Brooklyn, New York
Food Allergy-Friendly City Guide
If Manhattan’s midtown traffic and Times Square's crowds aren’t your scene, Brooklyn may be the borough for you. With more than 20 distinct neighborhoods – including hipster haven Williamsburg and stroller-central Park Slope – Brooklyn is a thriving, mysteriously cool metropolis in its own rite.
Whether you’re seeking out the hottest restaurants, live music and vintage boutiques or looking for a quiet place to picnic with your family, Brooklyn has you covered. Stroll the tree-lined streets, admire the brownstones and soak up views of the Manhattan skyline from the bank of the East River. Why bother crossing the Brooklyn Bridge when everything you’re searching for is right there? Feel like a local and explore some of our favorite allergy-friendly, family-oriented finds during your next trip.
Sunday in Brooklyn
On the first floor of this three-story structure in South Williamsburg, you’ll find a specialty market and to-go counter that serves coffee, pastries and breakfast sandwiches, including the “Elvis” made with sunflower butter, charred bananas, house fluff and sour apples. During warmer months, enjoy your latte in the rooftop garden or sidewalk cafe. For a sit-down dinner or brunch, head upstairs to the second floor dining room. While they do use nut butter, nut oils and various nuts in certain dishes, the kitchen staff goes the extra mile to keep nuts separate and sanitize shared surfaces.
Spokin Tip: Gluten-free bread will be available by the summer of 2017.
Get a dose of Southern comfort in the midst of Williamsburg at this bustling brunch spot. Breakfast is served all day, and many ingredients are locally sourced and organic, including the produce grown at their six-acre farm in Oak Hill, New York. There are no peanuts or peanut butter in the kitchen. Although their homemade granola is made using some tree nuts, it is stored separately. For a gluten-free option, try the stone-ground grits from South Carolina’s Anson Mills.
Spokin Tip: The kitchen uses soybean oil to fry, but they are able to prepare fried dishes like hash browns in a separate pan to avoid soy or cross-contamination
Hugo & Sons
Hugo & Sons has become a local favorite for Park Slope families who flock through the vintage carriage doors for house-made pastas and thoughtfully crafted kids’ meals like organic chicken nuggets with veggie crudite. For a more low-key, casual experience, head to the converted garage out back. All pastas and pizzas can be prepared gluten-free, and because every dish is cooked to order, they’re happy to make substitutions.
Peter Luger Steakhouse
A Brooklyn must-eat list wouldn’t be complete without Peter Luger. Crowds pack into this Williamsburg landmark for their huge slabs of dry-aged beef, creamed spinach and fried potatoes. If you have a milk allergy, ask them to hold the butter. Nuts are limited on the menu, and they use animal fat to fry.
Spokin Tip: The salad dressings and famous Luger Sauce are gluten-free.
Pies 'n' Thighs
Satisfy your sweet and salty cravings at Pies ‘n’ Thighs. This comfort food haven in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge serves up specialty donuts and fried chicken, both prepared in canola oil. There are limited nuts on the menu and their staff are experienced at serving food allergic guests. If you don't feel like dining in, families can order a bucket of their famous fried chicken to-go for a picnic in the park.
Spokin Tip: The famous fried chicken contains gluten and milk but no egg, soy, sesame, peanut or tree nut.
Young families in Park Slope flock to Franny’s for thin-crust pizzas and pastas made from organic and locally-sourced ingredients. This neighborhood favorite doesn’t stock soy-based products or peanuts, and the nuts used in dishes – such as pistachios, pine nuts and almonds – are stored separately. They offer one dairy-free pasta per day and the polenta topped with seasonal veggies is a tasty option for gluten-free diners.
Brooklyn is known for its pizza, but for those with milk and egg allergies, there aren’t usually many options. This vegan pizzeria offers 19 specialty pies, calzones and garlic knots that are egg-free and dairy-free. There are no peanuts in the kitchen, however, their ricotta and parmesan "cheeses" are almond-based.
Smorgasburg is the largest open-air food market in America. Stop, shop and eat between the 100 local vendors on the waterfront in Williamsburg on Saturdays and Prospect Park on Sundays. Food markets can be easier to navigate than you think with curated options and vendors who know every detail about their products. Be sure to try their famed Ramen Burger, it's nut-free.
Ample Hills Creamery
Every flavor – from classic vanilla to salted crack caramel – is made the old-fashioned way at this ice cream shop. Employees hand-churn hormone-free milk and organic cane sugar to create a rotating assortment of flavors. Their Oh Fudge! flavor is dairy-free, made with organic coconut milk and dark chocolate sorbet. Flavors that use nuts are stored on one side of the freezer, and employees will use clean scoops if asked.
This vegan corner bakery is a go-to spot for egg-free and milk-free sweets. The cakes, cupcakes, brownies, scones and muffins are made with organic ingredients, and when possible, the bakers avoid using soy. To ensure everyone has a safe option, especially those with multiple allergies, guests are encouraged to place custom, allergen-specific orders online to pick up at the bakery. The staff at Clementine is experienced at accommodating food allergies as many of their guests have dietary restrictions.
When the temperatures start to climb, Brooklynites cool down with these gourmet popsicles. Every pop and shave ice syrup is free of dairy, eggs, soy and gluten. The ingredients are simple: locally-grown fruit, organic cane sugar, water and whatever flavoring is listed on the ever-changing menu. They don’t use fillers or preservatives, but cream-based flavors are made with coconut.
Put on your bowler hat and non-prescription glasses – it's time to do Brooklyn. Quintessential attractions like Coney Island and a stroll across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge provide great photo opps and lasting memories.
Parks + Outdoors
Step away from the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn and find an oasis of calm in one of its many green spaces. Explore Prospect Park, which rivals Central Park with more than 500 acres and a small zoo, the world-renowned Botanic Gardens and all the places you can have a picnic.
If you're looking for some fun for kids or the kid in all of us, Brooklyn has plenty of attractions and activities that will keep kids busy. Find the top spots where Brooklyn families splash, spin and play.
Brooklyn proves that Manhattan isn't the only borough with world-class museums. There is something for everyone – from famed art collections and educational exhibits for kids to a complete history of the New York City public transit system.
The Wythe is the ultimate Brooklyn experience. This historic former textile factory was recently converted into what is now called a cultural hub and an incubator for artists. Enjoy resident art installations, catch a movie in the Wythe cinema or grab a bite at their food allergy-friendly restaurant Reynard. Located on the Williamsburg waterfront, the rooms have unbeatable views of the Manhattan skyline.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
1 Hotel is the natural way to stay in Brooklyn. Inspired by native greenery and sustainable materials, the hotel is planted right next to Brooklyn Bridge Park and just minutes away from the river for a ferry ride to Manhattan. 1 Hotel is well-trained in food allergies and more than willing to accommodate families from the moment you book.
McCarren Hotel & Pool
Located in the heart of Williamsburg, McCarren Hotel & Pool is a modern retreat with one of New York City's only saltwater pools, which also offers reserved seating and poolside service. Take a dip in the water, explore nearby McCarren Park or take advantage of the hotel restaurant Oleanders, which has allergy-friendly options.
There's room for the whole family at Franklin Guesthouse. Designed to make you feel at home, Franklin Guesthouse offers spacious rooms with modern elegance in the heart of Greenpoint. The Studio Deluxe and Deluxe Loft Suites offer fully-equipped kitchenettes for the nights you'd rather stay in.
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