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Can visiting 11-yr-old girl & 9-yr-old boy love NY food?

Does anyone have ideas for me? My wonderful niece and nephew are coming with my sister for a short visit this week from North Carolina, and I'd love to help them fall in love with New York, and its food. The kids are both pretty difficult eaters, and will not be terribly patient for a lot of lines, waiting, and discomfort in restaurants. They're kids - and not the most mellow and patient of kids.

My nephew loves heavy metal and skateboarding, while my niece is pretty mellow. Not easy to find experiences that work well for both of them.

Something tells me that this challenge has been dealt with by other people. All ideas and comments will be greatly appreciated!

As a kid, I had wonderful food experiences that were majorly influential in my development. I don't want to miss the chance to help provide some to these kids!

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  1. my kids are tough too but they surprised me. I always carried a snack in case people couldn't walk anymore due to hunger. Also let them bring their nintendo ds's etc if that keeps anyo0ne happy. We have gone to places we've wanted to go and always find SOMETHING for picky kids. I wouldn't worry too much.

    In china town we went to Joe's Shanghai and they enjoyed soup dumplings and pan fried noodles (I have to request chicken w/NO vegetables). Chinatown restaurants are very child tolerant.

    If you go Italian they can eat pasta/pizza
    If you go french - steak frites or roast chicken
    Indian - tandoori chicken isn't TOO far from BBQ'd and the nan is something they'll eat
    Bagels & Flavored Cream cheese
    Japanese-Yakatori,Tonkatsu or tempura are kid faves

    Since they are 9 & 11 I think they'll be able to deal just fine.
    Have fun

    1. Take them to Norma's for breakfast. What kid doesn't love having dessert first thing in the morning!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Blumie

        Yes, to dessert for breakfast, no to Norma's which is OK but way overpriced, imo. If you're going to be in the Parker Meridien, go to Burger Joint instead.

        1. re: a_and_w

          The kids will love Norma's for breakfast. Then go back to the burger joint for lunch or dinner.

      2. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for lunch at Grimaldi's, get ice cream at Brooklyn ice cream factory or an ice cream sandwich at Jacques Torres, and take the water taxi back to Manhattan. Works like a charm for children and grownups alike. If they don't enjoy it, simply toss them overboard on the way home.

        1 Reply
        1. 11 and nine is pretty old. i wouldn't dumb things down for them. dress them up and take them to a new york icon. sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. your call.

          1. As part of a unit on Japan, I fed my third graders in Bed-Stuy sushi, and it was a new experience for most or all of them. I kept everything basic--cooked and in rolls. The class was basically split into thirds: loved it, liked it OK, and didn't like it. One boy spit his out, and one girl said she had a new favorite food. A couple didn't try it and I didn't force feed them. My point is, and yes I do have one, is to try East on 3rd Ave and 26th Street. The sushi comes around on a conveyor belt so even the pickiest eaters can select something safe. Plus, the plates are small and cost as little as $1, so you can afford to try a few things. And of course, if the kids give up, there's always a menu with enough "regular" stuff to appeal to the non-adventurous eater.

            1. Sorry to say to those who feel that 11 & 9 year old picky eaters should be more old enough to deal, they must have not had 9 & 11 year old picky eaters. Mine were. Now they can deal with anything, and like alot more, but I would say that, as much as you would like them to, there are things that they wouldn't like on these lists. Ask you sister what they eat at home. My sons did not eat meat until they were teenagers. Most kids will eat pasta/pizza, so those are great suggestions. Ditto the tonkatsu or tempura in Japanese, especially because the tonkatsu is good for those whose idea of eating chicken is chicken nuggets at McDonalds. Go to any of the deli's like Katz's or 2nd Avenue and they may be OK with a hot dog and fries. Many kids will also eat a quesadilla at a Mexican retaurant. You could also try Artisinal and order them a fondue. I would make up a list and go over it with your sister beforehand, so you know just how picky they are.

              1. Well, at that age there might be a difference between falling in love with great NY food, or just with NY and it's quirky or less great food! After many "No, I don't like that" responses, I dragged my 11 year old son and 16-year old daughter to the Viet Cafe in Tribeca and they so enjoyed the food that they keep asking to return! Also, in Tribeca is Giginos. Giginos also has a great spot in Wagner Park at the tip of Battery Park City and what makes that spot work for kids is that they can run around on the lawn if they get squirmy and with the backdrop of the NY Harbor and the Statue of Liberty the locale can't be beat. Other places my kids love- in the West Village: Petite Abeille, the Cowgirl Saloon, Da Andrea, Sevilla for Paella (most kids like rice), and on 1st Ave just north of Hudson- L'il Frankies. They make great pizza in addition to other great Italian dishes and though my son gagged at the thought of "fennel sausage" he couldn't get enough of it! Happy Eating!

                1 Reply
                1. re: kcup415

                  Lil Frankie's sounds like a fine suggestion, but it's in the East Village (not West), just north of Houston (not Hudson).


                2. Pizza! Patsy's in East Harlem and Arturo's in the Village are personal favorites. I'd also say a burger at Shake Shack if the weather's nice, but the lines will be looooong. Perhaps some pastrami at Katz's?

                  1. My kids are typical kids love some things-hate others but they do love eating Korean. My husband and I are thrilled because we are all happy there! The bbq is so fun and new for the kids. They love the chicken and bulgogi grilled on their own tabletop. Many serve sushi too. While I don't think that it is the best restaurant in Little Korea they are the best with kids; Kum Gang San.

                    Katz's is a good choice. 2nd Ave deli as well. My kids love Dinosaur bbq, Hill Country and Rack and Soul as well. Gabriela's is very good Mexican on the UWS and they have a lot of kids there too. We also love going to Saigon Grille. Also, it is touristy but my kids LOVE it-is Chocolate by the Bald Man-Max Brenner's. It is a fun dessert place. You can eat at Republic in Union Square and then head over there for dessert or eat at Stand for burgers or BRGR. Good luck!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: samiam123

                      Good suggestions, but I'd skip bbq if they're from North Carolina.

                    2. A Korean BBQ place might be fun. My 6 year old is VERY picky and when we can find something interactive as well as delicious, it makes eating out so much more enjoyable for us and for her. And most kids love to make/cook things themselves.

                      1. What about Otto at lunch? I go often on sundays and there are always tons of kids there. They even have maps of italy for the kids to color and the pizzas are very kid friendly.

                        1. My kids (7&8) are picky too, but they love Chinatown, especially any place that has soup dumplings, like Joe's Shanghai, or Green Bo.

                          1. I grew up in the NYC area (Brooklyn, NJ) and currently live in NC where I am raising kids very close in age to your niece and nephew. Every year, we take them to visit family in NYC and have been very successful at teaching them to love everything about NYC, including the food. They love Katz' (and think the one in Charlotte NC is related) and Il Vagabando. We've yet to miss in Little Italy (what's left of it) or Chinatown. But our favorite Christmas-in-NYC is this: across the street from FAO on 59th is a slightly divey pub that I can't think of the name of. I want to say McHale's. Something Irish and pubby? Anyone? There's no smoking in NYC so fine for kids during the day. You can't miss it if you walk out of FAO and head South. It is on the second floor of the building. Great burgers, fish and chips. Best part is that you have a great vantage point to see into FAO and you can see the lights on the ceiling change colors. Love the B'lyn water taxi idea. We also always make it a point to get soft pretzels and assorted street meat, plus chestnuts on the street during the holidays. This summer is the last time they can see Yankee Stadium!!!