British people love Mexican food. It is Olly's everything and I often have to tell him that he can pick any cuisine except Mexican because left up to him, he'd bathe in guac and pork burritos morning, noon and night. Mexican food has really only come to England (in a legit way) in the past few years. So when we were heading down to the Brooklyn waterfront this past Sunday, I didn't think anything of it that he was taking us down a non-linear route. I should have known better. Calexico recently opened up a Red Hook location near us and of course Olly knew this. Calexico is a venue that started out selling their burritos and tacos out of a food truck and now have locations all over New York...but they still sell out of carts. Armed with Jenson, we popped in for some lunch before hitting the waterfront.
How disruptive will my kids be?
This is a upscale, fast, casual venue. Does that make sense? So the barometer for disruption is different than if you'd be at a proper sit-down establishment. This venue is tiny so if your kids are extra crabby, I'd consider taking the food to go. The booths and tables are close together as well, so if your kid is in a roaming mood, there is not a lot of room for them to roam. We went at a time where the place was pretty dead...aside from a family that looked to have three kids under the age of three. The parents looked like they were hating life and inadvertently were acting as walking birth control....but I digress. This is a perfect place to pop in and grab a fast lunch. But they do not want you sticking around.
Can I bring a stroller into the restaurant?
No, the place just isn't big enough. Case in point, you will see the stroller brigade outside the restaurant in the video. This is a place you need to wear your baby (if it's still little enough where that makes sense) or plop them in a booth. If your baby is still in a carseat, you could easily place the carseat on the booth.
Does the restaurant cater to kids in any way?
No. But again, they don't want you staying too long. There are no changing stations in the bathroom and I didn't see any highchairs. The place is bright and colorful so there is a lot to look at which is good. And when we ate here, there were no less than three toddlers standing on the booth. No kid menu but all the food can be ordered a la carte. So if your kid only wants rice and chicken...then you can order that. And you can order only one taco if your heart desires.
How early does the restaurant start serving dinner?
They open at at 11:30AM every single day.
Are there food options for allergic kids?
Yes and no. It's been my general observation that most places are super accommodating. If you're going to set up shop on an area where you're practically tripping on strollers, then I'd imagine they'd have to be open to alternative diets.
Why? There are a lot of reasons why this place is not kid-friendly. The lack of changing stations is an oversight that is not that difficult to include. However, the nature of Calexico is quick, high-quality ready-to-order food...so to me, that is kid-friendly. I like that you can pick and choose how much or little of what to order, eliminating toddler waste. And it's a casual vibe where you aren't going to feel self-conscious if your kid is standing on a booth...or messing up all the postcards that sit on the ledge. With the nice weather, the next time we go I'll probably be taking my order to go and heading to the waterfront to eat it. And the ingredients are not your standard chicken and cheese Mexican ingredients. So there is a cool opportunity to introduce your wee one to baja fish tacos and tofu nachos. They can channel their inner Brooklyn.