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Need Help with Cape May Restaurants with Baby

I'll be going to Cape May on July 23 and staying for 3 nights. We will be travelling with my 15 month old daughter who does very well in restaurants. I have never been to Cape May, so I really need help with breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Since we'll be travelling with our daughter, the restaurants obviously have to be family friendly. We're looking for upscale restaurants and casual restaurants. BYOB is a huge plus! We're going to be staying at The Star Inn.

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  1. We just returned from a stay at The Star Inn and enjoyed very much. Most restaurants in town are family friendly and quite a few BYOB. The restaurant at Congress Hall which will be right across the street offers breakfast , lunch and dinner at what I think would be average in quality & pricing. Right down the street is a good breakfast place called Uncle Bill's, the famous breakfast spot in Cape May is the "Mad Batter" great food and a kind of funky place. The Lobster House for dinner is good, and family family , they also offer take out style dining along the dock. Maybe a little less family friendly is "410 Bank St". but one of the better restaurants in town.

    1. 401 Bank St. is way expensive. I'd go there for a special occasion, but not with child in tow. Forget Louisa's if anyone mentions it. Not because of the food, but because you need a shoehorn to squeeze in there.
      I'd second The Lobster House. It's not a byob, but it's classic Cape May and totally family friendly.
      Here's a nice restaurant guide for family friendly:
      http://www.capemayrestaurantguide.com...

      7 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        Thank you for the link. I appreciate it. Anyone have any other ideas of places that they ate at?

        1. re: lucienne78

          I added this to the above post, but it didn't register:
          Gecko's just behind the mall, by The Abbey.
          Great texmex, with indoor and outdoor seating.
          byob too!!
          http://www.capemaytimes.com/Restauran...

          you can check out menu samples of other restaurants on this site too.
          TOTALLY second the Mad Batter. Excellent for breakfast too. Lines start early for dinner. Well, breakfast too.
          Best crabcake in town. Lovely outdoor area on Jackson St.
          I believe it IS a byob also.

          1. re: monavano

            You may also want to consider heading up to Wildwood for some additional family friendly places. The Bayview which is, as the name suggests, on the bay in Wildwood (just on the border of Wildwood Crest) has fantastic wings and is family friendly. Also the Rio Grande Station in Rio Grande has the most amazing crab cakes (not anywhere near the ocean, so don't go for the view), but is also family friendly. I would second the suggestion of the Mad Batter - great food and service (try the house frenchtoast -- yum!!). The Lobster House is good, as is the similar style restaurant across the street (forgetting the name at the moment, but there is a large fisherman pointing the way and I had awesome King Crab Legs last time I was there).

            1. re: njhound

              Thanks everyone for the great ideas. How far of a drive is it to Wildwood? Are taxis available - I know, probably a stupid question but I've never been to Cape May. Also, while in Cape May, is everything pretty much easily walkable or would I have to drive everywhere. I'm definitely going to be going to the Mad Batter, since everyone here as mentioned it so far.

              1. re: lucienne78

                Oh, one more thing - should I start making reservations for places now??

                1. re: lucienne78

                  Wildwood is the next town north of Cape May, and is only a 10 minute drive. I mean no offense to anyone who loves Wildwood, but......it is nothing, nothing like Cape May. Cape May is classy, Victorian, quiet and well, Wildwood is...not.
                  Where Cape May has the walking Mall, which you will be very close to!, Wildwood has a boardwalk with amusements, tee shirt shops, pizza shops, fries and repeat, and repeat.Tons of young kids hanging out. It's not my cup of tea. There is plenty to do, and places to eat in Cape May. If you do go, my guess is that you will long to return the the beautiful Hamlet which is Cape May.
                  If you go to the Lobster House, go early because they do not take reservations, and the wait can be very long. Get a drink on the schooner. There is also outdoor seating with take out and a casual raw bar/eatery out back there too. Get the cream of crab soup!.Before or after, take a dolphin watch tour across the street.
                  Rent a bike or one of those funky 4 wheel things and work off breakfast with a ride to the light house. Go to Sunset beach and look for Cape May diamonds.
                  There are 2 arcades with little kiddie rides. You will see pizza and hoagie shops there, and across the street there are little eateries.
                  Henry's on the Beach (casual) is there too, as is Tisha's (fancier). Henry's early in the day, and Tisha's for dinner.
                  The Peter Shields Inn is beautiful and pricey.
                  The Star Inn is very nice. Great location. Close to Beach Ave and the mall. There is Uncle Bill's Pancake House and Georges right there.

                  1. re: lucienne78

                    I would say that most things in Cape May are walkable. I would probably drive to Lobster House though since that is a little ways from town. You can also rent bikes and that is a great way to get around (and Lobster House would be an easy bike ride too!) As for Wildwood I would go by car (although I have biked from Wildwood Crest to Cape May a few times without too much difficulty).

        2. With all of the great restaurants in CM, do NOT go to the lobster house. It's an overpriced tourist trap that gets very crowded, especially on weekends and not even in town. The less expensive back dock area can get very hot this time of year and the flies aren't fun either. I just wouldn't recommend it given all of the excellent restaurants right in town. It's real value is its fabulous fish market and good takeout, which I use all the time since I live here. But that won't be of much use to you. Peter Shields Inn is indeed beautiful but the restaurant went downhill after its chef went to Union Park at the Macomber Hotel. Eat there instead, or Black Duck in West CM (they have a $19.95 three course early bird special (order B4 5:30) that is a tremendous value, since 3 courses normally would run you $60), or 410 Bank Street, or Tisha's behind the convention center, all BYO, or the Washington Inn if you don't care what you spend or the Ebbitt Room in the Hotel Virginia, which is also quite nice. The Chalfonte Hotel is very old school southern cooking and very family friendly, so you could try to get in there for dinner or their extensive Sunday brunch. It's a place everyone who comes to CM should check out. Mad Batter is fine for breakfast and OK for lunch but I would not eat dinner there. Uncle Bills is fine for pancakes and eggs, but there is also a bagel/coffee place across from the convention center if you don't want a huge breakfast every day. You can have a good lunch with a decent beer selection at Blue Pig at Congress Hall, but it's not really worth it for dinner. This is a shore town and families, both large and small, are pretty much welcome everywhere. Any decent restaurant will require reservations on the weekend.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Ellen

            Hi Ellen - I have a few questions for you. Do you think it would be ok for me to bring my daughter to Union Park and Black Duck? I know you said at the Chalfonte Hotel the kids will go in a different room. Would my 15 month old have to go in there, too? I thought she would be too young to go in there. Since I'm staying from Monday-Thursday, do you think I should stilll make reservations? Also, would Tisha's be ok to take my daughter to? I heard that 410 is definitely not child friendly (even though it says on zagat.com that they are - probably just a mistake). Thanks so much for all of the information everyone. I really appreciate it. I'm happy that all of you are telling me that we're in a great location. That's a huge plus.

            1. re: lucienne78

              Are you in the Inn or the motel portion? Both are nice. Just asking because I am wondering what they will be providing you for breakfast.
              Just wanted to be sure that Gecko is still open, Ellen? Thanks! (asking selfishly as I am going shortly!)

              1. re: lucienne78

                I think it would be fine to bring them to either UP or BD, although UP is a little more formal. Yes they are "adult" restaurants. Just let them know in advance so they can make sure to have the table/seat set up. We went to BD tonight for their fixed price special (19.95). I had crab cakes and lobster bisque, mom had the mandarine salad and crab cakes. Both were excellent. The chocolate and vanilla mousse for dessert were just so so, however, but for the money it's still the best deal in town. I don't know anything about a different room for kids at the Chalfont. I stopped by there tonight to check out the menu and families were dining together. Perhaps they have a playroom for kids staying there. Just understand that your dining choices will be limited to what they are serving that evening -- usually three main course offerings with salad, sides and dessert. Sunday night is the big southern buffet, which may be your best bet, for $35. a big southern brunch is served every day for $10, which is a great deal in my book. I don't know about Tisha's re kids, but it does have a more "formal" atmosphere. There is no reason you can't call when making reservations and ask about their policy and preferences. I think the earlier you dine, the less challenging dining with a small child will be. I find it difficult when parents bring very small children to dine at nice restaurants rather late when the kids would rather be and should be in bed and proceed to let you know it. But kids are usually pretty good early in the evening so you can factor that in as well if it works for you and your's. Have a nice visit.

              2. re: Ellen

                A good set of recommendations, with which I agree. Just wanted to note that in my experience Washington Inn is no more expensive than 410 Bank except that 410 is BYO (and even so, Washington Inn's outstanding wine selection is very reasonably priced). That said, I wouldn't bring a 15 month old to either one.

                I'd also second another poster's reccomendation of Gecko, which would be a good choice for a family meal - good southwestern style cuisine (chips!) , outdoors seating, very casual. Godmother's, which also gets very crowded, is another possibility for family-friendly decent red sauce Italian food.

              3. I'm glad you are going mid week and not on a weekend. We used to go to Cape May all the time, but then the long waits at all the of restaurants mentioned made waiting with a toddler impossible to tolerate. Make sure you make a reservation at the Mad Batter. The Lobster House usually has a really long wait. Personally, I never found the place to be baby-friendly. Most of the good restaurants are upscale and even though my daughter was an angel, it was a long, tedious meal for her. We found ourselves heading over the bridge to Wildwood much more than you would think, and she loved the boardwalk. There is a burger place on the main street (Jackson Hole?) that was friendly for kids.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RGC1982

                  Jackson Mountain Cafe on the Mall. Great sandwiches, very friendly. Good idea.

                2. One more comment re: the postings in here. Well meaning though everyone is, I think you need to know what it is like to tow a toddler around before making some of the recommendations I have read here. I would guess that some of our posters have never tried doing this with a baby in diapers, based on what I am reading. I did it, and my daughter was eating blue claw crab by 18 months, so I can prove it. Yes, Wildwood is 1950's style kitsch, with lots of teens, but the boardwalkd is a fun place to push a stroller around. There are hundreds of other parents like you making the walk up and down the boardwalk, and your kid will be fascinated with the lights, sounds and people. There are little baby rides like the carousel. It is no Cape May, that is for sure, but it is significantly more child-friendly than most places in Cape May. Kids can't sit still for 90 minute meals in high end restaurants, they climb on antique chairs with their shoes and lollipops in hand to the dismay of innkeepers, and don't do well waiting for a table for an hour. They can't sit with you at the bar. If you have to change a diaper, (and you will) you need a space to do it in. Most of the restaurants listed here are great, but are clearly designed for adults or older kids, not a baby. I would also suggest a car rental for three days -- it sounds like you weren't planning on it. Just getting to Sunset Beach or the other side of town with a baby makes the car rental worth it. Lets' face it -- you aren't going to bicycle there, are you? You can even change the above mentioned diaper (yes, I know NO ONE wants to think about this) in the car. You'll need a car for Wildwood too. On balance, I love elegant Cape May most -- but this Mom needs to practical, fellow CHers! Think of what she has to worry about before responding!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RGC1982

                    I totally agree that some of these recommendations are excellent,however, they are not best enjoyed with a 15 month old baby. Personally, I would never take a toddler to 410 Bank or the Washington Inn. Since I HAVE dined, on many occasions with a baby or two, I would recommend the following:

                    Henry's on the Beach
                    Backstreet McGlades
                    Mad Batter (breakfast and lunch)
                    mangia mangia
                    Lucky Bones

                    if you have to - Jackson Mt. Cafe on the mall and yes, we very often sat out back on the dock at the Lobster House (never the restaurant).

                    Oh and our kids love Doc Mikes for breakfast (only)

                    Have fun and enjoy your vacation.

                  2. Does anyone here have an opinion about the Crab House? It's just a little past the Lobster house, and my recollection of it from five years ago was that I liked it more.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RGC1982

                      I've heard a lot of bad things, but we have gotten several good meals at the Crab House, and it is a great place to go with kids. I personally like it better than the Lobster House. Like many of the shore places (other than the nicer Cape May places, which I agree are difficult with young kids), the food is best if you stick to simple preparations. The steamed crabs at Crab House are great. The kids menu has options for picky eaters like mine. The tables are nice, with a view of the water. You can even walk around and look at boats, which I have done many times with rambunctions young kids while waiting for the food to arrive at the table.

                      NOTE: The Crab House is in the same builing as Two Mile Landing, a more formal restaurant that I do NOT recommend.

                      1. re: RGC1982

                        The floor of the Crab House collapsed last week. They will probably have to tear the whole place down since its built on pilings and apparently there are no local regs on how these places should be constructed or regularly inspected. No great loss but I feel sorry for the folks who lost their jobs. Thank goodness no one was seriously hurt.

                      2. Just went to Black Duck last night with my 2 year old, who is also very good in restaurants. Food was amazing and service was great. If you do take your 15 month old call ahead for reservations, as they only have 1 high chair in the whole restaurant.