Greenpoint boasts an amazing dining scene, but not every restaurant in this hip neighborhood is friendly for families with kids. Don’t worry, if you’ve got little ones, there’s no need to stay home, or leave them there (unless you want to, of course). For picky eaters, avid colorers, and chatty toddlers, these child-friendly Greenpoint restaurants appeal to families of all ages and sizes.
Chef and owner is Homer Murray, actor Bill Murray’s son runs this New American restaurant named for its address, 21 Greenpoint. A celebrity-adjacent restaurant may not initially sound like a restaurant for kids, but 21 Greenpoint is one of the most family-friendly spots in the neighborhood.
It’s one of the few restaurants in the area that has a children’s menu, for dine in and takeout. It includes a burger, which is a single patty with or without cheese and fries, a quesadilla with fries, and a pasta option. For adults, the eclectic main menu includes options like veggie dumplings, nachos, mushroom risotto, and a cheeseburger. One highlight is the Dinner For Two which is currently a wood-fired whole fish stuffed with lemon and herbs, accompanied by avocado relish, grated tomato, herb risotto, and a small salad.
21 Greenpoint is located right next to Transmitter Park and the playground there, so if the kids get restless during the meal, play promises can be made and easily kept. 21 Greenpoint has a generous amount of outdoor seating, and is open Thursday to Saturday 4pm to 10pm and Sunday 12-7pm. They accept reservations on Resy.
Naked Dog (47 Java St.) is an Italian joint not far from the waterfront and the new playground at 21 India Street. But playground proximity is not what makes this amazing Italian restaurant good for kids. It’s the spaghetti. This simple dish of spaghetti and tomato sauce is what gets my daughter out the door. She describes it as, “the good sauce,” and I couldn’t agree more.
The best appetizer is the bruschetta with pesto and burrata. It’s mint and basil pesto over fresh burrata with lemon zest and grilled bread. Standout pastas aside from the spaghetti are the pappardelle with beef bolognese and the agnolotti, which are a ricotta filled pasta, with truffle butter sauce, corn, and scallions. The best main dish is the Spezzatino. It’s braised short ribs over creamy polenta in a mushroom tomato sauce. Even the desserts are outstanding, which is not always the case at Italian restaurants. Get the olive oil cake or the bombolini, donuts infused with lavender sugar and chocolate sauce. Or both!
Naked Dog offers a full bar with a classic cocktail menu and a nice selection of Italian wines. Indoor and outdoor seating is currently available, as well as delivery and takeout. They do not accept reservations. Current hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 4pm to 10pm.
What kid doesn’t love pizza? The back garden at Fornino (849 Manhattan Ave.) is another one of the most family-friendly spots in Greenpoint.
The pizzeria’s numerous awards don’t lie. The pizzas and other offerings are all delicious. They have a large menu, including the classic Margherita which is great for kids, the 4 Formaggi with gorgonzola, fontina, mozzarella, ricotta, and the Al Roker with sopressata piccante, fontina, caramelized onion, roast pepper, tomato, mozzarella, rosemary.
If you’re looking for a salad to complement the pies, try the Chopped. It has romaine, cherry tomato, fennel, red onion, cucumber, carrot, chickpeas, ricotta salata, and white balsamic vinaigrette. Gluten-free? Fornino allows customers to make any pizza gluten-free for a small extra fee.You can also substitute cheese for vegan mozzarella. Another interesting offering from Fornino is the heat and eat meal kit, which you prepare at home. You can choose an antipasti, entree, and dessert and it’s a good deal at $40 for 2 and $75 for 4 people.
Fornino is currently closed on Mondays and open Tuesday to Friday from 5 to 10pm, Saturday 12 to 10pm, and Sunday 12 to 9pm. They offer takeout and delivery.
On the outside, Le Fanfare (1103 Manhattan Ave.) may not strike one as the perfect place to bring kids, but looks can be deceiving. Stepping out into the back patio feels like entering another world. It’s rustic and spread out, a perfect spot for kids to let out some energy in between courses.
Le Fanfare is a warm authentic Italian restaurant from the owners of Epistrophy Café in Nolita that offers simple and extraordinary Italian cuisine complimented by good wine and cocktails. The owners are a Jazz musician named Luca Fadda and his wife Giorgia along with their life-long friend Nicola Paganelli. The restaurant sometimes offers live jazz music in the evenings, probably better enjoyed on a date night than with the little ones in tow.
Le Fanfare offers delivery and takeout through Grubhub, and Postmates. They are currently open Monday to Thursday 5:30 to midnight, Friday 5:30 to 1am, Saturday 11am to 4pm and 5:30 to 1am, and Sunday 11am to 4pm and 5:30 to 10pm. Brunch is a perfect time to take the kids.
Calexico (645 Manhattan Ave.) is a family-owned chain named for a small town on the border of California and Mexico, where everything is a hybrid including the people, the language, and especially the food. Calexico started on a sidewalk in SoHo, selling tacos and burritos from a street cart, and now they have locations in New York, Detroit, and Bahrain.
The Greenpoint location is favorite for families in the neighborhood. For starters, they offer a kid’s menu with chicken fingers, mac and cheese, cheese quesadilla, all served with choice of broccoli, fries, or rice and beans.
The main menu is extensive, featuring Mexican favorites like tacos and burritos alongside other fun options like the jalapeño poppers with jalapeño and cheese croquettes served with buttermilk ranch. Adults really enjoy the Brussels sprouts which are spicy and amazing.
Calexico is normally open daily from noon to 10pm, however right now, they only offer takeout and delivery. When the restaurant reopens, grab a table in the outdoor garden in the back, where kids are very welcome.
In a hurry? For a quicker bite, try Littleneck Outpost (128 Franklin St.). Breakfast and lunch are served all day from 8am to 7pm. The cute eatery is located across the street from the popular American Playground making it an ideal place to pick up a sandwich before letting the kids play.
If it’s early, the sausage, egg and cheese sandwich is a good choice. It features soft scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and smoked maple. It tastes like an upgraded version of a McDonald’s favorite. If it’s lunch you’re looking for, try the phenomenal tuna sandwich. Plus, they have La Colombe coffee.