Comfort food is the name of the game at these family restaurants specializing in down-home cooking, and what kid can say no to sticky-sweet BBQ, gooey mac and cheese and buttery biscuits? Round up your brood and head to these homey locales like Buttermilk Channel and Sweet Chick for the laidback atmosphere and finger-licking favorites.
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Kick off a meal at Danny Meyer’s original BBQ joint with North Carolina salt peanuts—a fun finger food for all ages, then let the tots choose a main course (including the literally finger-licking Memphis baby backs), a side, a dessert and a beverage from the children’s menu for $11. Parents won’t have to settle for bland menu options here, with items like spicy seven pepper–rubbed brisket ($20) and smoky pulled pork shoulder ($20) on offer, smoked in the “Old Hickory” pits on-site.
The kids’ dishes at this standout Carroll Gardens bistro—including a mini version of their famous fried chicken ($12 with a side, beverage and dessert)—are perfectly portioned for little appetites. Although all kids’ meals come with a choice of sweet after-dinner treat, they’ll probably still want to steal a bite of your pecan pie sundae ($9). Consider dropping by on a Monday, when you can treat the whole family to a three-course meal for a budget friendly $30 per person.
The kids’ menu at this Southwestern spot features lots of reasonably-priced dishes, including the famed Frito Pie ($6–$7), which little ones will enjoy eating straight out of the bag. Other old frontier-themed favorites include “corndoggies” ($6) and pulled pork sammys ($6), served with French fries and corn on the cob. Finish off a gut-busting meal with the “#1 best dessert ever,” a sharing-sized ice cream sundae ($7.95) that looks like a baked potato.
Get a taste of Texas at this spacious and casual BBQ joint. Kids will love getting their hands dirty while digging into a rack of Hill Country’s celebrated pork ribs ($9.50–10), then finishing up with a peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcake ($4.50) for dessert. The restaurant also features a beloved Texas treat, in the form of Blue Bell ice cream ($4). The famous flavors are seasonal, so come back often to sample them all.
Little ones with a penchant for mouth-puckering flavors have lots to choose from at this craft eatery, including pickled beets, carrots and green beans in addition to the standard cukes ($4–$16). Kids will also enjoy digging into the southern-style biscuit sandwiches, served with cheese grits ($14–16). For a sweet starter that’s perfectly sized for little appetites, go for the Biscuits & Fixins with honey, maple butter and housemade fruit preserves ($8).
Wind down the weekend with Sunday supper at this homey, cozy Park Slope eatery. The weekly prix-fixe meal ($30 for adults, $12 for kids) features a rotating menu of family-friendly dishes crafted from local ingredients, like beer-can chicken, salad and coleslaw. Add the kid-friendly mac and cheese and Funfetti cake for dessert and it’s like a gourmet backyard barbeque with no cleanup required. The regular menu—served Tuesday through Saturday nights—features dishes like an heirloom tomato salad ($12), hanger steak with green beans and mashed potatoes ($26) and a peanut-butter-and-jelly-inspired ice cream sandwich ($5)—a dessert kids are sure to love.
It’s not every day you see Velveeta on a restaurant menu (especially in New York City), but it’s a staple at Mabel’s, finding its way into both the mac and cheese ($4.95) and the Rotel queso dip ($6.95). The nuclear orange goo is sure to delight even the hippest city kids with the most refined palates. Come hungry and order a platter or two so you can sample the restaurant's many side dishes.
This soul food staple with locations in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side is like KFC takeout for hip city kids. Try sharing the Sweet Chick Bucket (three pieces of fried chicken, a biscuit and slaw; $17) with little ones or let them tackle the sweet-and-savory house specialty: Chicken & Waffles ($16) with their choice of a classic, bacon or cheddar waffle.
Southern comfort food dominates at this Smith Street eatery, and most of it is kid-friendly: Think fried chicken ($3–$6), fried bologna sandwiches ($5) and fried chicken on a stick ($5). Perhaps you’ve noticed a theme...Wilma Jean’s specialty is definitely of the deep-fried variety. Kids will relish the chance to gobble up all that greasy goodness with their hands.