Great Cheap Places
What do you mean by kids??? For all kids, pizza is good - One of the Two Boots restaurants (not the take-out location) in the Village or Patsy Grimaldi's (in Brooklyn, under the Brooklyn Bridge) are enjoyable, sitdown spots with kids. All-you can eat, buffet or other offbeat service formats can be very successful with kids. Maybe something like Churrasco Plataforma (brazilian barbecue), Becco (has an allyoucan eat pasta dinner), one of the Indians with a lunch buffet or a dim sum lunch place in Chinatown (my kids prefer Golden Unicorn). My teenagers really appreciate going to fancy (white tablecloth with lots of silverware) places. Many french, italian restaurant have multi-course prix fixe menus, especially at lunchtime, which are a bargain. Also many restaurants are not so busy at this time. Little Italy and Chinatown at lunchtime are less crowded and more neighborhoody than at night.