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Nov 14, 2009 08:50 AM

NY for Christmas w/toddler - help me fill in the blanks

We arrive in NYC on the morning of Christmas Eve. I've done some searches for restaurants that are toddler friendly but most of them are dated. We own a restaurant so our child is very accustomed to eating out - that said, I'm looking for fairly casual places anyway so he can enjoy himself. I'm also wondering if it's business as usual on Christmas Eve?

Here's my rough draft. :)

Christmas Eve

Breakfast - looking for a diner
Lunch - Shake Shack at Madison Square Park
Dinner - The Spotted Pig

Christmas Day

Breakfast - Ess-A-Bagel
Late Lunch/Early Dinner - Les Halles
Snack - hoping to find some street food

We're staying at 7th & 53rd. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Shake Shack
Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

Les Halles
411 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

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  1. Looks good overall. It's tricky on Christmas Day, but I would find a substitute for Les Halles as it is mediocre at best. For street food, the lamb & rice platter at the Halal cart on 53rd and 6th is a crowd favorite. I assume they're open on Christmas, but I'm not positive.

    I would call Shake Shack to see if they're open on Christmas Eve. I'm pretty sure they have closed for Christmas week before. If they are open, I'd go to the Upper West Side location on 77th St instead of the Madison Square Park location, unless you like sitting outside freezing in a NYC December while eating your burger. They have heat lamps, but it still seems kind of awkward. Show up early to avoid the insane lines. On the same note, The Spotted Pig is usually a madhouse during dinner and it might be even worse on Christmas Eve. Show up right at opening time for dinner or you may be in for a long wait.

    Les Halles
    15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

    1 Reply
    1. re: hcbk0702

      The heat lamps at Madison Square Park's Shake Shack are kind of weak (understandably since the area is so open) and there are now signs asking you to keep a minimum distance.

      Shake Shack
      Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

    2. Big Daddy's Diner, Landmarc, Sarabeth's, Penelope, Ouest, Bubby's, Isabella's, EJ's Luncheonette, Balthazar, Petite Abeille, and City Bakery are all reportedly kid friendly from various CH threads I've read. Most of these do weekday breakfast so I'm sure you could find one to your liking. Definitely call ahead to confirm hours during the week of Christmas.

      Spotted Pig might be rough on the kid since the wait can be 2 hours. How about a Chinese restaurant, like Szechuan Gourmet on 39th between 5th and 6th?

      For Christmas Day, most places will be closed except for restaurants connected with hotels. Perhaps Nougatine at Jean George, which is fairly nearby?

      Again, I would call to confirm hours for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Good luck.

      Jean Georges
      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

      Spotted Pig
      314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

      City Bakery
      3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

      2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

      Szechuan Gourmet
      21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

      179 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      EJ's Luncheonette
      1271 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

      Big Daddy's
      1596 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10028

      1. Sarge's Deli, on 3rd, b/t 36th & 37th, is open 24/7/365 (366 leap years). For me, it's all about their top-notch pastrami. However, the diner-style menu offers very broad choices.

        Echoing hcbk0702, avoid Les Halles! If you do want to stick with a French brasserie on Christmas Day, Marseille, on the corner of 9th & 44th is a fine option.

        If you don't want to freeze your patooties off at the MSP Shake Shack or shlep up to the indoor location on the UWS, a good indoor, toddler-friendly alternative is Blue Smoke, on 27th, b/t Lex & PAS. Same owner (Danny Meyer) as SS, so they use the same excellent quality beef for their burgers. One difference: Blue Smoke's burgers are much thicker.

        1. Blue Smoke-Agreed.
          Otto is a good choice too.
          I am a fan of Les Halles so I would say yes.

          Les Halles
          15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

          1. I recommend Certe for breakfast or an informal lunch whenever someone is looking in the neighborhood you are staying in. It is on 55th between 5th and 6th Aves. -- great food, reasonable, super-friendly, you feel like you are eating in a friend's kitchen. Take-out up front and some tables and catering prep in the back. I'll bet you and your child will enjoy it: everything from excellent baked goods to hot cereal to more elaborate breakfast and lunch entrees.