limited to carousels and rocking horses, so she may have a heart attack when she sees a real one in the flesh. A spin on the carousel will cost you two bucks. Well worth the small change for the amazing view of Manhattan alone.

Jane’s Carousel, DUMBO.

Little Muenster
Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

145 Front St (between Pearl St & Jay St)
DUMBO, New York
Phone: (646) 499 4331
Hours: Tue-Thur 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12am-8pm

Get directions.

Little Muenster on Urbanspoon

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!