A kid-friendly brunch or lunch spot?

City Beer Hall Chocolate Decadence French ToastNot enthused about the opening of another drinking establishment, Elena posted on AOA's Facebook page:

Please, share some family caffe options if you know one - I am trying to find a place where I can take my kids for brunch or lunch, that are NOT fast food, old stinky diner, or soggy pizza place. The perfect place for me would be a restourant or caffe with a cute kids play corner.

This is a good question. And, of course, opinions about what makes a place kid friendly or not are going to vary. Maybe it's a menu. Maybe it's the atmosphere. Maybe it's just that there's some space to run around a little bit.

So, got a suggestion for Elena? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're suggesting a place can be helpful.


We love to take our kids to cracker barrell in east greenbush for breakfast, they give crayons and a coloring page. Obviously we bring some toys for them to play with but there is an old country store where you can buy toys in case you forgot. Its tough taking kids out to a restaurant and expect them to sit down, so any assistance by the restaurant really helps. I haven't found any other breakfast places where I would take my kids yet but cracker barrell has sufficed. I'll also be looking for suggestions :) Wish there was a nice breakfast place with a play zone like McDonalds used to have in some locations (Latham circle mall when I was a kid).

Iron Gate Cafe in Albany is very family friendly and delicious. It gets crowded so the earlier the better (not a problem with kids!) and the front patio is the perfect option in warmer weather.

Baking You Crazy in Rensselaer!

Well, I don't think there are many restaurants of any kind that offer play spaces. The old standbys of brunch spots in the City of Albany are Cafe Madison and Iron Gate. Neither have play spaces. But in the years I've been going there - with a kid from one to five years old - they've been kid friendly. As in, staff is very nice and friendly with kids, and menus have plenty of sweets (like chocolate chip pancakes). Another option is City Beer Hall, because they have more open space in general (and good food), but their hours aren't as kid friendly. Finally, I'd recommend Wolf's Biergarten - kids with soccer uniforms eat free, they can throw peanut shells on the floor, and doors open very early.

Diners! Diners are amazing for kiddos. In the area, I'd highly recommend Alexis Diner in East Greenbush and Halfmoon Diner in Halfmoon.

For lunch, Bountiful Bread or Druthers are fantastic, as is Troy Kitchen.

I'll also say that I've never been to A La Shanghai when it wasn't chock full of kids and families. It's wonderful.

I wrote a much longer comment that got eaten by the ether of the internets, but let me just say this: People considering kids, don't get freaked out! You can still have a life after kids and travel and go to restaurants and be a human. It's different but really cool in a totally unexpected way.

The 'cute kids play corner' is going to be few and far between.

Places that do brunch and have a kid's menu with crayons: City Line Bar and Grill, the new Junior's in North Greenbush, Peaches Cafe in Stuyvesant Plaza.

Baking You Crazy in Rensselaer is a cute little cafe and bakery.

This might surprise some, but Wolff's Biergarten has a great Saturday and Sunday family-friendly, cheap and really tasty brunch. If kids wear a soccer jersey they get free pancakes.

In Albany for lunch we've done well with the Pump Station (so many things for kids to see, and the noise level blends great).

Not in Albany, but our favorite destination place to bring the kids for lunch is the Lake Placid Brewery--top floor has a kids space. It's amazing to have five minutes of quiet while you can see your precious bundles playing cars on the other side of the glass.

Indian Ladder Farms. We went there a bunch in the warmer months. They have an outdoor area where their brewery is with a bunch of picnic tables. They usually have some toys out for kids to play with. Every time we've gone there are always toddlers running around and my son has a great time. Often there's live music. We haven't been to the cafe inside yet, but I would have to assume it's pretty kid friendly and I hear brunch is great!
I agree with Wolff's in the morning. I think Druthers is pretty kid friendly as well. We typically go to the Gastropub on New Scotland and have always had a fine time with the kiddo. They do only have one booster seat though.

The Iron Roost in Ballston Spa meets some of your requirements. No kids play space which I think you're going to be hard-pressed to find around here but very kid-friendly. Good food for brunch. It's a little bit of a drive, but if you use the No Wait app, you can sign up to get in line while you're still on the road so it will shorten your time actually waiting.

Buffet places tend to work well, because there is no wait for food, and the kids can eat whatever appeals to them, and try new foods too.

🍨🍰☕️🍪🥛🍭🎂Bring the kids to Emack & Bolio's for Ice Cream, Baked Goods, Smoothies or Hot Chocolate, & play with the Games for families in the lounge. In the summer play outside under tall trees in the fenced in yard!

O'Slattery's in Delmar also has a very kid (and adult!) friendly brunch. No kids corner, but they have their own kids menu, and the staff are A+ in providing crayons, paper and extra napkins!

New World Bistro Bar in Albany has a kid friendly Brunch on Sundays from 11 am-3 pm. No play area, but we provide crayons and coloring books. Creative menu.

Iron Gate is always SO nice to my kid, just go early and not when it is super busy, since there is no space to wait. They have a kids menu and crayons!

Wellington's is usually pretty empty which makes it easy with a kid, and the windows look out on lots of trucks and busses. But you will pay 7 dollars for the kid's cereal bowl.

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