Our Favorite Spots for a Kid-Friendly Brunch in NYC

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No one does brunch like New Yorkers, and we don’t stop brunching once children arrive. But where are the best places in NYC to brunch with kids? This city has a plentiful assortment of restaurants with a kid-friendly brunch, and one thing’s for sure about our list of faves: There will always be a menu item that even the pickiest of eaters in your squad will love. Read on for our favorite spots in NYC for brunch with kids (and where you can get mimosa if you please!) Interested in pancakes? Check out our picks for best NYC pancakes here!

photo: Carnegie Diner

For Over-the-Top Milkshakes: Carnegie Diner

Who says milkshakes can’t be a brunch food? We think this should be considered a go-to at brunch and the chocolate pancake milkshake served at the newly-opened Carnegie Diner does not disappoint. If that’s not enough to impress the entire family, consider such fun menu options as the pancake lollipops (mini silver dollar pancakes served on a lollipop stick). Located steps away from Carnegie Hall, your early birds will delight in the 7 AM start time for breakfast, too.

Carnegie Diner
205 West 57th St.
Online: carnegiediner.com 

For an Indoor Garden That Can’t Be Beat: Gnocco

East Village locals know all about the bliss that can be found at Gnocco, an Italian restaurant that has been serving meals to neighborhood families for 20 years. Do whatever you can to book a table in the plant-filled, covered garden out back. The heated retreat is the perfect place to sip a cappuccino and watch as your kids relish their plate of fluffy pancakes or a Roman-style margherita pizza.

337 East 10th St.
East Village 
Online: gnocco.com

For a Stylish Soho Scene: Soho Diner

The people watching is epic at the newly-opened Soho Diner tucked right in the Soho Grand Hotel. But there’s one more reason we love this place lots: It oozes classic diner vibes, cranks the ’80s tunes and is open 24/7, which means that you can arrive here at the crack of dawn and snag a table. And, while you delight in a tasty avocado toast, your littles will go bananas for the malted waffle or buttermilk pancakes with whipped butter and real maple syrup.

Soho Diner
320 West Broadway
Online: sohodinernyc.com

For Decadent Baked Goods: High Street on Hudson

Tucked in the heart of the West Village, High Street on Hudson has something for everyone in the family and, unlike other spots in the neighborhood, is open daily at the family-friendly hour of 8 a.m.. You might veer straight to the ricotta toast or a bagel board featuring whitefish salad, Ben’s cream cheese, tomato, onion and capers, while the rest of the family is sure to go for the challah French toast. And then there are the baked goods, all of which are made on-the-premises. We promise: You can’t go wrong with such sweet accompaniments as a decadent cinnamon cardamom roll or a pistachio croissant.

High Street on Hudson
637 Hudson St.
West Village 
Online: highstreetonhudson.com

photo: Bella Luna

For Sweet & Savory Faves: Bella Luna

The supremely family-friendly Bella Luna opens its doors for brunch at 11:30 a.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays. Upper West Siders frequent this local fave that has been in the neighborhood for over 30 years, thanks to such tasty options as Nutella stuffed French toast, omelets with a wide variety of fillings and even a strawberry Nutella pizza, featuring ricotta, strawberries and basil.

Bella Luna
574 Columbus Ave.
Upper West Side 
Online: bellalunanyc.com

For a Little Country in the City: Cowgirl 

For 31 years, this West Village favorite has flung open its doors for brunch every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. with the last seating at 3:45 p.m.. There’s so much here to love—and cherish—including the restaurant’s western-themed lounge in the back with two pinball machines and a photo booth—a perfect place for the kids to hang out while you wait for your table or sip a frozen margarita. Once you arrive at your table, crayons and a kids menu featuring pancakes, scrambled eggs and, yes, the ice cream baked potato. This dessert looks like a baked potato but tastes like a hot fudge sundae. What could be better!

519 Hudson St.
West Village 
Online: cowgirlnyc.com

For a Trip to Spain Without Leaving Town: Spanish Diner at Mercado Little Spain

One of the best ways to start your Hudson Yards exploration: Brunch at Spanish Diner at José Andrés Mercado Little Spain. The diner, which opens daily at seven a.m., is tucked right under the High Line and egg fans take note: Egg dishes are a specialty here with such offerings as classics like fried eggs served atop a bed of French fries. If your little ones prefer something sweet, the olive oil pancakes and Spanish-style French toast, soaked overnight in milk and then soaked in egg, are a must try. 

Spanish Diner
10 Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards
Online: littlespain.com/restaurant/spanish-diner/

photo: Connie Zhou

For a Luxe Brunch with Grandma: Bistro Verde at Nordstrom

There is ample stroller parking and a plethora of high chairs at Bistro Verde, the fifth floor restaurant in the gleaming new Nordstrom. Served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, brunch here comes with fresh fruit, an acai grape smoothie shooter and, a perk we love, complimentary sparkling water. Your kids are going to savor anything they order here, but a kid favorite on the menu is crème brulee brioche French toast (served with a granola crust, bananas, caramel and a mascarpone vanilla crème). And the biscuits here rival the best Southern specialty. Pro tip: If Bistro Verde is too busy for your antsy kids, head right downstairs to basement-level Jeannie’s, which offers a healthy kids menu filled with tot-approved faves, too.

225 West 57th St.
Online: shop.nordstrom.com

For a Cozy Brunch on the Upper East: The Penrose

Brunch may be a sport on the Upper East Side but The Penrose doesn’t disappoint with is French toast sticks, mac and cheese bites, delectable crispy herbed home fries and fried chicken and waffle plate. The whole place oozes calm and you’ll want to kick back in this cabin-like space all day. Best of all, brunch starts at 9:30 on both Saturday and Sunday so parents can beat the massive crowds that start streaming in way later.

The Penrose
1590 Second Ave.
Upper East Side 
Online: penrosebar.com


To Make the Brooklyn Brunch Scene, Williamsburg Edition: Sunday in Brooklyn

Want to experience full-on Brooklyn with your brunch? Head to this mega popular spot not far from the new Domino Park for noshing and people watching. (How serious are they about brunch? It's served all week long.) But be forewarned: plan ahead and make a reservation; it's not uncommon for a wait of two hours to occur. The buzzy and casual main dining room hums with energy as favorites like decadent malted pancakes with hazelnut maple praline, and brown butter; cheddar scramble, and yes, avocado toast (with whipped ricotta, sprouts, and toasted seeds) emerge from the kitchen. Dishes offer a sophisticated twist on breakfast favorites new and old, and a serious, inventive and funny cocktail menu will please those who want to sample some spirits. Hanker for some bone broth on a weekend morning? (Who doesn't?) They serve that too.

Sunday in Brooklyn
348 Wythe Ave. 
Online: sundayinbrooklyn.com

photo: Junior's

For a High-Energy Times Square Treat: Junior’s Restaurant

Grits are fan faves at this citrus-orange spot—the newest of this mini-chain of deliciousness—perched right on the edge of Times Square. They’re authentically buttery and add a perfect accessory to omelets in endless varieties. And okay if you’re steering clear of eggs, you’ll find griddle cakes, cheese blintzes and oatmeal served in massive portions. Bonus: The griddles begin heating up at 6:30 AM seven days a week, which is perfect for parents who have forgotten what it’s like to sleep in!

Junior’s Restaurant
1626 Broadway
Online: juniorscheesecake.com

For Bacon as a Main: Bar Bacon

There’s no specific kids menu at this Hell’s Kitchen COB (capital of bacon), which sizzles up 1,000 pounds of bacon a week, but the bacon French toast with hickory sugar, cookie crumble, cinnamon sugar, bacon maple butter and fresh berries should do the trick for even the fussiest of little ones. Brunch is served here from 11 AM to four PM which gives you plenty of time to check out this incredibly inventive menu. Just be sure to leave room for the Bar Bacon ice cream sundae, a sweet-salty combo that’s sure to leave your mouth watering.

Bar Bacon
836 Ninth Ave.
Hell's Kitchen 
Online: barbacon.com

For a Walk Back to Victorian Times: Lillie’s

There’s no shortage of atmosphere at Lillie’s, an inviting space that harkens back to Victorian times. We’re talking furnishings acquired from a Belfast mansion, stained glass from Milan and an antique marble bar. What’s on the ‘elevated American pub fare’ menu is equally appealing. Your kids will go nuts for the buttermilk pancakes (available without gluten, FYI) and you’ll love the eggs benny and guac toast.

Lillie's Victorian
249 West 49th St.
Online: liliesnyc.com

To Make the Brunch Scene in Brooklyn, BoCoCa Edition: Buttermilk Channel

Another brunch hotspot for Brooklynites (read: lines can get long), Buttermilk Channel is probably not the place to go if you're trying to watch your waistline. This place excels in sweet and salty elevated comfort food, making it an ideal place for some weekend indulgence. Brunch offerings include Pecan pie French toast, the benedict-like eggs Huntington (made with a biscuit), a house-cured lox plater, and egg scrambles with toast, hash, and salad. (Plus house-made granola with yogurt, buttermilk pancakes, and meatier fare.) Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; if you need more, come back for the Monday night $40 three-course meal. Either way, make a reservation or expect a wait.

Buttermilk Channel
524 Court St.
Carroll Gardens
Online: buttermilkchannelnyc.com

For Comfort Food Early: Good Enough To Eat

At this local go-to, the early bird clearly gets the worm. This Upper West Side mainstay (it opened its doors in 1981) starts serving yummy treats at 9 a.m. on weekends, so plan to join the line as early as 8:30 a.m. to score a table. While there’s no dedicated kids menu, the sides, such as macaroni & cheese are ample enough for a little one. If your family tends to have big appetites, the Banana Walnut Pancakes are sure to keep your kids full ‘til dinner.

Good Enough to Eat
520 Columbus Ave. (at 85th St.)
Online: goodenoughtoeat.com

For a Fish Feast in Battery Park City: Seamore’s

If you’re trying to get your kids to eat fish, the colorful cheery Seamore’s, located at Brookfield Place, might be just the place. It’s the largest of the six Seamore’s, and, with a kids menu featuring fish sticks as well as such beloved kid picks as chicken quesadilla, mac and cheese and pasta with butter, there’s something for everyone. Moms and dads will be pleased to dine here too, thanks to the yummy fish tacos, lobster benedict and breakfast burritos.

250 Vesey St.
Battery Park City 
Online: Seamores.com

photo: Erik Medsker/Tavern on the Green

For a Classic New York Brunch in Central Park: Tavern on the Green

No trip to Central Park is complete without a visit to the historic Tavern on the Green, a restaurant that has captured the spirit of New York City since 1934. In 2014, co-owners Jim Caiola and David Salama (previously of Beau Monde and L’Etage in Philadelphia) re-opened Tavern with a completely redesigned space and menu and here’s what’s cool: The duo live around the block from the restaurant with their own kids so you can bet they wanted to make the restaurant a welcoming and fun place for families. We approve of the fact that brunch service starts at 9 AM on both Saturdays and Sundays, just in time for that much-needed second or third cup of coffee for exhausted parents. Kids will love the Brioche French Toast with fresh strawberries and vanilla whipped cream. The restaurant also always offers custom kid’s prix fixe menu for all holiday meals.

Tavern on the Green
67th Street and Central Park West
Upper West Side 
Online: tavernonthegreen.com

For a Classic Diner and Tons of Character: Tom's

Is it gourmet? No. But it is beloved, and with good reason. A classic diner that's been around since the 30s, Tom's is a neighborhood institution well on its way to becoming a city treasure. Serving classic diner food, including cherry lime rickeys and crab cakes, Tom's is packed with both quirky decor and people. (You will probably have a short wait when you go, but the crowd is jovial and staff often pass out orange wedges to help fend off any hunger pangs.) Hot tip: Tom's is within walking distance of the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, so it's a good choice for before or after a visit. And breakfast is served all day!  Note: It's cash only, but there is an ATM on site. 

782 Washington Ave. 
Prospect Heights 
Online: tomsbrooklyn.com

—Lambeth Hochwald


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