Lately, I’ve been on the hunt for places in NYC that are simultaneously kid- and foodie-friendly…and thought you might be, too. So once again, I welcome Carla Sullivan, founder of MiniMunchers.com – the internet’s only source and resource for restaurants that are kid-friendly in Manhattan — to guest contribute her top restaurant picks for dining with the “Minis” in the Big Apple:
Navigating the restaurant scene in Manhattan can be daunting for even the most seasoned New Yorker, then throw a kid or two or three (yes — I have three) into the mix and the task of finding the “perfect” place to eat can be impossible or worse, a DISASTER! That is why I started MiniMunchers.com, to help families sift through the thousands of restaurant options in the City and pinpoint what EXACTLY they want when taking their kids out to eat.
I can’t say I am an expert, but after dragging my kids throughout Manhattan to “Rate” their faves – here are a few that we can’t wait to return to:
1. Blue Smoke – http://www.bluesmoke.com
2 locations 116 E. 27th Street 212-447-7733 & 255 Vesey Street 212-889-3005
This is coming from a girl who doesn’t even eat ribs, but I attribute my son’s rib addiction to Blue Smoke. Not sure if it is the ribs themselves or the ULTRA kid-friendly ambiance in either location (great kids menu and the cookie “pig” that kids decorate, which is then baked while you eat) but Blue Smoke is a serious go-to for great family-friendly BBQ!
2. Landmarc – http://www.landmarc-restaurant.com
2 locations 10 Columbus Circle (in Time Warner –3rd floor) 212-823-6123 & 179 West Broadway 212-343-3883
Landmarc has one of the greatest children’s menus I have ever encountered – from Green Eggs and Ham to PB & Nutella and Whole Wheat Quesadillas, Chef Marc Murphy really knows how to satisfy even the pickiest eater. There are always multiple tables filled with families at both locations but the one in Columbus Circle is definitely more spacious.
3. Big Daddy’s – http://bigdaddysnyc.com
2 locations 239 Park Avenue South – 212-477-1500 & 2452 Broadway 212-677-2004
Dispel all thoughts of a crowded diner where you have to fight for a table and then are rushed out — Big Daddy’s is a fun, upscale diner that LOVES kids. The décor and music are enough of a distraction without the crayons and balloons and the awesome tater tots and milk shakes keep my Minis begging to return.
4. Sugar & Plumm – http://www.sugarandplumm.com
377 Amsterdam Avenue 212-787-8778
The newest on the kids’ restaurant scene, this Upper West Side restaurant is heaven for kids! Think part Dylan’s Candy Bar & Serendipity 3 mixed with some pretty AWESOME food and you have Sugar & Plumm. The décor and acoustics are just perfect for the Minis – and the little ones will have a field day trying to decide between the myriad of desserts, candies and treats for dessert!
[Editor’s Note: For families in Bergen County, NJ, be sure to check out the Sugar & Plumm location within the Bergen Towne Center in Paramus, NJ]
5. SushiSamba – http://www.sushisamba.com
2 locations – 245 Park Avenue 212-475-9377 and 87 Seventh Avenue 212-691-7885
Not that sushi is the only thing on the children’s menu (there is grilled chicken and mini burgers) but for the more sophisticated palates this fun Sushi “hot spot” offers bite-sized starter sushi. Added bonus – Kids LOVE the rooftop garden in the downtown location.
Other noteworthy restaurants:
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ – http://www.brotherjimmys.com
Not only is Brother Jimmy’s very kid-friendly with a menu that lets you choose the side (do your kids REALLY need fries EVERY time they go out?) but also kids under 12 eat for free, yes FREE, with each adult entrée. Minis who join the “clean plate club” also are treated to a free ice cream scoop!!
Smorgas Chef – Murray Hill location – http://www.smorgaschef.com
58 Park Avenue
A pleasant surprise in an otherwise tough area for kid-friendly options, Smorgas Chef is located in the Scandinavian House. A bit of a different feel to a traditional kids menu, but my Mini devoured his Swedish meatballs and loved the live tree that is in the middle of the café-style restaurant. Scandinavian House features an amazing indoor play space that is open to the public for $5 every Saturday, often with live music and/or story-telling.
American Girl Café – http://www.americangirl.com
609 Fifth Avenue
It might shock you, but the food is actually VERY good (both for kids and adults) and I love the set up for the dolls – little high chairs so they can sit next to their “mommy.” The décor is adorable and you will have a great time “interviewing” your daughter with the age-appropriate questions (i.e. what do you want to do when you grow up) on the table. Biggest drawback – you might not get out of there without buying your daughter a new doll.
Manhattan is teeming with kid-friendly restaurants and you never know what will be your newest family favorite. As always, all the restaurants MiniMunchers recommends have a designated Children’s Menu which you can check out in their entirety on the website.