Baby-Friendly Brunch Guide Helps Raise 'Stylish Mini-Foodies' in New York
CARROLL GARDENS — Dining with a mother’s group at a Brooklyn restaurant, Christine Knight and Alexis Barad-Cutler first met and bonded over their wailing children two years ago.
“We were the ones with the babies who wouldn’t stop crying and screaming,” said Barad-Cutler.
Their restless children, both infants at the time, gave the Brooklyn moms an idea to create a resource for raising “stylish mini-foodies” and finding baby-friendly restaurants and cafes in New York.
“Brunch with my Baby” was born after Knight and Barad-Cutler took their children, Eloise and Julien, now both 2, to the Carlyle Hotel soon after they first met. When they found the experience enjoyable, for moms and babies alike, they spent the next year searching for parent- and kid-friendly restaurants.
The website, which launched in October 2012, features stories, reviews and advice on city restaurants and a even survival guide for day-trips with children.
New York brunches are a weekend luxury, which usually follow a late night-out for many, said Barad-Cutler, 33, a Brooklyn Heights children’s book author who has experience in publishing and editorial consulting.
“When you’re a parent, you don’t have that luxury anymore,” she said.
But through the website, the duo are hoping to give parents a resource baby-friendly eateries for breakfast, lunch, snacks-on-the-go and, of course, brunch.
Balthazar in SoHo is the cornerstone of kid-friendly fine dining, they said. Cobble Hill’s Brooklyn Farmacy is a favorite, as is Seersucker in Carroll Gardens, whose nearby location to Carroll Park lets parents whisk away their hyper children to shake off some excess energy before returning to the eatery.
In June, the site expanded to Sydney, Australia, and most recently started in Singapore, said Knight, adding that they’re looking to grow within New York and the country as well.
“We’re trying to get coverage all over the city,” said Knight, 34, a freelance writer in Boerum Hill who has also worked in magazine publishing, marketing and advertising.
Brunch with my Baby provides the intangible information that can’t always be determined through a “kid-friendly” stamp on a restaurant’s Yelp page, they said.
A welcoming staff is key, said Knight, which includes attenders and hosts who are warm towards children and helpful in providing high chairs or storing strollers away.
Prompt service is also important for tykes with a particularly short attention span, she said
In discovering restaurants that suit both mom and baby, Knight and Barad-Cutler have found a way to continue their social lives, particularly with women who don’t have children.
And after almost two years of dining out, their children are even adapting to the brunch way of life.
“It becomes just a part of their routine,” said Barad-Cutler.