HILL COUNTRY BARBECUE MARKET: 345 Adams Street, Brooklyn NY
If a group of toddlers joined forces to devise the perfect place to eat brunch on a Sunday....Hill Country Barbecue is probably what they would concoct. It's like we stumbled upon Frontierland in Downtown Brooklyn. The day started innocently enough. In fact, the day started with zero thought on finding a brunch place that tailored to my child. March Madness was still in full effect and we had friends meeting us from Manhattan so we picked this place because it was by a lot of subways, we knew it had TVs, good food and an open area that I figured Jenson could roam around in. Little did I know what I was about to get myself into...
How disruptive will my kids be?
How disruptive CAN they be? If it's high then you have found your spot. I have to say, Hill Country has nailed it. Every Sunday there is a Fam Jam from 12-4 and it is God's gift to kids who are begrudgingly dragged out to watch basketball. Fam Jam is the Garden of Eden for preschoolers. Hill Country transforms its entire upstairs into one ethereal playroom that features a live band, free food, facepainting, cowboy hats, legos. I could go on and on. And the band is not some lame kiddie band with grown men dressed up in creepy costumes playing the tambourine to your terrified child. The band we saw was awesome. A mix of bluegrass, rock and country. There was nothing kiddie about this band other than the fact that they swallowed their pride and jammed out with abandoned to a bunch of 3-foot humans. But really, the parents were jamming out too and it made the whole chaotic scene really palpable. The only thing Hill Country needs is a babysitting service upstairs and I swear to God, there would be a line wrapped outside the door each weekend. My husband and I took turns taking Jenson upstairs and another bonus, they get wiped out....leading me to the next question.
Can I bring a stroller into the restaurant?
Yes. Not only do they have a stroller parking lot in the front of the restaurant, I saw no less than eight open strollers pulled up to tables the day we were there. Go wear out your kiddies and then throw them in the stroller for nap time. It's perfect.
Does the restaurant cater to kids in any way?
Yes. And yes. And yes. If you're still reading this post, you know they do in fact cater to kids. Now, now every night is Fam Jam, but the vibe of the restaurant is causal and the space is huge...two great qualities when looking to take your kids out to eat. Everything on the menu is a la carte so while there isn't a specific kid menu, you can order as much or as little of any item as you want. The style of dining is not for everyone. You have to go up and get your food from different stations. From a parent perspective, I think it's great as it involves the kids, they can point at the food, get mini samples of the meat. It's an interactive experience. But if you're looking to kick back and be served, this spot might not be for you. They have crayons, coloring books, usually some sort of live music going on upstairs and tons of photos and lighted signs on the walls. Distraction levels are off-the-chart. Boosters and highchairs are available. Changing stations in the bathrooms.
How early does the restaurant start serving dinner?
As early as you'd like to eat. Food is served continuously through the day and the place opens at 11:30AM each day.
Are there food options for allergic kids?
Not officially. But this place is so accommodating to families that you only need to ask and the server would happily guide you through the options.
Why? This place nails it. In another life, I would steer clear of this place on a Sunday, but that was another life. In this life, I am itching to go back for Sunday brunch because it was so joyful to watch my son get his bluegrass groove on in a cowboy hat. Oh, and not having to pay for his food...awesome. I'd happily take my son back during the week as well as this is just a lively, family-friendly spot that also has massive appeal for the adults.