If you're day tripping to Coney Island or Brighton Beach with the kids for the subway-accessible beach, amusement park rides, aquarium, or just to enjoy the ocean breeze, you'll likely need to stop to eat at some point. You're sure to find more traditional family restaurants, serving up kid-pleasers such as pizza, hot dogs, burgers, and shakes in a casual atmosphere along the Coney boardwalk, and because Brighton has a large Russian population, restaurants there will be family-friendly, too, but in a different way. There are many upscale spots where kids contact exotic foods, adult conversation and, alas, cigarette smoke. I realize this may be a deal breaker for some, but you'll still see plenty of children in these restaurants, even at midnight, chowing down on delicacies such as cow's tongue, pickled cabbage, or, if they're picky, fried potatoes and bread.
And in recent years, chains such as Checkers, Johnny Rockets, Wendy's, Popeyes Chicken, and Applebee's have moved into the area. There's even a Wahlburgers, but since this one has cool, outdoor roof seating, we'll give it a pass. As a longtime local, I'm rounding up some of the best eats for families in the area, whether you're looking for an immersive Russian cultural experience or just want a quick meal that doesn't have a logo on it.
Find more great NYC eats in our Family-Friendly Restaurant Guide.