Foodie to Finicky,
Sticky-table kiddie joints are sooooo 1992. Here’s where to take everyone in your family, from that gastro-snob brother-in-law to your “energetic” four-year-old who only eats beige food.
Dobbs Ferry, (914) 305-2336
Ex-Zuppa chef Dave DiBari has taken his sublime palate north to Dobbs, to his own casual spot at which brisk waiters wear mechanic’s shirts and the tables remain resolutely unclothed. While young diners can opt for delicious pizzette and pastas, gourmands can go for DiBari’s creative odes to classic Northern Italian fare. Best of all, this Italian-style gastropub offers reasonable prices and zero pretense: no one will blink when your little one spills her milk. (For a full review, see page 116.)
Tarrytown (914) 631-0000
“Locavorian” and “sustainbly harvested” are the on-trend foodie keywords here, yet this jeans-casual joint opened by the folks behind Dobbs Ferry’s Tomatillo offers cozy home-ground Stone Barns pork hot dogs and Creekstone beef burgers. While snobs can savor pillowy gnocchi and sprightly minted pea soup, others can tuck into French fries and ketchup: family friendly and foodie-approved, Sweetgrass works for everyone. And, of course, hot glazed donuts never hurt.
The Barn at Bedford Post
Bedford, (914) 234-7800
Unlike its newer, more elegant sibling, The Farmhouse, this café-cum-bakery snuggled in Bedford horse country has a casual, family friendly atmosphere. Look for locally raised ingredients spun into elegant breakfasts and lunches, all with an attitude- (and tablecloth-) free vibe. In fine weather, the Barn’s outdoor seating is lovely—and you might even spot co-owner Richard Gere hitching up for a bite.
Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-0666
This genuine, sit-down restaurant by John Halko (the mind behind Hastings’s former 14-seat, no-restroom, mostly takeout Comfort) offers healthy, mainly organic fare in a no-fuss atmosphere. While Comfort’s new location sports a bar (and even a bathroom), Comfort’s veggie-friendly, healthier take on American comfort food is the same. Look for crowd favorites like burgers, tacos, and roasted Amish chicken, and nutritious sides of organic grains and greens.
Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-5555
From the moment those warm potato chips hit the table, everyone is happy at Ümami. With a well-executed, world-spanning menu that touches Europe, Asia, and the New World, it’s hard to pine for any single genre—plus, a kooky décor and a children’s menu presented in a View-Master are sure to keep the little guys happy.
Dobbs Ferry (914) 478-2300
Known for Stone Barns produce and approachable Tex-Mex fare, this funky, no-frills family favorite in Dobbs Ferry offers a healthier take on fajitas, tacos, and burritos. Veggie-friendly, Tomatillo also slings locally brewed Boylan’s sodas to kiddies, while exhausted parents relax with bargain margaritas and microbrews.
Sweetgrass Grill’s donuts delight kids and gourmand grownups.
- Partner Content -
A kid’s-eye view of Q Restaurant and Bar.
|Q Restaurant and Bar
Mount Kisco, (914) 241-7427
Port Chester, (914) 933-7427
With child-sized hand-washing stations and a wide-appeal barbecue menu, these twin ’cue joints offer the perfect family night option. Yet sweetly rich pulled-pork sandwiches (with crisp, house-made cole slaw) will satisfy even foodies—while Kneaded Bread desserts offer pastel icing on the cake.
Teen and Tween
At this aspirational age, kiddie menus only yield eye-rolls. Treat your little sophisticate to exotic flavors, colorful surroundings, and the irresistible allure of Adult Swim. The restaurants below offer a little glamour—along with democratic menus that won’t have your little scenester craving a PB&J later.
Mamaroneck (914) 835-8350
This Moroccan dream—conceived by Marrakech native Alain Bennouna—brings colorful tents, plush sofas, and belly dancers to the Boston Post Road. Zitoune’s menu ranges from the familiar (like grilled chicken, hamburgers, and French fries) to the exotic (like heaven–spiced tagines), and can accommodate every palate between. Best of all: on weekends, belly dancers sway through the tables, encouraging intrepid diners to boogie.
Dobbs Ferry, (914) 591-0054
No hushed temple to raw fish, this bustling, child-friendly joint has a silly seaside décor and a crowd-pleasing sushi menu—some of which is fully cooked. Sit at the bar to watch the chefs roll, or snag a table in the middle of the throng—though be prepared: savvy parents avoid prime-time, as table waits can get long.
Mount Kisco, (914) 666-6400
This Venice-themed nook is all about harlequins and gothic arches, using its Marco Polo décor to showcase a Top Ten approach to Italian food. Expect loads of trademarked small plates, plus tons of wide-appeal panini, pizzette, and pastas. And to bring the spin through the boot to an end, Via Vanti scoops a wide spectrum of gelati—often stacked into fanciful compositions.
Teppanyaki and Hibachi
These Japanese odes to Benihana, at which comic chatter and knife tricks disguise the nutritional benefit of veggies, are a hit with fussy eaters. Popular with families (though admittedly not with foodies), the flying foodstuff of teppanyaki grills makes the perfect fare for kids’ parties.
Edo Japanese Steak House
Pelham (914) 738-1414
Port Chester (914) 738-1413
East Japan Hibachi and Sushi Bar
Ardsley (914) 478 8588
Gasho of Japan
Hawthorne (914) 592-5900
Central Valley, NY (845) 928-2277
Larchmont, (914) 833-3838
Noda’s Japanese Steakhouse
White Plains (914) 949-0990
Okinawa Japanese Restaurant
Mount Kisco, (914) 666-8188
Playing with Your Food
Don’t make dining out torture. Since prolonged dinner chat usually is too much for kids, these fun “nutri-tainment” spots give even fidgety kids a break.
White Plains, (914) 993-6358
Darien, CT, (203) 656-4774
While the Melting Pot’s tabletop deep-fat frying can be skipped for the under-10 crowd, tasty warm cheese fondues offer long-fork fun for the whole family. Best of all, between cheese and bread cubes, you might sneak in some veggies—and, as a reward, there’s always chocolate-dipped fruit for dessert.
Yonkers, (914) 771-4066
This august Korean barbecue sports tabletop grills, at which friendly servers assist in grilling beef bulgogi right before your eyes. Your little ones can help—all from a safe distance—while you sit back and enjoy a night away from the stove.
Larchmont, (914) 241-1200
Mount Kisco, (914) 833-5800
It’s a tried-and-true concept (Chuck E. Cheese perfected the formula): tokens and game rooms are always a hit with kids. Parents are often less enthused, but even grumblers must appreciate that savoring the last drop of coffee (or that well-deserved glass of wine) can feel like a bargain at any price. Plus, Belizzi’s complete, well-priced children’s party packages are always a hit with kids.
Westchester Broadway Theatre
Elmsford (914) 592-2222
Literally a play with food, this dinner theater offers entertainment right after dinner. Check the theater’s website for upcoming events, but October family highlights include “Cirque Le Masque,” an acrobatic ode to Cirque de Soleil that’s appropriate for most ages (though the theater discourages children under five from attending performances).
Field to Feast
Getting Kids Involved in Food
Besides offering group fun, these classes teach important lessons about nutrition and culture, giving kids hands-on food-production experience that ranges from agriculture to icing cupcakes.
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Pocantico Hills (914) 366-6200
Running everything from school trips to summer camps—and including single-day classes for all ages—the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture offers a wide curriculum designed to teach responsible agriculture. Students learn about tending animals and nurturing greenhouse produce, all at Stone Barns.
Bedford Hills (914) 234-2197
This active goat farm and cheese-production site offers agricultural programs targeted for kids as young as two, with wide-appeal lessons that range from field to kitchen. Children learn responsible agriculture and the nuts-and-bolts of food production, all outdoors (in fine weather) on an expansive Bedford Hills estate.
Kids ‘r’ Cookin’
Started by former restaurateur and caterer Bandy Acciavatti, these hands-on cooking classes are held in multiple locations (including Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, and Greenwich, Connecticut). Programs include single lessons or themed, multi-day series, and fees include lunch, materials, ingredients, aprons, cookbooks, and take-home containers. Classes are targeted to kids ages two (and up), four (and up), and eight (and up), and can include full-day lessons.
Hartsdale, (914) 328-1376
Paramus, NJ, (201) 576-0100
This Hartsdale cookware shop offers teen summer camps in either baking or cooking disciplines, as well as many younger kids’ programs in a state-of-the-art pro kitchen. Reasonably priced, one-day “Cooking For Kids” classes accommodate ages three to five and six to 10, while parent/child cooking classes are targeted to all ages.
Westchester Italian Cultural Center
1 Generoso Pope Pl, Tuckahoe (914) 771-8700
This Tuckahoe society, housed in the former town hall, features a professional demonstration kitchen complete with flat-screen TVs. Look for all sorts of kids programs aimed at teaching Italian culture, with recurring themed cooking classes like the recent “Gelato Extravaganza.”
These child-friendly local restaurants accommodate many dietary restrictions—plus, they all offer tasty, non-punitive, gluten-free options.
Eastchester (914) 779-4646
Not only does this bustling, family friendly Italian offer lumps of dough for junior pizzaioli to form and stretch, it also offers gluten-free versions of its popular pizzas and pastas.
Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-0666
Hastings’s mostly organic, kid-friendly joint slings gluten-free chicken fingers, and all of Comfort’s pastas can be ordered gluten-free, too. For total follow-through, look for chocolaty, moist, gluten-free brownies for dessert.
Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-2326
This relaxed, cheerful neighborhood joint offers eight gluten-free starters (including sans-crouton onion soup), followed by a whopping 13 gluten-free entrées. Look for kid-pleasers like burgers and chili, all served safely gluten-free.
Big Night Out
Tarry Temple at Tarry Lodge
Port Chester (914) 939-3111
Do you remember the dressed-up dinners of your childhood, when your parents celebrated with steaks as you sucked maraschino-laced Shirley Temples? Tarry Lodge doesn’t quite have bathroom attendants, but it does have retro glamour in spades. For special occasions, look for tot-friendly Tarry Temples. This mixture of seasonal fresh fruit juices—often including cranberry and passion fruit—Sprite, and ginger ale also features Amarene cherry syrup, a thick, dark, imported Italian syrup made with wild sour cherries foraged near Bologna.
Okay, sometimes you just have to yield. These “sometimes foods”—candy, ice cream, and cupcakes—may not be found in your food pyramid, but they’re surely close to your heart. Here are some local favorites.
Rocnroe’s Pop Shop
Pleasantville, (914) 747-9797
Sporting a colorful, retro-Jetson’s décor and a rack of hard-to-find vintage candies, this nirvana for sweet-teeth also scoops Longford’s ice cream.
Rye Brook, (914) 315-6687
Scarsdale, (914) 725-5932
Armonk, (914) 273-3551
A self-styled “sports bars for kids,” this local chain offers sports-themed memorabilia, celebrity signings, and more baseball than you can shake a bat at. Washing it all down is loads of ice cream, scooped into themed creations like “Lickey Mantle,” a tall pile of ice cream, whipped cream, M&Ms, and a cherry.
Port Chester, (914) 939-3694
Westchester’s premier paleta shop offers a kaleidoscope of ingeniously flavored popsicles, all house-made from naturally occurring ingredients. Look for spicy pico de gallo (salsa), creamy horchata (rice pudding), and exotic guanabana (soursop).
Main Street Sweets
Tarrytown, (914) 332-5757
A Tarrytown favorite, this small, Norman Rockwellian parlor scoops fresh and creamy American-style ice cream right in the thick of Main Street; it’s the perfect punctuation for an after-dinner stroll.
Flour & Sun Bakery
Pleasantville, (914) 495-3232
Who doesn’t love cupcakes? These colorful cakes come piled high with sinful buttercream—we defy even the most devout yoga hounds to avoid emerging without several.
Blue Pig Ice Cream
Croton-on-Hudson, (914) 271-3850
Saturday afternoons at his azure ode to ice cream are usually jammed with families, who flock to this colorful nook for high-quality house-made ice cream. Look for fanciful mix-ins, trippy colors, and hand-scooped sandwiches made with Westchester-baked chocolate-chip cookies and brownies.