Get us in your inbox


Recipes for kids from NYC's best family restaurants

The city's coolest eateries share easy kid-friendly dishes—with a tasty upgrade for you, their grown-up counterparts

Allie Early
Written by
Allie Early

We called in the expertise of six awesome family restaurants in NYC to help us make dinnertime exciting for you and the kids. Here are six easy comfort food recipes for the little ones and, with just a few small tweaks, matching adult versions of each recipe that'll please you, too. Check out our first set of meals below!

  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4
By Michelle Wakefield (Cowgirl)

Cowgirl, 519 Hudson St at W 10th St

For the kids:
Burger ingredients:

4oz Pat LaFrieda Angus ground beef
Salt and pepper
1 slice cheddar cheese
1 sesame-seed bun
Frozen French fries or Tater-Tots, prepared as directed

For the burger:

Heat grill pan or outdoor grill on high. Season ground beef with salt and pepper, and form into a patty. Lightly oil grill grate, and cook the patty for four minutes. Flip the patty, and cook for three more minutes. Add one slice of cheddar cheese, and cook for two more minutes for medium doneness. Remove patty from the grill, and cover it loosely with foil on a plate. Place bun on the grill, and toast for about one minute. Assemble burger and garnish as desired. Serve with French fries or Tater-Tots.

For the adults:
S & H Burger ingredients:

8oz Pat LaFrieda Angus ground beef
Frozen Tater-Tots, prepared as directed
1 hamburger bun of your choice
1 jalepeño pepper, sliced and seeded
Chile con queso ingredients:
1 lb Velveeta, melted
6oz Rotel tomatoes
Chili powder

Cowgirl's coleslaw ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
2 tbsp dill-pickle juice
4-5 cups shredded red and/or green cabbage and carrots

For the burger:

Same patty forming and grill instructions as above. Cook for approximately five minutes per side for medium doneness. Same patty removal and bun toasting instructions as above. Assemble the burger, and top with chile con queso, jalepeno and sliced Tater-Tots. Serve with Cowgirl coleslaw (below).

For the chile con queso:
Melt Velveeta in microwave per instructions on package. Mix with Rotel tomatoes. Add cumin and chili powder to taste.

For Cowgirl's coleslaw:
Combine mayonnaise, lemon, white vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and pickle juice. Mix well. Dress shredded cabbage and carrots with mixture, and toss.
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4
Mac and cheese
By Marc Murphy (Ditch Plains)

Ditch Plains, 29 Bedford St at Downing St

For the kids:
Mac and cheese ingredients:

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp rosemary
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ quart milk
½ quart heavy cream
½ lb diced white American cheese at room temperature
½ lb grated Swiss cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup grated Parmesan at room temperature
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 lb elbow pasta cooked al dente in salted water, drained well and cooled

For the mac and cheese:

In a medium saucepan, heat milk and heavy cream. Melt butter over medium heat; add rosemary and sauté briefly. Whisk in flour until incorporated; stir about five to six minutes, making sure it doesn't brown. Add milk and heavy cream; whisk until incorporated. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. Add American, Swiss and Parmesan cheeses, and whisk until they melt (do not boil). Remove sauce from heat, and puree until smooth; season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in elbow pasta and serve immediately.

For the adults:
Extra ingredients:

½ oz lobster roe
1 tbsp truffle butter
8oz picked lobster meat
1 cup panko bread crumbs, seasoned and toasted in sauté pan

For the mac and cheese:

Same as kids' mac-and-cheese recipe. After pureeing cheese mixture, add lobster butter (below), and whisk until emulsified. In a saucepan over low heat, add lobster meat to cooked, drained and cooled pasta, and coat with sauce while heating through. Top elbow pasta with toasted breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.

For the lobster butter:
In a small mixing bowl, macerate lobster roe with a whisk.
Add softened butter, and mix until emulsified.
  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4
Chicken and Waffles
By John Seymour (Sweet Chick)

Sweet Chick, 164 Bedford Ave at North 8th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

For the kids:
Chicken ingredients:

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
½ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp honey
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cornflakes, crushed
Salt and pepper

Waffle ingredients:
Note: This recipe requires a waffle iron
10oz flour
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp + tsp baking powder
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
15oz milk
5oz melted butter
2 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar

Cordon bleu sauce ingredients (optional):
1 tbsp shallots, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
3oz ham, diced

Cordon bleu sauce ingredients (optional):
2 tsp thyme leaves, picked and chopped
1 cup Gruyére cheese, shredded
½ tsp cornstarch
¼ cup chicken stock

For the chicken fingers:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix buttermilk and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Cut chicken into -inch strips. Pour buttermilk mixture over chicken, and toss to coat. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes. Dredge marinated chicken strips in seasoned flour, dip in egg mixture, then roll in cornflakes. Arrange chicken strips on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, until chicken fingers are golden brown and chicken is cooked through.

For the waffles:
Combine flour, salt and bakery powder into a bowl. Add yolks, milk and melted butter, and whisk all six ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to a soft peak. Add sugar; whip to a stiff peak. Gently fold whites into the same bowl as other ingredients. Brush the inner surface of the waffle iron with butter. Pour enough batter in your waffle maker to lightly cover the surface of the iron. Cover and cook for five minutes.

For the cordon bleu sauce:

Sweat shallots in olive oil over medium-low heat until soft. Add ham and thyme, and cook until ham is lightly browned. Meanwhile, toss Gruyère with cornstarch and set it aside. Add chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Whisk in Gruyère ¼ cup at a time until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper, and serve on the side.

For the adults:
Chicken ingredients:

6 lbs chicken (pieces of your choice)
1 quart buttermilk
2 quart flour
½ cup cornstarch
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp salt + 1 tbsp pepper

Brine ingredients:
1 gallon water
1 cup sweet tea
¾ cup salt
¼ cup pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp garlic powder

For the fried chicken:

Combine brine ingredients. Brine chicken for 24 hours. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine flour, cornstarch, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper to make dredge mixture. Coat chicken with flour mixture, and shake off excess. Coat chicken pieces with buttermilk. Dredge again in flour mixture and set aside. In a large pan, heat vegetable oil to 300 degrees F. Fry chicken pieces for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through.

For waffles:
Same as kids' recipe.

For cordon bleu sauce:
Serve over hot fried chicken.
  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4
Grilled Cheese
By John Mooney (Bell Book & Candle)

Bell Book & Candle, 141 W 10th St between Greenwich Ave and Waverly Pl

For the kids:
Sour dough and Monterey jack grilled cheese ingredients:

2 pieces of sour dough bread
4 ounces of sliced Monterey jack cheese
1 whole egg
½ ounce of clarified butter


Brush one side of each sour dough with clarified butter. Place 2 slices Monterey jack in between the two unbrushed slices of bread to form a sandwich. Using a circle cutter, cut a hole in the middle of the sandwich. Place in a skillet on medium heat. When the bread is golden brown place on one side. Drizzle a little clarified butter in the center and crack the egg into the hole. Cook for two minutes and flip over. When bottom is equally brown to the top remove from pan and serve.

For the adults:

Sour dough and raclette grilled cheese ingredients:
2 pieces of sour dough bread
4 ounces of sliced raclette
1 poached egg (see below)
Drizzle of white truffle oil
½ ounce of clarified butter
5 chives sliced

Place one small sheet of plastic wrap in cup. Crack an egg into the plastic, drizzle with white truffle oil and tie off with a twist tie. Poach in simmering water for 3 minutes. Brush one side of each sour dough slice with clarified butter. Place in a skillet on medium heat. Place the slices of cheese evenly on top of the bread. When the bread is golden brown place the skillet in a broiler until the raclette bubbles. Remove from the skillet and place the bread together to make a sandwich. Cut in half 2 times, corner to corner. Place the egg on top of the sandwich. Garnish with sliced chives and serve.
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Tribeca
  • price 2 of 4
By Ron Silver (Bubby's)
Bubby's, 120 Hudson St at Moore St

For the kids:
Apple, Bacon + Cheddar Frittata ingredients:

2 tbsp butter
½ Spanish onion, diced
1 firm apple, peeled, cored, and sliced (Jonagold, Mutsu or Cortland)
4 slices thickly cut bacon, cooked and chopped
4 eggs, scrambled well
salt and pepper
3oz grated cheddar
¼ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a 10" sauté pan, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook until translucent. Add the apple and cook until softened. Add the bacon. Add the eggs and milk, then the salt and pepper. Add the cheese in a mound in the center of the eggs. Put in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until eggs are firm. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

For the adults:
Spinach Three-Cheese Frittata ingredients:

1 bunch spinach, washed thoroughly
2 tbsp butter
½ Spanish onion, diced
salt and pepper
A pinch of nutmeg
4 eggs, scrambled well
¼ cup milk
1oz grated Gruyere
1oz brie
1oz grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 F. Steam the spinach by putting a tablespoon of water into a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the spinach and stir until completely wilted. Place in colander, and run under cold water. Squeeze out all the water and chop it up, setting it aside. Heat a 10" sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and melt. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add the spinach and sauté until hot. Season with salt and pepper, and add the nutmeg. Next, add the eggs and milk. Add the cheese in a mound in the center of the eggs. Place in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until eggs are firm. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4
Sloppy Joes
By Jon Check and Ryan Angulo (Buttermilk Channel)

Buttermilk Channel, 524 Court St at Huntington St

For the kids:
Turkey sloppy joe ingredients:
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1lb ground turkey
8oz sweet pepper jelly, finest quality
8oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 cinnamon stick

For the coleslaw:
1 cup shredded green cabbage
½ cup shredded red cabbage
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 table spoons prepared mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste

Directions for the coleslaw:
Combine all ingredients and let marinade for a half hour before serving.
Directions for the sloppy joe:
Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a medium hot pan and brown the ground turkey, 5-10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until tender. Add the pepper jelly, crushed tomatoes and seasoning and simmer for 20 minutes. Removed cinnamon stick. Spoon onto toasted sesame seed buns and top with the cole slaw and store bought pickles (optional).

For the adults:
Duck sloppy joe ingredients:

1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 # ground duck breast meat
½ cup golden raisins, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp picked and chopped thyme
1 tbsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground clove
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp ancho chili puree (store-bought)
1 8oz can crushed tomatoes

Celery root slaw ingredients:
1 small head celery root, peeled and julienned
1 Asian pear, thinly sliced in half-moons
1 tbsp prepared mayonnaise
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 cup watercress leaves

Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a medium hot pan and brown the meat, 5-10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until tender. Add the chopped raisins, herbs, spices and ancho puree and cook 3-5 minutes until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. Spoon the mixture onto toasted sesame seed buns and top with the slaw and watercress leaves.

For the slaw:
Marinade the celery root and pear with the vinegar and mayonnaise and a pinch of salt 20 minutes before serving.
    You may also like
    You may also like