8 Best Restaurants to Take a Screaming Baby To In Manhattan
Before I became a mom, I silently judged the parents of every screaming child within earshot. By the time my daughter was four days old, she had stopped screaming for about two hours total, and I realized just how maddening and overwhelming a screaming baby was. But the worst part? Nothing that I tried made her stop. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I discovered during a trip to the pediatrician that the trick to calming her was to take her to the most crowded place that I could find. Unfortunately, the calm lasted only for about half an hour and I was inevitably stuck with a screaming baby. In public. Luckily, I discovered a few special spots where this was totally normal, or at least where I wouldn’t get shunned or thrown out. One trick for finding additional spots — think of any place where it’s so loud that you can’t imagine going there sober.
For parents who have social, cranky babies or are desperate for a night out but can’t snag a sitter, here are my top eight recommendations for restaurants that won’t bat an eye at your fussy child:
After a quick expansion program, this local chain is now a staple in most neighborhoods. The menu features locally raised meat and their own specially brewed sodas. They have the best French fries that I’ve eaten since McDonald’s in the 1980s. The kids’ meals feature a main dish, fruit, and chocolate or whole milk. The best part is the down-home, no-fuss ambience, and the television and coloring sets to entertain your kid so that you can enjoy a meal and maybe even a glass of wine.
My kids have each had several outbursts here
7. Maison Kayser:
Another great chain, but with more upscale fare. The mac and cheese is a mouth-watering treat the whole family can enjoy. My kids have each had several outbursts here and the place was so loud that I could barely hear them over the din of the crowd. For the restless child, there is a bakery area featuring tons of gorgeous delectable French treats that is perfect for a quick walk away from the table. If nothing else works, there are plenty of mini-tarts and other patisseries that you can promise your child as an “incentive” to get through the meal.
The ubiquitous “poor”-man’s version of Maison Kayser. The food is organic and the menu is large enough to find a dish for the pickiest eater. The spaces are typically so loud and the crowd skews so young that any bad behavior is tolerated (sometimes even encouraged). Certain locations have a kids’ menu if you ask. Nicely.
The place to see-and be-seen for the tot-crowd
5. Atlantic Grill:
A staple on the UES and in Union Square. The place to see-and be-seen for the tot-crowd certainly courts its youngest clientele with Sippy cups and crayons. The biggest challenge is navigating around all of the strollers parked in the restaurant. The best part is the delicious sushi for parents and NYC kids with a sophisticated palate.
The perfect spot for an upscale brunch, or dinner, with kids. Landmarc offers an excellent kids’ menu, the entire Time Warner Center to explore, and it’s across the street from Central Park. For an idyllic New York City day, start with brunch at Landmarc, followed by a stroll through Central Park to the zoo, a whirl on the carousel, and end the day with a visit to Victorian Gardens or a hot chocolate and spin on Wollman’s Rink.
to help the parents cope there are pomegranate margaritas
3. Rosa Mexicana:
One evening we were stuck without a sitter and wanted to attend a cousin’s birthday dinner at Rosa Mexicana. We put my youngest daughter, then a few months old, in a car seat and crossed our fingers. Luckily she can sleep through anything — the place was so loud that I had no idea whether she was fast asleep or screaming her head off unless I lifted the Aden and Anais blanket over her and checked. There is no way a screaming child would seem at all out of place here.
And to help the parents cope there are pomegranate margaritas. And micheladas.
And mojitos. And pomegranate margaritas.
2. The Smith:
I first remember feeling old when my friends and I decided not to go to the Smith anymore because we were tired of having to yell across the table to hear each other. That was pre-kids. The Smith was the first place I thought to bring my babies to and it was an excellent choice. Whether it’s a large family brunch or a dinner with a bunch of friends and babies, the Smith is great for groups with children. The open windows to the sidewalk also make for a great exit plan if you need it!
1. Brother Jimmy’s:
Depending on your tolerance level for frunking drat boys, you may want to avoid Sundays in the fall, but generally Brother Jimmy’s is the easiest spot for rowdy kids. The kid’s menu features a wide variety of entrees and sides, there are distracting television sets everywhere, the music is loud and upbeat, and kids under 12 eat for free.
Maison Kayser: $$
Le Pain Quotidien $$
Atlantic Grill $$$
49 W 64th St
b/t West 64th St & W Central Park
Upper West Side
Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Cir, Fl 3
Upper West Side
Rosa Mexicana $$$
The Smith $$
Brother Jimmy’s $$
Lara is a mom and lawyer living in Manhattan. In her spare time she looks forward to bedtime.