By 5:15pm on the second Tuesday of the month, all six high chairs (plus a smattering of booster seats) are already in use at 15th Avenue’s house of pasta and Roman-inspired plates. Servers hand out crayons and coloring pads and place carafes of wine out of reach of little fingers. On these nights, Ethan and Angela Stowell (parents of two young sons) roll out a special kids menu of chicken parmesan, finocchiona pizza, and tagliarini with butter, olive oil, and cheese. The aim: let parents enjoy a nice meal without dropping big cash on a sitter, and without guilt about incessant requests for apple juice or the inevitable noodles jettisoned on the floor.
Feeding small fry isn’t cheap; plates average about $11 but offer enough for two kids to share or to augment tomorrow’s lunch box. The Stowells designed these nights to expand parents’ social possibilities, but a little exposure to broccolini or grana padano—not to mention life in the adult world—broadens kids’ horizons too.