There once was a time when you could recognize kid-friendly restaurants from about a mile away. Generally, they had trademarked menu items, blip-blooping game rooms, and strictly freezer-to-Frialator food. Parents loathed these joints but gritted their teeth because, in them, the kids seemed cheerful. But today’s parents are not so self-sacrificing. They’ve been ruined by pandering movies like Shrek, which—though PG-rated—sling enough adult jokes to keep parents laughing. Today’s kid-friendly restaurants, just like today’s kid movies, have to snag the parents, too.
Westchester’s new kid-friendly restaurants don’t make parents cringe. Their tables aren’t sticky, and there are no game rooms, mascots, or trademarks in sight. But the practiced eyes of parents can still spot that their tykes will be welcome. Look for bare table-tops, quick service, and a disguising bit of noise. Better still, these new restaurants offer dishes that appeal to kids and that parents aren’t embarrassed to order. Say goodbye to nasty chicken fingers—it’s time to buckle in those kids and hit the town.
TRUCK (391 Old Post Rd, Bedford 914-234-8900; truckrestaurant.com) Look for cheerful Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, or Amer-Mex—whatever you want to call it—mostly using organic and locally grown produce. Kids will love nitrate-free beef and pork corn dogs made with organic cornmeal, but there are quesadillas and tacos, too. Plus, look for lovely layer cakes, carrot-cake “Twinkies,” and miniature soft-serve ice cream cones that are perfectly scaled for little hands. (And Margaritas for Mom and Dad!)
Noodle+ (245 Main St, White Plains 914-948-4950; noodle-plus.com) Bustling and noisy, Noodle+ offers delicious dumplings and chicken noodle soups for your little slurpers. There’s a wall-sized photomural of kids Hoovering up noodles, so parents with sloppy eaters need not feel ashamed. For dessert, there’s bubble tea—some with squiggly, colorful gelatins and some with bouncy boba.
Dumpling + Noodle (26 Palmer Ave, Bronxville 914-779-0902; dumplingnoodle.com) Pretty much the same deal as above. Parents can tuck into deep bowls of pho while kids slurp brothy noodles. Look for swift service, lots of pleasant hubbub, and excellent soup dumplings. Plus, unlike Noodle+, this joint offers a full bar.
Local (75 S Greeley Ave, Chappaqua 914-238-0698; chappaqualocal.com) Look for $8 kids’ meals that include roasted chicken breast with a side of carrots—or how about an organic peanut-butter sandwich with jelly or banana? You won’t feel bad about feeding your kid anything from this sweet little restaurant, which also sells excellent ice cream sourced from the Hudson Valley’s own Ronnybrook Farm Dairy and Massachusetts’ SoCo Creamery. Look for house-made ice cream toppings, too.
Le Pain Quotidien (30 Purchase St, Rye 914-967-1460; lepainquotidien.com) Do chain restaurants, crayons, and colorable kids’ menus strike you with fear? Don’t let them. This seductive chain with Belgian roots is as civilized as can be and offers delicious, carefully crafted soups and sandwiches—plus a bit of Mozart. It’s an ideal, low-key place for teaching your tyke restaurant manners—and the little sophisticates will love bowls of warm, frothed milk served with individual pitchers of chocolate.
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