Celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 11, by booking a table at one of the city’s best restaurants for moms. What makes them so good? Why, they’re owned by moms, of course. And that means food served with an extra sprinkling of love and care. By Jessica Allen.
In a few weeks, the Arepa Lady, a beloved street food vendor in Jackson Heights, will open a real, live brick-and-mortar restaurant near her regular corner on Roosevelt Avenue. As if that weren’t joyful enough news, the restaurant will be run in part by her children and her children-in-law. Until then, you can nosh on some of the freshest arepas around on Fridays and Saturday nights (usually during the warmer months). Follow her on Twitter for updates and information.
Lidia Bastianich is perhaps the city’s most famous chef-cum-mom. She hosts a television show from her kitchen in Queens that often features both her mom and her daughter, she writes award-winning cookbooks, and she runs several successful restaurants with her son and their business partner Mario Batali, including Eataly, a temple to Italian ingredients in the Flatiron District; Becco, a mid-priced Italian restaurant in the Theater District; and Del Posto, a glorious restaurant devoted to upscale Italian in Chelsea.
Alex Raij runs three Spanish restaurants, Txikito, El Quinto Pino, and La Vara, with her husband, in addition to co-raising two kids under the age of five. While each of the three has its own unique personality, we prefer El Quinto Pino for its cozy charm, as well as for such tapas as the Cantabric anchovies, arroz brut de conejo (Savoy cabbage stuffed with rabbit dirty rice with saffron broth), and the classic tortilla española (egg and potato omelet). A recent expansion enabled the restaurant to start serving lunch and brunch.
Prune, a cozy New American restaurant in the East Village, is run by the indomitable Gabrielle Hamilton—chef, owner, author, and mom to two sons. The menus for brunch and dinner shift constantly, but house specialties include such dishes as fried sweetbreads with capers and bacon, braised rabbit (pictured), dutch-style pancakes, spicy stewed chickpeas, and spatchcocked pigeon. This restaurant is about as unpretentious as you can get: once we saw John Slattery turned away at the door.
In 1962, Sylvia Woods opened Sylvia’s with her husband in Harlem. Today, the restaurant boasts lines out the door, legions of fans, and a small army of staff, including Sylvia’s children and grandchildren. There’s no bad time for soul food, of course, but this institution’s especially good during brunch. You really haven’t lived until you’ve bellied up to a table for red velvet waffles and fried chicken, or shrimp and grits. Best of all, Sunday brunch comes with live gospel music.