When Ron Silver began cooking in West Village restaurants in the 1980’s, he could never have envisioned the area as home to a cozy brunch spot. Before high-end boutiques and trendy hotels crept into the West Village and the Meatpacking District, Silver worked as the executive chef at a French bistro nestled among the warehouses and nightclubs prevalent at the time. The bistro has since been shuttered and the neighborhood looks completely different today, but Silver returned earlier this year with his family in tow to bring “sweetness, wholesomeness and purity to the district” in the form of his all-American eatery, Bubby’s.
RECOMMENDED: Best of 2013 for families
The restaurant, an outpost of the original location in TriBeCa, opened at the end of September just down the way from Ron’s old stomping grounds and a stone’s throw from the bustling High Line (72 Gansevoort at Washington St; 212-206-6200,bubbys.com). “I’m shocked how much the area has changed,” says Ron, but with the future Whitney Museum of American Art across the street and an abundance of young families nearby, he believes the once-gritty nabe is the best place in the city for his family-friendly joint.
His wife Melissa and sons Abraham, 17, Luc, 6, Julian, 4 and Milo, 2 agree. On busy days, Abraham helps his dad with anything from butchering to working the barista counter, while his younger brothers happily indulge in comfort foods like mac & cheese and lemon meringue pie from the Bubby’s kitchen. “We have seriously picky children,” explains Melissa, “but we get most of our food from the farmer’s market and do our best to sneak in a few kale chips among the chicken fingers and tacos.”
Armed with family recipes like his mother’s meatloaf and grandmother’s blintzes, Ron is determined to defend traditional, home-cooked, American meals by celebrating them at Bubby’s as well as at home. “It’s important to sit down and eat as a family,” says Ron. “It’s a moment that you all come together every day to stop and talk about what’s happening.” Although his busy schedule as a chef can be a challenge, fresh ingredients and family dinners will never go out of style in the Silver household.
Scroll through our slide show, above, to see the family's favorite restaurants, museums and more in the city.
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