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It’s revenge of the breeders as Fornino adds kid-friendly items • Brooklyn Paper

It’s revenge of the breeders as Fornino adds kid-friendly items

Michael Ayoub and Christopher Walsh (right) of Fornino on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope have added kid-friendly dishes after an outcry.
Community Newspaper Group / Stephen Brown

The indomitable parents of Park Slope demanded a kid’s menu, and the owners of the new Fornino restaurant on Fifth Avenue caved.

Less than a week after opening the high-end pizzeria on Fifth Avenue and Carroll Street, a blog-fanned furor erupted over the restaurant’s lack of child–friendly cuisine.

“This menu has issues,” wrote “Scott A.” on Yelp, an online directory. “There are no ‘simple’ menu items I could order since of course last night was the night my son decided to be picky. I wasn’t looking for chicken fingers and French fries, but maybe a basic pasta I could order as an app would have worked.”

Fornino quickly responded, adding five kid dishes at $7 apiece — but that only enraged the childless even more, raising anew that age-old Park Slope question: is anywhere in the neighborhood safe from strollers and squealing kids — and will anyone stand up to the breeders?

“Go take your kid to TGI Fridays if you want a children’s menu,” wrote “Malik R.” on Yelp. “Would you go to Le Bernardin or Babbo and complain because there wasn’t mac and cheese on the menu? … You aren’t special and don’t deserve special treatment.”

Fornino chef Michael Ayoub, a veteran of the Brooklyn restaurant scene, didn’t see what all the hoopla was about.

“I don’t tweet, I don’t Facebook, I don’t Yelp,” Ayoub joked. “I’m in the hospitality business. They want a kid’s menu, it’s not a big deal.”

Of course, there is the question, who doesn’t like pizza? It’s not as if you have to order the only item over $30 on the menu: pizza with black truffles.

“Pizza is the great common denominator,” said Ayoub, who opened a successful Fornino in Williamsburg, and was once in charge of the long-closed and adored Cucina, which occupied the same space as the new joint in Park Slope.

But strollers are as common a sight in Park Slope as righteous adults forking over top dollar for an organic heirloom tomato, and “the breeders” are quite a force to be reckoned with. It was only two years ago that the bar Union Hall dared to ban strollers — a ban that lasted all of one week.

So Ayoub answered parents’ call with no regrets — business is reportedly doing well — but he did have one request.

“We’re not turning into a romper room,” Ayoub said. “A guest of any age should act accordingly in the restaurant. Most parents can take care of their child if there is an issue.”

He added, “I have full faith in the parents of Park Slope.”

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