Cheap and kid friendly in downtown Boston?!?
We are planning a trip to Boston. My husband will be in a conference all day for four days and I will be downtown by myself with a 4 month old and a 20 month old. Can some of you locals give me recommendations for cheap places for lunch that are kid friendly (and that I can take a stroller)? They can be any cuisine-my 20 month old loves wasabi...go figure. If they are in walking distance of the Boston Public Library or the museum of science, that is best.
Also if you have any ideas for places around there to eat for dinner where I would also be able to take a stroller, I would appreciate suggestions!
I hear you...I have three boys age 4 and under. Let's see:
Summer Shack is a good choice.
Joe's American Bar off Newbury St.
In or around Prudential Ctr there is Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, and Dick's Last Resort.
In Copley Mall, there is a Chili's.
McCormick and Shmick in Park Plaza Bldg.
There used to be a Friday's on Newbury St but that has closed.
I'm not advocating the food at any of these places, we all know what they're about. Just providing a list that may or may not be useful.
Near the Museum of Science, you could look for Ann's (middle eastern) on Cambridge St in Beacon Hill. Solid food and mellow.
I have always found the Bristol Lounge, at the Four Seasons Hotel, to be a great place with kids. The tables are well spaced; you can eat sitting on the sofas and lounge chairs, if that will be more comfortable for the kids (kids seem to do better sitting on a sofa than at a normal dining table); and, since it's in a hotel, they are very used to accommodating families, even though it's a more upscale place. Plus the food is great.
Off the beaten path....
If you want to be adventuresome and do not mind a 10-15 minute bus ride you should head over to Jamaica Plain (JP). I forget the number bus, but it stops in front of the Copley Place Mall across the street from the train station or across the street from the large hotel in Copley. JP is a haven for children and families. Breakfast: Sorella on Centre Ave/Street. Across the street for lunch and dinner is Milky Way. Centre is a mecca for foodies, especially if you are interested in trying something new like Cuban or Salvadoran food. After breakfast if you have time head four blocks to park. The largest mass of the "Emerald necklace" is in JP. I am sorry I do not remember the name of the bus, but it has been awhile since I was a student in Boston and took the bus. When I go back to visit Boston, I have the convenience of a car now.
Also on Columbus Avenue near the library are come amazing places to eat and are all welcoming to children.
There's really nothing within walking distance of the Mus. of Science. Solas (sp) pub in the Lenox Hotel would be casual enough for kids I think, close to the libary. There's a Thai retaurant across the street, not sure how good it is. Prairie Star Mexican on Dartmouth St. could accommodate strollers, gets mixed reviews. They have a restaurant across the street that has a more interesting menu and Clery's down the street is basic pub food and quiet during the day. There's a Legal Seafood in the Copley Place Mall behind the library. Also O'Sushi is in there and quiet during the day.
Depending on the weather J Pace and Son at Charles River Park is walking distance from the Science Museum and has tables outside which would be stroller friendly. It is mostly takeout and a bit pricey, but has a wide variety of italian and deli style options. Hot dishes vary daily and I seem to recall pizza. Ask folks at the museum to orient you. Walk from Museum toward Storrow Drive, cross Storrow at the lights and go straight. You will see a complex with apartments on your right, enter the garage and walk straight back. You might be able to see the red awning of J Pace there or ask the parking lot attendant to orient you. You would need to cover much of this distance to get to the Green Line station (Science Park) anyway.
The mall (Cambridgeside Galeria) is probably a little bit further and not entirely chowish, but is stroller friendly and has a shuttle back to the red line. Some nice outdoor seating by the food court. 2nd Street Cafe is nearby and popular, but avoid the lunch rush as that would not be stroller friendly. Upscale sandwiches and wraps.
How about Parish Cafe on Boylston about 3 blocks down from the Public Library? Among other things (soups, salads, bar food), they have a selection of about a dozen "gourmet" sandwiches created by the chefs at various local restaurants. It might be a fun, multitasking way to sample "their" food - or at least get an idea of it - over lunch with your children. In nice weather they have a fenced-off patio area on the sidewalk and they also have a ramp indoors. It can be busy and the place isn't huge, but tables seem to turn pretty fast.
Well, off the top of my head, I think lunch at Jasper White's Summer Shack would be great (and considerably cheaper than dinner). It's a funky, fun space, and while you eat Jasper's famous lobster and/or seafood dishes, the kids can wolf down corn dogs, burgers or cheddar cheese sandwiches. And I'm sure the staff would be happy to give your kid a side of wasabi. :)
The Boston Summer Shack is a short, pleasant stroll from the Public Library (it's across from the Sheraton Hotel in the Back Bay). Here's the website: