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      SO COOL

      GOOD EATS: NYC Family Restaurants

      GOOD EATS: NYC Family Restaurants

      My husband and I love to eat out. Nobu, Fred’s at Barney’s, are a few of our favorites. I remember when we had our first child. We honestly thought it was the end of good food forever, or at least until we were comfortable leaving him with a sitter. I associated “kid-friendly” with McDonalds and Chucky Cheese.

      I quickly learned kid friendly restaurants are so much more than fast finger food and cheeky decor, especially in New York City.  There are a host of yummy family restaurants that cater to both kids and parents without sacrificing flavor, ambiance or service. Several even offer special deals for little ones. Whether you live in Manhattan or you’re just visiting for the weekend, here are a few of  the best eats and my favorite mom-approved “kid-friendly” places. Bon appetit.

      SUGAR and PLUMM:  This posh patisserie offers everything form omelets and crepes to shrimp, steaks and chicken tenders fit for a king. But the icing on the cake is the handcrafted confections: cakes, cookies, ice cream, scones and an assortment of frothy delights. It’s super chic—and sweet.

      BROTHER JIMMY’S:   When you want to get down and dirty, this popular BBQ joint delivers. Platters of tasty fried chicken, pulled pork and ribs hit tables with a steady thud. The children's menu offers hot dogs, chicken fingers, wings, hamburgers, and mac and cheese, plus ice cream. Kids eat free every day with the purchase of a full priced adult meal.

      KELLEY AND PING:  This fun and popular noodle shop takes care of its littlest patrons with cheerfully named Pan-Asian dishes—like " Chicken Lollies" (2 Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce on the side, Carrot Slices and Sticky Rice) and " Thai Silly Salad " (Fresh Bean Sprouts, Crispy Carrot Slices, Tomatoes and Cucumber with a side of Peanut Sauce for Dipping).  Specialty cocktails for mom and dad, like the Thai Basil Martini, make it a fun night for all at this cute family restaurant. Even better, kids under 8 eat free.

      WOODROWS NYC:   Sunday night truly is family night at this low-key, kid friendly restaurant. From 5pm on, kids under 10 eat free with the purchase of an adult meal. Free WiFi helps when the kids are in meltdown mode, and you’re still enjoying your craft beer.

      SERENDIPITY:   This charming cafe on East 60th Street is known for its Frozen Hot Chocolate, but moms and dads love the “Serious Food” menu. Burgers, salads, soups and more—it has something for everyone. Desserts are to die for. One bite of the Forbidden Broadway Sundae will send you on a sugar high.

      RODEO BAR:  You’ll love the vibe at this laid-back urban roadhouse (you throw your peanut shells on the floor). The food is appropriately Tex-Mex, from the fajitas and quesadillas to the slow-smoked Texas barbecue. Little ones can opt for all-American classics: sliders, chicken fingers, and mac and cheese. Every Monday night children under age 11 get one free kids' meal with each adult meal purchased. Cowboy hats not included.

      A Note from Cozy

      Dear Friends,

      One of the most memorable nights of my life was 20 years ago, the night before I opened my first salon on Madison Avenue. A bunch of my friends and family came to the shop and we all worked through the night to unpack merchandise and set up the salon together. I was practically electric with anticipation, with no idea what was in store for me. I was opening a kids’ salon, something that hadn’t been done before. Would it sink or sail? I was about to find out. We opened the next morning and, thankfully, the crowds came! It was one of those moments I’ll savor forever.

      The weeks, months, years, and now decades that followed were filled with all the excitement and growth of a small business. I had no idea where Cozy’s Cuts for Kids would take me. My focus was never on the future or the past; I was concentrating on listening to the people in front of me, hearing what they wanted and doing my best to give it to them. That’s how I ended up opening more salons, writing a book, and eventually developing my own hair care line.

      In fact, I remember the first shipment of SoCozy hair care products that got delivered to my door. I literally unpacked the truck myself, then drove around NYC hand delivering wholesale orders. (That’s an adventure in itself!) It was a very grassroots beginning, but in retrospect, that’s always been part of my success. I have always loved being hands on, getting to know my customers personally, and hearing first-hand what they are looking for. The best ideas continue to come from my little clients and their parents. If I’m proud of anything, it’s that I’ve taken the time to listen to them.

      The year 2014 is a monumental year for me. Not only is it our 20-year anniversary, or the year we do our ONE MILLIONTH haircut, but this is the year that SoCozy gets a whole new look. I’ve always been proud of this “baby” of mine, but I’m practically beaming at how she’s grown. Recently, our newly branded SoCozy line was featured in Women’s Wear Daily, including an exciting announcement that SoCozy products will be available soon in retail locations throughout the country.

      A lot has changed since that night 20 years ago, but I’ve realized, too, that some things never will: I’ll never stop being excited for what tomorrow brings and I’ll never stop listening to you.