Big City Family Fun

50 Ways to Feed a Teen on the CHEAP CHEAP in NYC

Places to eat in NYC with teens
Serendipity 3 is famous for its frozen hot chocolate. credit: Catherine Parker

New York City is a fabulous trip for teens. It’s got an amazing energy and so much to see. From the museums to the shows to just walking the streets of NYC. it’s a trip your kids will tell their friends about (when you are out of earshot). After leaving in the city and taking all three of my kids on high school trip there, I’m sharing my list of best places to eat in NYC with teens.

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Places to Eat in NYC with Teens

Feeding teens can be tricky. Some have allergies or other food restrictions and some teens are just plain picky. After planning a youth group trip to NYC, I realized feeding kids can be one of the toughest things to plan on a trip. Then I have a rule, we don’t eat at places we can eat at home (unless a restroom break is needed then definitely slip into Starbucks or McD’s for a drink and restroom break).

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Clifton Street Cafe and Bakery
Clinton Street Baking Co. and Restaurant offers a traditional breakfast menu. credit: Catherine Parker

Where to Eat Breakfast in NYC

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Most hotels in NYC don’t offer the free breakfast option that many hotels do in other destinations. Though I’ve found lots of things to eat in NYC for breakfast with kids, especially if they like baked goods.Here’s the best places to eat in NYC with teens.

Clinton Street Baking Co. and Restaurant

Its pancakes are legendary. The menu offers traditional breakfast items, like eggs-to-order, pan-fried potatoes and biscuits as well.  Arrive when it opens for easier seating, expect a wait on weekends and after 10 a.m.

Located at 4 Clifton Street. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a break from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. most days.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

This bakery in Soho in SoHo ( South of Houston) is famous for the cronut.  It’s a cross between a donut and a croissant. Our group didn’t like it since it’s way too sweet. Order of its other croissants and baked goods instead and ignore the sometimes snotty counter help.

Located 189 Spring Street and open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (at 9 a.m. on Sunday).

Balthazar 

If you want a special treat on your trip and budget isn’t a concern, Balthazar is an iconic French style brasserie that serves an excellent breakfast. Get the polished brass, hex tile on the floor and waitstaff in white shirts with black ties. The menu ranges from pastries by the piece to oysters from the raw bar along with coffee drinks and Bloody Mary’s. There’s quiche, eggs Benedict and more.

Located at 80 Spring St. and open daily from 8 a.m. to close (9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday). Brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations recommended.

Where to eat in NYC with teens, bagels for breakfast.
Tops for breakfast in NYC, the bagel of course. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Top NYC Bagels 

A bagel is a must for NYC and not all bagels are the same. I recommend making the effort to sample some of the best bagels in the city. As a bonus, most kids will eat a bagel and it’s filling enough to hold teens until lunch.

For about $4 you get a bagel schmeared with flavored cream cheese. For $15 you can get melt-in-your-mouth smoked salmon with scallion cream cream on a toasted everything bagel, my favorite. Order a regular coffee (NYC term for coffee with cream and sugar) to complete your breakfast. Though bagel shops offer juice for non-coffee drinkers.

Absolute Bagels

Located at 2788 Broadway in the Upper West Side and open daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Russ and Daughters

Located at 179 E. Houston in the Lower East Side and open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ess-A-Bagel

Locations:

108 W. 32nd St. and open from open daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

831 3rd Ave. and open from open daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Time Out Market at 55 Water St. in Brooklyn and open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Zabar’s Cafe

Located at 2243 Broadway St. and open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9 a.m. on Sunday).

Murray’s Bagels

Located at 500 6th Ave in Greenwich Village and open  6 a.m. to 4 p.m. (7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday).

Don’t forget to grab a black-and-white cookie, it’s a NYC icon. Easily shared and available at most delis and bakeries.

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Where to eat in NYC with teens, grab a Shake Shack Burger.
Burgers go a long way with teens so order up a NYC original, the Shake Shack burger. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Best Burgers in NYC for Teens

I’ve got three kids and they love their burgers.

Shake Shack

With locations across the city, it’s a place to grab a burger, a shake and an order of fries. It even sells wine and beer in the can for parents who need a break. The burger are fresh and made to order but I found lines at all hours. So check out its an app.

P.J. Clarke’s

Opened in 1884, its a bar with legendary burger. Best for a casual dinner for the whole family.

Located at 915 3rd Ave. and open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Food Halls across New York City

New York City offers food halls, a group of quick service outlets that share a common dining space. I relied on food halls to feed the teens because they can pick and purchase what they wanted. As a bonus, food halls offered lots of seating and tipping is not required. And I found the top chefs from around the globe offered their quick-service concepts in the food halls.

Chelsea Market

On the main floor, locals and tourists traise through for standards like Sarabeth’s, Los Tacos No 1,  L’Art del Gelato amoung others. The tables might be limited at peak times.

Located at 75 9th Ave.

Hudson Eats

Located at 225 Liberty Ave.

Gotham West Market

Find long tables for dining and I grabbed pizza from Corner Slice.

Located at 600 11th Ave.

Grand Central Terminal’s Dining Concourse

Walk through the transportation hub and enjoy the Beaux-Arts building before herding the teens downstairs to eat. I found lots of options,  Shake Shack, with lots of seating along with clean restrooms.

Located at 89 E. 42nd St.

Rockefeller Food Court

Located on the lower level at 45 Rockefeller Plaza.

Time Out Market in Dumbo

If you’re headed to Brooklyn, then grab a bite with options like Ess a Bagel, Sugar Hill Creamery and more.

Located at 55 Water St.

Where to eat in NYC with teens, take a break in the Museum cafe.
Take a break while exploring the MoMA Museum and grab a panini at their Cafe 2. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Best NYC Museum Eats

After breakfast, we head to a museum most days since New York offers some of the best museums in the U.S. Most museums offer cafés for a quick bite while exploring their collections. I found this to be a convenient option to feed the kids though sometimes the offerings are limited and a bit pricey.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

The MoMa offers several restaurants though Café 2 is the most kid-friendly. With a seasonal menu prepared by a chef, we enjoyed one of its paninis and a salad. Snacks are available in the courtyard as well. 

Located at  11 W. 53rd St.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

With several restaurants, The Eatery on the ground floor offers the best option for kids. We enjoyed a grab-and-go salads and soup during our visit.

Located at 1000 Fifth Avenue.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

 Features a small coffee bar with snacks at its Cafe Rebay overlooking Central Park. 

Located at 1071 Fifth Avenue,

The American Museum of Natural History

Find a Food Court on the lower level featuring family favorites. During our visit we enjoyed salads though pizza, burgers, sandwiches and a selection of desserts are available.

Located at Central Park West at 79th St.


New York CityPASS

Where to eat in NYC with teens, try Katz's for pastrami on rye.
The pastrami on rye is a NYC icon though teens might not get it. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Best Delis in NYC 

No trip to New York City is complete without sampling a pastrami on rye. Then slurp some matzo ball soup and finish it off with a black and white cookie. It’s one of the best places to eat in NYC with teens.

Katz Delicatessen

An icon. The pastrami on rye sandwiches are pricey but they are stacked full of meat. If it’s your first visit, grab a seat in the back with table service.

Located at 205 E. Houston St.

Barney Greengrass

Serving sandwiches since 1908, it’s a time capsule.

Located in the upper west side at 541 Amsterdam Ave. Doesn’t take credit cards. 

Best Pizza in NYC

Lots of pizza joints come and go, basically there’s pizza on every corner. Here’s some of the iconic pizza places that have been around for generations. 

John’s of Bleecker Street

Serving pizza by the slice since 1929. And it’s sold by the pie only.

Located at 278 Bleecker St. 

Joe’s Pizza

This West Village joint started baking pies in 1975 and now offers several locations.

Located at 7 Carmine St. 

Lombardi’s Coal Oven Pizza

It opened in 1905 and is the oldest pizza joint in NYC.

Located at 32 Spring St. 

Arturo’s Coal Oven Pizza 

It’s less popular with tourists and opened its doors in 1957.

Located at 106 W. Houston St. 

Prince Street Pizza

This pizza joint serves up square pies.

Located at 27 Prince St. A

Sal and Carmine’s Pizza

Because you want to tell the friends back home that Sal made your pizza.

Located at 2671 Broadway in the Upper West Side.

Hotdogs, Pretzels and Food Carts

A NYC hotdog topped the kids’ list and as a budget bonus, hotdogs are super-cheap. Not particularily healthy or vegetarian but they’re a New York City icon and one of the best blaces to eat in NYC with teens.

Gray’s Papaya

Featured in several movies and a must-do for movie fans, find hotdogs and fresh fruit juices. Hot dogs start at $2.95 a piece I found standing room only.

Located 2090 Broadway St. at 70th St,

Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs

It offers several locations and carts across the city. The original is located in Brooklyn’s Coney Island at 1310 Surf Ave. 

Chelsea Papaya 

Located at 171 W. 23rd. St. #1

Hotdog Cart

Find one along most streets in NYC and especially Central Park. Grab a hotdogs, a drink and even a pretzels.

Halal Guys

Another food cart serving up Mediterranean food from lamb kebabs to falafel.

Located at W. 53rd St. at 6th Ave., 307 E. 14th St., 31-10 Thompson Ave.

4 Day NYC Itinerary
My favorite cheesecake is Junior’s with a large slices of creamy, not-too-sweet cream available to-go. Credit: Catherine Parker

More Places to Eat in NYC with Teens

Serendipity 3

If deserts are your thing, then a trip to Serendipity 3 needs to be on your itinerary. Its frozen hot chocolate is what brings the families through the door. Order one for the table and share it. It’s sweet but decandent. The entrees are good with a kid-friendly menu.

Located at 225 E. 60th St. Reservations recommended.

Junior’s Restaurant and Bakery

 It’s a diner with amazing cheesecake. For my family, it’s a tradition to have cheesecake after a Broadway Show. The cheesecake is available to go.

Located at 1515 Broadway and 1626 Broadway.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Find a  kid menu, not the norm for NYC restaurants. And the waitstaff sings while serving up diner fare.

Located in Times Square at 1650 Broadway. 

Tom’s Restaurant

It’s the backdrop for Seinfeld fans.

Located at 2880 Broadway near Columbia University.

The Loeb Boathouse Express Café

If your group is wandering through Central Park and hungry and need a break, head to The Loeb Boathouse. With breakfast items, burgers, soups and salads along with my favorite soft-serve ice cream, it’s a win. I also found lots of outdoor seating/

Located at East 72nd and Park Drive North

Xi’an Famous Foods

With several locations across the city, the hand-pulled noodles are the go-to item. For the foodies, I enjoyed the spicy cumin lamb hand-ripped noodles. Knocked me over into a carb-induced coma but worth it.

Locations: 96 8th Ave., 45 Bayard St., 328 E. 78th St., 8 Liberty Place.

Where to eat in NYC with teens, La Maison du Chocolate for eclairs.
Chocolate lovers will weep when they sample La Maison du Chocolate’s eclair. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Best Desserts in NYC

Walking in NYC is exhausting, I recommend frequent dessert stops. I found lots of super yummy desserts for under $10.

Magnolia Bakery

Known for its cupcakes and banana pudding and the banana pudding is a must for fans.. Though I loved the individual cheesecakes too and the shops are girly-cute.

Locations 401 Bleeker St., 1794 Broadway at 58th St., 200 Columbus Ave., 20 Hudson Yards level 4, 1240 Avenue of the Americas, Grand Central Terminal, Moyhihan Train Station, Bloomingdale’s

Milk Bar

This is the place that made Cereal Milk a thing. Try it and decide if it’s your thing.

Located at 1196 Broadway, 561 Columbus Ave., 246 Mott St., 251 E. 13th St., 74 Christopher St.,

La Maison Du Chocolate

Your home for divine chocolate. I sampled their èclair and angels sang. Skip it for the teens since they will eat it in one bite and the chocolate angels will cry.

Locations: 1018 Madison Ave., 30 Rockefeller Center, 10 Columbus Circle.

Lady M Confections 

Sample a crêpe cake, like thesignature mille crêpes cake with layer after layer of crêpey goodness. The best thing I ate in the city but I love my desserts.

Locations: 41 E. 78th St., 36 W. 40th St., 1178 Broadway,

Épicerie Boulud

Chef Daniel Boulud’s quick service outlet tempted me with an assortment of desserts. I choose the raspberry pistachio tart, a tiny work of food art. Also a good stop for breakfast or lunch.

Locations: 1900 Broadway at 64th St., 1 Vanderbilt Ave. at 42nd St., 185 Greenwich St.

Ladurée

Sample the delightful French macarons for an afternoon treat. I loved the rose and orange blossom macarons the best. Grab some macarons to go in a pretty box for a souvenir.

Locations: 398 Broadway in SoHo, 864 Madison Ave., 76 Thompson Ave., 20 Hudson Yards, 10 Columbus Circle , 421 Eighth Avenue at Penn Station,

Ferrara Italian Bakery

Get your cannoli and cappuccino fix with table service. Or grab a gelato from its walk-up counter and walk around Little Italy.

Located 195 Grand St. in Little Italy,

Best Ice Cream in NYC

Sometimes the best places to eat in NYC with teens are ice cream shops, especially in summer.

 Ube soft swerve.
Ube, a purple root vegetable from the Philippines, topped my teen’s list of food to sample in NYC complete with Fruity Pebbles sprinkles. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Soft Swerve 

It’s an Instagram sensation that topped my teen’s must-eat list. Ube, a purple root vegetable from the Phillipines, is the flavor of choice here. My daughter had to try it so we stopped by. Not my thing but the kids loved it.

Located at 85B Allen St. in Chinatown

Mr. Softee

Often imitated, the Mr. Softee trucks are a part of the street landscape of NYC. Take a moment and enjoy a cone while you explore.

Locations across NYC.

Van Leevwen Ice Cream

It offers vegan ice cream as well as unique flavors, like the Mac-n-Cheese.

Locations: 48 1/2 E. 7th St., 20 Hudson Yards, 172 Ludlow St., 120 Macdougal St., 432 3rd Ave., 45 Spring St., 1250 6th Ave., 224 Front St., 61 W. Houston St., 1625 2nd Ave., 448 Amsterdam Ave., 253 Columbus Ave., 152 W. 10th St., 310 Greenwich St.

Places to Eat in NYC with Teens at DUMBO Brooklyn Bridge

During our trip, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to add another borough to our list. If that sounds arduous, take the ferry for $2.75 for a fun and economical way to get to Brooklyn.

Grimaldi’s Pizza

Your destination for a coal-fired pizza.  Make reservations for larger crowds since tables seating more than four are hard to get.

Located at 1 Front Street.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Brooklyn Heights, makes their ice cream in-house with traditional flavors.

Located at 14 Old Fulton St.

Time Out Market

Grab a bite with options like Ess a Bagel, Sugar Hill Creamery and more indoors with lots of tables.

Located at 55 Water St.

Know Before You Go:

  • Public restrooms are hard to find. Even McDonald’s requires a purchase so buy a bottled water and take a scheduled potty break.
  • Pack hand sanitizer, hand wipes and bleach wipes to clean up everything from hands to tables.

Where to Stay

If you're headed to NYC with teens or kids, then here's a list of 50+ places to feed them. Get all the best of New York City with bagels and bakeries, hamburgers and hotdogs along with lots of pizza and ice cream too. Best Places for Families to Eat in NYC | Best Bagels in NYC | Best Ice Cream in NYC | Best Pizza in NYC | NYC Food Halls #NYC #NewYork #Foodie

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a 95-year-old house. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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