37 Kid-Friendly Restaurants and Snack Spots for Beachy Summer Eats in NYC

​The frozen Swingle (a mini key lime pie covered in chocolate) from Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies is summer on a stick.
​The frozen Swingle (a mini key lime pie covered in chocolate) from Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies is summer on a stick.

If anything redeems the humidity and heat of a NYC summer it’s got to be all the great summer eats. Our family can’t get enough of seafood boils, barbecue, tacos, lobster rolls, and frozen treats. Add a beachy outdoor dining vibe, and dinner out becomes a mini vacation.

New York City has so many great kid-friendly outdoor dining spots, it's hard to choose the best, but this summer foods must-eat bucket list will help you pack in some serious seasonal outdoor dining before sweater weather sets in. Read on to find my picks for the best kid-friendly restaurants in NYC to get your summer vibes on. 

The BK Steampot at Brooklyn Crab comes with crab, mussels, shrimp, sausage, and potatoes.

Seafood Boils & Clambakes
The best place to enjoy a seafood boil, in my book, is Brooklyn Crab. With harbor views on the covered rooftop porch, the awesomely fun backyard with games, and just a general, summer party vibe, Brooklyn Crab is summer vacay in the city for sure. LoLo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem is possibly NYC’s best steampot deal and has a cute backyard seating area. But if you want to eat right on the beach, reserve a spot at the Friday night lobster boil at Jacob Riis Beach’s Rockaway Clam Shack.

Italian Ices 
One of my strongest NYC summer memories is walking home from the playground with an ice in hand, hot pavement under my feet, and a cherry stained tongue. Once ubiquitous at every corner pizza shop, ices sometimes require a special trip now. Some places to find the best ones are Gino’s Italian IcesLemon Ice King of CoronaRita’s Water Ice, and Rocco’s

Lobster Rolls
While they cost almost as much as actually going on vacation, nothing gets you in that beachy vacay vibe like sweet lobster meat on a hot dog bun. Luke’s Lobster has multiple locations including in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and many others with outdoor seating. Surf Bar has a tiki themed backyard. Lobster Joint has a Rockaway Beach location, but their other Brooklyn locations also have a nice indoor/outdoor beachy vibe.  Pier A Harbor House has great NYC harbor views from their outdoor seating area.

Spend the day exploring the piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park then stop by Ample Hills for a cold sweet treat. Photo courtesy of Ample Hills

Ice Cream
While over the top ice cream treats and Thai rolled ice cream are trending, often what makes an ice cream place a favorite is simply proximity to your playgroundAmple Hills seems to have stands in many parks now, but their Gowanus rooftop is a sweet summer spot. A walk over the Brooklyn Bridge or ferry ride, anchored with ice cream from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is another of our favorite summer traditions.

RELATED: 12 Kid-Friendly NYC Restaurants with Backyards

Pig Beach has a chill, family-friendly environment for some delicious summer eats. 

BBQ Ribs
There are plenty of great barbecue places in NYC now, but for a truly summer vibe Pig Beach in Gowanus has a great, big outdoor area with picnic tables and real pit smoked BBQ.  Other BBQ spots with outdoor dining include Blue Smoke in Battery Park City, Fette Sau, and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

RELATED: Family-Friendly Restaurants in NYC with Fun Things to Do and See

The frozen s’more at Dominique Ansel Bakery is perfection.

No campfire? No problem. You can make your own s’mores, with a mini fire pit to toast your marshmallows, at DTUTMax Brenner’s DIY fire-free version comes with pre-melted chocolate, or try the frozen s’mores at Dominique Ansel Bakery.

Hang out at the beach in the gorgeous Rockways the hit the Rockaway Beach Surf Club for some mouth-watering fish tacos. Photo courtesy of the club

Fish Tacos
Rockaway Beach Surf Club will transport you to Venice beach with its hip beach-grunge scene and sunny outdoor space. If you can’t get out to the actual beach, get to the indoor/outdoor space at one of Tacombi’s several locations, with tacos served out of an old VW bus.

Hot Dogs
Whether you eat your dog on the Coney Island boardwalk at Nathan’s Famous, standing at the bar at Gray’s Papaya, or even from a cart on any corner, hot dogs are the perfect summer food when you're more interested in having fun than sitting down to eat a big meal. Some other popular hot dog spots include Feltman’s Hot DogsMile End Deli, and, of course, Katz’s Delicatessen.

Fruit pies—and tangy, creamy key lime pie—are as close to what summer tastes like as it gets. Pick up some of the best ones at Petee’s Pie CompanyFour and Twenty BlackbirdsSteve’s Authentic Key Lime PiesButter and ScotchTwo Little Red Hens and Ladybird Bakery.

Fried Chicken
Fried chicken, perfect for summer evenings or picnic baskets, is one of those very personal dishes: Your own favorite will depend on how you like your yardbird, but some of the most-loved fried chicken places around the city are Pies n’ Thighs, Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, Peaches Hot House and Buttermilk Channel.

Unless noted, photos by Mommy Poppins

Places featured in this article:

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
Blessing of the Animals and the Feast of Saint Francis
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine - 10:00 AM Pick
The Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park
Fort Tryon Park - 11:30 AM Pick
Art Sundae with Arghavan Khosravi
Rockefeller Center - 11:00 AM Pick
47th Annual Atlantic Antic
Atlantic Avenue - 12:00 PM Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides