But if you’re hankering for a bowl of risotto and a glass of wine instead — or if you’ve got a kid who rolls his eyes at chicken nuggets — a few local restaurants are offering children’s menus with healthier and more flavorful options, like pesto tortellini or quinoa burritos.
“The biggest thing about opening this place was that I really wanted something like it for my own family,” says Adam Strahl, who owns Local in Chappaqua with his wife, Danielle Zinaich.
With a menu that caters to people with dietary restrictions or allergies, Local is kid-friendly down to the custom vegetable-themed coloring place mats and homemade organic lemonade.
“Not everything is organic, but we sort of draw the line at food coloring,” Strahl says.
You get that glass of wine, the kids get to go out to a restaurant. (Bonus points for getting them to eat food you feel good about.) Here are some restaurants in the Lower Hudson Valley serving a win-win.
Art Cafe, Nyack
Two cappuccinos, please. One for me and one for my daughter. A small but sweet kid’s menu offers “babyccinos,” made with steamed milk and cocoa, served in a just-like-Mom’s cappuccino cup. We like the quaint cafe for an easy brunch, when families can nibble on one of the popular toastinis (panini made with Israeli-style bagels). Look for a grilled muenster version for little ones, and a brie, cream cheese, onion and tomato one for grown-ups. Go: 65 South Broadway, 845-353-4230, artcafenyack.com. Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
Birdsall House, Peekskill
Parents might go for the craft beer, housemade charcuterie or great happy hour, but chef-owner March Walker makes pint-sized gastropub fare for little ones, too. We like the pork and cheese sliders, and option for a cup of homemade soup or polenta. Deep red leather booths and outdoor tables when the weather warms up make for a fun family dinner out. Go: 970 Main St., 914-930-1880, birdsallhouse.net. Hours: Noon-midnight. Monday through Wednesday, noon-2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday.
Eliá Taverna, Bronxville
Think your kids don’t like Greek food? Chef and Cyprus native Michalakis Sarris welcomes families in a very graciously Greek way. The children’s menu is full of fun finger food — like pita sandwiches stuffed with pork souvlaki or chicken gyro — that is just different enough to be interesting but not intimidating. Kids will also get a kick out of the loukoumades for dessert, fried dumplings topped with honey, syrup and cinnamon. Bonus: Eliá is B.Y.O. for Mom and Dad. Go: 502 New Rochelle Road, 914-663-4976, eliataverna.com. Hours: 11:30-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30-9 p.m. Sunday.
What started as an all-natural ice cream shop has evolved into a popular lunch spot for adults with little ones in tow. Go for the early lunch hour, around 11:30 or noon, and you’ll find kids looking for “kale” on the veggie-themed word search and biting into a quinoa, bean and cheese burrito. Every kid’s meal is served with carrots, apples or chips and a small milk, lemonade or cider ($8). Parents can enjoy one of the fantastic salads, or a bowl of the daily soup, served with fresh whole grain Balthazar bread. Go: 75 S. Greeley Ave., 914-238-0698, www.chappaqualocal.com. Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Myong Gourmet, Mount Kisco
Expect a kid’s menu that mimics the grown-up one, and delivers a mix of well-executed American dishes (pan-seared chicken tenders, beef sliders with grilled onion, a junior Caesar salad) and Pan-Asian plates, like Myong’s signature dumplings with dipping sauce or child-sized kalbi, marinated Korean-marinated short ribs that are served with brown rice, steamed bok choy and kimchi. Go: 487 Main St., 914-241-6333, www.plgourmet.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday brunch.
North Star, Pound Ridge
A local favorite for live music and lots of vegetarian-friendly options, North Star offers a menu with kid-friendly orders like a turkey burger and creamy macaroni and cheese. But the real standouts come at dessert, which was clearly designed to please. Children will be delighted when they dip apple slices in a warm caramel sauce or bite into a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles. Go: 85 Westchester Ave., 914-764-0200, www.northstarny.com. Hours: 5:30-9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, 5:30-10 p.m. Thursday, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5-9 p.m. Sunday.
With a menu that reads like an introduction to bistro fare, bold young eaters can choose from hanger steak with French fries, sauteed salmon or chicken breast with mashed potatoes and haricot verts. Spinach and carrots are offered as additional sides, along with a simple, satisfying dessert: vanilla ice cream served with either warm chocolate sauce or strawberries and whipped cream. A tip for Mom and Dad? Go between noon and 4 p.m. and order from the two-course lunch menu, $17.95 per person. Go: 436 Mamaroneck Ave., 914-777-2324, provencalbistro.com. Hours: noon-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Sweet Grass Grill, Tarrytown
A country-rustic cafe with a menu that is intentionally simple, and intent on local and seasonal ingredients; the children’s menu keeps the theme. Nothing too exotic, just light and fresh variations on popular kid food like grilled cheese on multigrain bread, grilled chicken or a grass-fed burger served with a crisp side salad. And if your young companion isn’t hungry enough for a burger, vegan small plates like grain salads, sweet potato fries and sauteed local greens are also available. Go: 24 Main St., 914-631-0000, sweetgrassgrill.com. Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday; dinner 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; brunch 10-3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
UNoodles Snack Bar, Haverstraw
While the bohemian noodle shop doesn’t have an official children’s menu, dishes are designed to be eaten family-style and the blending of funky international flavors is a great opportunity to introduce kids to new tastes. Sit at the communal table and dive into one of the flatbread pizzas, quinoa salad or Japanese-style chicken and lemongrass dumplings, served with citrusy ponzu dipping sauce. Go: 14 Main St., 845-947-7625, www.unoodles.net. Hours: Noon-midnight Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday; noon-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Monday.