grub guides

The Grub Street Guide to Mother’s Day 2019

Hit Balaboosta for brunch! Photo: Scott Heins

When done right, Mother’s Day — which is this Sunday — means Bloody Marys, brunch, and baked goods. Since you’re already spending money and making a fuss (as you should!), one extra-mindful way to double down on your I-heart-Mom karma is to support businesses that are actually owned and operated by some of the hardest-working moms in the industry. So Grub has 21 ideas for restaurants, cafés, classes, and bakeries that allow you to do exactly that.

Bien Cuit
Co-owner and CEO: Kate Wheatcroft, mom of Alexandra, 7, Eliza, 2.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: It’s featuring a strawberry-lemongrass tart as well as a sweet-pea-and-spring-onion quiche ($8.50 individual, $45 for the large). Both items are available for preorders and walk-in orders at the Smith Street and Grand Central Market locations.

On balancing motherhood and work: “I’ve kind of let go of the idea that if I just get more organized, I can get it all done. Some days I cancel meetings or don’t do the dishes or skip a school function that I should be at, and I’ve come to learn that I’m actually probably the only one judging me for it.”

Balaboosta, Kish-Kash, and Taïm
Owner: Einat Admony, mom of Liam, 12, and Mika, 10.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: Taïm is launching an “Impossible Kebab,” which is like the Middle Eastern version of the Impossible Burger; meanwhile, Kish-Kash has added new options to the menu such as gluten-free sandwiches and Moroccan feuille de brick “cigars” and sweets.

On balancing motherhood and work: “Stop guilt-tripping! Every mom I’ve ever met feels she could be better, more attentive, more caring, more listening, more something. The only perfect parent is the one that doesn’t have kids yet!”

Saint Julivert, Txikito, La Vara, and El Quinto Pino
Co-owner and co-chef: Alexandra Raij, mom of Lucien, 7, and Mayaan, 9.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: At any of Raij’s four restaurants, customers can expect a series of seasonal specials that will make Mom happy: At Cobble Hill’s La Vara, for example, that means special brunch cocktails. Presa Ibérica — a butcher’s cut of Iberian pork that eats like a steak — will pop up at El Quinto Pino in Chelsea. And whole pompano with avocado, lime, and hearts of palm is on deck for dinner at Saint Julivert.

On balancing motherhood and work: “The best thing we’ve done is get a small cottage really close to the city on a property with other families in the warm months. It’s great because we help each other and live communally in the summer and the kids are super-happy and free.”

Il Buco and Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria
Founder: Donna Lennard, mom of Joaquin, 14.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: While Il Buco is typically closed during the day on Sundays, it will open for a special Mother’s Day brunch and will host a $65, three-course prix fixe. Alimentari, meanwhile, will also feature a three-course menu for $55.

On balancing motherhood and work: “My own philosophy as a busy mom and restaurateur has been to incorporate my motherhood into my work life — Joaquin was quickly at home at the restaurant and found a built-in extended family that’s always ready to greet him.”

Partner, owner: Elisa Marshall, pregnant with her first child.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: On Sunday, Maman will offer a special brunch with a gift for each maman at its Soho, Tribeca, Hudson Square, and Nomad locations.

On balancing motherhood and work: “Being pregnant and running eight cafés is not easy. My biggest trick is to stop worrying and micromanaging. I try not to stress out unnecessarily about the small things. They used to bother me so much before, but I am learning, and forcing myself, to brush it off now.”

Colonia Verde
Partner: Tamy Rofe, mom of Natalia, 5, and Elan, 1.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: While most restaurants roll out special menus, it will be “business as usual” at this Fort Greene spot. Highlights include duck-confit chilaquiles for brunch and whole grilled cauliflower with mole at dinner.

On balancing motherhood and work: My mantra has become to embrace the messy as part of the creative juice of the whole thing versus trying to find perfection.”

It's business as usual at all of Alex Raij's (very good) restaurants, such as El Quinto Pino and Saint Julivert. From left: Photo: Nitzan RubinPhoto: Noah Fecks
It's business as usual at all of Alex Raij's (very good) restaurants, such as El Quinto Pino and Saint Julivert. From top: Photo: Nitzan RubinPhoto: N... It's business as usual at all of Alex Raij's (very good) restaurants, such as El Quinto Pino and Saint Julivert. From top: Photo: Nitzan RubinPhoto: Noah Fecks

Petee’s Pie Company and Petee’s Cafe
Co-owner: Petra Paredez, mom of Eloisa, 3, and Alejo, 1.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: There will be a special brunch menu at the café (which includes mimosas and spritzes, of course), and, according to Paredez, “We’re going to do the seasonal launch of our Strawberry Dream Pie … It’s a chilled, layered fruit tart: butter crust, strawberry mascarpone, lemon curd, fresh strawberries, and strawberry glaze.”

On balancing motherhood and work: “I practically grew up in my parents’ pie factory. I really saw my mom as a badass — she could wrap pies faster than anyone, load a van with heavy bakery trays in minutes, and charm customers in a way that was somehow both outrageous and disarming. I hope that when my kids come to work with me, my strengths and abilities will inspire them in the same way.”

Campbell & Co.
Owners: Alana and Erin Campbell (sisters): Alana is mom of Alona, 4, and Alston, 2; Erin is mom of Willa, 4.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: On Sunday, the sisters bring the kids by the shop to eat breakfast and have fun with the other kids who come by with their parents. They plan to offer bouquets from a neighborhood florist, as well as a variety of local chocolates, and candles from Brooklyn Candle Studio and Cavern New York. Keep in mind they do a unique cheese-and-coffee pairing, too.

Alana, on balancing motherhood and work: “The truth is that being a mom has actually made us better businesswomen. We don’t have time to waste, so we find ways to be more efficient and to delegate more. Kids really put things in perspective and force you not to sweat the small stuff. You have no choice!”

Chef, owner: Alex Guarnaschelli, mom of Ava, 11.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: “We have a special brunch buffet with some springtime treats, some classics. We have a tobacco-smoked pork chop that is my favorite. We smoke the pork racks whole and then slice and grill to order.”

On balancing motherhood and work: “Restaurants are like children that never grow up, but I prioritize my daughter in most cases. I never get tired of watching Ava grow up. I love the simple, clear-thinking bluntness of her sensibility. She also ‘checks’ me a lot. ‘Mom, don’t let that upset you.’ And so on. She inspires me. She makes me so happy.”

Co-founder and CEO: Anya Fernald, mom of Theo, 3, and Viola, 6.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: On Sunday, the new Belcampo in Hudson Yards will celebrate moms with a complimentary glass of bubbly and a box of homemade Bacon Cracker Jacks.

On balancing motherhood and work: “My focus is to be very present during the time I have with my children. I realize it’s not as much time as other moms, but when I am with them, I limit my phone time and try to really pay attention and engage.”

Owner: Yvette Leeper-Bueno, mom of Julian, 19, and Andre, 15.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: The Harlem spot will offer a Mother’s Day brunch that features all their classics as well as a few special, surprise add-ons.

On balancing motherhood and work: “I opened Vinateria when my kids were 13 and 9, and it was truly two full-time jobs — they appreciated the restaurant, but they weren’t particularly interested in being involved. However, in the blink of an eye, it feels like this is all changing now as my kids and their friends are all looking for summer jobs and suddenly Mom is the cool one! It’s through my family’s collective support that these last six years have flown by, and that’s the reason I love coming into Vinateria everyday.”

Ample Hills
Co-founder: Jackie Cuscuna, mom of Nonna Kai, 12, and Kaleo, 9.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: At its shops around town, Ample Hills will offer a special sundae called “All the Bells & Whistles,” because moms deserves it all: It features two scoops of mom’s favorite flavor on top of Brownie and Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, topped with hot fudge, cookie pieces, mini-marshmallows, and rainbow sprinkles.

On balancing motherhood and work: “Trusting and letting go, setting clear expectations, creating a collaborative environment and offering the tools for success are as much a part of raising a child as they are of raising a business. Now my biggest hurdle is to find a way to create a work-life balance free of self-judgment about my shortcomings as a mom and business owner. Women have it hard, and moms even harder.”

Haven’s Kitchen
Founder: Alison Cayne, mom of five kids ages 13 to 21.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: According to Cayne, “Cooking classes are a great way to spend time with your mom — a great gift idea — and some of our available classes around Mother’s Day include a spotlight on ramps, dim sum brunch, functional bowls, and tapas.”

On balancing motherhood and work: “Any ‘advice’ I could give on balance or being a working parent feels a bit silly when I am privileged to have support, be able to make my own hours, and work at a place I created. That being said, I think above all, our children learn way more from the way we act than the way we preach: If you want to raise people of integrity, who trust their instincts, give the benefit of the doubt and create positivity in the world, then do your absolute best to be that person.”

Baar Baar
Managing partner: Payal Sharma, mom of Karishma and Trishna, both 24, and Rishab, 17.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: At this East Village Indian café, expect a special Mother’s Day prix fixe menu for brunch and dinner (brunch is $59 per person, dinner is $69). Moms will also each get a complimentary glass of Champagne with their meals.

On balancing motherhood and work: “You don’t have to get it right every time. In fact, you can’t ever balance it completely. It’s a constant struggle of a little more time here, and little more time there, as well as feeling a little bit guilty all the time. But in the end, you feel good knowing that you are doing your best.”

The Good Batch
Founder and chef: Anna Gordon, mom of Roxy, 4, and Josephine, 10 months.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: The Clinton Hill shop will trick out its usual offerings and launch a special ice-cream sandwich: a chewy coconut macaroon with a minty blood orange and vanilla ice cream.

On balancing motherhood and work: “I’ve learned over the years that it’s virtually impossible for me to be in parent mode and boss-lady mode at the same time. They use the same part of the brain. If the kids are visiting the bakery, I’m really just focusing on keeping them from falling in a bin of flour, or keeping their little hands out of the mixers. And when I am working, I have become a lot more efficient because there’s no ‘finishing up’ at home anymore. I really do love running a business and raising a family — both experiences seem to have greater purpose now.”

Mini Melanie
Owner: Melanie Moss, mom of Henry Baker Glantz, 13 months.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: As a little gift, or for dessert-in-bed, you can order its hand-painted cakes and macarons, or assorted boxes of signature chocolate-cake truffles. Each truffle is named after a woman who has inspired Melanie.

On balancing motherhood and work: “It’s never easy saying good-bye in the morning and knowing I won’t get to put Henry to bed that night, but every moment we’re together, I make count with my total attention. And I know that I’m building something that he can be proud of. I can’t wait for him to start school one day and tell his friends that his mom makes pretty good cookies — and truffles!”

Bklyn Larder
Proprietor: Mandy Wynn, mom of twins Devorah and Gavin, 12.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: A special “Made by Mother’s” gift box will be available online or in-store at this Park Slope grocer, and on Sunday, moms will get free pastries with any sandwich or meal orders.

On balancing motherhood and work: “The food business demands long hours and full attention. Like so many professions in the U.S., it’s not a flexible industry that lets you focus on your kids and your work very easily. We’re trying to create a culture at Larder that changes that. As a mother running a small business, I have a chance to make a difference for other moms trying to do it all. We hope to be a place that shows its possible.”

High Street on Hudson
Operating Partner: Melissa Weller, mom of Wyatt, 8.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: Weller says, “For Mother’s Day, we are offering a special: Ramona Spritz + Famous Original Sticky Bun for $8. Proceeds will be donated to Moms for Moms NYC. We love the combination of the two: products made by mothers to benefit mothers.” Careful observers will also note that the sticky bun will make its onetime debut at High Street for Mother’s Day.

On balancing motherhood and work: When it feels like I can’t get everything done in the day, and I’m starting to beat myself up about it, I stop and take a deep breath and remind myself I’m doing my best in that moment to balance career with motherhood. I also have a glass of wine.”

Maison May
Owner: Catherine May, mom of Theo, 18, and Lucas, 16

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: It’s business as usual at Maison May’s Fort Greene café, but appreciative mom-havers can also preorder one of its amazing cakes to take home by clicking here.

On balancing motherhood and work: “I only recently realized how I managed being a single mother and a restaurateur: I did not let those two traits defined me. Finding balance and peace for me, in those crazy years, meant reclaiming honestly who I was, and aspire to be — while letting go of who I could never be.”

The Good Fork and Insa
Chef, owner: Sohui Kim, mom of Jasper, 11, and Oliver, 9.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: Mother’s Day will have a few specials, and guests can wish Sohui — who will be working at the Good Fork — a happy Mother’s Day.

On balancing motherhood and work: “I think having a real passion for what you do helps to propel you, and knowing what matters at the end of the day helps, too, which for me are these amazing little people that I am helping to raise.”

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer
Co-founder: Gretchen Holt Witt, mom of Ella, 13.

What’s happening Mother’s Day weekend: Here is a gift that is both delicious, and meaningful: You can send a box, or more, of Cookies’ spring cookies to any favorite mom and 100 percent of the profits will go toward funding cutting-edge research at the leading pediatric cancer centers across the country.

On balancing motherhood and work: “The greatest lesson I learned from living on a pediatric cancer floor for four years is how truly amazing children are and how important it is to really listen to them. They have incredible insight and can teach us so much.”

The Grub Street Guide to Mother’s Day 2019