new-york-mets-opening-day-new-citi-fieldHere’s something I’ve never understood: Tourists from other parts of the country come to New York and then go to pa Johns for Pizza, McDonalds for burgers, and Olive Garden for Italian food. Can’t they go to those places wherever it is they are from?

Don’t they realize that New York is one of the premier food cities in the world? Next time you visit New York, try some place new for dinner. Hey, isn’t trying new things what traveling is all about.  And don’t worry — all of my suggestions are VERY kid friendly.

1. Pizza – There is not a NYer worth his or her attitude who doesn’t have a favortie pizza place.  This city is famous for it’s Pizza. Here are some of the best kid friendly, still delicious places for a real NY Pie.

1. Two Boots – there are a bunch of these all over the city. (and a few elsewhere – but not many). Named after the shape of Lousiana and Texas, this place offers the unlikely but delicious mix of Italian and Cajun flavors.  Try the Dude Pizza – a bacon cheeseburger pizza, THe Divine, with jalapenos, or the vegan or vegetarian pizzas.  If that’s too daring for you — how about a regular cheese or pepperoni pie?  No slices here, but three sizes to suit every appetite.

2. V&T’s – A New York institution visited mostly by University Students and locals, this place feels like it’s been around forever…because it has.  Expect surly service.  It’s part of the charm.  And after you’re done, head across the street to Saint John the Divine.  Gorgeous, and there are often programs for kids.

3. Any place called Rays, or the Original Rays.  This is a weird, NY thing that no one really understands. Evidently, there was a Rays Pizzeria, and then someone else opened a Rays and so the first person changed to Original Rays.  But by now, there are probably  – oh, I don’t know 4952 Rays  or Original Rays in NY….or maybe it just seems that way.  Here’s how to tell if it’s a good one: lots of people inside.  Easy. Done.

2. Burgers.  McDonalds doesn’t count, people!  Come one.  Stop with the fast food and get with the real food.
1. Shake shack. Shake Shack. Shake Shack. Get thee to a Shake Shack.  Uber Restaurateur Danny Meyer knows the key to a great burger place: do one thing and do it right.  Shake Shack is shakes, burgers, hot dogs and fries. Excellent.
2. Corner Bistro in the West Village.  It may look like a dark and dingy bar, but the burgers (and – fair warning – not much else in here) will liven up your taste buds. A classic.
3. Five Napkin Burger. The name says it all – so juicy you need five napkins to eat it.  Plus, there’s a branch of this place in the Theatre district for a (noisy – i.e. no one will hear your kids) place before you head out to see a show.  FNB also has good sushi, an excellent Tuna Burger, and a varied menu to suit everyone in your family.
You can check out more burgers in NY at this website devoted to just that: the best burgers in NY!

3. Italian.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Olive Garden…but must you?  While you are in NY? How about one of these places instead?

1. Carmines.  Family friendly Italian served family style. Perhaps not haute cuisine, but a safe bet at a good price.
2. Deans.  Pizza and a whole lot more. Family style or not – your choice. Try the anti pasto platter – a lot of food for not a lot of money.
3. Just about any Itlaian restaurant.  Why restrict yourself to the “family friendly” ones?  Any Italian restaurant will do pasta just about any way your kid will eat it.  All you have to do is ask…and be willing to pay a little more than you might think is fair.  But isn’t that a small price to pay for getting to eat in a real NY GROWN UP restaurant?  Sure it is!!

How about being really daring?  Check out this article in the essential for any family visiting NY magazine Time Out New York kids, about great food for kids in top notch NYC eateries.  Who says kids can’t eat Indian?  Not me!

And if none of this sounds good?  How about a good old PB and J?  Yep, there’s a place that just sells that! Soho’s own Peanut Butter and Co. Really.  This is NY!!  Remember?