family friendly in B'more?
We're thinking of heading up to Baltimore from DC for part of Labor Day weekend. I've been poking around the board for ideas on places to eat while we're there, but since we are bringing a 5 year-old, I wanted to get some suggestions specifically for family friendly restaurants (places that are generally not unhappy to see a well-behaved young child-- not super high end, or real dives). We'll be staying near the inner harbor and would prefer not to have to use the car, but we're pretty good walkers, and taking the water taxi to Fells Point would probably be a plus for the kid, so any suggestions over there would be appreciated.
Having limited ourselves geographically (is that too much of a problem?) we're interested in a pretty wide range of foods and price ranges. Sunday morning I might take the kid out to the farmers market, and I'll root for Attman's although I'll probably lose the family vote, but any other ideas would be appreciated!
It's fantastic to see all the research you've already done. It should make your visit much easier. Don't worry about the geography. Fells Point is an excellent place to get stuck if you're looking for good food.
For dinner, both Henningers Tavern and Peter's Inn are in Fells Point and have great food. They're both very popular on the boards. I'd really recommend Mezze myself: it's a mediterranean small plates venue which is excellent: cheaper than Kali's Court next to it (which is also very good). Those owners also have a third in the area called Meli.
I think the farmers' market idea is excellent (I love the market). However I know some people aren't so into it so if you're family is against it, there's always Blue Moon Cafe in Fells Point for breakfast/brunch. Go early. Seriously. For either the market or Blue Moon.
Hope you enjoy your trip!
I wouldn't take a kid to Peter's (and I am a big fan). Thinking about it, there really aren't any great places in Fells Point to eat with a kid (hint to restauranteurs out there) except BOP (brick oven pizza) and there are lots of families with young kids who live there! If I were taking my son downtown I'd try to find someplace in Little Italy to eat (Amicci's comes to mind immediately) and follow up with gelato in Fells Point (Pitango Gelato is right on the square and is a favorite of my kid's). Little Italy is within walking distance of Fells Point- it's kind of inbetween the Inner Harbor and Fells
Since having my own baby (she's 6-months now), I pretty much haven't found a restaurant in Baltimore that isn't "family-friendly". Granted, mine isn't mobile and we haven't attempted to take her to the Charleston or anything, but anywhere we've been has been very accommodating.
The market is especially family-friendly. Before I had a baby, I sort of felt out of place. You should check out the mini-donut guy for sure. There's also a dairy that sells soft ice cream, which is delicious even at 8am. If you really want to be able to explore, I would get there around 8, but definitely before 9. Any later and it's kind of a zoo and hard to navigate.
Spoons is a coffeehouse in Federal Hill that is also very family-friendly. The people who own it have 2 little girls, who are pretty much always there. They have good breakfast and that's not a bad walk from the Harbor. We went last weekend and got there around 9:30, got seated right away.
And you have plenty of options within walking range. Harbor East and Federal Hill are easy walks. Fells Point you could walk or do the taxi. Have fun!
I live in the area with toddler, so I'll pimp one of our favorite spots. Piedigrotta is an Italian bakery on the edge of Little Italy with seven or eight tables. It's perfect for a quick and easy lunch or a snack with little ones. Being a bakery, they're primarily about the baked goods, but they also make a number of panini, crostini, calzoni, focaccie, savory pies and even a couple of stuffed pastas. Their sweet stuff beats the pants off anything Vaccaro's makes (I don't understand the city's obsession with that place), and the husband has a credible claim as the inventor of tiramisu, so it's appropriately awesome. And all of the other usual suspects are there in terms of pastries and baked goods. I think they close up around four or five, but it's perfect for lunch or a snack.
We ended up going to Faidley's for lunch and Mezze for dinner, and we really enjoyed both. One of us was sick Sunday, so we didn't get to the farmers market, so that (plus Spoons and Piedigrotta) will have to stay on the list for the next trip, but thanks for all the advice!