Baby Barnaby's: A Good Place to Bring a Baby?

Baby Barnaby's has received no lack of attention over the years, much of it from this publication, including a Best of Houston® award for Best Breakfast and one for Best Gay-Friendly Restaurant. The food is tasty (like Katharine Shilcutt, I'm partial to the green eggs), the portions large, the prices reasonable, and the atmosphere at once friendly and lively.

Yet no one seems to have asked the obvious question: Is Baby Barnaby's a good place to bring a baby? I will concede that this question hadn't occurred to me until I recently became a parent. I will further concede that it's hard to imagine anyone thinking the name Baby Barnaby's actually indicates some affinity with the recently hatched.

The "Baby" in Baby Barnaby's could refer to the size of the restaurant (a postage-stamp former dress shop that seats only 35 inside), the hours (7 a.m. to noon during the week, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends), the menu (breakfast only), its status as the sibling or offspring of the original Barnaby's next door, or, most likely, some combination of the preceding. Also, alliteration and assonance always attract; would you be more likely to eat at Tiny Barnaby's? Wee Barnaby's? Li'l Barnaby's? Barnababy's?

There is a big difference between a restaurant that is fun when you're single and carefree and a restaurant that is fun when you are toting a removable car seat. Overhearing and occasionally joining the conversation at the next table is not nearly as entertaining when the conversation wakes up your baby. Then again, most babies do fine with restaurant white noise. Baby Barnaby's strikes a nice balance; the interior, crammed with booths and tables, is pleasantly energetic, whereas the outside patio is more relaxed. The wait staff is also accommodating, although when your baby is too small for a high chair and too young to grab at silverware (let alone eat restaurant food), accommodating mostly means having a positive attitude.

For parents with small babies, the main problem at Baby Barnaby's is finding a good table; there's no room for a stroller, which means that with a car seat, you need one of the few booths inside or else an outside table against a bench in full shade (the morning sun can be harsh) - basically, one of the three tables by the door. But if there's one constant about weekend breakfast at Baby Barnaby's, it's having to wait for a table, and limiting the number of acceptable tables only makes things worse. My advice is simple: Go early. Which, considering that most infants are awake by 6:30 a.m., shouldn't be a problem.

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