Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar (Westchester Children’s Museum)

We decided to spend the day at the Westchester Children’s Museum. What a fantastic place for the kids–and worth the drive even if you aren’t right in the Rye area. Although this is not a blog about kid day trips, a quick shout out–the minds behind this attraction have a great vision for the WCM and we can’t wait to keep going back as it comes to fruition. Watching the museum take shape since it opened in April, 2016 has been a great adventure so far and, I’m sure, will continue to be. Now, onward! For, this is a blog about FOOD 🙂

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We had been to the WCM a few times, but always brought a picnic, as the museum itself has no food available (yet! that’s part of the vision). Today I decided to hit up a new spot with the kids, being as how I’ve got a blog to keep up and everything 😉 I actually planned to take them to this amazing-looking place I found through Google (definitely next time, Pureganic Cafe!), but everyone was starving by the time we finished at the museum and I noticed a restaurant on the water just a short walk down the boardwalk from the museum. I have to admit…it had that “big box” look that I hate. The kind of look where I know what the menu is before I step inside. I can smell the familiar dishes before we walk up to the door. I can guess what the decor and ambiance will be by the signage and feel of the place. But I had three hungry kids with me and walking back to the car, strapping them in, driving ten minutes to an unfamiliar place, finding parking, getting them back out, and getting inside didn’t seem like the wise thing to do at the time! So, change of plans! We gave the Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar a shot.

Point blank: This was not an impressive or inspired menu. They had a limited regular menu and also handed me a sushi menu. I don’t care if you judge me–The Food Snob does not order sushi from a place like this. Let me repeat that–The Food Snob DOES NOT order sushi from a place like this. Perhaps their sushi is amazing. Perhaps it gets rave reviews. Maybe it’s gross or warm or a day too old. It could be the best sushi on the planet. Who knows…but I’m a food SNOB, remember? So I do not order sushi from a place whose main dishes include fried fish, fried potatoes, and fried chicken. So the entire sushi menu was out of the question. That really limited my options.

It took me a few minutes to figure out what I could offer the kids. They have a typical kids menu. I was trying to avoid it, but there wasn’t much else on the regular menu that looked fresh or, frankly, better than the kids options. There was a salmon dish–but at $28 I’m not getting that for a quick lunch. We decided to go with the kids fish and chips and the kids chicken tenders and fries. *sigh* I ordered the fish tacos for myself–a safe bet, I’d hoped.

The portions were very generous. The kids meals were each $10 and they got PLENTY of food–way too much food would be more accurate. We ended up taking a lot of food home. My fish “taco” (please see the below picture…this was an oversized burrito, at best!) was absolutely enormous! I did enjoy the fresh mango salsa that came with this dish. And the taco had some good veggies on it–guacamole, onions, coleslaw…the flavor wasn’t bad, really. I was a little surprised (in a good way) at the quality of the kids’ protein. I expected chewy, stringy chicken tenders but these were good quality white meat–surely not organic or hormone-free, but we’ll take it. The fried fish was also a happy surprise. I have to say, all three of my sons ate well. They loved their fish and chicken and fries. The fries were very crispy, which I tend to enjoy.

My dish had a choice of fries, corn on the cob, or baked potato. I went with the corn to try to get a veggie into the mix. I split the corn in three and gave a piece to each kiddo…when asked, “how’s the corn? thumbs up, or thumbs down?” The 5 year old and 3 year old simultaneously made a “yuck” face and turned their thumbs to the ground emphatically saying, “thumbs down!” So there’s that.

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The view from this place is amazing. The vibe is great–a real vacation-type vibe. We ate outside so we had the breeze coming in off the Long Island Sound, the sun shining down on us, and some chill music floating through the air. We also saw three other families who were at the museum…just saying…in case any entrepreneural types are reading this. There are other food snobs out there looking for some grub after a day at the children’s museum!

But I digress…the wait staff was friendly and helpful. One moment I could have done without was when the young waitress brought me a stack of napkins the size of the empire state building and said, and I quote, ” For the little one. He has some boogers.” Well….thank you for that, miss. Yes, my 19-month-old is teething and his nose is running like a faucet that I can’t keep up with. I am here alone with three children under the age of 6 and I’m also trying to get something into my own stomach before one or two or all of them explode into a meltdown. We’ve just spent 4 hours at an over-stimulating place and they are all cranky and hungry and tired….but thanks for pointing out that I’ve neglected to wipe this little guy’s nose for the hundred-and-thirteenth time today and for accenting your choice to call me out on this by bringing me enough napkins to get the job done if I had spilled the entire bottle of ketchup. WHEW! That rant is over. She was really a lovely gal.

Here’s my official rating in each category:

Quality and Variety of Food: I have to give a measly 1 here. Sorry Pier, I was hoping for more choices, at the very least. I expected all the fried choices based on the category of this restaurant but I did think they’d have a few healthier options–or just a few more options in general.

Kid-Friendliness: Three in this one. They had high chairs and were accommodating. I think the young wait staff could be trained a little more on how to handle tables with kids, especially since this place is a stone’s throw from both the children’s museum and Rye Playland. And this isn’t just for the snot incident. We also didn’t get super prompt service and I waited several minutes too long for the check at the end.

Cleanliness, Comfort and Atmosphere: I’m offering a 4 here because of the outside eating area. It was lovely being on the sound and listening to some island-type music while grubbing. The outside bathrooms were clean and stocked.

Parking: Ample parking at the WCM!!! You park over by Playland and walk to the boardwalk. It’s an easy and scenic walk. Five in this category!

Desserts: Oh I didn’t even go there. Lunch with three kiddos and a sub-par (in the Food Snob’s eyes) restaurant…but, yes, they have dessert offerings here. I’m going to give a 2 since we didn’t partake but I can pretty much guess what the dessert would’ve been based on the main courses.

Cost: Prices were good–as I mentioned, the kids’ meals were $10 each. However, this category is also rated on quality of food in proportion to the price. So…I have to give a two here. I would’ve gladly paid more for higher quality but it’s definitely affordable for lunch.

Experience with the Staff: Another 3. The waitress was nice enough. She just needed some “polishing” shall we say. 😉

Well that wraps it up for the Pier Restaurant and Tiki bar. I hope you’ll check out the Westchester Children’s Museum (you can pack your lunch and eat it there, FYI, if the Pier Restaurant didn’t spark any interest). Happy eating, my friends!

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