Where to Eat After the Show: Kid Friendly Restaurants in Hell's Kitchen (the adorable neighborhood just west of Times Square)
One of the most often questions I get asked is "Where is a good place to eat after the show?" With approximately 24,000 restaurants in Manhattan (I just googled it), and at least 34 restaurants on the same block as our very own St. Luke's Theatre, it can be a bewildering task to pick a place that will make everyone in your bunch happy.
My little brood has lived within a few blocks of St. Luke's Theatre for almost 2 years now, and like most New Yorkers, I have fallen in love with our neighborhood. So the places I'm going to recommend to you are the spots we return to time and again - the ones that won't break your bank (this is not fancy date night, folks) the ones my kids ask for over and over, the ones that make me consider placing a Seamless order right now. All are within a 5-10 minute walk of the theatre.
366 W. 46th St. b/t 8th Ave & 9th Ave
If you live in the NYC area, then you are probably familiar with this local chain. The woodsy, whimsical interior and the screens tuned to The Cartoon Network lets you know immediately that children are welcome. Their mix of organic grown up and kid-friendly fare makes this a winner for our family every time. I have loved every customized burger from bison to black bean I've devoured there, and most recently I've been on a Falafelwraptor kick. Also for the grown ups: I highly recommend the Sriracha Blue Cheese Crispy Brussels...and now I can't stop thinking about them. The kid's menu is uncomplicated- burgers, grilled cheese, hot dogs, and they all come with a side of fries, apples and a drink. For serious comfort food that you don't have to feel too guilty about (it's organic!)
2. Uncle Mario's Brick Oven Pizza
739 9th Ave b/t 49th St & 50th St
My 2 boys call it "Uncle Super Mario's." You won't find Mario or Luigi here, but you will find one extremely welcoming server that treats you like you are her long lost Italian relative ("Ciao, Bella!") and a dazzling variety of delicious pies sold by the slice, including mac and cheese, pulled pork, and of course the classic Grandma's. There's a full menu with entrees and salads, but honestly, we just come here for the pizza. There are plenty of tables and a very chill, friendly atmosphere. We always feel welcome, and we always leave happy.
3. Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns and Ramen
811 8th Avenue b/t 48th St & 49th St
610 8th Avenue b/t 39th St & 40th St
This is a fairly new one for us, recommended by our foodie neighbors. In fact, it's where they took their family and friends after seeing the show! You and your kids will love the pork soup buns, the dumplings, the scallion pancakes. If your afternoon plans have you headed north on 8th avenue, you can go to the location at 811 8th Ave (just 2 blocks from the theatre), and if you're headed south, stop by the one at 610 8th Ave. (This one has more seating.)
4. Westway Diner
614 9th Ave b/t 43rd St & 44th St
A family-owned diner that's been around for almost 30 years, Westway Diner is a neighborhood institution. Classic diner fare with a New York vibe - you'll find a great mix of people here, from tourists to locals. The menu is endless and the service is friendly. I love their omelettes, the Challah French Toast, and pretty much all the Greek specialties. But you get whatever you want - seriously.
5. Sticky's Finger Joint
598 9th Avenue b/t 42nd St & 43rd St
Ok, friends, wrap your mind around this: this place has 19 different kinds of sauces in which to dip your fried (or grilled) chicken and fries. Sauces like Buffalo Balsamic Maple, Green Tea Ceasar, and...S'more Sauce (chocolate doesn't ask questions). They've also got salads, wraps, pickles, slaw, and ridiculous fries. I can't write much more about this because it makes me a little sad when I realize I will probably never try every item/flavor combination on their menu. Your kids will probably want classic chicken and fries, but you can make your gourmet fried chicken (Buttermilk Baby Ranch! Vampire Aoli! whaaaat?!) and Truffle Parm French Fry fantasies come true.
362 W. 45th St b/t 8th Ave & 9th Ave
Totally yummy cookies with frosting and sprinkles for the kids and some salted caramel-esque options for the grown ups. Their classic chocolate chip can't be beat. It's tiny inside, so grab a few to go along with a fantastic (strong!) cup of coffee.
Ample Hills Creamery
600 11th Ave b/t 44th St & 45th St
Located in Gotham West Market*, this is my favorite ice cream in the world. Probably partly because it reminds me of Brooklyn where we used to live, and partly because it takes its name from a Walt Whitman poem, but it could also be because IT'S SO GOOD. The sweet people behind the counter let you sample, so go ahead and take your time. Ooey gooey butter cake, Hell's Kitchen Sink, and the Honeycomb are my favorite flavors. My kids always get the kids' size, and I do too. But if you don't live close by, go ahead and get the double scoop.
A Final Must Mention:
*Gotham West Market
600 11th Ave b/t 44th St & 45th St
A gourmet food hall with plenty of options for everyone and a hip vibe. It can be a little overwhelming with kids depending on how busy it is, and the long tables and benches are hard for my preschooler to manage. But if you make it all the way to 11th Avenue just for the Ample Hills ice cream (totally worth it), you might wonder why I didn't tell you about the ample selection of food as well. So my insider tip is to order your food and then sit in the Genuine Roadside section on the 44th Street side. You can take food from any of the other eateries in there, where you'll find booths and a calmer atmosphere for the kids. My boys love the Genuine Roadside burgers, I love the new Corner Slice pizza, Ivan Ramen, and the sushi burritos at Umi Temakeria.