Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Superfine; Kid-friendly Restaurants, DUMBO, Brooklyn

On a cold, unexpectedly snowy day, we trudged on down to check out Superfine in DUMBO. It’s such an in-the-know-only hipster joint – if you didn’t know it was there, you’d walk straight past it.

Snowy day, nondescript exterior …

Inside is a spacious bar and restaurant, where kids are welcome and the cocktails run strong.

Inside is this bar …
And this huge area just for us.

We wheeled our jumbotron stroller up the ramp to the eating area and were given a massive table next to some strollers. “Great,” I said to the hostess, “stroller parking!”. “Actually, there are babies in there”, she confided, as she slipped away again. We peeked inside the strollers and, sure enough, there were babies asleep in there. We sat down, baffled as to what to do with the slumbering babes, when their mother came over and let us know that they could sleep through a hurricane, so not to worry about them. Ok!

And that, really, sums up the atmosphere at Superfine. Super casual. Anything goes. Park your stoller (and potentially babies, too) wherever they fit.

The misc toys we found.

We also found some spare toys they had lying around for Cheese to play with when she wasn’t running up and down the ramp like she was possessed by a demon.

Delicious. Baby thought so too.

We were super keen to try out Superfine’s brunch menu, but I didn’t realise it was only served on Sundays, so we had the Saturday lunch menu instead. My sandwich with fries was fresh and tasty, and the fries were devoured by Miss Cheese.

The cocktails are a must-have. If you’re a lightweight, be prepared to have someone escort you home after just one, as, yes, they are that strong.

Superfine is known for its live bluegrass music, but sadly we didn’t have any during our visit, so perhaps it’s only on Sundays – their website is a bit sparse, so I’d suggest you call them directly for more information on anything.

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

Superfine
126 Front St,
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 243-9005
Call for updated hours.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&q=superfine+dumbo&fb=1&gl=us&hq=superfine&hnear=0x89c25a316f3eb0fb:0xceb1d92c1cafc9c3,Dumbo,+Brooklyn,+NY&cid=0,0,17346673977281395620&ll=40.702374,-73.987491&spn=0.006295,0.006295&t=m&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=425&h=350%5D

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Moo Burger; Kid-friendly Restaurants, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

We’re at Moo Burger a lot – it’s our go-to place in the neighbourhood for burgers, shakes and fries. Despite Shake Shake being only a block away, we prefer to walk over to Court Street – for me, it’s because I dream about the uh-mazing sweet potato fries and shakes made with Blue Marble Ice Cream.

What?!

The Moo folks sure know their audience. We’re always sat at a table with no wait and Cheese is quickly given a cute little straw cup with water.

Burger and sweet potato fries.

Moo’s pitch is “gourmet, organic burgers, sides and drinks, all handcrafted with fresh, local ingredients”. We bring a lot of visitors to eat here and everyone ends up full and very happy.

FRIES!

Especially Miss Cheese. She LOVES the fries. What makes them so great? They’re soft in the middle and crispy on the outside. Basically, your perfect sweet potato fry.

Best. Thing. Ever.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes (stroller must fold up however). On days when it’s not too busy you can fit a larger stroller at the tables.
Easy access: Yes (one step).
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Yes.
Kid-friendly rating: ♥♥♥♥-

MooBurger
240 Court Street,
Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 246 8259

Hours:
Mon 5pm-10pm Tue/Wed/Thu/Sun 12pm-10pm
Fri/Sat 12pm-11pm

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Mooburger,+Court+Street,+New+York,+NY&aq=0&oq=MooBurg&sll=40.723795,-73.952515&sspn=0.00896,0.02105&ie=UTF8&hq=Mooburger,&hnear=Court+St,+Brooklyn,+Kings,+New+York&t=m&ll=40.685774,-73.994396&spn=0.01201,0.006295&output=embed&w=425&h=350%5D

Moo Burger on Urbanspoon

Ellen's Stardust Diner; Kid-friendly Restaurants, Midtown Manhattan, New York

Somehow I’ve managed to live in New York for two years and not hear about Ellen’s Stardust Diner until now. It’s totally a tourist trap – in the middle of Times Square with exorbitant prices, but it boasts something even I was willing to wade through the Times Square mosh pit for – singing waitstaff! And not just any singing waitstaff – Broadway singers between Broadway jobs, literally singing for their supper.

Inside this kitschy exterior …

The outside isn’t much to look at. It looked so dodgy in fact, that Alec waited outside with Cheese while I poked my head in to make sure it wasn’t a total dump. What I saw, however, was this …

A Broadway song and dinner, perhaps?

As you can see from the photo, the diner was packed. It’s two floors so there’s lots of room, and when we arrived at 2pm we didn’t have to wait at all for a prime table.

A word of warning, this place is loud. So loud I had to point at the menu to my waitress after she dropped by once her number was over (she was excellent, by the way. I would totally pay to see her in a show).

Sharing an Oreo shake with my Cheese.

The menu is huge – and really overpriced. Be prepared to get totally fleeced in this diner. You will however, in return, get a solid, decent meal, and an amazing show of constant, extremely high quality, singing. Also, take note that you’ll have to tip the staff twice – once to your individual server for their wait service, and once for the entire team for their singing, as they only get paid minimal wage ($5 an hour – WTF?!) and don’t get paid to sing. Whoever is running this joint is making a FORTUNE.

Standard diner fare.

Our visit however was well worth the expense. All three of us enjoyed the singing immensely, as well as being happy with the food. Cheese spent the majority of our time there standing up in the highchair and dancing. She just couldn’t believe all of the live music – when various singers walked straight up to her and sang to her, I thought her little head was going to explode with joy.

Can’t. Believe. Her. Eyes!
Sitting back and enjoying the show.

This was not a relaxing lunch experience by a long shot – but it was so enjoyable that we will definitely be back. Note to dairy lovers who order shakes – they will bring out the shake in a glass plus the leftovers in the metal cup it was spun in, so unless you can stomach two shakes in a sitting, be safe and share with a friend.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes – bring a folding stroller if possible though.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Yes.
Baby-friendly rating: ♥♥♥♥-

Ellen’s Stardust Diner
1650 Broadway (at 51st st),
New York
Phone: (212) 956 5151
Hours: Mon-Thur 7am-12am, Fri-Sat 7am-1am, Sun 7am-11pm

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&q=ellen’s+stardust+diner&fb=1&gl=us&hq=ellen’s+stardust+diner&hnear=0x89c24fa5d33f083b:0xc80b8f06e177fe62,New+York,+NY&cid=0,0,2198151489620267995&ll=40.761859,-73.98355&spn=0.006295,0.006295&t=m&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=425&h=350%5D

Afternoon at Brooklyn Bridge Park; Kid-friendly Things To Do in DUMBO, Brooklyn, New York

With an unseasonably warm forecast, we head down to DUMBO for lunch at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Since we’ve been craving sunshine for months, we decided to pick up a sandwich at Foragers City Grocer and head on down to the park to eat and let the Cheese run free.

Foragers have a great range of locally-sourced breads, groceries and snacks, as well sandwich and smoothie bars. While you can perch on stools and eat in, we prefer to take everything to go.

The area of Brooklyn Bridge Park directly under the Manhattan Bridge has possibly the best views of both bridges and Manhattan that you’ll see anywhere. It also has a huge grassy area, so bring a ball for the kids to kick around, or a blanket to sit on. The pirate playground that sits in this area of the park was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy – we were thrilled to see that it has been repaired and is due to re-open next month.

Brie and Granny Smith apple with watercress on a baguette.
Cheese runs amok.

Foragers City Grocer
56 Adams St,
Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 801 8400
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-9pm Sun 9am-8pm
Get directions.

Foragers Grocer on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Attack at Jacques Torres; Kid-friendly Places To Eat, DUMBO, Brooklyn

Admission: I have a huge chocolate addiction. After a sunny day turned cold, we head to our go-to place for delicious chocolate in DUMBO, Jacques Torres. Here’s what you need to know about Jacques Torres. The hot chocolate is so think it’s like mud. Delicious, but there is a high chance you’ll feel ill after drinking it. Don’t be weak though, order it while the weather is still crisp. The signature cookies are amazing – huge chunks of chocolate and minimal actual cookie. Planning to take home some chocolate for later? Try our favourites, the chocolate-covered almonds. They’re so moreish that they won’t last the subway ride home.

Cookies!
Take home hot chocolate mix or a giant Easter bunny.

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

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

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&q=jacques+torres+dumbo&fb=1&gl=us&hq=jacques+torres&hnear=0x89c25a316f3eb0fb:0xceb1d92c1cafc9c3,Dumbo,+Brooklyn,+NY&cid=0,0,14183843299756769223&ll=40.703191,-73.991569&spn=0.006295,0.006295&t=m&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=425&h=350%5D

Jacques Torres Chocolate on Urbanspoon

Dominique Ansel Bakery; Kid-friendly Places To Eat, SoHo, New York

After a gluttonous afternoon we decided to end it with … even more food, of course. Our target – the Dominique Ansel Bakery in SoHo, for pastries that would blow our calorie counts for the next month.

Late afternoon sugar hit.
Macaron heaven.
White Rose Religieuse.
Banana Passionfruit Pavlova.

What was totally surprising was how easy it was to stop by here with a toddler. I’d previously only ordered to go from the front counter, not realising they have a large back garden area, enclosed like a conservatorium. Lots of tables free, lots of space – no one caring if our manic toddler ran around like a nut case. Miss Cheese was in heaven with all the treats coming her way – hot chocolate, croissant, cream puffs. No wonder she was manic … My favourite thing to order here is the DKA (“Dominique’s Kouign Amann”). It doesn’t look like much (it looks kinda like a rock cake), but it’s devine. The best description comes from their website: “Tender, flaky, croissant-like dough with a caramelized crunchy crust”. Yes please.

Get away from me, Dad.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: No. The front of the store is a bit tight, but they have a large (enclosed) garden out the back where your giant stroller will fit.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.
Baby-friendly rating: ♥♥—

Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring St,
New York
Phone: (212) 219 2773
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-7pm Sun 9am-7pm

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Dominique Ansel Bakery on Urbanspoon

The Grey Dog Chelsea; Kid-friendly Restaurants, Chelsea, Manhattan, New York

After a failed attempt to visit the new Meatball Shop in Chelsea (it wasn’t open despite the website saying it was, so I’m still not sure what happened there), we were left with a group of four adults and one kidlet for lunch at prime time in Chelsea. Not a positive start to the afternoon. Lucky, our friend suggested a local fave of his, The Grey Dog, and, best of all, they had a table free so we could sit down straight away.

On its website, The Grey Dog calls itself the “best cafe in New York”. This is a HUGE call to make, people. Huge. I have to admit though, that it’s right up there – we had a really great experience at this cafe.

When you enter, the waitstaff will show you your table – but you order and pay at the bar. This is a little disorganised when the cafe’s full – or when, like us, you’re juggling a whingy toddler. On the plus side, it allows for a very fast getaway after your meal.

Grey Dog on a grey old day.
Cute interior.
Delicious lunch. Mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto sandwich, potato, leek and broccoli soup, sweet potato fries.

We just missed the breakfast menu (it ends at 3pm), but were just as happy with the lunch menu offerings. As was the Cheese. She absolutely loved trying everything, from the soup to my sandwich and the table favourite, sweet potato fries.

Free range baby, stealing our food.

The cafe does have high chairs, but with the way the tables are arrange, close to the walls and tightly together, I can see it would be hard to actually fit a highchair at your table unless you had an uneven number of people with you.

What we loved – the food was delicious and fast. Everything was super tasty and freshly made. They didn’t mind that we wedged the toddler between us on a window ledge so she could pilfer parts of our meals and bang on the window alternatively (sorry again for that, people sitting next to us …).

We will absolutely be back. I can see The Grey Dog becoming one of our neighbourhood go-tos.

Highchairs:Yes – it’s a tight fit though to squeeze them in next to you at a table.
Stroller storage: Minimal. We folded our umbrella stroller and wedged it in a space next to our table.
Easy access: Yes. There is a ramp near the exit, next to the main entrance.
Change tables: No. There is however a large wooden bench in the restrooms that could be used as a change table.
Kids’ menu: No.
Baby-friendly rating: ♥♥—

The Grey Dog
242 W 16th St,
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 229 2345

Hours:
Mon-Fri 6:30am-11:30pm
Sat-Sun 7am-11:30pm

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&q=grey+dog+chelsea&fb=1&gl=us&hq=grey+dog&hnear=0x89c259b082b8c8a7:0x2e54eb9ab02636f0,Chelsea,+New+York,+NY&cid=0,0,10214235811599076831&ll=40.740639,-74.00077&spn=0.006295,0.006295&t=m&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=425&h=350%5D

Nunu Chocolates; Kid-friendly Places To Eat, Downtown Brooklyn, New York

On a day with torrential rain and a toddler with cabin fever, we ventured out for hot chocolate and snacks at the nearby Nunu Chocolates.

Dreary day outside.

It’s not exactly the most kid-friendly establishment around, but the owners are lovely and adore kids, so made us feel totally at home. Sure we could leave our giant stroller infront of their register. Sure they could fit us at a table (we then watch as they kick their employees off a long bench to continue whatever they were doing elsewhere). We love you too, Nunu!

Menu.

Nunu Chocolates are sold all over the city, and made right here in their flagship store in Brooklyn. They serve a limited menu of beverages, chocolates and pastries, but what else do you want from a chocolate shop?

Baby loves hot chocolate.

Cheese adored the hot chocolate – it turned her mood from feral toddler to charming kid. She also loved grabbing the teaspoon and feeding herself the hot chocolate. Bring wipes if you’re going to attempt to give your small child freedom with chocolately beverages.

Letting Cheese go to town on my hot chocolate.

We had a wonderful break from the nasty weather at Nunu Chocolate, and felt so welcome that we will most definitely return over and over again. Don’t let our low baby-friendly rating stop you from bringing your small kids. Despite physical limitations, it’s a real find for families in the neighbourhood.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: Minimal. Bring a folding stroller or carrier if possible.
Easy access: No – several steep stairs.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Nunu Chocolates
529 Atlantic Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: (917) 776 7102
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am–9pm Sat-Sun 9am–9pm

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&q=nunu+chocolates&fb=1&gl=us&hq=nunu+chocolates&hnear=0x89c24fa5d33f083b:0xc80b8f06e177fe62,New+York,+NY&cid=0,0,3351752370912557403&ll=40.685191,-73.979976&spn=0.006295,0.006295&t=m&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=425&h=350%5D

Nunu Chocolates on Urbanspoon

Smorgas Chef @ Scandinavia House; Kid-friendly Restaurants, Midtown Manhattan, New York

With the weather so cold and foul, I planned a lunch with friends at Smorgas Chef @ Scandinavia House purely because they also have a playroom in the building, and because they take reservations for brunch. Smorgas is known for its Scandinavian food, which makes most people think of meatballs. Being vegetarian, obviously meatballs are out for us – thankfully their brunch menu is full of traditional brunchy fare that everyone will like, including picky toddlers.

Are you sure I like waffles?
Tree in the middle of the dining room.
Multitasking.

On arriving, we were met by a friendly hostess who immediately offered us a high chair and kids menu with crayons, and directed us to the stroller parking area. Immediate score! Between the waffles we ordered for the Cheese off the kid’s menu and the crayons, our cheesy little friend was having a ball.

Our server was a bit slow to take our order – and we had some really annoying screw ups with my order in the kitchen. Take note – do not try and make changes to any items on the menu, or you’ll be sorry! Also, if you’re a vegetarian, check your dish carefully for meat as you eat it.

Waffles – glorious.

The food was pretty good – the Cheese loved her waffles (which came with a little milk box).

Stroller and high chair parking.

After lunch we made our way to the Heimbold Family Children’s Playing and Learning Center upstairs. It was a pretty cute little area – lots of engaging things for kids to play with, like a slide, train table, play kitchen and mushroom house. It was also completely packed with parents and kids, so it wasn’t the best experience – toddlers all wanting to play with the same toys … cue all kinds of excitement!

Upstairs in the play space.
Moomin!

Would we be back? Probably not to the restaurant, unless we wanted to go to the play space again. When the weather is nasty out, it’s definitely a really good option for a Saturday afternoon.

Highchairs: Yes. Stokke of course!
Stroller storage: Lots – bring your giant stroller if needs be.
Easy access: Yes. They have elevator access.
Change tables: Yes – although you have to get the elevator down to the floor below to use the restrooms, which is a bit odd.
Kids’ menu: Yes.
Baby-friendly rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Smorgas Chef @ Scandinavia House
58 Park Ave
(between 37th St & 38th St)
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 847 9745

Hours:
DINNER: Mon-Sat 5pm-9:30pm
Brunch: Sat-Sun 11am-5pm
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11am-5pm

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&q=smorgas+chef+scandinavia+house&fb=1&gl=us&hq=smorgas+chef+scandinavia+house&cid=0,0,6926579723310192245&ll=40.749427,-73.979924&spn=0.006295,0.006295&t=m&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=425&h=350%5D

Vive La Crepe; Kid-friendly Restaurants, SoHo, Manhattan, New York

It seems like something as simple as a really good crepe can be hard to find. We’ve been obsessed with the Vive La Crepe chain for a while, and last weekend went to SoHo just for crepes.

Little hole-in-the-wall cafe.

The store is run very efficiently. Order and pay at the counter, and your crepe will be ready within about 10 minutes. They’re super friendly towards the babes, and will bring over your food if they see you have your hands full.

Order at the counter – huge selection of crepes.

What makes them so good? The perfect batter, crisp on the edges, soft and slightly sweet in the middle, and plenty of fresh toppings like mozzarella, tomato and basil (my favourite). Their dessert crepes also rock my world – we can never settle at just one savoury crepe, we always need to go back for more.

Crepes – babies love them.

It turns out that babies have good taste and love crepes too. Cheese went wild for the batter as well as the fillings – gooey cheese in particular. They’re fab for kids cos they can hold pieces in their hands and it doesn’t make too much of a mess.

The only downside is this SoHo location is a bit cramped when you bring a baby. The chain has various locations though, and we’ve also been to Vive La Crepe at Union Square, which had lots more space for strollers as well as lots more tables in general, so you don’t have to stalk other diners to get a seat. Note – none of the locations that we’ve been to have highchairs, so prepare to balance your kid on your lap and eat one-handed – which is actually fine because you can easily do this with the crepes (they come folded in a triangle shape in a little paper cone). Vive la crepe! See you again soon!

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: No. There is a small space next to the counter where you can fold a stroller, or if it’s pretty empty inside you can park the stroller next to your table.
Easy access: Yes. One step to get in.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Vive La Crepes
51 Spring St,
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (646) 484 6897
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-12am, Sun 9am-12am