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Food for the Family: Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Kensington Brooklyn

Wednesday, February 05, 2014 by Maya F
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The phrase “kid-friendly restaurant” conjures images of cartoon mice, ball pits, and sub-par cuisine. But modern New York City parents are refusing to sacrifice food quality just because they have a little one in tow, and restaurants are adjusting to meet the demand. These great restaurants in Kensington, Brooklyn may not have video games and prize tokens, but they have a host of other family-friendly attractions.
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Brooklyn Commune
Favorite family brunch/lunch spot to many, Brooklyn Commune is now serving dinner as well. The day crowd is an equal mix of laptop workers and families, dinner a mix of families and date nights. The airy room makes for a relaxed dining experience, and there are several high chairs available. The parent-friendly bathroom is big and has a changing table. And, most importantly, the food is delicious. Grown-ups should try the classic BLT ($9), which features the scrumptious combination of tomato jam and guacamole. And the massive baked macaroni and cheese ($8) is a must for melted cheese lovers. For the younger members of the family, the list of “Kidwiches” includes classics peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese, as well as a Nutella sandwich (all $4.50). In nice weather, take sandwiches to nearby Prospect Park for a picnic.

Hours
Mon -Fri: 7 am - 5 pm
Sat - Sun: 9 am - 5 pm
Dinner hours
Mon: Closed
Tues - Sun: 6 - 9 pm

601 Greenwood Ave (at Prospect Ave)
(718) 686-1044
www.brooklyncommune.com

Getting there: F to Fort Hamilton Pkwy (back of train when traveling toward Coney Island)
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Le Paddock
With its cozy equestrian lodge decor and French-inspired menu, Le Paddock may not seem like a family-friendly place at first glance. But look again and you will see children and babies at every other table, and the friendly staff smiling and welcoming them. The space is small, but Le Paddock manages to squeeze in many tables, as well as highchairs and strollers. The weekday lunch and dinner specials are excellent deals (e.g. Tuesday nights you can get mussels, fries, and a glass of wine for $15). For dinner, adults should try the rich duck breast ($24), and from the list of excellent pizza, the margherita ($11) is probably the most kid-friendly. Please note that this restaurant is cash only, but there is an ATM at the entrance. In addition, the bathroom is small and without a changing table, but if you have a diaper emergency, Brooklyn Commune’s spacious restroom is just down the block and equipped with a changing table.

Hours:
Lunch/Brunch
Mon - Fri: 11:30 am - 4 pm
Sat - Sun: 11 am - 4 pm
Dinner
Mon - Fri: 4 pm - 11 pm
Sat - Sun: 5 - 11 pm

1235 Prospect Ave (at Reeve Pl)
(718) 435-0921
lepaddockbrooklyn.com

Getting there: F /Gto Fort Hamilton Pkwy (back of train when traveling toward Coney Island/Church Ave)
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Juice Pedaler
Located just across from the Vanderbilt Street playground, the Juice Pedaler is well placed for pre-picnic refreshment stock-ups, mid-bike journey pit stops, and post-playground refuels. In addition to juices, smoothies, and Stumptown coffee, they sell and repair bicycles and bike accessories. The sunny decor is bolstered by the warm environment—on a recent visit, co-owner Nicole Bilu made juices and smoothies, while chatting with customers and greeted local children by name. In the warm months, additional seating is available in the secluded backyard, where new mother groups often meet and breastfeed. Most important, the smoothies and juices served there are absolutely delicious. The Green smoothie ($7) combines avocado, spinach, banana, and OJ into a creamy, refreshing treat. The Pop-O-Wheelie juice ($6.50) is an invigorating mixture of grapefruit, lemon, ginger, and raw honey. For kids, the Apple Krate juice ($5.50) slyly hides nutritious greens, celery, and cucumber under sweet apples. Kids’ juices are served with a cheerful striped straw (and sometimes lucky adults receive one too). During the winter, The Juice Pedaler boasts a working fireplace for those chilly days when you and the kids just want to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate. The bathroom does not have a changing table, but the ground in the backyard will do in a pinch.

Hours
Mon - Sat: 7:30 am - 6 pm
Sun: 8 am - 5 pm

154 Prospect Park SW
(718) 871-7500

Getting there: F/G to Fort Hamilton Pkwy (back of train when traveling toward Coney Island/Church Ave)
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Hamilton's
Hamilton’s looks like a classy neighborhood bar, but the delicious menu options make it a fine dining establishment as well. The delicious kale salad—now a de riguer menu item—has pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries ($9). The grass-fed burger ($13) is also a solid choice. The kids menu (for 12 and unders) offers plain macaroni with butter ($5), grilled cheese ($7), and mini burgers ($8), so that even the pickiest eaters have options. Hamilton’s manages to maintain a difficult balance, feeling like a neighborhood family pub during the day and in the early evening hours, and then shifting into a grown-up establishment as the night goes on. Hamilton’s has high chairs, but no changing tables in the bathroom, so if you don’t live in the neighborhood you will need to make alternate diaper arrangements.

Hours
Lunch
Mon - Fri: 11 am - 4 pm
Brunch
Sat - Sun: 10 am - 4 pm
Dinner
Sun - Thu: 4:30 pm - 11 pm
Fri - Sat: 4 pm - 12 am

2826 Fort Hamilton Pkwy
(718) 438-0488
www.hamiltonsbrooklyn.com

Getting there: F/G to Fort Hamilton Pkwy (front of train when traveling toward Coney Island/Church Ave)
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Windsor Cafe
Diners are always a good choice when you’ve got kids in tow. The phone book–sized menus ensure that everyone will find something they like, and the relaxed atmosphere can easily absorb any kid-related mishaps (i.e., noise and mess). The Windsor Cafe distinguishes itself by having a number of healthy menu items that are also quite delicious, like the avocado melt (sprouts, tomato, avocado, and melted cheddar on whole wheat, $9.75). The fresh squeezed juice combos, like the apple, lemon, carrot, beet and ginger Hangover Helper (tasty whatever your state), is a bargain at $4.95. The staff are extremely friendly. The Windsor Cafe has both high chairs and a bathroom changing table, so your diaper needs are covered.

Hours
Sun - Thu: 6 am - 10 pm
Fri - Sat:  6 am - 11 pm

220 Prospect Park W
(718) 788-9700
www.windsorcafebrooklyn.com

Getting there: F/G to 15th Street Prospect Park
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Terrace Coffee Shop
For another diner option that’s a little deeper into Windsor Terrace, try the Terrace Coffee Shop. The prices are good, and the food is solid diner fare. The owners are a Mexican-American family, and the menu features some Mexican choices, like the standout Terrace burrito ($7.80). The deliciously greasy patty melt (burger on grilled cheese, $7.05) is also a great choice. The space is small, but plastic-enclosed outdoor tables add extra seating options, and the orderly service keeps meals from being epic affairs but never feels rushed. The friendly staff love kids, and kids seem to love this diner right back. Although the Terrace Coffee Shop has high chairs, they do not have a bathroom changing table.

Hours
Mon - Fri: 6:30 am - 9 pm
Sat - Sun: 7:30 am - 8 pm

598 19th St (at 11th Ave)
(718) 854-1911

Getting there: F/G to 15th Street Prospect Park or Fort Hamilton Pkwy (back of train when traveling toward Coney Island/Church Ave), with a 10-minute walk from either station
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Hummus Garden
This newly opened restaurant offers vegetarian Mediterranean cuisine in a luxuriously decorated setting. Patrons in search of a quick lunch can sit at the regular tables. But those in search of a themed dining experience can choose the seating area adorned with multicolored couches, pillows, and drapery. On offer are the usual dishes—Israeli salad ($3), hummus ($3), falafel ($6)—as well as lesser known dishes like shakshuka ($12), which is eggs in tomato and red pepper sauce. Kids are sure to find something they like in the fresh salad bar, and they will almost certainly love the chocolate balls ($5/3), which are made with Nutella, biscuits and coconut. Hummus Garden does not have high chairs or a changing table in the restroom, so this is a better choice for older children.

Hours
Sun: 11 am - 9 pm
Mon - Thu: 12 pm - 10 pm
Winter
Fri: 12 pm - 4 pm
Sat: 7 - 11 pm

3021 Fort Hamilton Pkwy (at E 2nd St)
(718) 686-1011
www.myhummusgarden.com

Getting there: F/G to Fort Hamilton Pkwy (front of train when traveling toward Coney Island/Church Ave)
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