We're always on the lookout for restaurants where kids can play—and we don't mean with their food. That's why my daughter and I were really excited to come across Lark Cafe, a new eatery in Prospect Park South that serves up cool kids' classes and a play space as well as delicious snacks and beverages.
Lark would be a wonderful addition to any neighborhood, but it's a particular treat for families living south of Prospect Park, who used to have to trek to Park Slope to find anything like it. The space is airy and open, the staff is friendly and the casual atmosphere pleases kids and adults: Parents can relax and enjoy free Wi-Fi while their children romp in the adjacent playroom. My daughter and I enjoyed our visit to Lark so much, we've already been back a few times since it opened in July!
Lark Cafe was opened by Kari Browne, a journalist, and Lori Kranczer, a lawyer, both neighborhood moms with two kids under five. As such they paid attention to the details that make their cafe a hit with families. The dining area is funky and functional, with about a dozen wooden circular tables, meaning no sharp edges to fall on. There's lots of room for young tots to roam around. In addition to high chairs, there's a changing table in the bathroom, which doesn't feel cramped. Since there's no on-site kitchen, Lark's menu is tiny but appealing, with locally made treats like Dough doughnuts, Bagel Hole bagels, organic Blue Marble ice cream, Stumptown coffee for caregivers and a small selection of sandwiches. Beer and wine are also available during happy hour.
The highlight for kids is the small playroom, which is full of natural light. There's a sliding door so the space can be closed off from the dining area for a class or birthday party. But when the room is free, kids can go inside and lounge on the throw pillows or play with the colorful toys.
Lark is hosting a number of weekly music and art classes for preschoolers. I took my four-year-old to an ArtHouse School ArtPlay workshop led by Lizzy LeBlanc (who taught art in public schools for seven years) and was really impressed. After reading a book about sea creatures, she helped the kids craft paper octopuses. My daughter and I are also big fans of AudraRox Musical Theater class, which is also offered here along with Music for Aardvarks and other little kid offerings. Some are Parent and Me, others allow you to drop off as long as you stick around the cafe, and a few programs offer drop-in options so you don't need to make a commitment. And if you're looking to make a friend, there are even new parent meet-ups. Check the website for a complete schedule and prices.
Lark Cafe is located at 1007 Church Avenue between East 10th Street and Stratford Road, 718-469-0140. Take the Q or B to Church Avenue.
Read about more family-friendly restaurants in New York City.