A visit to Sarabeth’s usually requires a reservation and careful planning. We were super lucky on this occasion to walk in on a Sunday afternoon and be seated straight away, with no reservation.
Sarabeth’s West has a bit of a different look and feel than the TriBeCa restaurant. It feels slightly more formal, particularly in the upper seating area. While it’s still super kid-friendly (when we walked in, there was a table of no less than eight parents each with a baby), the feel of the restaurant is geared more towards adults than families.
We were all starving, so we promptly ordered Cheese her own meal of grilled cheese and fries. I can neither confirm nor deny whether I ate most of her meal as well as my own. Perk / con of having a toddler – double meals!
The grilled cheese was tasty (ahem), on a sweet brioche bread. The tomato ketchup is not the best idea for a toddler, but Cheese insists on dipping her fries in it and sometimes eating them.
My lemon ricotta pancakes were absolutely delish. Not quite filling enough for lunch, so lucky I had the kid’s leftovers as a fall back.
I don’t usually order juice, but this time I went with the “four flower juice” on a friend’s recommendation. Good call – it was one of the best juices I’ve ever had. I can’t even say why – it was just a taste explosion in my mouth. Order it! You won’t be sorry!
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, but you’ll need to fold it if possible. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: Yes.
423 Amsterdam Avenue (80th Street)
Phone: (212) 496 6280
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-10:30pm, Sun 8am–10pm
In our Brunch Special posts, we bring you local moms who are leaders in their fields, and ask them how they navigate the food scene in New York City with their kids.
Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Raegan Moya-Jones, best known as the creator of the aden + anais swaddle empire. Raegan lives with her husband, Markos, and four daughters, aged two through nine, in an apartment overlooking the Hudson River in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Raegan originally hails from Sydney, Australia, but after being here many years, considers herself a New Yorker. After living on the Upper West Side for a long time, Raegan and her brood moved to DUMBO in search of space for their growing family. Raegan says they are here to stay.
Like most New Yorkers, Raegan and Markos admit to being total foodies. As such, they started taking their kids to restaurants not long after they were born, with a desire to continue to enjoy their pre-baby New York life as much as possible.
What are some of Raegan’s favourite places to eat out with the family?
Nowadays, the family is happy to keep it lowkey. “We’ll grab a baguette from (recently re-opened bakery) Almondine, add cheese, and head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a picnic on a sunny day,” says Raegan.
Their favourite family restaurant outing is to hop on the ferry to Williamsburg to visit their regular brunch spot, Dressler. “They have French toast that the girls all love,” says Raegan. “They’re really great to the girls, and are accommodating to Anais’s request for olives.” (Anais, nine, has been a vegetarian/vegan since age six.)
Raegan and Markos will also take the girls to Pastis in the Meatpacking district for brunch on occasion: “Once, when I was away on a work trip, Markos packed up all four girls and took them, plus a friend’s dog, there for brunch,” remembers Raegan. (Are we all thinking the same thing? Brave man!)
Other solid options that are always reliably kid-friendly? “Isabella’s (on the Upper West Side) and The River Deli in Brooklyn Heights.”
What were the easiest and hardest ages to eat out your kids?
“The easiest age is when they’re super young, you can just pop them in a car seat and put it on a chair next to you,” recalls Raegan. “The toughest age is about two to five.” (Uh. Oh. We have a long road ahead of us!) Raegan’s girls are mostly at a stage now where they are happy to sit in a restaurant and chat with each other. “If a meal drags on, Anais, the eldest, will take the younger girls for a walk outside,” says Raegan.
How did you go about introducing your kids to table manners?
Raegan and her husband hope the girls grow up to be foodies like themselves, and to appreciate dining out. “We’ve taught them table manners from an early age,” says Raegan. “Things like sitting down as soon as you arrive, putting the napkin on your lap, how to use cutlery – the Australian way!” (American readers – this means we put our cutlery together at the end of a meal to signify we’re finished.)
How do you and the family unplug from technology?
iPads and iPhones are a no-no when the family go out to eat. “We sit together and talk,” says Raegan. “If the kids need entertaining, we bring coloring books and crayons.” For the youngest, Amelie Rose, playing with a spoon was entertainment enough to get her through a meal until she was old enough to join in the family discussions.
Do you and Markos have date nights?
Reagan and Markos made a New Year’s Eve resolution to start making time for regular date nights, though she does admit they don’t do it nearly often enough. “We recently went to Scarpetta, and I love Jean George. I’ve been there so often that the chef and wait staff know me,” says Raegan. “I also really enjoyed Per Se when I was taken there for my 40th birthday. Another place we love to go is Nougatine, where we prefer to sit at the bar.”
What’s next for aden + anais?
There’s a lot coming up in the near future for this great little company. aden + anais have some wonderful new products coming out super soon – keep an eye out for a re-invented lovie that your baby will fall in love with (we know that Baby J, who is still smitten with his lovie, will be a fan), plus a soon to be revealed collaboration with one of our favourite kids clothing brands, and more products specifically designed for mums* that we’re desperate to try for ourselves. We can’t wait to see all of their new ranges and try their new products on the kids!
Smooch Organics is an Australian-owned cafe in leafy Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The service is laid-back and friendly, the ambiance hip, and kids of all ages are welcome.
As an Australian living in New York, I’m always looking to meet other expats, and searching out Aussie-run businesses. Even though I love our life in New York, there is a part of me that’s always homesick, and finding other Aussies and talking about home really helps.
A friend back home recommended Smooch when she saw it written up an Aussie newspaper. Amazingly, it’s in Fort Greene, only a hop, skip and a stroll from where we live, so we checked it out on a (finally!) sunny, spring day.
First impressions – it’s quite a hipster little place. Lots of Aussie references with pictures of our beaches and items on the menu named after places I miss, like “The Tamarama” (described as “sexy toast with avocado, tomato, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice, served with a latte, cortada, flat white). My husband misses flat whites possibly more than anything, so was all over this toast and coffee. He says the coffee is solid, by the way, so be sure to check it out if you’re a coffee-lover living nearby.
The cafe is on the small side, with the tables pretty close together. It’s not super kid-friendly for eating in – we could instead suggest either eating on the benches outside, or taking your food to Fort Greene Park, which is just around the corner (literally less than a block away). If you’re after a place to work during the week, this is ideal – they have free wifi and welcome laptops. Yay!
I ordered a smoothie, which was delicious. Cheese and I shared it on the bench outside, enjoying the warm day that had been so long in coming.
As a side note, I saw the owner while we were there. He was in board shorts, thongs (calm down, it’s what Aussies call “flip flops”), and a bucket hat. He was so Aussie I forgot I was in Brooklyn for a moment.
Be sure to take your kids to Fort Greene Park afterwards to run their crazy out – Cheese particularly loves the swings and slide.
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.
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).
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.
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.
359 Columbus Ave
Phone: (212) 724 2100
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm Sat-Sun 10am-11pm Reservations
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.
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.
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 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.
30 Water St DUMBO, Brooklyn
Hours: Sun 11am-6pm, rain or shine.
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.
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.
411 Atlantic Ave
(between Nevins St & Bond St)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat-Sun 8am-9pm
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.
While it looks small from the outside, the interior is surprisingly roomy, and we’ve had no problem fitting three jumbo strollers inside.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
474 Bergen St,
Phone: (718) 789-1939
Hours: Mon-Thur 12pm-11pm, Fri 12pm-12am, Sat 10am-12am, Sun 10am-10pm
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.
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.
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.
200 5th Ave
New York, 10010
Phone: (212) 229 2560
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9:30pm
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.
Southeast corner of Madison Square Park
Near Madison Ave. and E.23rd St.
Phone: (212) 889 6600
Hours: Open daily, 11am-11pm
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
339 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 966-0421
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-10:30pm, Sat 8am–11pm, Sun 8am–10pm