HANCO'S: 134 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY
Hanco's is my kryptonite. I know everyone says their place is a "better spot to eat Pho and banh mi sandwiches" but that has not been my experience. Hanco's is just consistently good and Jenson's loves it here. My mom was visiting and banh mi is a food item she can never seem to pronounce or care to remember but she knows she likes it. In other words, this was not her first Hanco's rodeo. We popped in for lunch on a Saturday and managed to score a bigger corner table. There is not a ton of room to sit so if you go during peak times, be prepared to hurl yourself through the air to white flag a table. I managed to do that this particular day. You order your food at the counter and then go sit down so I guess technically it's fast food, but to put it in fast food categories is probably sacrilegious. Here's how it stacks up for families.
How disruptive will my kids be?
Your kids will not be disruptive in terms of noise, but there just isn't a whole lot of room. Ha, welcome to the New York dining scene! So if they are squirmy there isn't a lot of places for them to walk and this place is typically rammed. It's perfect for kids in the sense that it is fast. In theory, you can be in and out of this place in 20 minutes. So if you're feeling like the kids are being pains in the arses, just eat a little bit quicker. Whenever I go in, there are kids everywhere. It's a popular teenage hang as well.
Can I bring a stroller into the restaurant?
I am guilty as charged. See above how I say there isn't a lot of space. But that has not stopped me from rolling in with my giant stroller and pulling it up right to the table. I would do that a lot when I would come here on maternity leave with Jenson in his stroller and justify my banh mi, spring roll, bubble tea order to "burning calories breastfeeding." But I would not recommend you do that. There really isn't a lot of space and unless you can get tucked into a corner table or move some chairs in the front, bringing your stroller in here is a bit of a nuisance. That being said, they would NEVER tell you to fold it down. It's just not that kind of a place. And in fact, in the video you'll see that there are a few umbrella strollers open. Mine included.
Does the restaurant cater to kids in any way?
No. They have highchairs and that is about it. But again, this place is all about people eating their pho and then getting the hell out of Dodge. So they really don't want to see your annoying (I mean, adorable) kids longer than they need to. There is no changing station which is bit of a bummer. They do have lollipops on the counter and several hypnotic cats that are better than any crib mobile you've ever seen. So in that sense, your kiddies will have lots of fun stimuli and sugar to boot if that is what you want. Oh, and they have huge, colorful straws for the bubble tea sitting on the counter. Definitely not kid safe at all but you try telling a toddler they cannot play with these things. It's impossible.
How early does the restaurant start serving dinner?
They open at 11:30AM and the menu is the same all day long. So you really can eat dinner at 4PM if you need to.
Are there food options for allergic kids?
Not really. And I'm not sure how accommodating they'd be as the menu is set and the people are hustling to give people their rice vermicelli. Definitely lots of gluten-free options, but the nut allergies might be an issue as there is peanut sauce on a lot of the dishes and it's one small kitchen.
Why? I love this place and it's one of my favorite places in the neighborhood, but it's not the best environment for dining with your little ones. Older kids are not a problem but when I eat here with Jenson, I know it's going to be a quick in and out experience so that makes this place ideal in a sense. But when in doubt, just look for the hypnotic cats and immediately pounce on that table. The table near the front window is great too as they can toddler judge all the people that stroll by.