Great NYC diners for kids
Extensive menus and noise-tolerant rooms are a parent's dream come true.
Fri Jun 22 2012
813 Annadale Rd between Posen St and Sneden Ave, Staten Island (718-984-3200). Travel: From the Staten Island Ferry, take the Staten Island Railway to Annadale. Average main course: $12.50. Average kids' meal: $8. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats.
Locals deem this the borough's best diner for its accommodating staff and consistent food. Parents rave about the classic Greek salad, but the kitchen also pays careful attention to kids, with specialty items such as Mickey Mouse pancakes.
Bel Aire Diner
31-91 21st St between Broadway and 31st Ave, Long Island City, Queens (718-721-3160, belairediner.net). Subway: N, W to Broadway. Average main course: $13.50. Average kids' meal: $8. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats, changing table.
Located within walking distance of Socrates Sculpture Park, the Bel Aire earns points for extras like the gratis beets and chickpeas your family can nosh on while you wait for your order. Seen-it-all staffers won't grimace when you mention your child's food allergies.
Big Daddy's Diner
*239 Park Ave South between 19th and 20th Sts (212-477-1500, bigdaddysnyc.com). Subway: 6 to 23rd St.
*1596 Second Ave at 83rd St (212-717-2020). Subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St.
*2454 Broadway between 90th and 91st Sts (212-677-2004, bigdaddysnyc.com). Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 96th St. Average main course: $11. Average kids' meal: $8. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats.
Yes, the kitsch is manufactured here, but like the best daddies, this one knows how to keep kids happy: The menu's treats include pizza bagels, Barbie Blast fruit shakes and mini chocolate-chip pancakes. Upper West Siders: Be on the lookout for a third location, coming soon.
Cobble Hill Coffee Shop
314 Court St between DeGraw and Sacket Sts, Brooklyn (718-852-1162). Subway: F, G to Carroll St. Average main course: $12. High chairs, booster seats.
Formerly the somewhat grim Donut House, the recently reborn venue now boasts plenty of smiles, spruced-up if bland decor and spotless bathrooms. But some things don't change: The French toast remains fluffy and crisp, and the shoebox-size space means you'll be lining up your stroller with the rest of the gang outside.
511 9th St at Eighth Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-499-1966, dizzys.com). Subway: F, G to Seventh Ave. Average main course: $11. Average kids' meal: $6. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats. Cash only.
Dizzy's maintains a loyal crowd despite some fierce local competition in the Slope. When the weather's right, the patio's the place for tots to enjoy Nutella-stuffed "Peter au Pain" and "Dog gone" turkey franks before playtime at Prospect Park, just a block away.
*1271 Third Avenue at 73rd St (212-472-0600). Subway: 6 to 77th St.
*447 Amsterdam Ave between 81st and 82nd St (212-873-3444). Subway: 1 to 79th St. Average main course: $13. Average kids' meal: $7. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats. Cash only.
Booths and tables fill up quickly on weekend mornings; come on a weekday instead to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. The blue-plate specials are killer bargains.
86-55 Queens Blvd at 55th Ave, Elmhurst, Queens (718-651-9000). Subway: G, R, V to Grand Ave--Newtown. Average main course: $22.50. Average kids' meal: $10.
Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats. Entice your tots to behave on the trek through Target by promising them a Belgian waffle sundae at the adjacent diner with the space-age sign. Italian and Greek entres are the way to go and can easily be shared—justifying the higher-than-expected prices.
8518 Fifth Ave between 85th and 86th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (855-446-7247). Subway: R to 86th St. Average main course: $11.50. High chairs, booster seats. Cash only.
Those in the know head to this authentically retro spot for its thick milk shakes and tall sundaes. The ice cream is made from scratch, perhaps the best reminder of the good old days.
572 Eleventh Ave between 43rd and 44th Sts (212-244-2888, marketdinernyc.com). Subway: A, C, E to 42nd Street--Port Authority. Average main course: $10. High chairs, booster seats.
After a modernizing face-lift, this light-filled eatery stays true to its roots by churning out textbook mac and cheese, and tuna melts. The upside to its out-of-the-way West Side location: an actual (if small) parking lot.
New Venus Restaurant
252 Eighth Avenue between 22nd and 23rd St (212-243-0980, newvenusnyc.com). Subway: C, E to 23rd St. Average main course: $16. Average kids' meal: $10. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats.
There's grilled cheese, and then there's New Venus's decadent version, consisting of a generous three halves. Consider us smitten.
220 Cadman Plaza West between Clark and Pineapple Sts, Brooklyn Heights (718-596-5900, parkplazarestaurant.com). Subway: A, C to High St; 2, 3 to Clark St. Average main course: $15. Average kids' meal: $8. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats.
During the week you'll find lawyers, jurors and other County Court denizens scarfing down Reubens, but on weekends young families take over. The fare is decidedly diner—beef sliders, spaghetti and meatballs—so the main selling point is the ample space between tables (and, folks, the full bar).
Pelham Bay Diner
1920 E Gun Hill Rd, Bronx (718-379-4130, pelhambaydinerny.com). Subway: 5 to Gun Hill Rd. Average main course: $14. Average kids' meal: $8. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats, changing tables.
Located just north of where I-95 intersects with the Hutch, the spacious eatery is a perfect last stop before a family road trip. Get into the local spirit with a hearty "Bronx Skillet" breakfast (bacon, ham and sausage, with two eggs and jack cheese).
402 W 34th St between Ninth and Dyer Aves (212-244-0395, skylightdinernyc.com). Subway: A, C, E to 34th St. Average main course: $9--$12. High chairs, booster seats.
The spacious Skylight—serving expertly executed dishes like cheese-topped veggie chili and, if your timing is right, a creamy and satisfying tomato soup—is a charmer, and conveniently located one block from the AMC Loews 14-plex.
33 Leonard St at West Broadway (212-925-7188). Subway: 1 to Franklin St. Average main course: $9. High chairs, booster seats. Cash only.
A classic railway diner is the last thing you'd expect to find in the industrial canyons of Tribeca, but the Square Diner is no mirage, and neither are its old-fashioned prices. Ply your family with standard diner food—burgers, sandwiches, salads—and Greek dishes like souvlaki. Kids (and grown-ups) can indulge in a thick milk shake or root beer float. Be warned: The early-rising staff give themselves a well-deserved break on weekends, when they close shop at 4pm.
2880 Broadway at 112th St (212-864-6137, tomsrestaurant.net). Subway: 1 to 110th St--Cathedral Pkwy. Average main course: $9. Booster seats. Cash only.
Renowned as the inspiration for Suzanne Vega's most famous song—and the neon sign featured on Seinfeld—Tom's could get by on reputation alone. Turns out it's also a decent place to take the kids for strawberry pancakes and meatloaf sandwiches.
Tom's Restaurant (Brooklyn)
782 Washington Ave at Sterling Pl, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-636-9738). Subway: 2, 3 to Eastern Pkwy. Average main course: $9. Booster seats, high chairs. Cash only.
New York has plenty of legendary eateries (including the unrelated Tom's in Manhattan, above), but only at the venerable Prospect Heights institution are coffee and cookies offered as you wait in line. It's that personal touch—in addition to the cherry lime rickeys and lemon ricotta pancakes—that has kept Tom's in business since 1936.
1619 86th St between Bay 13th St and 16th Ave, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn (718-331-2221). Subway: D, M to 18th Ave. Average main course: $16. Average kids' meal: $8. Kids' menu, high chairs, booster seats.
You won't find any slot machines, but you will find an authentically old-school Brooklyn setting, elevating your bottomless-coffee-and-two-eggs experience.
144 Second Ave at 9th St (212-228-9682, veselka.com). Subway: L to Second Ave, 6 to Astor Pl. Average main course: $15. High chairs, booster seats.
A throwback to the artsy, affordable East Village of decades past, the Ukrainian diner is beloved for such authentic savory grub as borscht, kielbasa and pierogi. Homemade treats like blintzes, poppy-seed bread and rice pudding will send your sweet tooth (or toothless sweetie) to heaven. Factor in fast, friendly service and lots of vegetarian options, and this landmark more than earns its cheery, inclusive appellation: Veselka means "rainbow" in Ukrainian.
385 Sixth Ave between Waverly Pl and 8th St (212-675-3181). Subway: A, C, E, B, D, F, V to W 4th St. Average main course: $18. Average kids' meal: $8. Kids' menu, booster seats. High chairs, cash only.
Need somewhere to plunk down after a stroll through Washington Square Park? The Waverly's famous neon sign beckons. Snuggle up in a cozy padded booth and share an order of golden onion rings; if your kid's been especially good, reward her with one of the homey desserts on display.