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Jun 10, 2009 03:31 PM

high chairs -- hard to find?

This is the first time we've been in NYC with our newest little family member. It's been hard as heck trying to find the best food options possible that will allow our 8+ month old. But already we've run into the issue of high chair availalability and I'm wonder if they aren't as automatically provided as I'm accustomed. I've read posts about people dining with children here and having to accommodate strollers. I thought that was so odd -- why would the stroller be IN the restaurant? But now i"m wondering if this is what you have to do to get the kiddos off your laps (hope not, we didn't bring one).

Please advise, is this going to be an ongoing issue? Are kiddos really just not welcome?! We really just want to eat (great food) and run.

While I'm at it, is there any decent Izakaya place that would be alright to bring a little one?

So glad to be here.....

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  1. I don't think that highchairs are ubiquitous in NYC restaurants the way they are in the suburbs, even in restaurants considered family-friendly. I can only think of two places where I've actually seen a highchair: Penelope, on the corner of Lex & 30th St., and Bar Boulud, on the UWS. Penelope's space is on the small side, so I'm guessing that the one highchair I saw might be it. Bar Boulud is quite a large place. It's not particularly baby-friendly in the evening, but it definitely is at weekend brunch, which is when I saw a couple of little ones in high chairs. Hopefully, someone with more experience dining out with tots will chime in with more information.

    1. I sometimes eat out with young kids- it seems to me that although many places have booster seats and some even have what they call high chairs, they're meant for kids a bit older than yours. most of the time these would not be suitable for an 8 month old as they don't usually have straps to secure them in the seat.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Ann900

        Thanks for the responses. After dinner tonight, I think you are right RGR. Even baby-friendly places don't necessarily have high chairs. Tonight, the staff were wonderful and accommodating, even asking to hold our son and play with him for awhile. We had a great time, but sure would have been nice to get him off our laps.

        Thanks for the tips. Penelope's is definitely on my list. Any other suggestions welcome!

        1. re: foodquest


          Glad to hear that you and your little one were treated so warmly this evening. Where did you eat? Where are you staying? Do you want recs for just that neighborhood and close by, or are you willing to travel further away? Also, what are your cuisine preferences? Any avoids?

          1. re: RGR

            We ate at the Indonesian place on 9th. I'd been there before and figured it would be kid-friendly and good for my comfort level. Sure enough, when we arrived there was a large group that included two kids.

            We're staying in Midtown West. I think we are going to sort of play it by ear from here on out. There is very little we aren't open to, except perhaps Thai and Indian (burned out on it.) Szechuan Gourmet was an idea and Cafe Mingala if I can quit reading reviews of it (ranging from passable to lousy.) Tomorrow, early lunch - Street Meat, yes!! Coming from Maine, our food options are oh-so-very limited.

            The two things I'm most interested in/concerned about are Ippudo and someplace for izakaya. My poor husband sorely misses izakaya has his business travels no longer take him to SF. Any recs for a kid-tolerant izakaya place?

            1. re: foodquest

              I don't do much Japanese, so while, of course, I've heard of Ippudo, I haven't been. From what I've read about it, it doesn't wound very baby-friendly, i.e., "bar scene," but perhaps, lunch might be a different story. You could call and ask the staff's opinion.

              Re: izakaya. I did a quick search, and *the* place most Hounds mentioned is Sakagura. Again, it doesn't look like a place to bring a tot. So, if I may be so bold, you could give your husband a break, let him go there for lunch, while you and the little one go somewhere that's baby-friendly.

              I'm curious. Since you say you didn't bring a stroller, how do you transport the baby when you're getting around the city?

              1. re: RGR

                Yeah, Ippudo sounds like a scene. As for Sakagura, I did indeed offer to let my husband go without us but he declined. So sweet! My thought on the izakaya was trying one of the places that are loud or popular with the college kids. Honestly though, if it isn't going to be good there is no point.

                For my babe, I use an Ergo carrier that allows me to carry him in the front or back, kind of like a backpack. Its been so perfect and easy for getting around and through the crowds, in and out of taxis, etc. He's comfortable as I am I with two free hands. The ONLY glitch has been the lack of high chair thing. But I can't complain, we're having a great visit.

                1. re: foodquest

                  That was sweet on both your parts! :-)

                  I guess at 8 months, he's still light enough to be carried around in one of those back-pack thingys. Very efficient!

                  Glad to hear you're having a great time.

                  1. re: foodquest

                    Lunch at Ippudo is child friendly. I was there a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday and there were easily a dozen young children there. I don't recall seeing a high chair, but it would be worth calling to see if they have them.

        2. I think sometimes people don't recognize that in Manhattan, real estate (every square foot) and money are intimately related in the restaurant business. Every sq foot taken up by storing a high chair is a square foot that isn't holding a table (owners have to decide if enough people would use it that it would be a good investment), and the money per square foot needed to survive or prosper is dizzying. Also, I wonder about liability fears.

          1. Don't know if this'll be helful during a short visit - I've seen (not at restaurants) a fabric "wrap" that ties to a regular chair and secures the little one - You might have to use it with a big fat Manhattan phonebook - and where are THOSE these days?

            There's also a pretty lightweight plastic fold-up traveling chair (with a tray that comes off) one can buy - much sturdier! (clips onto the table sits on the regular chair - no legs) Maybe at one of those kids' supply (you know, shhh, toy!) stores?

            1. We just bought a portable high chair for this very reason. (Check out Me Too, available at Buy Buy Baby - it fits under the stroller and is very easy to move around with.) As far as places with an existing high chair go, my favorites are Bar Breton, August, Gradisca (the friendliest place yet!), Cookshop, Grand Sichuan and Saravanaas.