After a traumatic trip to the paediatrician for Baby J, Alexis, Cheese, Baby J and I all badly needed a pick-me-up. A quick Google search revealed nearby TriBeCa Treats, so we trundled off to get a sugar hit to power us through the rest of the afternoon.
The interior was surprisingly roomy – plenty of space for multiple large strollers to comfortably fit inside. A long table in the middle gave the shop a communal dining-feel. When we were there, two little girls were happily coloring and reading books at the table. (This would be a great place to bring kids after school to start on homework or to unwind. We will keep this in mind for the future!).
Of course, what we were most interested in, was the treats. TriBeCa Treats sells a wide variety of cupcakes at a (Manhattan) bargain of $2 each, as well as brownies, cookies and more.
A sweet little kiddie table near the counter was a really nice touch, so the kids happily sat at the table eating their treats instead of running around like escapees from the loonie bin.
Towards the front of the store there are a variety of cute greeting cards and lots of accoutrements (paper plates, napkins, gifts) for a party to go with your bakery order.
Last bite: This little gem of a cafe is a great place to stop by for a sugar hit with the kids—or without them.
Highchairs: No. But there is a toddler-sized table for the littles. Stroller storage: Yes. Easy access: No. There are a few steps to get in. Change tables: No. But there is a bathroom behind the counter that patrons can use (you just have to ask). Kids’ menu: No.
94 Reade St (btwn. West Broadway and Church St.)
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 571 0500
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Jennifer Cattaui, Owner of Babesta, a cool kid’s clothing and gear store in Tribeca. Jennifer lives with her husband, Aslan Cattaui, their two daughters, Amina, 9, Camille, 6, and their cat, Elvis, in Tribeca.
How would you sum up your store, Babesta?
Curated for a cool city child. Because the city is densely-packed, standing out on the busy streets and playgrounds is essential. We favor indie brands from all over the world and work hard to find the coolest labels from Sydney to Stockholm, Brooklyn to Berlin. From a gear point of view, there is no point really in having the “most unique” stroller or carrier—city parents use gear into the ground, so we like to balance great style with practicality, excellent quality and durability. Babesta also offers a warm, personal experience, with convenient services like white glove delivery, hold-it-till-you-need-it, gift registries and a style concierge.
Tell us about the birth of Babesta Babesta started in 2004 as a late night project while I was working as a magazine editor. I was pregnant and sort of obsessed with all the ‘fun’ a baby brings, and a big part of that was style. I had downtown tastes as far as fashion went, and was met by a market of pastels and bunnies. It just wasn’t my bag. I would scour the market for some cooler designs and made a personal list of them. I made a website that was sort of a lookbook for the cooler stuff I was finding, thinking that others might have the same tastes. I was pretty psyched to learn they did. The site got picked up by New York Magazine’s Best Bets section and some other great placements. We just went from there.
Our focus is the POV and needs of a city parent. It’s really unique to raise a kid in NYC (or any city). It comes with some hassle sometimes and space shortage, sure, but the trade off is well worth it. We’ve got everything here at our fingertips—the people, the culture, the experience, the style…
Fast forward to 2013. You now have two daughters, aged six and nine. When did you start taking them out to restaurants?
Our girls’ve been going to restaurants since before they could eat solid foods. Once they could and would actually eat at a restaurant, we’d do brunch at Cercle Rouge in TriBeCa, or dinner at Odeon, Edwards, Coffee Shop, BBar, Forcella, Mediterraneo, Mesa Grill—we didn’t really dumb it down for them and don’t favor ‘kiddie” places—though we also know our limits, and stay away from the new and super-trendy or 5-star unless it’s in a hotel, in which case I think it’s appropriate enough. We kept our go-to list of restaurants for the most part unchanged because there’s almost always something that they’ll eat and they have to learn how to behave and we have to learn to manage and cope. We were lucky—they were both pretty good as babies.
Any good dining out stories?
We are so lucky that in the city it’s commonplace to get out and go to a restaurant with kids. My mom told me that when I was a baby, they never got to go out, but they dared one time and I (gasp!) was misbehaving. It was a different time (I don’t think this would happen today!) but their server felt bad for them, and offered to babysit me while they dined. She apparently waited her tables while carrying me around the restaurant, which luckily did the trick and calmed me down.
As for us, when our first daughter was just born, we would go to Roc on Greenwich. The owners had an infant daughter too, so they were really friendly about it. We’d stroll the baby in and she would snooze—sometimes parked next to the proprietors’ child. The two later found themselves in class together, and became friends. Roc continues to be a great go-to in the neighborhood, with kids or without.
Fave spot to stop for treats?
The food trucks—there’s something super fun about a random after-school ice-cream cone from the truck outside the school on a sunny day. As for cupcakes we’re big fans of Baked by Melissa, because they’re tiny and cute, and Billy’s Bakery (not tiny but yummy), and pretty much anything that Tribeca Treats has to serve!
Any eating out traditions with the family?
We have date night every Friday (so no kids then) and family dinners out every Saturday. We try to do Sunday brunch or barbeque with my brother who is lucky enough to have a terrace in the city!
Fave spot to go for special family occasions or events?
The two that come to mind are outside the city: Love Blue Hill at Stone Barns—gorgeous spot and amazing food. The other one that’s kind of cool outside of the city is Rats in Princeton. It has a very cool sculpture garden and delish food.
Number one tip for other parents eating out with kids?
Prep the kids before going out. Remind them of their “pleases” and “thank yous”, just so that’s top of mind. Check the menu before you choose a restaurant just so you know what battles lay ahead. Once you get there, relax. Take the time to help your kids observe, converse, make their own choices and start to become little citizens of the city.
How do you keep the kids entertained?
A notepad and a pen or crayons for drawing normally does the trick. I’m not one for absolutes, so I do allow the iPad and have been known to throw my phone at the girls to keep the peace if service is slow or trouble is brewing. But I try to use this time more as a time to look around, play games (hangman together, tic-tac-toe), chat about our day, ideas and stuff.
Taking your kid anywhere special this summer? Check out Jennifer’s picks for the best outfits for kids to wear to afternoon tea at The Plaza, a jazz festival on Governor’s Island and brunch at Balthazar. Full credits under the pics.
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
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: ♥♥♥♥-
You don’t get more family friendly than the Bubby’s restaurants. The TriBeCa branch is a bit more upmarket than its Brooklyn sibling, but also has less space. Tables are a bit crowded together, making for a squished dining experience. A bright, rowdy atmosphere makes it fab for families. Take the kids to the nearby Hudson River Greenway afterwards to run around.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes. Stroller parking is outside the restaurant – be prepared to leave it on the street. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: Yes. Kids’ menu: Yes. Kids-friendly rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
120 Hudson St, New York 10013
(At N Moore St)
Phone: (212) 219 0666