Isn't it hilarious how your friends come up with a million business ideas involving babies as soon as they become parents? Well, I had my first kid three and a half months ago, and, as much as I would have liked to resist becoming a new parent cliche, I have an amazing idea to benefit, well, me and any other parents of small children.

Don't stop reading yet, it doesn't involve onesies with hipster slogans or starting a useless "food my kid likes" blog. It involves eating out.

See, I really miss eating out at nice restaurants with my wife. We'll occasionally drag the baby to lunch at a semi-nice place (such as Kefi, Salumeria Rosi, or Company), but for dinner I am one of those people who feels incredibly guilty bringing my newborn into a place where he is clearly not welcome. So here's my idea.

Restaurants all over the country, but especially here in New York, are struggling to find ways to bring in customers. Recession specials, bar menus, and and a seemingly permanent extension on Restaurant Week prix fixe menus have become commonplace as everybody tries to stay afloat by attracting customers who would otherwise save money by eating at home or finding cheaper, more casual options.

Well, what about a baby seating? If movie theaters have mommy and baby showings at 10:30 a.m. on weekdays, why can't restaurants have an early family seating? And we'll even pay full price.

Babies are expensive. But if you're used to eating out at nice places all the time, then having a kid actually saves you money. I would kill for a chance to spend a couple hundred bucks on an amazing meal at a new restaurant (provided I could park my four-month-old in his stroller next to the table.)

The "family seating" could be once a week, one seating, and would be a perfect way to fill up a restaurant during an early hour that would normally be empty. And when regular customers call and make reservations, you could just let them know that they are more than welcome to dineā€”but they'll be surrounded by babies. It's a foolproof scheme.

The first three places I'd like to see this at: Corton, Scarpetta, and Irving Mill.

Any places in other parts of the country with baby-friendly dining hours?

About the author: Zach Brooks is the proprietor of Midtown Lunch, where he blogs about affordable lunchtime eats in Midtown Manhattan. He is the former Serious Eats New York editor and regular contributor. His little one, Harry, likes to wear a bib and follow his pops around town.


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