You want grub. But the kids are in tow, so somewhere where they could be loud and messy would be ideal. (oh, and you actually need to enjoy the meal too). Bergen Mama and Contributing Food Editor Carla Sullivan set out to find you the best of both worlds.
As you head north on picturesque 9W, The Filling Station and the 9W Market appear like a roadside oasis, with outdoor picnic tables and umbrellas and two freshly painted simple white structures, one side for flippin’ burgers, dogs and fries and the other for more gourmet fare like salads, sandwiches and specials of the house. We stuck to the Filling Station side and ordered up a burger with customized toppings (with options like, grilled onions, bacon, gorgonzola), a Kobe Beef Burger and a side of “Frites” (seasoned fries) which were offered with various dipping sauces. They serve veggie burgers and hot dogs as alternatives, plus a wide variety of micro brewery beers, wines and other drink options. Finish it off with Jane’s Artisanal Ice Cream and don’t stress about making a mess.
Food: Great burgers and a variety of hot dogs cooked to perfection while you wait plus perfectly seasoned fries. Burgers are all are made with a special blend of hormone and antibiotic free Angus.
Bonus: Plenty of outdoor space for the kids to play while we sipped our Sancerre.
Surprised by: The hours. Open til 9pm daily and they offer delivery to nearby areas.
$, Open 11am to 9pm daily, 243 Rt. 9W, Palisades, NY, 845. 359. 9000
Boom Burger is not geared towards the younger set specifically, but with 40 TVs and a great mix of tunes, our tots were perfectly distracted while we waited for lunch. And although there is no specific kids menu, they have what kids like to eat: chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks and of course, their specialty, burgers.
Food: Great burgers- some say it’s their Bergen favorite. Plus tons of other options like the grilled salmon salad.
Bonus: Dessert was a HUGE cupcake with a sparkler shooting off sparkles that the kids marveled at.
Surprised by: The vibe. It was lively, even during Sunday lunch.
$$, Open 7 days for lunch and dinner, 375 W Passaic St Rochelle Park, NJ, (201) 843-2666
East Coast Burger was open a mere three days when we popped in for a weeknight dinner with the kids. It’s counter service, so you order at the front and take a number. Then they deliver the food to your table once you find a seat. All dishes are a la carte and you need to grab your own condiments, napkins and utensils, so make sure you can be hands free with your kids to navigate the serving area.
Food: Lobster rolls, clams and ahi tuna salad were also offered on the menu.
Bonus: The old school ice cream counter for dessert.
Surprised by: the overly attentive staff
$$, Open after 4pm, 75 Franklin Avenue, Ridgewood
If your kid is enthralled by machinery, then we’re pretty sure he will be fascinated with a meal at the Hot Dog Caboose. The antique train caboose, over 100 years old, is now a family friendly establishment. Although the seating options consist of two picnic tables with umbrellas in a parking lot or a grassy lawn area, we were able to choose from a wide variety of hot dogs AND order off a kids menu. Prices were very reasonable and the kids got a kick out of the whole experience.
Food: Great dogs, their specialty.
Bonus: The chili menu and slow baked beans cooked overnight.
Surprised by: The $5 kids meal which included French fries and a juice box.
$, Open for lunch and dinner, 211 Greenwood Avenue Midland Park, (201) 444-2531
Carla Sullivan is a contributing food editor for Bergen Mama and the Founder of MiniMunchers.com, a family dining guide for NYC families. She currently resides in Ridgewood with her three young children.