Photo courtesy of Baciccia
There is surely no shortage of restaurants in and around Park Slope. But which are the best choices when we go out with our babies and children? We’ve spoken to several parents in the neighborhood and have rounded up some of the favorite family spots. FUN FACT: Did you know Dr. Cao is totally obsessed with Italian food? His top 3 restaurants are featured at the top, with his family’s favorite menu choices!
#1) Baciccia - True Italian cuisine (everyone there is from Italy). They have Nutella Pizza (YES, it’s a thing - and Hai learned this from Matteo’s nephews back in Italy)!
#2) Piccante - AMAZING Italian (not in Park Slope but close enough in Bay Ridge). Osso Buco is to die for but definitely come hungry...it’s huge! A real gem of a restaurant and very accomodating for children.
#3) Piccoli - Bolognese della Nonna is Hai’s daughter’s favorite dish. They start preparing it as soon as she walks in, they don’t even ask what she’s having! Mouth watering homemade risottos, and more simple pasta dishes for the littles make it a win-win for the whole family.
Photo courtesy of Piccante
Bogota -If you’re looking for a more lively spot, this restaurant will deliver a more fun experience and great Central/South American food. Children’s menu and fried yucca, cornmeal cakes (arepas), black bean empanadas...lots for them to choose from. Definitely go early if going for dinner as it gets very crowded!
Brooklyn Crab - Mini golf, bean bag toss, sandbox….and plenty of room for kids to run around and play outside while you enjoy the seafood in this crab-shack vibe in Red Hook. A perfect way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with the family!
Cafe Steinhof - Casual Austrian restaurant, where kids can enjoy some schnitzel or spaetzle. Great choice for a brunch and high chairs are available. It’s a little tight indoors for strollers, FYI (easier to sit outside)!
Calexico - Sometimes it is hard to get a seat, but when you do it's worth the wait at this restaurant with a “cool, California vibe” (NY Mag). Affordable, and fun - can’t really go wrong here, kids menu and all! Folks love their burrito bowls with the “crack sauce” (spicy mayo).
Dizzy’s - A “finer diner”, a PERFECT brunch spot for the family and it really doesn’t get any more baby or kid friendly than this. Food is always solid, and the staff could not be any friendlier!
East Wind Snack Shop - This spot in Windsor Terrace has the yummiest Chinese dumplings, and kids will often agree. Large communal table inside and bench outside, and the website even states “we love kids and dogs”!
Guiseppinas - Many think this is the best brick oven pizza in the Slope, true NYC pizza. The owner often comes by each table to greet guests. You can see the brick oven from your table and can watch them make your pizza.
Greenwood Park - This open picnic table setting outdoors is a fun spot for kids (during daytime hours only). Be sure to keep track of their holiday events, like pumpkin carving in October and the tree lighting in December.
Haab - A large menu includes more traditional tacos to tacos with duck confit, or cactus with avocado and queso fresco. Accommodating wait staff, definitely appropriate for babies and children.
Hugo & Sons - Super family friend restaurant, where children’s menu includes organic chicken nuggets, hot dogs and fries and rigatoni. They’ll even prepare any pizza or pasta as gluten-free if requested! Crispy artichokes...yum.
J'eatjet - If you or your kids love burgers, this gastropub is for you (beef, lamb, veggie, and more)! Not sure there are many kids (or adults) who would turn down their mac-and-cheese balls. Their backyard is lovely for the summer.
Johnny Mack's - For more traditional American comfort food, and you can play pinball while you wait. This restaurant has been there for 23 years, which says a lot.
Korzo - A Slovakian restaurant where kids are always welcome and can help you eat the yummy pierogies, potato latkes, and the infamous “fried burger”.
Krupa Grocery - The food here is delicious, specifically the panko-crusted shrimp burger and the Korean pickles. High chairs available, even “higher high chairs” for the high tables! Beautiful outdoor area is a great spot to enjoy brunch too.
Le French Tart - For lighter lunches and dinners, like quiches, crepes and salads, this new cafe is the place to go. The owners have young kids who are often there behind the counter. They also have an amazing selection of baked goods (and everyone must try their chips)!
Le Paddock - In addition to classic French food at a good price, this restaurant also offers brick oven pizza which always seems to work for kids! It's a smart option if you are in the park and want to go closeby for brunch or dinner (located in Windsor Terrace).
Miriam - Another great brunch spot, this Israeli restaurant is a pleaser for both kids and parents alike. Includes more simple foods (french toast) and then a more traditional Israeli dish like the Burekas, a puffed pastry pocket stuffed with feta & olives.
Patsys - If you find yourself in northern Park Slope, this old-school pizzeria has a big back patio. Thin crust pizza is amazing. They also offer to do kids’ parties, where they learn to make their own pizza!
Pita & Sticks - Good Greek food option and family-owned and therefore very welcoming of families. Large platters are fun to share with the kids! For the more picky eaters, the menu include burgers and chicken nuggets and the unisex bathroom has a changing station for babies.
Prospect Bar & Grill - The French Toast is a favorite with little ones, and it has ample space should they get antsy and want to walk around! The staff is so accommodating and friendly, an easy choice for brunch on a Sunday morning.
Sidecar - Buttermilk fried chicken. The best. That is all. And yes, kid friendly and a charming little outdoor space.
Ten - While many young children might not be so adventurous to try sushi, there are more “kid friendly” options like gyoza and edamame. Lots of vegan options as well!
Don’t see your favorite restaurant listed? Please comment and share!
Today it is more important than ever to celebrate and create dialogue around our diversity. One woman, a SSP parent and renowned artist, is doing just that through her 80+ murals around the world, her children’s books and teaching. Meet Katie Yamasaki, whose work has been given high praise by the NYT among many other publications. She has just published her 4th book, “When the Cousins Came”, which she has both authored and illustrated. Let’s meet Katie, learn about her latest children’s book and the significance of her work.
SSP: Before we dive into who you are and how you got to this incredible place you are at, can you please tell us about your recent book launch earlier this month of “When the Cousins Came”? One review summarizes it as “A refreshing, reassuring, and honest story about family and friendship that stands out amid a sea of pat friendship stories” (Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN). How would you describe this book and what it means to you?
This book was inspired by my own family, by the times shared with my cousins from our earliest days. There are a lot of us, I’m one of 27 first cousins, and we were spread across the country in both very urban and very rural areas. I had cousins who rode skateboards in Albuquerque and cousins who rode dog sleds through the Alaskan tundra. So when we would get together, there was always a lot to share and a lot to learn.
We were also comprised of many different racial and ethnic mixes, which only continues to grow in this new generation. At any given family reunion these days, you’ll find our family to be different mixes of Chinese, Indian, Dominican, Japanese, Irish, Hawaiian, Nigerian, French-Canadian, Ethiopian, etc. The lesson that we took from growing up in that environment, is the lesson that I hope to communicate in the book. It is that our differences actually bring us closer together and make our relationships stronger and healthier.
SSP: You are tremendously gifted across many different fields. A muralist, an educator, a writer, an illustrator...I’m not sure where to begin! How did your childhood help shape the path to where you are now? How did you discover your passion for art?
I am lucky to come from a very creative family who encouraged all of us to make things all the time. I didn’t grow up thinking I’d become an artist, but I did grow up building, baking, painting, woodworking and sewing. My family was full of artists and teachers on both sides and I grew up thinking I’d probably become a social worker because I loved working with people and wanted to do something meaningful with my time. When I got to college, I ended up liking my drawing class (I was awful but it was fun) much more than my social work class, so that was the path I pursued. The tricky part was trying to figure out what I’d do with the art in terms of work, making a living, doing something meaningful, etc . . . I was lucky to find children’s books and muralism in the years that followed.
SSP: Who would you say are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences are people I meet who share their stories. I’m lucky that my way of making work focuses on storytelling- either in book form or in mural form. The stories are usually the stories of others, and the art is kind of the vehicle or the platform for expression. So I get to hear all kinds of stories- stories of immigration, of incarceration, of community, of family, of loss, of visions for better futures. These stories are my greatest influences and motivate my work completely.
Artistically, there are some artists whose work I love with my whole heart. Leo and Diane Dillon, Frida Kahlo, Ed Young, Kerry James Marshall, Diego Rivera and Isamu Noguchi to name a few.
SSP: So many of us, especially in the NY area, can identify with being part of a diverse family (including myself)! We can totally relate to the curiosity and excitement that comes with learning about our family’s different cultures and celebrating our differences. This seems to be an underlying theme in your books and murals that you’ve created. What is the most important message or messages you would like us to take away from your work?
I think that across both the books and murals, I hope that people will feel empowered to share their own story in any form. Everyone has a story and we sometimes get so used to our own story that it starts to feel less interesting or unimportant. Or maybe we are around too many people who have similar-seeming stories. But they all matter and they will matter to your children and to their children. So, I hope that the work will motivate the viewer to ask questions from their elders to learn more about the stories of their people. We are in a time where the power of listening cannot be underestimated. I hope that my work will motivate people to ask questions and listen thoughtfully as a way to deepen and broaden our connections.
SSP: To date, is there a piece of work that has been most meaningful to you, and why?
I am most proud of the work I have done in different prisons and detention centers both nationally and in Mexico. A few years ago, I did a project with incarcerated mothers at Rikers Island and their children in Brooklyn and East Harlem. I worked with the kids to design a message and a mural for their moms and then painted that mural with the moms at the women’s jail on Rikers. Then I worked with the moms to design a message and an image for their children, and painted the image with the kids in E. Harlem. It was a powerful project for many reasons, but it really showed me the power art-making has when it comes to building bridges. Not only were the moms and kids brought into dialogue with each other and able to communicate in a new and expressive way, but the moms were also brought into greater dialogue with the people around them in jail- other women, corrections officers, etc. The kids, in doing a public piece of art were also brought into the light in a way that lifted the stigma that burdens many children with incarcerated parents. The ways that the communities around both the moms and kids supported the expression of their story was incredibly moving and a project I will never forget.
SSP: I understand you also visit schools and organizations, can you please tell me a little more about that and how someone can get in touch with you?
I love to do presentations and workshops with both my book and mural work for people of all ages and moments of life. I’ve presented in elementary schools, homeless shelters, churches, prisons, museums, 4-H clubs, etc. Anything goes. I can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org