Meet Tracey Stewart, Founder of Moomah Cafe

Tracey Stewart is the mother of two kiddies and the founder of one of the most beloved places in Tribeca, Moomah Cafe. Beautiful, light, open and completely welcoming to families, Moomah is one of our favorite spots in the neighborhood. Walk in and the place will be bustling, yet calm, filled with kids and their parents, as well as other residents and businesspeople, meeting, eating, playing, thinking, connecting. When Tracey announced Moomah would be closing a month ago, people in the neighborhood were devastated (including our 4-year-old daughter who only wanted to know where she would get chocolate croissants!) and thanks to their protest and cries of outrage, Tracey changed her mind and reopened last week. Moomah is not only a reflection of its neighborhood, but also of its founder, who brings the space to life with her warmth, humor, optimism and creativity. Read on to learn more about Tracey as a mom and an entrepreneur, and this very special place.

Where does the name Moomah come from?
Moomah was the name of my security blanket as a child. I wanted Moomah to be a respite for parents, so the name felt just right.

How did you come to open Moomah originally? What were you setting out to do?
I wanted to create a place I would enjoy bringing my kids that wasn’t necessarily a “kids place”. I wanted to create a community space where people of all ages would feel welcome and even soothed after a visit. I love when I can find cafes that feel like a real gathering place for a neighborhood. At their best they are social, nourishing and creative.

Why did you decide to close, and then reopen?
I absolutely loved feeling so connected to my neighborhood, but our old model just wasn’t sustainable. The day-to-day business of running a small café and keeping it afloat can be all consuming. I found myself constantly pulled away from other creative ventures that I also wanted to be able to put some heart into. But when our neighborhood kids starting petitioning and moms were crying, I realized it might be worth trying to figure out a new simpler model that would give our customers what they loved while still allowing for time for other pursuits.

Moomah is such a center of the community, and people were so sad when you announced its closing. What do you think it is about Moomah that struck a cord with people the way it did?
I think we’ve managed to make our place feel like a home away from home for all ages. We were just as happy to mash up a banana for our senior customers as we were for our teething customers. I always feel as though I’m sneaking peeks of really beautiful moments between customers; or parents and children. It really is life affirming.

You are the master of kid crafts activities. What are some of your favorites that parents can do with their kids at home?

I am by no means the master of kids crafts. I would however say that I have really big ideas…I start to try to pull them off…. I get lazy and then I figure out a great way to do the original idea in a much simpler way and so in the end, my projects might turn out a bit janky but my kids and I end up having a lot more fun together.
My favorite crafty activities to do with my kids are the ones I can do laying down, like drawing in their dream journals before bed. If I had to pick my favorite craft to be done in an upright position I would say that it involves inventing new projects with things we have around the house. Projects like glitter shells, shredder paper art and pistachio shell flowers. All of which can be found in my new magazine (knudge knudge wink wink).
Everything in Moomah is handcrafted and natural, but please, tell us what’s your favorite plastic vice.
I’m all for natural, handcrafted, non-poisonous toys but let’s be real my brothas and sistas. My house is loaded with BPA. I love magna-tiles, especially when my kids build with them and the sunlight shines through the different color tiles. I hear angels. And legos. Even though I complain that I am always the one who ends of having to finish them, I love finishing them. I go into a trance. And even though I love the earth very much I CAN NOT eat using a wooden spoon or paper straw. Sorry earth!

And you favorite secret junk food (and it can’t be organic)?
I LOVE Pirate Booty. I have Celiac Disease and it’s gluten-free which seems too good to be true.

We LOVED the food at Moomah. What are your favorite dishes to cook with/for the kids, and any recipes to share?
Hands down I love to make guacamole with the kids. The mashing, the cool pits, the discussion over what to add, how to season and then the resulting yumminess.
I wrote an article in DIT magazine about how to get your kids off the sugar cereals and onto the healthier ones by having them create their own box design, title and recipe. It works like a charm.

You are a big supporter of The Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Since every child has anxieties, do you have any basic tips to share when it comes to helping kids and their parents cope with these issues?
It would be extremely difficult and anxiety-producing to have to pick just one. Clearly I’m afflicted. Hell, I’m devoting a whole online magazine to the pursuit of peace of mind. I would say though that as a family we put a lot of focus on relaxation, conversation and appreciation.

What is your most treasured possession?
My family is my most treasured everything.

How do you balance running a business and being a mom?
I don’t. I’m a mess.

What is your ideal Sunday with the kids?
We have wonderful wonderful Sundays because we always do the exact same thing. We stay up late Saturday night so we sleep late Sunday. We make waffles for breakfast. We read the paper, while the kids play on their own (yes, this has finally happened this year for us). We go outside and run around a lot or at least we watch the kids do this. We eat lunch and then crash on our giant couch that fits all four of us and our two dogs (thank you Restoration Hardware). We watch tv and when we’re lucky we all take a late afternoon nap.

And how do you like to unwind without them?
I’m easy. I am truly appreciative whenever I have more than 15 minutes where I can lay on my bed without having to get up to get anyone else anything. Aaah bliss.

What is the activity with kids you least like (my wife tries to avoid a playground)?
I am terrible at playing Barbies. When I was a child I always played “dirty Barbies” so it’s really hard for me to come up with G-rated storylines.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Philadelphia which is why when I’m tired or drunk I drink wudder instead of water. I am very much not an Iggles fan though. Go Giants!

Where do you live now, and what are your favorite kid friendly neighborhood haunts?
I live in Tribeca. I never go above Canal Street so my entire neighborhood has to be my haunt.

What would your last meal be?
This is a dark dark question that makes my mind go to terrible places…mashed potatoes!

Which vice could you NOT live without: coffee or wine?
Coffee. I could be just as happy drinking mojitos.

Favorite kids book?
I would rather talk about how lately whenever I buy a beloved book from my childhood to read to my own kids I can’t believe how scary it is! It’s funny and horrifying all at the same time. I started to read to my daughter from the Little House on the Prairie series and here’s what she got…

“Uncle Henry came to help Pa butcher the hog. He brought Aunt Polly’s sharpened knife. They made a bonfire and heated a big kettle of water over it. The pig pen was nearby. Laura plugged her ears with her fingers because she didn’t want to hear the pig squeal as it was being killed. “After that, Butchering Time was great fun.”

Uncle Henry and Pa were “jolly”. There was spare ribs for dinner. Pa promised the girls they could play with the bladder, which he blew up like a balloon. They played games like volley ball and kick ball with the blown-up bladder. He also gave the girls the pig’s tail, which was roasted, sizzled, fried and sprinkled with salt. They ate all the meat off the bones, knowing there wouldn’t be another pig’s tail until next year.”

I looked up to see my daughter sitting stone still with her eyes wide open in shock. “Keep reading Mama”, she said.

Favorite kids toys?
Magna Tiles. See above.

How do your kids inspire you?
Oh the tears! They are falling just thinking about it. They are better people than me. They see the best in people. They laugh all the time about everything. They run around until they are exhausted and then get right back up and start running again. They read books about animals. They invent magical stories in their heads. They wonder what our dogs are trying to say to them. It’s just endless.

Meet Stacey Fraser, Founder of Pink Chicken

In addition to being a dear friend, Stacey is the founder of one of our favorite lines of children’s clothing, Pink Chicken (which excitingly now offers designs for moms too!). When we had our design store Clio, the only non-tableware items we sold were these amazing little dresses from Pink Chicken. We didn’t care that they didn’t fit into the theme of our store, we just loved them and knew other parents would too. Stacey’s super chic dresses, shirts, skirts and leggings are sold at Barneys NY and other top shops across the country – and she just opened her second PC store, this one on Madison & 88th on the Upper East Side of NYC.   Oh and did we mention that she is an amazing mom to two adorable girls? Here’s more on Stacey – we think she’s awesome!

When did you get the first inkling that you wanted to be a fashion designer?  Did you redesign your dolls clothes or were your childhood drawings all styled out?

My grandmothers were both in fashion – one owned her own womens clothing store in Ohio and I loved hanging out in her store on my summer visits.  The other was a bridal designer in New York.  I used to love to visit her and always created little outfits for me and my dolls!


Did your parents do anything to foster your passion for design?

They let me cut up my clothes and put them back together when I was in high school. Which when I think of my kids doing that now, it would freak me out, but they really gave me the freedom to be creative in every way.

How did you start your company?

I took a year off from working when my second daughter Sadie was born. Towards the end of the year, I started getting antsy so I started making dresses for my girls.  People commented on how much they loved them and I thought maybe I could make this into a business.   I had helped to build other brands for 15 years, maybe I should just go for it and I did!

Define Pink Chicken’s style.

Easy, breezy bohemian style that is no fuss and always stylish.    We have a love of vintage textiles and Indian block printing so we love to layer print on print.

You have such great personal style. Define it for us. And please feel free to offer any tips for capturing such a cool casual yet super stylish look.

I would say I dress very Pink Chicken.   I wear a dress 90% of the time – with boots in the winter, and a sandal in the summer!   Always print, always color.   Love to layer patterns…putting a great statement necklace with it makes you look more pulled together.

Where did you grow up, and was design a part of your upbringing in any way?

I Grew up in Northern VA.

Where do you live now, and what are your favorite kid friendly neighborhood haunts?

We live in Greenwich Village with our 2 daughters and dog Clyde.  A great Italian restaurant on our street called Gradisca.  They are SO great with the kids and the pasta is homemade by the grandmother, she rolls gnocchi right there!  Morandi is another great place we go with kids.  Also, you can’t go wrong with brunch at Pastis.

You also have such a beautiful home. What are your favorite design sources or tips for turning a simple room into something fab.

I used to LOVE Domino magizine, and was so sad when they shut down – but thrilled to learn they have a new issue out on the 334 best makeovers and easy decorating tips!  Can’t wait to pick it up!  I would say to turn a simple room fabulous – add a bright color or fun wallpaper to an accent wall, and then toss in a few new patterned pillows.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’m having a love affair with my new iphone.   I was one of the last hold outs, convinced I would never switch from my beloved Blackberry.  I finally did, and my life has changed. I finally feel cool! but seriously, I now listen to music on the subway to and from work that I haven’t listened to in years. . . have a great camera at my daughters school assemblies and cannot stop playing solitaire.

How do you balance running a business and being a mom?

Very carefully. J when you run your own business its 24/7 in your head, always thinking about what needs to get done but the best part is getting to take my kids to school everyday and volunteer for field trips and make every ballet recital or hockey game.   also building a good team around me here at Pink Chicken has been critical as well as having the best nanny you could ever ask for.  she has been with us for 8 years and it such an important part of our family.

What is the activity with kids, you least like (my wife tries to avoid a playground)?

I am with Michelle. . . I find the playground so boring. . . I’d rather do activities that we both love like doing art and crafts projects together, riding bikes, playing board games.

What is your ideal Sunday with the kids? And how do you like to unwind without them?

Being in our Amagansett home  . . sleeping in (to 8am. . .isn’t it funny that 8am is sleeping in now).   have a nice breakfast – I make a mean omelet . . play some hoops in driveway, ride bikes and head to the beach.   to unwind without them, I love to take a spin class at soul cycle, the best workout ever and emotionally clears my head and then dinner and movie with hubby.

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That is a hard one because I love food.   Can’t force me to pick!

What would your last meal be?

A dinner at Minetta Tavern – a thick juicy steak and simple green salad with their coconut cake for dessert.

What is your favorite secret junk food?

Can’t believe I am going to admit this but it’s hostess mini white powered donuts.

Which vice could you NOT live without:  coffee or wine? for sure coffee.

I love coffee.  the more ice the better. . . and now the girls in the office have me addicted to iced soy dirty chais!   (a chai latte with shot of espresso!)

Favorite kids book?

My six year old just started reading the Elephant and Piggie books.  Very funny.  From Mo Williams, the same author as the Pigeon books.

What are you going to do this Mother’s Day – and any specific gift you are hoping for?

I just booked a massage for myself, can’t wait!    Also, I think we might go to the Brooklyn Flea – I’ve never been and have always wanted to and could use a dose of inspiration and the food stands are suppose to be delicious!

How do your kids inspire you?

Their courage and unconditional love always blows me away.  when I watch them sleeping at night sometimes I get weepy that we created these amazing creatures and how lucky I am that I get to be their mom. . . it makes me want to be a better person.

Q & A with Pavia Rosati

Paris, Les Editeurs cafe

Pavia Rosati is the founder of the amazing new travel website Fathom (, the kind of site that will inspire you to plan five trips in dreamy destinations around the world the second you see it. She was also the executive editor of Daily Candy since it was just a baby and directed all of us to all things fabulous. As you would expect from someone so stylish, Pavia is that friend that knows exactly where to go and what to do before it becomes chic. Luckily for us, Pavia shares some tips with reCrib. Now after you are done reading this, get online and book that next trip and stop dreaming…

What is your favorite place to visit?
City – Paris. I lived there in college and it’s like visiting an old friend.
Island – Lo Scoglio in Marina del Cantone. Okay, it’s technically not an island. But I feel so remote when I’m there, and it’s surrounded by water, so can you blame me for my confusion?
Adventure destination – Utah. Does climbing up and down state park mountains count as “adventure”?

What’s the one thing you won’t travel without?
A camera. Good moisturizer. And it doesn’t always happen, but I love traveling with my husband.

What do you most miss about home when you travel?
Cooking in my kitchen.

What is New York City’s (your hometown) best kept secret?
That we’re a village of connected and friendly locals.

Best destination with kids?
I don’t have kids, but I love watching my friends’ kids go crazy on the beach.

Best destination without kids?
A four-hour lunch at Le Meurice.

Favorite hotel?
The Connaught is pretty perfect. And though I only spent one night there five years ago, I’ve never been able to get Il Convento di Santa Maria di Constantinopoli in Puglia out of my head. I could move in for a few months.

After I land in Naples, my first meal is at Pizzeria Brand.

Top three destinations or hotels you want to visit?
1. Hong Kong.
2. Tierra del Fuego, Chile.
3. I’ve spent a quarter of my life in Italy, but I can’t believe I’ve never been to Sicily or Pantelleria.

Besides Fathom, what are your favorite travel blogs or resources?
Alastair Sawday finds the most charming small hotels, and Jonglez Publishing’s Secret/Unusual books unearth excellent quirk. Cool Hunting has impeccable taste. And since I have a fierce practical streak, I’m crazy about Michelle Wiggins in NYT, Wendy Perrin in Conde Nast Traveler, and Christopher Elliott in National Geographic Traveler.

Favorite vacation reads?
I like books set in the place I’m visiting. Reading Paul Bowles’ short stories in Morocco added a petrifying, atmospheric tone to my time in Marrakech. I don’t think we were kidnapped by bedouins on our trip, but I sometimes wonder.

Any travel secrets?
Pack half the things you think you need; you’ll never regret traveling light. Go see the thing you’re too tired to visit; you’ll never regret having seen too much.

Best thing about starting your own business?
Well, I had this idea about what a travel website should look like…

Hardest thing about starting your own business?
It’s really tough to blame the boss.

Q & A with Christiane Lemieux, Founder of Dwell Studio

Super mom, career woman extraordinaire, taste-maker, bon vivant, renaissance woman, Christiane, is the founder and creative force behind DwellStudio, and a dear friend who inspires us every day.  She is an incredible person, and obviously incredibly talented.  For those of you who are into design and haven’t read her book, Undecorate, I highly recommend getting it.  Enjoy our Q & A with Christiane, and see how one mom tries to do it all.

Why you love living in NYC?
I think that New York is the most amazing place.  You can walk everywhere so you have a small town experience in your neighborhood AND live in one of the most dynamic cities… Plus – who knew that the most gorgeous beaches you could imagine are such a short distance away?  Before moving to New York – I had no idea!

What you most love about your home?
The open space – I can cook dinner and interact with my family.  It just flows so well.

Favorite part of your kids’ rooms?
The bedding and decore :)




Top three tips for decorating a kids room or nursery:
Black out shades – get them...they will save your life and sleep...
storage, storage can’t even conceive how much you will need it !
Don’t go will be switching it up all the time...that is why reCrib is such a great idea...

What inspires you?
Travel, museums, flea markets.... in new and exotic locations.

Define your personal style:
eclectic, modern luxe.

You've said before that fashion, art and travel inspire your designs for dwellstudio. Who are three people (one in each category) inspiring you right now?

Fashion – I am loving Dries Van Noten lately.  I love his mix of textiles.  Amazing, worldly and inspiring.
Art – I just saw the De Kooning show at the MOMA and fell in love with his amazing pinks, oranges and greens.  Fabulous.
Travel – Who does it better than Angelina and Brad?  How can I get my kiddies to Cambodia for the week?

I know you love mixing modern with vintage. What is your favorite source for vintage items?
3 Favorite sources are 1st Dibs, Ebay and V&M.

How do you balance your busy schedule with being a mom to two amazing kids?
Hmmmm – I am not sure that balance is a good word for my life. Just today, I was late for a meeting because my son had a school interview.  It’s a constant push pull. I need balancing tips!  I am constantly canvassing my mom friends for ideas.  A recent one – put your kids clothes AND yours out the night before when you are not harried during the morning rush.

Favorite hotel for family traveling? for design? for getting away from it all?
Family Hotel – We LOVE the Round Hill in Jamaica.  We have been going for years and know the staff.  It is the one place my kids can roam free.  That is amazing for city kids.

For design - I am dying to try the new “ La Maison des Centraliens” by Martin Margiela in Paris!

Getting away from it all...
The Six Senses in Vietnam -

Top three destinations on your must-visit list?

Three dinner guests?
Right this minute I would like to invite -

Sheryl Sandberg
Martha Stewart
Anna Wintour

I think that would be fun and I could do a lot of brain picking. This changes daily though.

Last meal before you die?
Baguette, Many Delicious Perfectly Ripe Cheeses and a perfect Burgundy (maybe from the DRC) - I am French afterall...

Favorite recent restaurant experience?
I just had Omakase at Sushi of Gari for the first was amazing.

What's it like to work with your husband? Best and worst part?
Best – Flexibility – for example we never have issues with travel – we can pick up and go as a family. Or school function – we can be be’s pretty great!
Worst – taking work home – unavoidable and draining.

Companies or brands that inspire you right now?
Google – for constant innovation – wow.  I want to be part of the Beta of what ever they are doing.

What's next for DwellStudio?
Shhhh – looks like a store.

You accomplished so much as a professional and as a mom. What is something you still hope to do, see or accomplish in your life?

I would love to go to medical school and become a Doctor – crazy right?

Thank you, Christiane. I bet we'll be making that Dr. appointment to see you one day!

Q & A with Marc Murphy

Marc Murphy is one of NYC’s best known and loved chefs (and we feel lucky to call him one of our close friends).  In addition to cooking the classic, comforting and flavorful food at Landmarc and Ditch Plains, he also serves as an ardent supporter of hunger relief organization City Harvest. On top of that he is a judge on Food Network’s hit show, “Chopped.” Oh, and did we mention he is a Super Dad to his 8 and 4 year old kiddies, a consummate entertainer at home, surfer, ballet aficionado, and the list goes on…Can you say Renaissance Man?


Favorite thing to cook for your kids?

I love to cook anything that I can cook WITH them. Scrambled eggs with parmesan has become one of our favorite breakfasts because my daughter can now make them almost entirely by herself. We also make a lot of pastas and salads – anything they can help chop, clean and cook!

Favorite thing to cook for yourself?

A big bowl of pasta

Any tricks for getting kids to eat foods other than pizza and chicken fingers?

Getting kids interested in cooking really helps – if the kids work with me in the kitchen, they are way more excited to try what we’ve made. I also always have them at least taste whatever I’m eating. Our rule about food is to say yes before you say no and to at least try everything. You’d be surprised how many things kids will eat – we don;t give them enough credit!

Is there anything your kids eat that makes you cringe?

Chicken fingers.

What are 5 ingredients busy parents should always have in their refrigerator?

Parmesan Cheese, Milk, watermelon, cooked pasta, sliced turkey

Favorite restaurant other than your own (feel free to share as many as you’d like)?

ABC kitchen, Extra Virgin, Crispo, Locanda Verde

Your three favorite kitchen tools?

Vitamix, japanese mandolin, side towel

Is there anyone you would really like to cook for?

I would love to cook a state dinner at the white house.

When you’re not working, what’s your favorite thing to do?

I love to travel with my family (eating is always a big part of these trips!) but when we’re home I love to surf and really the best way to spend time is just hanging with family and friends.

Favorite thing to do in NYC with your kids?

New York is such an amazing place to raise kids – there are so many amazing activities all of the time and truthfully, I love doing anything with them when they’re having fun and taking advantage of the city. Taking them to see things – museums, ballets, musicals – that’s pretty cool. It gets them thinking about things outside their world and it’s amazing to see everything through their eyes.

Favorite travel destination?

Italy and France

Place you haven’t been to that you’d most like to go?

Japan and China

What would your last meal be?

spaghetti carbonara

When you have dinner parties, who are your two very favorite guests?

Daniel and Michelle, of course!

email newsletter

copyright © 2011 - 2015 reCrib. all rights reserved.

You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials