As an adult, going out to eat is one of my most favorite things. The indulgence of simply sitting down, ordering off a menu, having someone else prepare my meal, deliver it, and then clean up after me is just plain decadent. For kids? Not so much. They get meals prepared and served to them all day long! So finding a place that fills my desire for a meal away from home and the kids’ desire to be aptly entertained is my idea of a restaurant jackpot. That’s why I’m excited about these four local cafés that bring more to the table than just food.
Newington Marina, 61 Beane Lane, Newington NH (603) 610-7230
Same owners as Lexie’s Joint in Portsmouth, Lexie’s Landing is located at the Newington Marina and is a fantastic spot for a casual summertime lunch or dinner. With seating indoors and out, you can enjoy their classic burgers or when in Rome, go for the yummy seafood options like a fish tacos or a lobster roll. They don’t have a kids’ menu per se, but they offer hot dogs and other kid-friendly food. The best part about this place is the adjacent beach where kiddos can hunt along the shore for marine treasures and sea life (horseshoe crabs, anyone?) so you might consider bringing the kids some water shoes when you come. Sometimes the ducks are around, too. There’s plenty to keep your eyes occupied here as Great Bay is a busy spot with boats cruising back and forth along the river. Good times!
Ani’s Bagel Cafe at Churchill’s Gardens
12 Hampton Rd, Exeter NH (603) 772-2685
When my kids were little, I used to love taking them to Churchill’s Gardens in Exeter—they have a stable of goats, chickens and other animals that you can feed, along with a koi pond and cute, little playground. Now they have opened up a small eatery onsite called Ani’s Bagel Café which offers a healthy menu of bagels, soups, salads, sandwiches, smoothies and espresso drinks and absolutely everything is fresh daily and made to order. Churchill’s runs monthly Kids’ Green Thumb Club with gardening or craft projects great for any age. Oh, it’s also a wonderful retail nursery store!
The Airfield Café
9A Layfayette Road, North Hampton NH (603) 964-1654
The Airfield Café is a great spot for the aeronautical enthusiasts! Open for breakfast (all day) and lunch, this restaurant has a great outdoor deck that overlooks the airstrip. Stick around long enough and you’ll see a Cesna or two takeoff, land and circle the air above you. There’s an extensive menu with plenty of kid-friendly options and they now take credit cards (they were cash only for many years). There’s a small grassy area to play and relax and you can check out all the parked planes outdoors. A fantastic spot for a sunny day!
The Farm Bistro at Applecrest
133 Exeter Rd, Hampton Falls NH (603) 926-3721
Applecrest had a busy off-season with the construction of their brand new farmer’s marketplace and Farm Bistro. This beautiful new “barn” sits next to their original market and houses a local, fresh produce, baked goods, hot food and gift market. The new Farm Bistro is also inside and offers a gorgeous stone patio overlooking the apple orchards. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a kids’ menu that any parent can feel good about – all organic produce, grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken and nitrate free hot dogs. As always, visit Applecrest for seasonal pick-your-own (there’s always something in season spring through fall) or just take a walk through the orchards and enjoy the summertime air. Good ‘ol fun on the farm.
Like this article? Read more Adventures in Parenting columns online at SeacoastOnline.com.