Kidsday: Brunch at Neely's

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Kidsday has had the pleasure of experiencing a delicious brunch offered to children the first Saturday of the month at Neely's Barbecue Parlor at 1125 First Ave., Manhattan.

This restaurant is set up to represent an "at home" atmosphere. Each dining area represents a room that you would find in your own home. There's the living room, the front room, the den and the sitting room. It also has a private room, which is set up with fancy dishes and napkin holders. They have an area where you can plug in your electronics. The lights can be dimmed, and there are beautiful curtains that can be closed for complete privacy. This room can be used for parties or a private dinner with family or friends.

We enjoyed our meal in the sitting room.

We interviewed Chris Eldridge, general manager of the restaurant. We asked how he come up with the idea of a children's brunch. He replied that in New York City, there were not enough kid-friendly restaurants, so he decided to offer an event especially for kids. The farm-themed children's brunch evolved from the Neely family being from Tennessee. The children's brunch is available from noon to 3 p.m. The restaurant hands out Rice Krispies Treats, animal stamps, animal-shaped lollipops, coloring books and more to keep children entertained. A clown named Twinkles did face painting.

Children can order from the kids' menu or get the $9.95 buffet. We had country-fried steak and eggs, fried chicken and waffles, and the velvet Elvis, which is French toast with syrup, peanut butter and banana.

We also got to try two new drinks. The Fishbowl is a tasty raspberry-flavored soda with a surprise of Gummi fish. The second drink is called the World's Fair, which is Sierra Mist with cotton candy. Both drinks were a festival of flavors.

We spoke with some of the kids at the restaurant about their thoughts on the brunch. The kids said their experience at the Neely's Barbecue Parlor was fun. Based on our experience, we would highly recommended you visit.

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Book review: 'Bessica Lefter'

The book "Bessica Lefter Bites Back" by Kristen Tracy (Delacourte Books) is about a girl trying to get through middle school. Bessica is already having trouble fitting into school, and it doesn't get better.

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Bessica has to deal with her grandma's new boyfriend, and her best friend, Sylvia, being angry at her. The book was just OK. I wish the character Bessica had more personality to make the book more interesting, and the book didn't make you feel that popularity is the most important thing in middle school. Otherwise, it's a good read for fifth- and sixth-graders.

--Kidsday Reporter Angella Kidd

CLASS OF THE WEEK: Sandra Saitta's seventh-grade class, TRINITY LUTHERAN SCHOOL, Hicksville

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