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Should Some Restaurants Be Child-Free?

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Stemming from a post about Joshua's, in Maine, that apparently doesn't allow children: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/626617

Do you believe there are some restaurants that simply shouldn't allow children? If so, why? If not, why?

  1. This is a great question.

    As the mother of an 8 year old and a 5 year old, I do like to expose them to nicer restaurants on occasion. However, I also enjoy going out with my husband alone, and if I've bothered to get a babysitter for my own children, I certainly don't want to be deal with someone else's.

    When we do go to a nicer establishment with my children though, we try and do it earlier, so as to have the best chance of not disturbing other' during a "date night". 5 pm is the latest we'd go, and we try and go during the week instead of a weekend.

    Maybe instead of outright banning children, there could be child-free hours. Perhaps on the weekends after 8 pm or so. Sounds reasonable to me.

    1. Patrons of a fine-dining establishment should not have to tolerate poorly behaved children. But neither should they have to tolerate poorly behaved adults.

      Unfortunately, there are a few people who cannot or will not moderate their own behavior or that of their offspring. It's a tough call for a manager, but there comes a point when a patron needs to be told to shape up or get out.

      But people shouldn't generally be excluded from a public accommodation because of the management's preconceived notions regarding how they might behave. There is no direct correlation between deportment and age, gender, or ethnicity.

      There are exceptions to this general rule. For example, it's completely appropriate to have an adults-only policy at a dinner theater with an adult-themed show. But unless there's some independent reason to exclude them, well-behaved kids should be welcomed. How else will they learn to behave in a nice restaurant, and thus grow up to be well-behaved adults?

      26 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        I think you've really hit upon some important points (and stated them quite eloquently!), especially the notion that groups of people shouldn't be excluded solely b/c of preconceived ideas about what their behavior might be due to some marker of identity. As you ably suggest, bad behavior abounds in all age, race, class, and sexual categories.

        As a rule, I am cautious when private establishments seek to exclude an entire group of people based upon these types of categorization.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          "Patrons of a fine-dining establishment should not have to tolerate poorly behaved children. But neither should they have to tolerate poorly behaved adults."

          Regardless of whether it's fine dining or not, patrons should not have to tolerate poorly behaved guests of any age. Many parents and guests don't believe they're out of hand, and ignore even obvious looks from surrounding tables where annoyance is clear.

          That said, I was annoyed when I wasn't allowed to take my friends and their (well behaved) children to the Civic Orchestra, because the rule had just been added that no children under the age of 8 were allowed (mind you, this is the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with a format based on educating the audience, with free tickets).

          1. re: Caralien

            Two things

            First, you are absolutely correct about 'lesser' restaurants. There is no reason that I should be expected to endure poorly behaved children in any restaurant that does not end in E. Cheese.

            Second, your experience at the symphony is a terrible shame. We started taking our child to family orchestra concerts when he was a preschooler but we were prepared to take him out if he made even a peep. He did not. However we attended a concert this season with two BABIES (approx six months!) sitting behind us who gurgled, cooed and guffawed until another patron finally asked the parents to take them out. I was distressed that there is not a rule excluding children under two and that the ushers didn't intervene to resolve the problem.

            1. re: Kater

              People with babies probably think that any HAPPY noise is OK, but just because it is not crying does not mean it is not distracting.

              Whether happy baby sounds are categorically worse than your average inane cell phone conversation might be debated, but baby babble is not as cute when it is not your baby. Some parents may be in denial of this.

              1. re: babette feasts

                You are absolutely correct. We were dining with all of our children this afternoon in an upscale Mexican cafe. My not quite 2 year old persisted in singing and making happy noise (very loud!!)and I promptly took her on a walk while waiting for our food. There were many couples in the otherwise quiet restaurant and I did not want to disturb their meal with my little babbler. To me any noise outside of the normal level be it phone conversation (so rude!) or a loud child is irritating and should be dealt with in a similar manner. The "offender" should be asked to step outside to complete the conversation or baby babble (sp?)

              2. re: Kater

                Orchestras, operas, ballets, etc. have had to start making these rules because parents (like those of the "cooing babies" above) are so oblivious. They think that what doesn't bother them, couldn't possibly be obnoxious to anyone else.

                I haven't been to a performance of the The Nutcracker in decades - since my own children were young. They knew better than to stand on seats so they could see and yell "Hey, Mom, why is that girl standing on her tippy toes?"
                I swore never to attend again unless and until there is an adults-only performance somewhere.
                Two year olds do not belong at the ballet or in fine restaurants while their parents enjoy a two hour meal.
                Get a baby sitter.

            2. re: alanbarnes

              Alan,

              As usual, you make a fine point with, "Patrons of a fine-dining establishment should not have to tolerate poorly behaved children. But neither should they have to tolerate poorly behaved adults."

              Well said,

              Hunt

              1. re: alanbarnes

                Well said, alanbarnes. You took the words out of my mouth.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I couldn't agree more. My four year old does perfectly fine in a fine-dining establishment. He talks more quietly than most adults, and sits and quietly colors for most of the meal, stopping every now and again to ask us what the latest course is.

                  If parents can't keep their kids under control, ask them to leave. But don't punish me for someone else's poor behavior (and make no mistake, a child misbehaving in a restaurant is the parents' fault - if you know your kid won't do well in a restaurant, don't take him there).

                  1. re: Indirect Heat

                    Not to be snarky, but if your kid sits and colors the whole time, what's the point of bringing him?

                    I have acquaintances who are always saying, "My little Johnny is so good in restaurants. We just bring his portable DVD player/video game/etc. and you'd never know he's there". Little Johnny isn't good in restaurants, he's just easily entertained.

                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                      You're absolutely right. We should leave our 4-year old at home. Or in the hotel. Or in the car. Drop him off at the park? Perhaps we could just leave him the keys to the car, and give him some cash for a movie. Believe it or not, but getting a babysitter isn't always possible (indeed, we do most of our fine dining while travelling, and we don't travel with a babysitter).

                      In all seriousness, childhood is a training period for how to be a good adult. Part of that is learning how to behave in restaurants. Part of that is learning to eat new things. Some of our friends say their 14-year old kids "won't eat that stuff", when they've never tried, because they only ever take their kids to McDonald's for the Happy Meal. My son eats all kinds of stuff, and likes it, because we take him nice places. But I also can't expect him to sit in a restaurant for three hours and discuss the finer points of Sartres while sipping Cava. After all, he's four. So we meet him half way. We bring him to the places that we like, and we expect him to behave. But we also make it easy for him to behave for long periods, by bringing him things he would like to do, and can do without bothering anyone.

                      You can't just start taking your kids out when they're fourteen and expect them to behave. You have to teach them. And that can start at *any* age (the earlier you start, the easier it is).

                      1. re: Indirect Heat

                        "Start as you plan to go" is some of the best parenting advice we received. Our dear child is only 18 months old, and haven't tried "fine" dining with him yet. But even when we go to a not-so-fine place, if he is acting up we remove him from the situation and get our food to go (it only happened once, and it turned out he was at the beginning of a stomach bug).

                        1. re: Indirect Heat

                          "getting a babysitter isn't always possible"

                          Then you make do w/o doing the things that you want to do. That's part of the deal of having a kid, sometimes you're going to have to face some serious crimps in your lifestyle.

                            1. re: jgg13

                              "Then you make do w/o doing the things that you want to do. That's part of the deal of having a kid, sometimes you're going to have to face some serious crimps in your lifestyle."

                              I should wear a burka and hide my face in shame until he's 20? No thanks. If my child is quiet and seated, I don't see why I should hide in shame. Indeed, what is it exactly about a quiet, seated child that offends you? What is it about parents not sufficiently "sacrificing" that offends you?

                              There's nothing wrong with bringing kids into fine dining restaurants. There's *everything* wrong with letting children misbehave in restaurants. The fact that some folks can't see the difference is contributing to the problem, in an "Oh, kids just behave like that" way. No, they don't. Children who are expected to run around and are allowed to run around will behave that way. If you tolerate it, they'll do it. We don't tolerate it. My 4-year old doesn't leave his seat, except to go to the bathroom. My 4-year old doesn't speak even one-quarter as loud as the guffawing woman sitting over by the window. Given that's the case, why would anyone object to the presence of my child in a restaurant. Odours? His offensive cute cheeks? That picture that he's quietly colouring at the table?

                              This idea that children don't belong in fine dining establishments is an entirely American idea. Go to a fancy place in Italy, and you'll see whole families dining together, and the kids behaving extremely well. Kids will do what's expected of them. If they're expected to run rampant (which is what it sounds like you expect), they will.

                                1. re: Indirect Heat

                                  Can jfood use this in the future, brilliantlky written.

                            2. re: invinotheresverde

                              the point is to sit and have a meal with the family. where everyone is doing what they like, in harmony. I wouldn't expect a 4 year old to share in all my dinner conversation any more than i expect you to help hir color in a barney coloring book. I'm not doing the same thing my child does all the time - does that mean i shouldn't want to share the same space with him at those times?

                              1. re: thew

                                My confusion lies with parents who insist on bringing their child to a fine dining establishment and them do everything in their power to keep him occupied with movies/books/games. I just don't see the point (except for some of the situations like Friedberg mentioned above, where a sitter isn't feasible). Maybe because I don't have kids, I don't fully understand.

                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                  a kid does not have the same focus, needs, or attention span as an adult - nor should they. But families like to spend time as families. And they should be able to do so in good restaurants if that is their wont. A kid may not be able to sit still for a 2 hour meal. so a coloring book might be the best way to keep that kid from becoming the kid everyone is dreading in this thread.

                                  what i'm not getting is why this is an issue for you. what is it you arent getting?

                                  1. re: thew

                                    And to add a bit to your reply, it's also the way you teach your child about what the pleasures and responsibilities are when you go out to dinner at places that range from fine dining on down. Children learn a great deal by observing. The take it in smaller bites (if you will) than adults. With parents who will be alert to the needs of their children, along with the other patrons who are eating within ear shot of their child, it's a nice way to get the educational process of how to dine out started at an early age.

                                  2. re: invinotheresverde

                                    I

                                    Let jfood try his usual analogy. Do you remember the first time you went to the theatre, or the Philharmonic or an Opera? Did you understand or appreciate it? Then over time, one of these three may have become a passion and you formed your own opinions on each. Little jfoods have been going to nice restaurants since they were very little and were able to handle the exposure. Now they have 20+ years of experience (only a few years less than their age) and are perfect ladies because they were exposed to it at such an early age.

                                    Jfood also has the same theory on alcohol. If you take the mystery out of it at an early age, when they reach 21, it is not so important to binge.

                                    So far so good on both, knock on wood.

                                    Hope that helps.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      I agree with you on the alcohol. As part of a culture that allows children to imbibe small amounts of alcohol on a weekly basis, from the cradle, it seems like our kids are far less likely to go crazy as teens or adults, and there's much less wonton drunkenness.

                                      1. re: KosherHound

                                        thats part of the dutch rationale with coffee shops..... that and a huge income from taxation and influx of tourist dollars

                                    2. re: invinotheresverde

                                      I agree with the 'fine dining experience' you're referring to and children having to spend, what must seem to them, endless hours of eating. Bringing along coloring books or whatever the child likes is always intelligent.
                                      However, that being said, I've always been the type of parent who feels it's necessary to teach children how to respect the space of others in the restaurant, whether it be 5 star or the taco joint down the street. If my child ever began to get restless and began to complain he/she was taken out of the restaurant and it was explained why it happened and how their behavior was rude and how it affected the other people in the restaurant. They eventually learned how to behave and it didn't take long but the lesson required going to the restaurant to begin with.
                                      Parents who allow their precious children to run havoc, or make unnecessary and annoying noises at the expense of other diners who are spending time and money to enjoy themselves is, to me, one of the rudest types of behavior and I always blame the parents.

                                      1. re: latindancer

                                        Agreed. Children behaving badly in public spaces is always the parents' fault.

                            3. Hi:

                              Threads on whether or not children should be allowed in certain restaurants, etc., don’t usually go very well, in our experience. We’re willing to give this one a try as long as the discussion remains civil and posters don’t start attacking other posters or their opinions. Please help us with this; otherwise we’ll have to lock or remove the thread.

                              Thank you.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                Just looking down at the replies (and up too), I think that all are well within the spirit of CH and the discussion is going well. Yes, there might be some differences, but everyone seems to be making their points, though possibly diverging, in a very civil manner - just as children should behave, when in a restaurant.

                                Other similar threads migh have gotten out of hand, but this one seems to be a great discussion, and very CH-worthy.

                                Just my observations,

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  I agree with you, Bill. I could see this spinning out of control but it hasn't and has made good points Yay for us :)

                              2. There used to be a fairly upscale restaurant in Indianapolis that banned children. Tried to take my 2 teenagers there for LUNCH and we were turned away. Couldn't believe. I really liked the food at this place, but never went back.

                                On the other hand, I'd never take kids to a "romantic" restaurant, as I feel this would definitely detract from the ambiance.

                                I think it's always best to call ahead and speak with the management. This is a good time to enquire about availability of foods/portion sizes that would appeal to your child.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  I don't think that's uncommon in Indiana due to the strict alcohol laws. Sometimes if the restaurant isn't set up correctly, it will be labeled a bar instead of a restaurant and children aren't allowed in.

                                  1. re: queencru

                                    We eat out a lot, and that's the first and only time I encountered this. This establishment had a bar, but it was in a room separate from the dining rooms.

                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      I had a similar problem with a restaurant in Indy some 13 years ago. I think it was definitely a restaurant, but they said something about the alcohol consumption in the restaurant preventing them from letting anyone under 18 in even with a parent. I did not get to go in, but I found it hard to believe that the bar in such a large place was not separated from the restaurant.

                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                    Is it still there? Can you give me a heads up if it is? Mine aren't old enough that I'd attempt even "fairly" upscale yet, but I don't think I want to go anywhere that can't tolerate teenagers in any case.

                                  3. Twenty years ago when DD was an infant, we brought her to a Saturday lunch at a very nice restaurant in Wilmette near Lake Michigan. It was definitely a white glove affair with elderly matrons sporting blue hair. We were nicely dressed as well, although modern. Being a baby, we sat her in a high chair where she did not scream or make loud noises but managed to pour her milk over her pretty party dress and spill some Cherrios on the floor. When the time came to order dessert, we indicated to our waiter we would like to have the dessert menu. Instead, we were informed that at the request of their usual elderly clientele and management, we were asked to finish our lunch and leave immediately, no dessert for us.

                                    Please remember this was Saturday lunch. I called the hotel manager/owner later to ensure awareness of our treatment. The manager/owner said that the hostess who seated us was disciplined as we should never have received a table in the first place! Under my breath, I cursed the restaurant and management thinking their elderly clientele would surely die off and then they would be left with nothing.

                                    But, kismet! Within a couple of months, the restaurant burned to the ground after a grease fire and the chef/owner couple had triplets! I guess they learned their lesson about bringing babies to restaurants.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                      We often brought our daughter to restaurants when she was still in a high chair, and usually on Friday nights. She was able to stay up because she slept late in the mornings, which we had worked out with her nanny so that we could spend time with her when we got home from work. I couldn't bear the idea of putting her to bed at 7:30 after I got home at 6:30.

                                      Overall, she was great and was drinking milk out of a wine glass before long. If she was even the slightest out of sorts, I scooped her up and brought her outside, where, if she was up to it, we discussed what behavior was expected if she wanted to go back in. She ALWAYS wanted to go back in because being with adults was a thrill for her. It didn't always work out, but it usually did.

                                      On the basis of that experience, I could not accept a restaurant posting a "no children" policy unless it was related to alcohol service or after a late hour -- say 9:00 or so. I am so glad that we were able to bring her everywhere, and I believe that experience helped her learn how to behave. We were regular patrons of many "adult" restaurants that welcomed her, and naturaly stayed away from places that only offered adult food and who couldn't offer a decent high chair.

                                      There are a lot of unruly kids and exhausted parents out there, and they often don't want to cook at the end of a long day or week, so they end up in family style restaurants that offer crayons and kids' meals. If the restaurant doesn't offer kid portions or meals, the issue will probably take care of itself. Let's face it -- most kids are not going to eat foie gras or lobster and most parents are not going to take them to a restaurant where sophisticated and expensive food is all that is on the menu.

                                      I agree with alanbarnes -- we shouldn't exclude a whole class of patron because of preconceived notions. Frankly, some of the worst dining experiences I have ever had were with my late MIL, who suffered from dementia and could be counted on to say embarrassing things about other people quite loudly. I think most parents can read the restaurant as being accommodating to children or not by looking at the menu, the atmosphere, the availability of child seats and the clientele. Most would rather go to a kid-friendly place in the first place.

                                      1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                        Did they provide the high chair? Why would they have one if they didn't allow babies?

                                        1. I think it's a good idea. Ideally, patrons would police their own behavior and the behavior of their children and guests, but unfortunately it doesn't always work so well. In the same way that some restos have explicit dress codes to clearly state what appropriate attire entails, perhaps a no child policy or no children at certain times policy is a good idea to clearly state what the expectations of patrons are in advance to avoid uncomfortable situations of having to ask people to leave or upsetting other patrons by failing to ask a party to leave where their children are creating a distraction or uncomfortable situation. The problem with self-policing is that everyone has his or her own idea of what acceptable behavior for a child is - and perhaps parents who are used to being around children have a different tolerance level than people who aren't used to being around children. Leaving it to a fuzzy standard of "well behaved" kids are allowed puts restaurants in the uncomfortable position of having to tell a parent who thinks their child is well behaved, that the management or other patrons don't agree (similar to being in a position of having to tell a patron that their "nice jeans" aren't *nice enough* for a fancy resto). Not a pleasant position to be in!

                                          1. I have to agree with alanbarnes and the others who don't believe in excluding a class of persons because of preconceived notions. I would love it if restaurants would ban those who wear perfume/cologne because they trigger migraines and groups of women with loud high pitched voices because they annoy me but I know they an unreasonable requests.

                                            I would prefer that restaurants have "children and non-children" rooms (similar to smoking/non smoking. I understand that like smoke, it is not easy to completely filter out child (noises, smells, what ever), but it gives the restaurant a way to limited the number of children. Or on the website suggest that diners leave their children home because no child menu, highchairs, room for strollers, etc.

                                            This weekend I had the pleasure of eating at three separate non-chain restaurants (brunch, lunch, dinner) with my 7 month nephew and his 8 month cousin. All three restaurants were gracious when asked for containers of hot water to heat up bottles, worked with us in finding the right tables ( we were a party of 6 adult and the two babies), and at each the wait staff complemented us on their behavior at the end of the meal. We know that as they get older and are more active we might have to start leaving them at home or eating less leisurely meals.

                                            Unless it's a safety concern (table on a platform hanging from a crane, fugu only menu, etc. ) or a specific reason why, I don't like the idea of an outright ban of children.

                                            1. Absolutely..............

                                              But it can be done with understanding.
                                              For many years, our country club had a mens grill, a ladies grill and a family dining room.
                                              Friday and Saturday nights, children were not allowed after 7:30PM.

                                              Holidays and special occasions were open to all.

                                              Many resorts have children's dining rooms and adult dining rooms.

                                              I used to avoid children at dinner by siiting at a table in the bar. Recently, I was in a major chain restaurant in Massachussets and was apalled to see children sitting at the bar. I questioned the bartender, as I didn't reish the thought of a beer and a baby. TGhe bartender says that as long as no alcohol is served to them, children are welcome to sit at the bar in Mass.

                                              I'll be avoiding that restaurant from now on.

                                              If I go to a popular price restaurant, then families and well behaved children are acceptable. If I'm paying top prices $75pp and up, I don't want to be with children.

                                              Without banning children, a good Maitre D' should be able to isolate children and families from couples.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                My eyes just about popped out of my head at a bar in Virginia, when a couple sat down at the bar and put their kid, in a child carrier, ON the bar! Legal in VA, not in IN.

                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  Even better - I saw a couple bring in a booster for their toddler. They placed it ON the bar in front of their dinner plates and had the kid's feet in their faces throughout the entire meal. The bartender had to reach around the child every time he brought the adults drinks or food. He wasn't happy but didn;t want to make a scene. As a fellow barfly, I was appalled.

                                              2. Hard question. As a mother who took my child everywhere and as a adult who would love adult time but rarely gets it and most of my friends who have young kids that go with me. It can be a very hard questions. Ethically and morally for the restaurant and for those eating there.

                                                I loved going out alone now and then, with my ex who worked nights and me days that rarely happened is ever. All of our friends and kids too. A lot of cops wives didn't work so income was a issue so babysitters for a fancy expensive dinner didn't happen. A nice dinner for a special occasion but otherwise someplace that accommodated kids.

                                                The diner I was involved in. Many families but a few who came for a special dinner but all those people were friends with everyone else so it wasn't too bad. But I can understand for couple who truly eat out more than home and truly enjoy fine dining. I love the food and the tasting but the experience I rarely enjoy. Now that is just me. I feel more comfortable at home at my table with a great dinner, but enjoy the experience of new food too.

                                                Earlier is great with those that have kids and I am sure people appreciate it. I don't mind kids but most of my friends have them so I am always around them.

                                                Dagwood child free hours are a great idea, I don't think legally but I may be wrong a restaurant can ban kids morally, ethically or in any way. Actually I don't think they can ban them at any time, but not sure and I would be states have different regs on that issue. However if stated, I would believe some people made try to stick to the SUGGESTION of KIDS FREE TIME. Also most kids at a much younger age go to bed earlier.

                                                But I have to admit, I have seen adults act WORSE than the CHILDREN, SO IT GOES BOTH WAYS.

                                                I think it becomes a real legal issue if you were try to ban certain groups, but a kids hour and hours I think could be integrated and I think many parents would not mind that. I wouldn't of.

                                                1. Fine by me! Dana Zsofia and I can easily go somewhere else.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                    You might be on to something. An outright ban of children by a restaurant could be seen as a head up to expect other forms of intolerance (no substitutes, no split plates, etc.). I'd rather get a straight forward no kids and go somewhere else than get treated like Diane in Bexley

                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      The next question is: would you patronize that same establishment on a night when you were dining alone or with just adults?

                                                      I hate to put you on the spot, but I am truly curious. And I've seen you handle hotter flames than this question, so I'll push on with it!

                                                      1. re: Cachetes

                                                        Good question. Yes, if the policy had to do with really good food served over various courses and over, say, 3 - 4 hours (and this being the reason for excluding children). Other than that, maybe not.

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          An interesting distinction for a question that's not really fair (actions are so situational, it's often hard to predict how we'll act).

                                                          "For the problem of the Twenty-first Century is the problem of diner line"

                                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                        Dana Zsofia-- what a beautiful name! ( the zspelling rocks too)

                                                      3. When I lived in Austin, I liked the tortilla soup at Chuy's, and the small print sign on the door that said "No crybabies".

                                                        1. "How do you like children?"
                                                          "Well Done" (WC Fields)

                                                          That being said there is a time and aplace for teaching, a time and a place for acceptance and a time and a place for exclusion (sounds like a Byrds' song)

                                                          Alanbarnes hit it on the head, as he usually does, in his analysis. Jfood only wishes that there was a means for removing obnoxious children, teens, and adults from public consumption. But where is the line. The jfoods were utterly embarassed when a new mom and dad brought their 12 week old to dinner at 730 on a saturday night at an upscale resto. Mrs jfood eventually grabbed the screaming baby and walked outside to settle it. Great jfood sitting with clueless pareents and no mrs jfood. That was a one-time event.

                                                          Then the parents who think that everyone is there to babysit there run around the restaurant kids. They sit clueless in their booth while little tommy and janey disturb the other patrons. Once again it is not the kids but the adults. And BTW, having a child grab the back of your head is not cute.

                                                          Likewise there have been numerous times when adults have acted as shamelessly as the above scenarios. So jfood blames the adults.

                                                          Now what is a restaurant to do?

                                                          Numerous threads on "Throw them out" to "If they are thrown outthey will tell all their friends how bad theowner is."

                                                          When the little jfoods were growing up they were exposed to restaurants from an early age. They went at opening, learned to understand the surrounding and eventually they were exposed to prime time. There were a few occasions where that did not work so well and that is why there are doggy bags. Out the jfoods go to the car and bringthe food home.

                                                          Butto the question, jfood thinks that a blanket exclusion is not right. He also thinks a blanket inclusion is not right. If parents bring children into the restaurant inprime time, they should be informed that the manager will ask them to leave if their are any disturbances at all of if there is a single complaint.

                                                          If the pareant-children accept the risk-reward, fine. But the rest of the restaurant is not there to baby sit, have their night ruined or have food thrown at them by ill mannered children.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            Not trying to flame, but is that correct that your wife took someone else's baby outside to calm it? And the parents didn't care? i.e. a stranger took their child?

                                                            1. re: chow_gal

                                                              Since jfood states that he was left sitting with the parents, I took it to mean they were dining with this family, not just at the same restaurant.

                                                              1. re: chow_gal

                                                                Amazing how bad a dog can write, huh? But the answer is yes and no.

                                                                Her picture is not on the Post Office wall, although it would be a definite uptick in the looks department. So it was not mrs jfood picking up some sceaming banchee from another table and marching out of the restaurant. That would have been interesting and the great start of another thread, come to think of it.

                                                                The parents of the baby are very close friends that the jfoods were out to dinner with (baby was an unknown addition to the jfoods). The four of them were sitting there and the people at the next table were probably ready to ask for the creme brulee torch, when mrs jfood left her entree onthe table and suggested she take "Screamer" outside.

                                                                Hope that helps.

                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  Phew. At least the dingo didn't eat their baby.

                                                            2. As someone who has chosen to remain childless, when Oregon banned smoking in restaurants, I always thought they should turn either the area that was previously zoned for smoking into an area that was free from children.

                                                              I do like the idea mentioned of eating in the bar, as most of the time I don't see kids in the bars where I eat out.

                                                              And I really don't mind well-behaved kids learning to eat in public. Growing up, that was our reward for getting good grades, getting to go to a nice restaurant. We were taught how to behave in such a place.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: tracylee

                                                                My parents' approach was make sure we kids knew how to behave at the local mom and pop before taking us upscale. Teaching your kids not to jump up and down on their chairs is not a lesson for an upscale restaurant, as I'm sure most people would agree.

                                                              2. As for it being legal or not to ban children...I know of a few bed & breakfasts that do so, and no one has shut them down yet. In these cases, it's because the homes are furnished and decorated with antiques, and the owners don't want little kids running around, climbing on furniture or knocking over stuff.

                                                                So I see no reason why a restaurant owner can't do the same. It's a privately-owned establishment, and eating out is not a necessity. If the owner is looking to sell a particular kind of ambiance for his/her restaurant, which does not include children screaming and/or running around, that is their right to do so.

                                                                I don't want to ban kids from all restaurants, because that would not be fair. But I don't think it is unreasonable for restaurants that have separate bar areas to restrict those areas to 21+. I'm amazed at how many places not only let kids i the bar area, but even let them sit at the bar. Apparently, there is no law against this here in Massachusetts, as long as the kids are not served alcohol. However, preferences of restaurant owners and local ordinances can apply.

                                                                For places that don't have bar areas, how about child-free sections? Now that most states have smoking bans, maybe make the area that was formerly the smoking section the child-free section.

                                                                There's a restaurant up in Ogunquit, Maine, called Vinny's...is that still there? Anyhoo, they had a separate "family dining room" that was kid-friendly. It had TVs with cartoons on them and stuff like that. Families with kids were not required to use it, but were strongly encouraged to.

                                                                There are some places where kids do not belong at all. If a place is primarily a bar, and has just a few tables around it, it should be 21+. If a place is on the higher end, say, where the tab for two is over $100, it should be kid-free as well. If people are spending that kind of money (and often additional for a babysitter, as dagwood above mentioned), they most certainly should not have their special night out, one that they may have been saving up for, ruined.

                                                                So that's my opinion on this issue!

                                                                1. Kids in restaurants? Check out a fast food joint near a high school !

                                                                  1. Mrs. O being more or less allergic to children in general, we are careful to avoid anyplace with a sign saying KIDS EAT FREE! Hey, thanks for the warning. Neither of us truly objects to eating in the vicinity of well-behaved people of any age, and finding ourselves in the presence of polite, quiet children is in fact a pleasure, though alas a rare one. No, I don't think a restaurant should forbid the presence of children, unless the law requires it (as noted elsewhere), but I do think they should be very open and very firm about not allowing them to shriek, yell, run around or otherwise disturb decorum. If the parents cannot or will not enforce proper behavior they should be asked to pack their brats and go. Had either of us behaved like too many kids we see we wouldn't have been able to sit down for a week afterwards, or at least I assume so, since the matter never came up.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                      From your mouth to God's ear. Who could disagree with your post?

                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                        Many years ago when our daughter was a little one we were turned away from a restaurant in London - Knightsbridge - by a haughty man saying, "We don't serve babies". Before we exited, my husband looked him in the eye and said "We don't eat babies...."

                                                                        1. re: janeh

                                                                          Hahahahahaha!!!!!! I'm actually in that nabe on a regular-ish basis. Remember the name of the restaurant?

                                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                                            I don't remember the name of the place but do remember having a great Indian dinner elsewhere.

                                                                        2. I would personally never want a restaurant to exclude small children on my account. Maybe I'm callous, but a crying child doesn't affect my appetite. In fact, they sometimes make me laugh. :)

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                                            I assure you that my strong soprano daughter belting out her highest octave scream would've ended your dining pleasure. You would not have laughed. We had to exit many restaurants during her "difficult" phase.

                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                              Who knows? Maybe i would've sung along. =)

                                                                              How old was she, then and how old is she, now? And how did she learn that she should save her lovely soprano for other venues?

                                                                              1. re: cimui

                                                                                It was the terrible two's. We left her with a sitter a few times while her father, brother and I went out to dine. She didn't like that at all, so quickly reformed. She just graduated from college, and is a true 'hound. At present, she is off at camp, dealing with other people's ill-behaved children. Ah, Karma!

                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                  Heh! I can't think of a better way to teach a kid manners than to threaten to leave them out of "grownup" activities. (Heck, the trick still works on me, today. ;) I'm so glad she had the opportunity to learn by going to grownup restaurants as a child. It sounds like you taught her well!!

                                                                          2. OK, some bragging and eye rolling from all of you.

                                                                            Dana Zsofia – to be six in September - is always happy, is comfortable with adults (not in that stick your finger down your throat way) as with other kids, sits comfortably for hours talking, eating, and drawing (we always have the portable drawing kit). She never whines, runs around in a restaurant, never asks for junk, and remembers everyone’s names to the point that I often have to ask her who’s who. If she ever gets slightly edgy, I give her “the look” or a big “AHEM”. Both of these crack her up so much she is left chuckling happily for another hour. She tries to hook me up with the nice, smart, attractive servers as my next life partner. We do our best to be home by her bedtime, but if not, she’ll curl up there and go to sleep. And it is not that she is some frilly goody two shoes. She comes home from school every day completely dirty and stained. I mentioned it one day (because I now have to add hand washing her uniforms to the normal wash) and she looked me in the eye and retorted, “We play in the DIRT. You don’t want me to play in the DIRT [you moron]???”

                                                                            On the other hand, I (politely) give too many details to the server regarding the food and its timing and so on, drink too much, argue in high spirits with my friends and colleagues, get sappy with the nice, smart, attractive servers, and tip way too much.

                                                                            Seems like you should let Dana Zsofia in and bar me from entrance.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                              DZ can eat in MY restaurant ANY day. Even on days when you're excluded. ;)

                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                She MUST be related to our "girls." And YOU must be related to US. I agree that THE LOOK is invaluable.

                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                  it's a "girl" thing
                                                                                  Our oldest ,a girl was a bit ? all the time.The twin boys 13 months younger were her ?
                                                                                  head rolling burden.Like Sam's or Alan Barnes daughter she was very self entertaining and easy in adult environments.However include the twins in the mix from 4 - 11 years the situation was very different.To say she could be bossy and overbearing would be a gross understatement.Or that they weren't just boys.?3rd grade they got into enough? to stay after school rather regularly.All had to come home together.This not part of her agenda required a solution/cure.So one of the teachers involved was so pleased when the things changed quickly.Called and thanked us for the miracle improvement.Well as parents our efforts were good but not that good.So,whats the story.Older sister promised the boys if they did not stop messing with her life SHE WOULD BREAK THEIR FACES.
                                                                                  She actually scared them at the right moment
                                                                                  TO QUOTE ALAN B Duh!

                                                                                  1. re: lcool

                                                                                    A 'girl' thing?
                                                                                    How about a 'personality' thing?

                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                      My family experiences make that particular trait a girl thing.Large family,8 sibs all with 3 or 4 offspring each = 28 next generation.All but 2 married with 2 or more each.The particular "officious" bossy is universal in the first born and or older girls in this family.The boys have their share of leadership and take charge bossy of an entirely different nature.Wasn't being "sexist?"per se,just observing the developemental difference when boys and girls are young.

                                                                                2. It seems this question is really asking only about "upscale" dining establishments. I don't think anyone would be fussed at seeing children at Chili's. Right?

                                                                                  There are some restaurants that sell themselves as high end, elegant establishments. If I patronize one of those places, I would be very unhappy if my meal was spoiled by a screaming child or baby. It's more a question of whether it's appropriate to have children in certain dining situations.

                                                                                  As cattymommy pointed out, there are B&Bs that will not take children and restaurants can exercise that right as well. However, that comes across as very harsh. I would prefer that the restaurants said they were not child friendly because of XYZ (no menus, no high chairs etc.) rather than stating an outright ban or that they had a policy along the lines of "Children are always welcome at lunchtime and for dinner between 5-7pm" That allows patrons who prefer a child-free evening to have that option and for patrons with children to be able to dine there as well.

                                                                                  This seems to be a very similar issue to the wedding dilemma of whether to invite/not invite children...

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                    But I would never take Dana Zsofia to a Chili's.

                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                      Now there's restraint, discipline, and good parenting.....plus, there aren't any Chili's in Colombia :)

                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                        Ah, but when she reaches a certain age and you bring her to Das Vaterland will you ply her with Chef Boy-R-Dee, Whoppers, Jim Beam, and gas station corn dogs?

                                                                                        Headed toward your old stomping grounds (Kingsburg) next week. Gunfire in the peach orchards. Hopefully the temps will stay down.

                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                          It sounds safer than Alaska.

                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                            You bet! DZ will get all of those.

                                                                                            Hey, email me after the Central Valley visit. What about Chef Liu's place in Fresno? Where Melanie organized a couple of chowdowns?

                                                                                        2. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                          Years ago I worked at a place where they took all the female staff out for Secretary's day, even if you weren't a secretary. We went to this place that is not a chain, but has the feel of a Chili's or Bennigan's. I had always wanted to try it, but as we went in I saw a sign that said no children were allowed. I had a small girl at the time, and was baffled. I mean this is not an upscale place at all. There weren't valuable antiques adorning it, or a bar right in the middle of the place. The food was good, not spectacular but just fine, and there were plenty of things a child would eat, but I never went back, and that has been over 25 years ago. If it had been a quiet place, expensive or super fancy, I would understand, but it was none of those and the adults were way louder than children ever could be. Our table of 16 included!

                                                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                                                            That is mind boggling. I imagine the apostrophe-S chains would suffer greatly if they didn't allow children, so it's hard to picture an independent restaurant w/ similar aesthetic not allowing children. What is the purpose of faux-antique tchotchkes all over the place if not to absorb noise and distract hungry/bored children?

                                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                                              A casual place I frequent has a sign at the front entrance stating their house rules "No cell phones, no credit cards and take your screaming children outside".

                                                                                          2. As a parent, the biggest problem I see with children is that parents always think their children are well behaved, or at least behaving properly. I've taken my children to nice restaurants where there have been out of control children and parents don't bat an eye. People often compliment my kids on their behavoir but I have only taken them to restaurants that suit their age/behavoir at the time, eg., never bring a toddler to a 5 course prix fixe dinner. If management decided the out of control children aren't welcome, there is no way to do it w/out banning all children. I have a friend who brags about how great her daughter is at nice restaurants and she's the one running between tables, dancing, etc. It would be easier for a restaurant to ban children than to tell her that her child was interrupting others. Actually, I know too many people like that and won't eat out with them any more.

                                                                                            As for children learning proper behavior at restaurants, that needs to happen everywhere, in fast food places, chains, nicer restaurants, homes. It all overlaps and my kids act the same way in a Denny's or a 2941. Quiet, inside voices, napkin on the lap, "please" and "thank you." It shouldn't matter where you are.

                                                                                            42 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                              well said, chowser, I was waiting for someone to say it. I think we've all heard someone go on about how well behaved their child is, when they act otherwise. Staring over the top of a booth would also be considered "well-behaved" for many. (sorry, pet peeve)

                                                                                              also kudos for pointing out that proper behavior is expected everywhere. Being at a chain doesn't mean a free for all..unless you're talking a McD's playroom.

                                                                                              I love kids, so i am a wee bit uncomfortable with the legalization of kid-free. But i'm also disconcerted with kids being in bar settings and so forth. It would be a bummer to have a special occasion (like a really romantic evening out) dampened by giggling and running or screaming kids...people don't seem to realize what kind of an effect that has on ones...shall we say...romantic inclinations......lol

                                                                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                Maybe there really are some oblivious idiots out there who sincerely believe that their running, screaming feral spawn are actually acting appropriately. But I seriously doubt it.

                                                                                                Speaking just for myself, I'm not generally the one who comments on my kids' restaurant behavior, any more than I comment on the fact that they tie their shoes in the morning. It's a given. But especially when they were younger, it was nigh impossible for us to go out to dinner without a manager, server, and/or other patron stopping by our table to comment on the pleasure of dining with such well-mannered young ladies.

                                                                                                Yes, children can behave in ways that ruin the mood in a restaurant. But a few weeks ago my wife and I were having a romantic dinner in a place that's nice enough to have a Michelin star. A nearby table of young adults, all apparently somewhat tipsy, were talking and laughing so loudly that it was impossible for us to carry on a conversation. Fortunately they left before we got our second course, but while they were there they destroyed the atmosphere of our dinner every bit as effectively as a six-year-old peering over the back of a booth.

                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                  I might be exposed to it more than you, as a mostly SAHM, but the things I've seen w/ friends and what they think is appropriate has been embarassing. Kids lying on the ground, dancing around dimsum carts, singing loudly, climbing into a booth with others and chatting (I couldn't get over that one). I heard one mom say, so even if the baby does cry, they'll have to learn to deal w/ it, meaning other patrons. Granted, this has been over the past 15 years but I know people I refuse to eat out with because I can't be out with their children. I don't know if they think it's proper behavior as much as they can't be bothered, for many.

                                                                                                  My children are often complimented and I think they're well behaved. But, I'm sure some of those parents think their children are fine, too. It's not that every parent who says his/her child is well behaved is mistaken but there are enough that I'd give restaurants the leeway to make the final call.

                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                    >>"It's not that every parent who says his/her child is well behaved is mistaken but there are enough that I'd give restaurants the leeway to make the final call."<<

                                                                                                    I couldn't agree more. And I wish restaurant managers **would** make that call more often, no matter the age of the disruptive person. It's uncomfortable, I know. But it's their job.

                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                      Those parents don't listen to restaurant managers. My FIL used to own restaurants. One of them had small marble sculptures, cordoned off by ropes (ropes because kids were climbing on them). Parents still let their kids crawl in and climb on them. When he asked them to stop, he said they'd typically say things like, "Kids are kids!!!" He said if the kids fell, they'd be the first to sue. Statues went away which was the easiest solution. But, if more people like you and Sam bring their kids up the right way, there will be better examples for children to follow, even if parents neglect their duty. Wishful thinking.

                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                        I hear you. But if managers were more assertive about throwing out those who persist with bad behavior even after a warning, then the warnings would be a lot more effective.

                                                                                                        There's only one thing anybody in a restaurant is required to listen to. It's "I'm sorry, but we're going to have to ask you to leave the premises immediately." After those magic words are spoken, the person to whom they're directed goes from being a customer to being a trespasser. And I suspect that most folks would only need to be thrown out of one or two places before they got the hint.

                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                          I totally support any management who would do that, and have heard of people breaking out in appause when it has. It is short sighted for owners/managers to overlook problem guests but I've found in this economy, especially, managers are worried about the bottom line (though forget they can be losing quite a few more customers by remaining quiet). I've said I'm going to market Nanny 9-11 cards w/ information on how to get help, for people to carry around and pass on to anyone whose child is running around and he/she's just sitting there as if it were acceptable.

                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                            now THAT is a brilliant idea!!!

                                                                                                  2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                    ah yes alanbarnes.....but nothing makes us childless gals cross our legs more than ill-reared children....unruly adults don't have the same effect.

                                                                                                    there, i said it.

                                                                                                    1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                      LOL!!!

                                                                                                      Problem is, you let your romantic inclinations run away with you, and suddenly you've got an 18-year supply of mood killer on your hands.

                                                                                                  3. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                    "Staring over the top of a booth would also be considered "well-behaved" for many. (sorry, pet peeve)"

                                                                                                    Ah, the staring over the booth. At about five, I got "nailed" for doing that. I was admonished in the restaurant, and then given a bit of a lesson, once home. I learned this one well, after having done it once. In the 57 years that have elapsed, I have never done it again.

                                                                                                    Good point, and something that a child is likely not to have encountered before. How it's handled is primary to the development of the child. This is the responsibility of the parents. I hope that they realize the problem.

                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                      My 5 year old did just that, and the other patrons, attempting to be nice stated, "Thats okay,she is cute." As "cute" as this may have been-I found it to be very rude, and we immediately ordered her down and discussed at home and she has not attempted it since.

                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                        Even worst than looking over, I think, is jumping. When is it ever acceptable to jump on furniture, especially someone else's?

                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                          I hate the kids who kick the booth. I get stuck adjacent to one of them fairly frequently. If the parent is sitting on the other side, s/he might not even notice.

                                                                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                                                                            I've generally had "happy feet" from adults in restaurants...
                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/582031

                                                                                                            :)

                                                                                                      2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                        That staring over the top of the booth drives me nuts too! If they just peeked once that would be okay, but I was with my daughters at a salad place and the munchkin at the boot next to us kept staring. Don't even know how she ate anything, she was too busy staring! Her mommy just looked at her and smiled. I really would have liked to spit on her, but I am a grandmother so I refrained. I started just turning my face away rather than look at her and encourage it. Didn't work on this kid!

                                                                                                        This past Monday we were at a place with tables. We were 2 tables away form a family of 3 with a cute little redheaded girl. For some reason she found me fascinating. Her back was towards me, but when we sat down she turned and stared at me so intently that I got uncomfortable and started making sure all my buttons were buttoned! I smiled, but no reaction - just a dead on stare. My husband made a few funny faces at her, but she ignored him and locked onto me. Very odd and I was so glad when they left. Parents did not seem to notice that all they could see was her ponytail! I stop my grandkids from doing that in a flash and if they do it again I threaten to take them home! I don't remember that being a problem with my girls when they were little though. Could just be selective memory syndrome, though ;-)

                                                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                                                          We were taught that it was rude to stare or point (even if the children of the other parents at the table were doing just that, in addition to running around like wild animals).

                                                                                                          1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                            I also was taught that and wonder why the parents of today don't think that is impolite! I would love to be able to move into their site of vision and give them a good stare or two, but that would be rude, wouldn't it?

                                                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                                                              The evil eye is not a stare, hence it shouldn't be considered rude.

                                                                                                              With someone else's children, it either quiets them down immediately or sets off a screaming fit. Parents? It may attract their attention, but also remains in the 50-50 range for effectivity.

                                                                                                              1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                                Oh no Caralien, I don't mean the evil eye for the parents. Just an expressionless stare! I think we may have had this conversation before about the evil eye on children. I use that but you did point out how it could cause screaming, so I reserve it for children over a certain age! Too young then I scowl, but not in an evil way, if that makes sense!

                                                                                                          2. re: danhole

                                                                                                            Dani .... seriously .... you wanted to SPIT on a child just because she stared at you?

                                                                                                            1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                              You had to be there to understand. Terribly distracting and I was there to enjoy a good time with my daughters. This kid was rude. Oh, and I should have said "spit at" not "on." ;-) Maybe I should have directed that towards the mom and not the child - she was really the problem, as it is in most cases.

                                                                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                It sounds like odd enough behavior that perhaps you were experiencing ilfe with a special needs child. Even if not, it might make you better able to tolerate.

                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                    That was not the case at all. Sam is more correct in his assumption. I am not usually a cranky person, but . . . well, you would have had to been there! 3 adults at the table, one small child not being taught how to eat in a restaurant. Shameful. Not saying anymore on this subject.

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      Having had a life full of experiences with adult 'special needs' children and adults....even THAT is no excuse for poor behavior.
                                                                                                                      Nobody should have to tolerate bad behavior from normal children OR otherwise.
                                                                                                                      It's all about enabling from the parent or the caretaker.
                                                                                                                      Some of the best behavior I've witnessed was from those special needs children or adults who were taught how to properly behave.

                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                        There was an instance when there was a disruption (we were eating outside). Brushed off the noise, continued with lunch. Chuckled. Then looked behind us. There was a special needs young adult having a fit. We felt bad for assuming it was inattentive parents. Yes, it was distracting, but at the same time, I respect the parents/caretakers for taking the person out instead of keeping them cloistered.

                                                                                                                        Lesson learned.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                                            So, so true.
                                                                                                                            Special needs children/adults should be taught to live up to their potential. They should be taught good table manners and good social behavior.
                                                                                                                            It should be taught with the same consistency and respect for others...just like any other human being. I have no respect for parents who think, just because their child is with special needs, that they are somehow excluded from learning these important lessons.

                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                              I agree 100%. But I think we also need to keep in mind that the learning of these important lessons may be more challenging or a slower process for a special needs individual, and a little compassion from the rest of us if there is a step back in the learning process can go a long way.

                                                                                                                              1. re: dagwood

                                                                                                                                I also agree with you, completely.
                                                                                                                                I only know from my own experience, albeit the adults I know who are considered 'special needs' are now in their 60's and have experienced a lifetime of situations that are being described here, and I know the people do not like being singled out and prefer to have been taught what is appropriate and what is not appropriate when it comes to social gatherings.
                                                                                                                                They were fortunate to have been taught by people who understand their needs and would have NEVER allowed them to act in a way that would have drawn attention to them. It's the last thing they have ever wanted or continue to want.
                                                                                                                                It's taught me many things in many ways.

                                                                                                                              2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                This may be true, but special needs children/adults don't necessarily learn at the same pace as the rest of us. A special needs child may be perfectly well behaved at home and react in an unexpected manner at a restaurant or just take a little bit longer than normal to adapt to the restaurant environment. I think it's unreasonable to expect that special needs children/adults should be forced to stay at home all the time because their behavior is not perfect at all times.

                                                                                                                                1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                  Every 'special needs', developmentally disabled, etc. person is different. They all learn different things at different times. I have never suggested that they stay home. EVER. But, in my opinion, this does not exclude them from basic, fundamental rules when it comes to good behavior. A parent or caretaker should know this and if they're unable to teach this then, perhaps, they need to seek some assistance.
                                                                                                                                  Good behavior can be taught and it should be expected and the lessons they learn will benefit them for as long as they live.
                                                                                                                                  Enabling bad behavior does not help them, at all.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                    I did not want to chime in here, because I do have a special needs son, he is autistic. However he does know how to act in public and has never had any issues when we have gone out to dinner. But I usually take him places that are more "Buffet" type places where he can get what he wants immediately, and does not get bored. When hubby and I go out to 5 star places, for a tasting menu, or wine tasting there is no way I would take my son. I think HE would be the one who would hate to be there, so why punish him by subjecting him to such boredom and stress? The sad fact is, some parents of special needs kids don't think of how the child feels about being in a very uncomfortable situation. Dining out is very stressful for them, and that is why they sometimes act out so much. I think it is more a parents selfishness, and poor parenting skill.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                      I think you've made an important point. A kid other than a baby who misbehaves in a restaurant is probably doing so because s/he is miserable. It's incredibly self-centered for parents to insist on subjecting the kid **and** the other patrons to that kind of misbehavior.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                        I am not a special needs person, but I was an only child and often was taken along to fancy restaurants, with just them or a large group of adults, which did bore me to death. I didn't act up, though, but still I wish my parents would have thought about the fact that I really didn't belong there! And I really didn't want to be there. Luckily I read a lot of books, so I could read and ignore.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                        Thank you for weighing in and thanks, alan, for your followup comments. I saw three children together the other day and the affect of one gave me reason to believe that there was some kind of issue going on (I don't have experience or knowledge to label). And even if not, yes, why put children in those situations? I've learned alot from this thread. I think when you become a parent, you should accept the fact that you're giving up some freedoms for quite a few years. And that dining at the place of your choice at the time of your choice is one of the minor ones. More happy meals than haute meals. And I think if we're *stuck* with being dining neighbors with some undesireables, maybe just put on a happy attitude and get through it. And as a final (aren't you glad?) comment, I'd FAR rather be seated by the worst children than the worst adults. Any day.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                          "I'd FAR rather be seated by the worst children than the worst adults. Any day."

                                                                                                                                          Which brings to mind the most common form of this particular problem that my wife and I have seen out there while trying to have a quiet meal and catch up on our day. One of the "adults" (usually a man) who starts/continues/contributes (to) amping up the child(ren). We tend to figure it's the Uncle, but it could just be a family friend (but clearly one who never grew out of adolescence himself). Ah, the joys of children - no matter what their age!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                            I would rather sit next to a crying 3 yr old, than sit next to a couple of fighting adults, or worse, adults/teens dropping the *f* bomb every ten seconds.

                                                                                                                                            I have sat behind a couple who kept arguing about everything! The wife kept nagging him about ordering a whiskey, and he kept telling her if she was not such a (insert swear here) he would not need a whiskey!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                              Was it a "c" word or a "b" word??? :)

                                                                                                                                              Again, thanks for giving your opinion/advice. It moved me. And with that I'll give you a big :) :) God love ya.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                            That is a fascinating observation and, while I am not exactly on point, I hope the CH Team will allow this comment to stand. Your experience with the buffet is almost the reverse of mine dealing with an Alzheimer parent. The Sunday buffet/steam table was confusing...choices..what to do? The victim was trying to pretend to make a choice and, more valiantly, trying to maintain Dignity. The only answer was to make the choices myself, based on knowledge of taste. It was interesting because the good friends came overe to say hello, even as they knew the mind was failing, and other young one kept awaqy as if they would be infected. The staff---old friends--were Saints.

                                                                                                                                            After awhile, it became too difficult to go out--too much stress on the other people dealing with dementia sitting next to them. No one wants that and the line had to be drawn somewhere.

                                                                                                                    2. Anywhere that promotes itself as child-free goes up 10 places on my list of places to go. In fact there's a chain in the UK that is over 21s only, which is even better.

                                                                                                                      1. I once felt that there should be many, but have changed my mind. I do think that parents should mind their children in all restaurants. I also think that manners should be instilled at home, and that the children should be supervised when dining out. If done properly, they will soon behave with no supervision and everyone will be better for it.

                                                                                                                        Going back some decades, I had reservations for an anniversary meal on O`ahu. This was a higher-end restaurant and we were seated at an interior table, though all of the ocean-side tables were empty. Our seating was on the lower level, and there was a table above us, by about 3 feet. At the table were a young man of about 5 and a young lady of about 8. They were accompanied by their governess, a lady of about 30. OK, I was miffed at our seating and the inability of the staff to move us to one of the ocean-side tables. Long story, and not pleasent. Now, back to the youngsters basically dining over our table. Both were so very well behaved, and a perfect lady and gentleman. The evening was not as good as it should have been, but due to our placement and the snubbing by the management, we did get to experience how well-behave children can actually enhance one's dining experience. In the end, the evening was a learning experience for my wife and for me. It is the comportment of the children that makes the difference.

                                                                                                                        Some many years later, we were seated next to four youngsters and a parent at a lovely Sunday Brunch, again on O`ahu. Each was perfect in every respect. One could never have asked for better "dining neighbors," than these children. Refreshing to observe.

                                                                                                                        I think that I was about five, when I was first exposed to dining out, at more than a mom-n-pop place. I soon learned how to dress and also how to behave. I think that I got out of line maybe three times, and was quietly admonsihed each time. Once back home, a stern lecture ensued, and I learned my lessons. By about 12, I was ready for the finest dining and do not recall ever even making my presence known to any other diners.

                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                        1. I think there should be restaurants that do not allow children but it would be a very select few restaurants that would even want to exclude children. Babies and toddlers, no matter how well behaved, cannot make it through a long dinner every time. One of the things you have to give up for your two year old is the chef's tasting menu if you don't have a sitter. I think that not allowing teenagers with parents is crazy unless it's a bar. The problem is that some parents don't know when their kids are too young for certain restaurants, there are plenty of great restaurants that welcome young families with open arms. I have seen, on several occasions, a diner get up and yell at a small child/parent. That type of person needs to be kept away from children (and the rest of us too)

                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: trask

                                                                                                                            The problem is too many parents who think they can go on with the same lifestyle they experienced before having a child.
                                                                                                                            Parents who bring their babies/toddlers to a chef's tasting menu aren't using their brains.

                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                              I agree with the lifestyle before and after kids. I also think different styles of restaurants are more kid friendly. But I also know plans change and maybe you are meeting a good friend at a fine dining restaurant and the baby sitter can make it. Me I would do everything possible to change to an earlier time so as not as busy. However I do understand if the kids came and it wouldn't bother me. And if the kids start misbehaving I would go outside. Most of my friends kids are fairly well behaved but there are parents who don't care. They are just as guilty. Most parents I would think alter their lifestyles at the beginning till a bit older where they can behave more appropriately. Those who don't need to think about it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                I tend to view disruptive children like I do dogs....a dog who is untrained and a holy terror is no different than a child whose parents don't know what to do with their child who is misbehaving. A dog can be trained with hard work, consistency and dedication. A child wants to have boundaries and wants to know what behavior is correct. They want to be taught.
                                                                                                                                The major key in both areas is the owner/parent.
                                                                                                                                If I see an unruly child in a restaurant I look at the parents. I don't look at the child as the culprit. All the child is doing is mirroring their parent(s) disrespect of the space of the people around them.

                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                  Hear, hear. And I'd go a step further - adults who tolerate their kids' disruptive behavior in a restaurant are those most likely to behave disruptively themselves.

                                                                                                                                  Maybe a rolled-up newspaper?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                    Kids who are disruptive in restaurants are probably acting the way they normally do and their parents have become used to it. Pity both the parents and the kids whose parents have done them no favors by raising them to act this way.
                                                                                                                                    It takes constant effort to raise children properly - and some practice to get "the Look" down right - so that they learn to interact well in society.
                                                                                                                                    You can't allow them to run wild all the time and then suddenly expect them to behave when you take them out.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                      I have one friend who always lets her daughter behave terribly in restaurants. If she's going out with her female friends, she has to bring the daughter along unless it is before 9:30, and she always wants a restaurant that will tolerate her daughter's behavior. The last time I went out with the daughter, who was around 2 at the time, she broke at least one dish in the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                  If you're meeting a good friend, wouldn't he/she understand that you'd cancel because the sitter couldn't make it? Isn't that one of the sacrifices of parenthood? Your children pretty much dictate your whole life, at least while they're totally dependant on you.

                                                                                                                            2. I am the mother of 5 (15, 8,7,6 and 2), I generally expose my children to fine dining and have been told by patrons how well behaved that they were while dining. This could simply be that since they are exposed to this on a regular basis they know how to behave. When visiting a fine dining establishment, I will leave our 2 year old with a sitter, as a screaming toddler is not conducive to fine dining for anyone. I think that if children are exposed to fine dining in polite society from a young age on-they grow up with a better understanding of beautiful manners and the art of dining. I would rather sit next to well behaved children than a table full of obnoxious, foul mouthed adults. I think it all depends on the children and the situation. I hope that my children will continue the tradition of fine dining with their children in the future.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: ScarlettNola

                                                                                                                                Good for you and congrats and doing that. Two is young and agree that would be difficult but commend you on taking and exposing the others and agree with your philosophy. Sometimes it is fun to be alone but with 5 of them it has to be hard and trying. Well done and I hope they continue your great "training, teaching and learning."

                                                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                  Thank you! We try! Just got back from 10 days in the Keys without them and it was fabulous to be able to dine alone! (I think you made some suggestions for me on the Florida board that were much appreciated)

                                                                                                                              2. i would be particularly interested in any restaurant that screens patrons for mannerliness. However I take umbrage at the suggestion that the eight year old who lives with me (OK, my child) is less likely to pass the exam than the average 30 year old suburbanite.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Kater

                                                                                                                                  Most 30 year olds have better impulse control, in my experience. I'm sure your 8 year old is an exception.

                                                                                                                                2. Several posters here have expressed shock and dismay that children are sometimes present in the bar areas of restaurants. I respect the shock and dismay, but why is this any worse than having a child at a restaurant table where the adults are drinking wine? A smoke-filled room would obviously be a terrible place for kids, but since so many bars are smoke-free now, what's the problem?

                                                                                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                    The problem is that a bar who can only serve over 21s is a last child free refuge, a place for adult conversation and interaction.

                                                                                                                                    I don't go into the play area act McDonald's, and don't want a 3 year old seated on a bar stool next to me.

                                                                                                                                    There is a time and place for everything.

                                                                                                                                    I am old enough to remember when women could not be within three feet of a bar in Connecticut, now all over 21s are legal and welcome, but it is not appropriate for children top be at the bar. NOTE: I am not saying at booths surrounding the bar as in the lower level of Applebee's, but at a stool belly up to the bar. This is just plain wrong.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                      We recently were dining at a bar and heard an exchange between a few bar patrons and a father sitting at the bar with his children waiting for his table to be ready. The father confronted and admonished the patrons for cursing and smoking and made a huge scene. These gentlemen stop into the bar for a few cocktails in the evening, in order to relax and vent after a long day of work, and are chastised because some absolute moron has his children sitting at a bar where people are smoking and drinking and inevitably not watching their language as they are in a bar. Luckily management stepped in and asked that the father and children wait elsewhere for their table and since a rule has been posted that states no one under 21 is to sit at the bar.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ScarlettNola

                                                                                                                                        Sorry, I'm still confused. What ScarlettNola describes is the father of the children getting pissed off at other bar denizens, not the bar denizens getting pissed off at the presence of the children. And all bagelman01 has done is re-assert that it's "just plain wrong." But why? What constitutes "adult conversation and interaction"? Cursing like a sailor? Flashing other patrons? Doing body shots? What are you people doing in bars that you don't want (other people's) kids to see or hear?

                                                                                                                                        And let me reiterate that I'm not talking about dive bars or strip clubs - only the bar areas of restaurants. I think everyone is absolutely entitled to not want to drink around kids. I'm just trying to get at the root cause of that. If the parents are fine with it, why aren't you?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                          This occurred at a small neighborhood bar and grill. I just feel as though when sitting on a bar stool in a bar, a parent cannot be upset about an occasional "damn" or cigarette/cigar smoke. It goes with the turf from the country club, to the neighborhood grill, to a dive. People generally sit at a bar to relax, and enjoy a cocktail and to enjoy adult conversation that children should not be privvy to. I simply feel as though a bar is an adult enviroment and when children are interjected into this then parents have no right to be angry about smoke or adult conversation. When I am out without my children and sit at bar with my husband, he should have the right to smoke a cigar and to have adult conversation. I can assure you, there are no body shots, flashing, etc taking place. If the parent has no problem with an occasional curse word or cigar smoke, then by all means have a seat. But IMHO, children do not belong on bar stools for any reason at any time.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ScarlettNola

                                                                                                                                            Your point - and you've made it twice now - is that the parent has no right to be upset if bar patrons behave a certain way in the presence of the child. I agree. But why should the non-parent care one way or the other, if her behavior needn't change? And why the bar stool prohibition?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                              I thought that perhaps you misunderstood my point so I felt it necessary to reiterate it. Perhaps the "non-parent" has children at home and is uncomfortable smoking or having adult conversation with small children present therefore they are inhibited. If you are under 21, a bar stool is not the place for you be it for safety reasons (i.e falling off of bar stool) or simply because you are underage and have no place at the bar. Many bars have policies not allowing minors to sit on a bar stool and IMHO it is a good policy. It is simply my opinion. I was not seeking any sort of confrontation simply by stating my opinion.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ScarlettNola

                                                                                                                                                Thanks. I wasn't seeking confrontation either, just an opinion that was a little more informative than "because I think so, that's why." I believe that it's the parents' responsibility to shield their offspring from hearing or seeing things the parents feel are inappropriate. Thus, I shouldn't have to censor myself in a bar beyond my "normal" attempts at civility, just because there are children present.

                                                                                                                                                Your point about bar stool safety is a good one, so I am off to design a stroller seat contraption that can be detached and strapped to a bar stool. Investors welcome.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                  LOL. You may want to make it in adult sizes as well for those who sway off of the bar stool.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                after tending bar for years I've seen the most respectable of clients over-indulge and make bad decisions while drinking

                                                                                                                                                you do not want a child on a barstool or in a carrier on the bar or in a booster seat next to a pub table when someone drops a glass, slips or trips - it happens every day

                                                                                                                                                as a patron I could not relax and enjoy myself with that kind of liabilty looming- nor could any other reasonable, responsible adult

                                                                                                                                                a bar is a totally unacceptable place for any child

                                                                                                                                                1. re: chef4hire

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for your input. I live in Manhattan, where, for better or for worse, it has become pretty common to take the kids everywhere, bars included (even the ones that don't serve food). Babysitters are expensive, people are pro-creating later in life and less willing to change their habits, blah blah blah. You know the reasons, I'm sure. I'm neither 100% for it, nor 100% against it. I don't like hearing babies scream, and I don't like tripping over strollers. But it's nice to be able to have a beer with a friend and her kid on a summer afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                    Kids in most bars during off hours are fine. Once it gets to be 5 or 6 it's probably best to bring the child home or risk having the kid being spilled on or worse.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: small h

                                                                                                                                              Thee is adult language that is NOT 'cursing like a sailor.' Leaving out the seven forbidden words >thank you FCC, I should be able to say ass, damn, hell at the bar while drinking with adult compan ions without being concerned that I am corrupting the virgin ears of an 18 month old. The parent may not care, untiol the kikd blurts it outat church or grandmas.
                                                                                                                                              Maybe I alsop want to talk about the low cut blouse the good looking blonde is wearing<VBG>
                                                                                                                                              I shouldn't have to censor myself fromusing NON-obscene, NON-profane adult language because some idiot hauled his toddler into the bar.

                                                                                                                                              Again, I'm talking about kids being seated at the bar itself, NOT at tables or booths in the bar area. I would neber talk that loud so as to be heard by those at a table, as opposed to at the nest stool.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                Well, alright then. We agree that you shouldn't have to censor yourself. My opinion is that you DON'T, because it's not your fault some idiot hauled his toddler into the bar. But you feel that you do. Kudos, careful speaker!

                                                                                                                                                P.S. If you were going on and on about someone's cleavage, it's not just the kids and their parents who would raise an eyebrow in your direction. I'm just sayin'.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                  The cleavage comment was just an example of adult conversation that is not obscene or profane, not an actual conversation that has taken place.

                                                                                                                                            3. re: ScarlettNola

                                                                                                                                              Wow.
                                                                                                                                              The prohibition laws, which vary from state to state, are almost impossible to amend.
                                                                                                                                              It appears our ancestors, who developed and wrote these laws, were not only more insightful but more intelligent than the father of those children.

                                                                                                                                            4. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                              I think it should include the area around the bar. There is an entire dining area for families to dine. The much smaller bar area should be left for adults...trying to watch a Laker Game. :)

                                                                                                                                            5. re: small h

                                                                                                                                              jfood has completed his mission in raising children with his youngest now 20. Call it what you may but there are times when he and mrs jfood want to be with adults, read that no babies. Having a baby at a bar just strikes jfood as wrong., likewise having a baby in restaurants after 7ish is sorta against the social contract.

                                                                                                                                              Jfood understands the babysitter issue, the I have a right to bring my child anywhere I want argument, the if they are sleeping what's the big deal, and the it's a public place. But when there is a baby in a carry-all at the next table it takes way from the relaxation in an adult atmosphere.

                                                                                                                                              The jfoods paid their dues while raising the little jfoods and were extremely considerate of others by the way they brought them through the learning curve of restaurant management. And jfood is just asking for that same consideration now that he is on the other side of the discussion.

                                                                                                                                              And it is not the fact that liquor is sold here, heck they probably have that at home every night. It's this all inclusive attitude that bothers some old timers like jfood. Please let the rest of the world enjoy their adult night out. When your kids grow up you will begin to understand much more than now. been there - done that.

                                                                                                                                              Ciao

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                  Well said. But just to clarify, I don't have kids. I'm just gathering opinions - I've got no dog in this race.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                    I'll see your bet and raise you. For me it's the same for at-home dining. Sometimes I don't WANT children there - of any age. Like the jfoods our daughters are grown (early 30s) and we didn't want them with us all the time when they were kid-lets. Didn't mean we didn't love them dearly. It doesn't have to be risque for there to be conversation that doesn't suit a child.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                      I could not agree more. And I AM still in that spot, with a 5 year old and an 8 year old. There are times and places for them, and at a nice restaurant after 8 pm is not it.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                        jfood, I could not agree more. I find it apalling to see toddlers out at 9 or 10 oclock at night.

                                                                                                                                                        My youngest is now 12 and is a well behaved young lady. Still, if we would dine out as a family in a fine restaurant the lates reservation I would make would be 7PM.

                                                                                                                                                        By 9PM it's time to leave the restaurant to the remaining adults.

                                                                                                                                                        On those nights when the Mrs and I get out alone, we make an 8:30 or later reservation.

                                                                                                                                                        There is a time and place for everything and everyone.

                                                                                                                                                        The wife and I are going out for French this week for our anniversary. You can be sure that while enjoying pate and a champagne cocktail we don't want to be with young children. The ambience and sense of the moment would be lost.

                                                                                                                                                        If we wanted family time, we'd go Sunday afternoon, same restaurant but family appropriate time.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I do not like sitting near loud or disruptive children, but I enjoy little kids and I do not believe in excluding them. Generally, you know when and where the little kids are going to be, and you can make your restaurant selections accordingly. I am not comfortable with excluding classes of people, including the class of little kids!

                                                                                                                                                      PS if little kids are excluded, next my 83 year old mother will get booted. Give her one glass of wine and a loud, noisy restaurant, and she'll break out into song at the dinner table. Probably not loud enough for another table to hear her but ....

                                                                                                                                                      1. Back in the day when planes had smoking sections, if I were going to be on a long crowded flight, I would get a seat in the smoking section in order to avoid the tykes and toddlers who were bound to be on the plane.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Maybe not 'kid free' but, kid restricted after say 7:00pm.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I have said for many years that I believe restaurants should have "Child-free" sections much like smoking vs. non-smoking sections.

                                                                                                                                                            1. If people begin to think it's time to restrict children in restaurants then it's also time to restrict children from libraries and museums.
                                                                                                                                                              Librarians, in many towns, aren't allowed any longer to ask children or adults to shhhhhh.
                                                                                                                                                              I'm literally blown away by some of the behavior of children (and adults) in some of the museums I frequent.

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                Libraries dropped the "shhh" mentality a number of years ago. It's fine to talk in a normal tone of voice --- but that doesn't mean TOO loud.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                  Some libraries have both children's rooms and adult rooms.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                    My sister works in a library and they welcome kids. However, a lot of parents drop their kids at the library as if it were a babysitting service or the kids carry on loudly (screaming, yelling, running around). No public place should be treated like a play room. That's the bottom line. There should be consideration for other people. When I was a kid, my parents made me settle down in public and I was punished if I didn't. These days, people ignore their kids noisiness and bad behavior in public. This is why discussions like this are taking place.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. a couple years ago when my kids were roughly 12 and 9, there was a sushi restaurant at a vacation place (a *very* family oriented seashore resort town) that specified no children under 12. By then both my kids were up to ordering adult meals for themselves, so they lost a family of 4 by that policy. I noticed they are no longer in business at that shore resort town.

                                                                                                                                                                    Certainly I don't really appreciate poorly behaved toddlers as much as the next person. But once kids are 5 or 6, they really should be able to enjoy a nice meal with their parents. Blanket rules just annoy me. It is really up to parents to make a quick escape outside if there is an issue, and the restaurant management ought to take the initiative to suggest just that if the parents don't.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I have found that more often than not it's the parents who are the issue. They view the restaurant as a kind of day care.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Although I'm usually a child advocate on these boards, I have to admit that I really wonder WHY someone would want to take their child into a fine-dining establishment? If you're paying the $$ for the food and ambiance, why would you want to be focusing mainly on your child? I'm addressing, particularly, children 5 and under who still need to be entertained.

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sorry, but you can't always predict how your child will act and unless you're at a place where you can abruptly change your dinner plans (i.e., I think we'll take our main course to go. [which I have done before]), you are not being very kind to yourself, your family, the other patrons, or the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                        Perhaps I'm lucky to live in a place with many casual, good, non-chain restaurants and I KNOW I'm lucky to have a generally mellow and good-natured child.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                                          In my family it's because we all live in different states and when we get together it's for short weekend visits. The focus of which is my nephew (he's the first grandchild/nephew). And because we are a family of Chowhounds we like to try new restaurants (and share our favorites) when we get together. Luckily he is still one of those babies (7 month) who either sleeps or acts like a hungry dog (eyes fixed on the fork watching it move towards your mouth). As of now he is a trooper and can quietly sit through a 3 hour dinner. We know that he won't always be this good, but for now it works. And in the future I am fully prepared to stay at home with him while everyone else goes out to dinner as long as they bring me back dessert :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                            We were really lucky with our son -- take him into a restaurant and he would immediately fall asleep, and would sleep throughout the meal. We took him with us to many restaurants, but if fine dining was the game plan, he stayed home with a sitter.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                              in my experience (since my kids are teenages now I'm reaching back) I only brought my really little ones along in situations like yours viperlush-- when it's a family get-together with the grandparents. In those cases there really is no babysitter scenario, as you say, and my inlaws were not going to downgrade their dining plans! So we brought the little ones and were ready to "move out" if necessary. Usually that just meant a little walk around the parking lot.

                                                                                                                                                                              On my husband and my (very rare) date nights, we always got a sitter.

                                                                                                                                                                              Recently I was at a nice restaurant on a (very rare) weekend away with my husband.At a nearby table for 6 we were a little perturbed when a little tyke started acting up. But then the rest of the party arrived and it was clearly a multigenerational group, and we understood the reasons. The little tyke went for a walk outside with his dad, and when he came back all was well and everyone had a very nice evening. A little give and take on everyone's part (not to get too exercised with a minute or two of fussiness, as long as the parents are dealing with it) leads to a better outcome for all.

                                                                                                                                                                              But this generally, is why I don't like blanket rules. Rules negate the idea that we can be reasonable adults and do what's appropriate. Especially when the kids are well past "toddler" age.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Just a funny story to relate. With us kids now in college, my mom regularly shares this story with us. We were all under 10 years old (there are 3 of us) when we went out to eat at a local restaurant. Apparently there were two or three nuns dining there at the same time, and at the end of our meal, the nuns pulled my mother aside to compliment her parenting, as we were some of the most well-behaved children that they had seen dining out. We never had the opportunity to go out to real fine dining restaurants when we were little, but we started when we were in our early teens (around 9/10 for the littlest), and we could easily sit through an entire meal (several courses) and enjoy it and the conversation. The rule in my family was, if you act up, you leave. We never walked out of anywhere, because there was always the threat of leaving hanging over our heads, so we always behaved. It's funny because my parents didn't believe in grounding, and I was only spanked once or twice in my life, yet we were far more well-behaved than my friends, whose parents were not quite the same as my own.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I can't remember a time when I've personally been bothered by children in a restaurant. I'm sure it's probably happened, but it must be such a rare occurance that I cannot recall a single specific instance.

                                                                                                                                                                              That said, in reading through the replies, three things strike me:
                                                                                                                                                                              (1) Clearly a child-free or child-restricted rule, if any, should be the exception and not the rule for most places, with the possible exception of bars.

                                                                                                                                                                              (2) Most posters seem to agree that young children generally have less developed impulse control than adults (although you can always find adults with poor impulse control as well) and that you can't really expect a young child to get through a longer meal without acting up, you can only really *hope* that they do. Even so, most posters seem to be ok with a wait and see approach to kids - let them have one good scream or tantrum in a restaurant and that's ok as long as the child is removed post haste. It surprises me that no one seems to be saying that in some situations (longer, nicer, fancier, more romantic places), even one scream or tantrum is too many, even if the poor parent rushes the kid out quickly. [and I am surprised also that no one has said anything about what happens to a server's take when a family has to abort their dining early to deal with a child...and the resto can't re-fill that table during that reservation slot].
                                                                                                                                                                              (3) I am also surprised that so many posters seem to like the idea of having a restaurant boot diners with ill-behaved children. One poster was so angry at having been declined dessert service that she felt vindicated when the restaurant burned down! Yowza. [Obviously, not having witnessed that particular child's behavior I take no position on whether it was up to snuf or not.] It's never going to be a good situation telling parents their kid's behavior isn't up to snuf. The fact that they're still there in the restaurant probably means that the parent thinks what the kid is doing is fine...and most of the parents I know would not like someone telling them otherwise. I just can't imagine the request to the parents to remove themselves and their kids from the restaurant (read: confrontation) going over well. Has anyone seen this happen? Did sparks fly? Did it go smoothly? Yikes.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: akq

                                                                                                                                                                                First off...I would not in a million years have brought my children, under the age of 6, to restaurant where patrons were there to enjoy a tasting menu.
                                                                                                                                                                                My children have been raised in a home where fine art is all around them and they were taught at a very early age the word 'no don't touch'. This respect for people, places and things stayed, and was expected from them wherever we went....including the market.
                                                                                                                                                                                My children sat at a dinner table every night of their lives, while being raised, and we taught them how to eat with manners, speak with manners and live with manners.
                                                                                                                                                                                I am always interested in seeing how young parents deal with their children out in public.
                                                                                                                                                                                I have, on more than one occasion, been stunned how parents have not taught their children that the booth next to where they're sitting is someone else's booth and kicking, screaming, ranting or throwing food is grounds for being expelled from the restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                                Not long ago I watched a security guard ask a parent of 3 children to leave an emergency room in a large LA hospital. The children were doing cartwheels, screaming and chasing each other, grabbing hand sanitizer dispensers and squirting it all over the floor and kicking each other. The mother of these children told the security guard she was going to the office of administration the next day to report him. These types of parents take no responsibility for their children and their actions. They're shocked when someone calls them on the behavior as if it's, in the case of the security guard, the problem of the person complaining.
                                                                                                                                                                                In my case, with my children as they were growing, I would never have subjected other patrons to my toddler(s) and the unpredictability of a child at that age.
                                                                                                                                                                                I have respect for others out there. I appreciate the fact that other people pay good, hard earned money to dine or stay in a 5 star hotel.
                                                                                                                                                                                They don't need other children and their noise to interfere with their pleasures.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: akq

                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think anyone approved of allowing a screaming tantrum in a restaurant. The ‘hope’ process involves monitoring your child throughout the meal to determine if continuing is feasible. (dessert or no dessert?)

                                                                                                                                                                                  You leave (hopefully) before the meltdown occurs. Admittedly, one can come out of the blue but truth be told, an awful lot of restaurant problems with children come from them being IGNORED.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Even though there are evidently already hundreds of replies to this, I cannot resist inserting mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Child-free restaurants - absolutely, unequivocally YES! (or, at least, as dagwood suggests, child-free hours).

                                                                                                                                                                                  My wife and I raised two children, whom we would never have brought to a restaurant until they were old enough to behave properly. Now that they are grown, we enjoy a quiet meal without the noise of other people's kids (or other prople, for that matter, such as the inevitable member of any group who keeps holding forth, in a loud voice, about himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Parents of noisy kids in restaurants seem to fall into one of two categories -

                                                                                                                                                                                  The ones who think their kids are just so cute, and every yell and scream so adorable, that we shouild find just having them around just irresistable. The fact that our gazpacho is getting warm, and our paella getting cold, is just not important.

                                                                                                                                                                                  And the ones who think that trying to quiet them down in any way will just irreparably damage them psychologically, to the point that they will require thousands of dollars in therapy later on.

                                                                                                                                                                                  A few months ago, we were having dinner in Boujadi, just before it unfortunately closed. Also in the restaurants was a family group, including two, I can just describe them as noisy brats.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The adults were having their own converstion, ignoring the kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                  When I made an audible remark to complain, one of the adults said "Well, they have to express themselves". I countered with "This is a restaurant, not a day-care centre".

                                                                                                                                                                                  Fortunately, they left shortly thereafter.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ekammin

                                                                                                                                                                                    A restaurant being child-free would not be a big plus OR minus to me. The bad experiences I've had with kids were mostly in places where you have to expect that sort of thing. On the other hand, if a chef or owner wants to say "no children" then that is what he or she should do, in my opinion. Or no substitutions, no perfume, no cell phone, whatever. Just make it clear at reservation time what the rules are. If someone wants to go elsewhere, they can do so. Clearly stated rules should not be a problem unless it is, say, the only restaurant in a hotel in a remote resort area.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Here in Center City Philadelphia we're fortunate to have lots of restaurants with outdoor seating on the street. For us with a toddler, we can pull the stroller up to the table (or use a provided high chair), and if he gets antsy for some reason we can take him away from the table quickly. Judging by experience & just visibility, it is very acceptable to bring kids (of most ages) to the outdoor seating at restaurants at almost any upscale/downscale level.

                                                                                                                                                                                    out of season, we noticed that going to restaurants with a baby/toddler very very early (5 or 5:30pm) and only having 1 course is generally accepted, except for higher-end restaurants and perhaps some of the trendy/lounge type places. Restaurants give cues against this by not having highchairs available; we oblige & don't go there. We're out before prime eating time (6:30), not only that, most restaurants are near-empty and happy to turn over the table once more in the evening. And there are usually other families in the same situation at the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. So...what to do when you are in a restaurant and the kid at the next table is

                                                                                                                                                                                      -peering over the booth
                                                                                                                                                                                      -kicking the back of your chair with their feet
                                                                                                                                                                                      -making screeching 'happy' noises that are music to the ears of the parents but make that hair on the back of my neck stand up?

                                                                                                                                                                                      The the manager, or tell the parent? IMO, neither get a very welcome response. The manager usually says something like, yes, it is a little loud but .... blah blah blah.
                                                                                                                                                                                      The parent usually ends up shouting at me.

                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sparkalina

                                                                                                                                                                                        You really only have two choices. 1) ask to move to a different table away from the child in question, or 2) Get your meal to-go. Sometimes, if the child is old enough, you can ask them to stop kicking and they will comply, but talking to the parents usually doesn't go well.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                          And on your way to a different table or with your take-out in hand, make sure you let management know that they need to do a better job to ensure that all of their patrons enjoy their meal and until such time, you will not be choosing to dine there again.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sparkalina

                                                                                                                                                                                          How about saying quite audibly, "you're hurting my back (ears, psyche) and I may need a very expensive operation or medical care because of it --- what kind of insurance do mommy and daddy have?"

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sarah

                                                                                                                                                                                            I like your idea!! You know, I just may do that.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: sparkalina

                                                                                                                                                                                            This happened to my mother and I while eating at a Bertucci's (a New England-based pizza place). One mother with 3 children in the booth behind my mother. One of the children were extremely noisy, and one was kicking her side of the booth (her back was to my mother). My mother turned around a few times to glare at the screeching child (and to her credit, the mother would reach over to shush her daughter before Mom turned around). Mom's glare and quiet "Shhhhh" to the young one, with her finger up to her lips, would quiet her down for a few minutes...then it would start up again.

                                                                                                                                                                                            My mother finally turned around and asked politely but VERY firmly (in a Grandma-tone) for her to stop kicking the booth and asked the other to lower her voice as it hurt my mother's ears and probably people around us. The mother was apologetic and for the rest of their lunch (which looked to have been shortened because the youngest was still acting out) either she or the older sister would shush the two noisy ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                            After they had left, three different tables came up to Mom and thanked her. :-) Not saying that it always happens; the mother definitely looked harried dealing with the two younger ones, but sometimes the point is taken by the adult and they do their job to keep their kids respectful of others.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. I almost forgot my example, but how would you handle being hit either by a child, or something they launched across the room?

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was out to lunch with a couple of girlfriends one day, we were chit-chatting away and whammo, something hits me square on in the face, eye/nose area if i'm correct. Totally caught me off guard, and needless to say I was a little stunned. It smarted too, and I was embarassed. Turned out, a little boy in the next both had launched a bunch of plastic grapes from a display, from several feet away over our low booth (backs only came up to lower than shoulder area), and got me in the face. I was facing him at the time, so it wasn't a willy nilly random flick.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The mother, there with a couple of other kids, was minimally apologetic, the kind where you could tell she was doing everything in her power to hold back busting a gut laughing. I think she mouthed "im sorry" to me, and did the "little johnny, that's bad !" comment to the kid, who was several years old. And within seconds, started acting up again.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was more stunned I think at her reaction than the smarts to the face but at the same time, didn't want to make a big deal of it, and seem like some weenie, or ruin the lunch. Besides which, my jaw was still too busy hanging open.

                                                                                                                                                                                            "kids being kids" does not involve nearly taking someone's eye out .

                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                              I would have been sorely tempted to (in the spirit of good fun) throw the plastic grapes in her face. This doesn't really have anything to do with kids in restaurants; this woman is a sociopath.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                Reminds me of when I was 9 yr at Ascot eating lunch and I got hit in the face by a champagne cork from the table next to us. The group of adult at that table just laughed and offered no apologies. It's not just kids who launch things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wonder if they would have laughed if your father got up and handed them a business card from his lawyer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                    At that time with the stress of planning our 5th move in 3 years (2nd transatlantic) I am not sure how either parent would have reacted. Probably a good thing that they were at home packing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I did go on to enjoy my lunch of smoked salmon and salad and win a few pounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                  See the deathless breakfast scene in "Sitting Pretty" wherein Clifton Webb, as Mr Belvedere, is "pelted" as he says, with oatmeal through "this dreadful meal" so he dumps the oatmeal bowl on the offending infant as "an object lesson. I assure you, he will never---do it---again."

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I will then throw everything on the table at her, including the table. And then spit on them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ...I don't think I'm a people person...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. No...that's a bit unfair to the good behaving children I think. BUT I think restaurants should tell them to LEAVE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I would love to be able to go to a nice restaurant and know that no children will be yelling, or crying or whining or running around or touching things (or me) with sticky fingers or licking the salt shaker... all things that happen too frequently. Kids are kids and unfortunately too many parents don't teach then correctly or make them behave. I don't blame the kids for being loud or cranky or inquisitive, but I don't want to be around it either. I think too many parents become immune, or numb, to their children. I don't have children, don't want them and don't like to be around them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rednyellow

                                                                                                                                                                                                        There was a time when restaurants commonly excluded classes of people for no reason other than that their regular patrons "don't like to be around them." Separate drinking fountains, anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I grew up with that in Atlanta in the 50s and 60s and it's a lesson I carry with me always. Thanks, alan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: rednyellow

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thankfully we have progressed from the times of excluding people from restaurants because of skin color, gender and sexual preference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Be careful what you ask for when you want exclusions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                            thank you. i'm not really a fan of kids -- because too often their parents don't manage them well in public. this goes whether i'm working or dining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            that being said, i cannot support exclusion. if a kid is really ruining my meal, i'll handle it somehow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: rednyellow

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kids may be kids, but that excuse is only good so far. Children aren't "taught" or "made to behave." They are raised with consistent rules and good example from the very beginning. They understand that certain things are non-negotiable, among them respect for others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Part of that respect extends to parents not placing their children in situations that are inappropriate. Taking a small child who is not used to sitting quietly at a table for an extended period to a nice restaurant is abusive to the child. He's miserable. No wonder he's restless and misbehaves.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            It ruins the evening for the parents who can't enjoy their own dinner, and it ruins the evening for other patrons and the staff of the restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            In short, the parents show disrespect and selfishness.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where do you think kids learn this stuff?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            When they stop "being kids," they are just as disrespectful of others as their parents are. That's where rude adults come from.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wish we could exclude some of them...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I couldn't agree with you more, well put.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                                >>"I wish we could exclude some of them..."<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not some of them, all of 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you can behave appropriately in public, I don't care about how old you are, the color of your skin, your dietary restrictions, or your choice in life partners. You're welcome to share my space. If you can't...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exclusion is a blanket policy which states noone of A B or C allowed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Asking someone to leave is not exclusion but consideration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hopefully the people who advocate exclusion really mean asking the unruly to depart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Father's Office out here in LA has a "21" and over policy. The owner declared them a bar, so parents are told that if they come in with kids in tow. We actually like it for that policy. Being a bar you can expect some rowdy behavior at times, especially if you go late. We usually go early and don't have that as an issue. And while the old Santa Monica location is very much a bar with great food, the new one in LA is much more a restaurant. But at least we know what to expect. Obviously this won't work for very many places. But it does for FO's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Moderation in everything, including moderation? (Not speaking of Moderators!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just a short adder. The owner of FO's is a guy by the name of Sang Yoon and his policies are very much his own. He offers one kind of burger, no substitutions. He doesn't offer ketchup in his places. He is an interesting guy in his "my way or the highway" approach to dining. So the the "child free" aspect of his two bar/restaurants is only one facet of how he handles things. As you can imagine Sang's "policies" have drawn considerable heated debate on the LA board over the years, both pro and con. We are in the pro camp. Here is a linked article that USA Today did on Sang sometime back just to give you some context and flavor (chowcentricly speaking) on him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.usatoday.com/money/compani...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        so children acting rowdy is an evening ruiner, but adults acting rowdy is a good time?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think the idea is that, if you have a spot in which rowdy adults consuming adult beverages may be present, that's probably not a good environment to expose children to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'm not so sure that's true, but then i'll be branded as a bad parent if i say so outloud

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's why Sang takes the decision out of the hands of parents who can't or won't make good decisions about what their children should and shouldn't be exposed to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think that's a great point about it being selfish on the part of parents to put the children in situations that can make for misery for all. My two year old warranted a few glares and stares at a PHO restaurant last night, and I was still mortified! I hauled his ass outside and waited it out, but swooping by fine white linen and silverware instead of bottles of rooster sauce would be the end of me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The main problem with taking kids anywhere is that, even very good parents who raise their children as well as they possibly can, can't control their children's actions, moods or physical state with perfect predictability. Adults can rely on their own self-control, but kids haven't yet developed that capability.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's unrealistic to expect children to control themselves and its unfair to see it as the parents' failure when their kids behave in a disturbing way. If you accept the inescapable reality of having children, it's best to not allow children in all restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      jfood agrees 100% with para 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But it IS the parents' responsibility if said child acts up to remove the child until either (a) they have regain acceptable control and they can return or (b) wait outside until the staff can box the dinner as a to-go and the charges are settled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Blanket exclusions does not reward those children with the experience if they can handle it and managing to the lowest common denominator never works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        >>"It's unrealistic to expect children to control themselves"<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I strongly disagree. It's not only realistic to expect children to control themselves, it's an essential part of raising them. If you don't, they'll grow from kids with poor self control to something worse - adults with poor self control.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's far too common to see 20-somethings learning social lessons they should have been taught before puberty. This goes not only for consideration of other diners, but for basic etiquette as well. And when they're learning in a professional setting, the stakes are higher than they ought to be. Clients and supervisors are not favorably impressed when a new hire doesn't know how to behave at a business dinner. At some point you have to stop blaming the parents and point the finger at the young adult, but wouldn't it have been easier for everyone concerned if restaurant manners were second nature by, say, senior prom?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While it's true that a parent can't completely control a kid's actions, moods or physical state, an observant parent can predict them with some accuracy. Most kids don't make instant transitions from perfectly-behaved angels to screaming banshees; their behavior deteriorates over time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's the parents' responsibility to read the situation and take appropriate steps. If kid is out of control at 5:30, it's probably best to cancel that 7:00 dinner reservation if you can't find a sitter. If s/he starts getting antsy at the restaurant, a warning is in order. And if the behavior deteriorates to the point that it might impact the quality of fellow patrons' dining experiences, it's time to remove the offending child.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At the risk of repeating myself, it's a manager's job to make sure that parents and other diners fulfill their responsibilities to each other. It doesn't matter whether it's a screaming child or an overly-voluble middle-aged drunk; if they're ruining the evening for those around them, they should be asked to leave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As jfood correctly notes, one of the risks of taking your kids to a restaurant is that you'll end up eating takeout. C'est la vie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          >>"It's unrealistic to expect children to control themselves"<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe they were referring to younger children - toddlers and such who really can't control themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think different rules apply to different ages. A two year old melting down in a restaurant should be removed and comforted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A 12 year old melting down in a restaurant should be removed and punished.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do agree about the age difference and the different expectations. Definitely, a 12 year old's misbehavior warrants punishing. However, it doesn't really alter the damage already done. Coming from a huge family, I have seen how misbehaving becomes sort of "infectious", if you will, and I come from a family where table manners start in the high chair. The older kids start chiming in, egging on, etc. and while they are always immediately removed and chastised, the other diners are already irritated. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. May I live to raise some myself!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "A 12 year old melting down in a restaurant should be removed and punished".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course that's true and a 12 year old shouldn't have to be punished and removed...I believe this is the point of the entire thread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              By the time my kids reached 12 years old (long before) they knew how to behave and punishment was never necessary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It would have never entered their mind to misbehave in a restaurant, a library, a museum or anywhere else there were people and expected standard of behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My point to alanbarnes was to to note that the quotation he mentions applies to very young children, not to the examples he gave of older (pre-puberty) children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Self control increases with age; it's certainly reasonable to expect more from a high school student than from a three year old. But I think it's both reasonable and healthy to encourage some self control beginning as early as the first birthday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's all a question of degree. It is definitely unrealistic - and unfair - to expect children to behave when you put them in situations you know they won't be able to handle. A short attention span and a long tasting menu are simply incompatible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But different children are ready for a given environment at different ages. Not every seven year old can be expected to sit politely through a three-course meal. But just because some can't is no reason to exclude those who can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              < "its unfair to see it as the parents' failure when their kids behave in a disturbing way." >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I disagree completely. This is exactly what I meant by "selfishness" in parents who lack good judgment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They FAIL to recognize or admit that their child is not capable of sitting quietly and/or behaving appropriately and predictably in a restaurant that THEY want to go to. They don't get a baby sitter and refuse to choose another place that is more suitable for a possible meltdown. If they don't know absolutely that the child can "control himself," they shouldn't take him. Period.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They put the other diners' enjoyment at risk for their own self-centered desires.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Parents are at fault when they fail to consider that their children are simply not capable of behaving appropriately, and they inflict them on others. They should recognize their children's limitations. It may be that the children are just too young and will learn as they grow, or the kids are just bad kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Once there was a child behaving badly in a restaurant and his oblivious parents were doing little to stop him. I muttered, "Why do people like that even have children?" Our French au pair responded, "Maybe their building doesn't allow them to have dogs."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Raising children takes work - and sacrifice. Leave them at home if you can't depend on their behavior or go to a restaurant that is appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Haha. Your au pair sounds like she was worth the money! I am all about kids, and I do think a lot can behave well, but I have to agree that all kids have their moments, and as a mother, that is simply a risk I am not willing to take. Yes, I know that some parents have perfect children, but being around them my whole life, I am just aware of the potential for disturbance. Perhaps it is cultural to put other people's needs before our own children's, but I figure I can give them great culinary experiences in other ways until they are fully grown. I guess I could be called a bad mother for a) not having perfectly behaved children and b) not exposing them to great dining opportunities. Oh well. Better that than indigestion from having my four year old burp loudly at the table and laugh VERY loudly, inciting my two year old to mimic her in full force (the burps and the laughs).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aforkcalledspoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's hysterical! Plus, let's face it, don't you enjoy a *fine dining experience* without children. Place a fork full of something sigh/moan-worthy without having to be concerned if your child is crawling around at your feet. Children are PART of the experience of a family, if you have them, but they don't have to be THE experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    amen! Yes, so very very true. "sigh/moan-worthy" food can't compete with the "sigh/GROAN-worthy" antics of my kids (whom I adore, obviously, but damnit, I don't want to share my duck confit with my four year who has the appetite of a quarterback, and the pain in the butt two year old is allergic to everything with flavor! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. We have a well behaved 6 year old daughter and wouldn't dream of taking her to a place where we felt it was inappropriate. There are times and places for family meals and times and places for adults only meals. Sitting in the bar with your children is definitely not appropriate. ..As a side note this is also one of the unfortunate byproducts of the smoking ban in bars (airplanes too!)....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              For those who can't believe a restaurant would ban children, we just returned from the Grand Floridian Resort at Disney and their signature restaurant Victoria and Alberts has a no child under 10 policy. If Disney can do it, anyone can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. We DEFINITELY need child-free restaurants. The public has proven over and over that they cannot or will not discipline their children, so the only answer is child-free sections in restaurants. Dining out should be a relaxing, gratifying experience. If I've got to look at your pugsly kid shoving mashed potatoes up his nose and blabbering away the whole time I'd just as soon eat at home over the sink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Does anyone know any Chicago child-free restaurants or ones with child-free dining areas? City only, not suburbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I think noisy guests who are obnoxious and disturb other guests should not be permitted in restaurants. If my kid's teetering on the edge and a server helps out by pointing out something interesting, bringing over bread or ice water, or whatever, I am immensely graceful. I wish all diners were as responsive to such cues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It doesn't make sense to me for someone to say they don't want to 'deal with' my kid because they left theirs with a sitter. Just because I don't want to 'deal with' my boss doesn't mean no managers should be present in the restaurant. As long as you can keep in the social role you've chosen to focus on and are not asked to pick up peas or make photocopies during dinner, why should you care who the other diners are?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As for children/nonchildren seating areas: I took my child to one 'children's concert' and never will again because I did not want him picking up the behavior of other kids there. I look for more appropriate live music venues for him (including the free 30-45 min concerts every day at the Kennedy Center when we used to live close by--perfect for exposing a little one to good music!). He's never been a screamer and I don't think the bad restaurant behavior stage he went through a few months ago (dumping salt, taking change as the waiter tried to hand it to me...) would've been helped by seeing other kids misbehave as well. We cut back on restaurants then, but occasionally ventured out to test the waters in sidewalk cafes. It seems to be over now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  About learning to behave in public: my mother used to prepare Sunday dinner for us to eat in the good dining room, with the real silver and the china that didn't go in the dishwasher. Some weeks, it was more than she wanted to do, and we went to one of the nicer restaurants in town, where we were expected to use the same good manners we had learned at home. On the other hand, my parents were not unrealistic about expectations: when we all celebrated my impromptu wedding with a celebratory dinner with the whole family, she took one of the first turns around the restaurant's courtyard with my 2-yr-old nephew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Otherwise, Alanbarnes has killed this discussion in infancy by providing the absolutely perfect response.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: saacnmama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    so if a ten year old is perfectly behaved and knows how to act in society they should be allowed in a nightclub ? The boss vs children argument does not work here, as there are already locations where children are not allowed, however I've yet to hear of one where boss' are not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      think logically...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I highly doubt people are suggesting that children should be kept out of restaurants because of the influence on the kids. The point is that people don't want to be disturbed while dining--they want to focus on whatever relationship they're focusing on.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In nightclubs (do I really need to spell this out?) the point is exactly the influence on the kids, not any potential interruption the kid might bring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Wow this question has certainly provided some great stories, "invinotheresverde!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well done!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm very proud to say my husband and I comfortably took our children to many types of restaurants, usually with positive results. I credit this to fact that we were pretty no-nonsense parents when it came to public behavior. I also credit this feat with the fact that we were able to choose wisely depending on the occaision, the kids ages, and their moods, and our moods, on a given night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    since you did note in the preface to your question that it was based on "a post about Joshua's, in Maine, that apparently doesn't allow children" I would like to add something...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As someone who lives in Southern Maine, and has had the opportunity to frequent Joshua's numerous times, there doesn't seem to be a "no children allowed" policy, at least from what I've seen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    True, the website does say..."Joshua's is a slow-food restaurant and not a place children under 8 are likely to enjoy, which, in turn is likely to affect the pleasure of their parents and other diners." but they're not excluding children. I think they're just giving people "food for thought" -pardon the pun. We have seen children of all different ages (and behaviors, mostly ok) while we've been dining there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Again, great topic, and kudos to all the replies and repliers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I prefer that restaurants have "family and non-children" rooms, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Emilyishere

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ya know, until Scargod mentioned experiencing that in British Columbia, I'd never heard of it --- and I don't think I like it. Either the place or the children are appropriate or they're not; I don't think there should be hybrids (my opinion only of course).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think it's a bad idea for bar area dining. I can think of one restaurant in my area where I've wanted to sit in the bar area and it's just been overrun with screaming babies. I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping small children outside of a bar area. Some don't have seating that will work with small children, but for those that do, I think people might like to be able to enjoy themselves around adults.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, I definitely agree with bar area dining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A few of our local establishments have completely eschewed what I thought was an unwritten rule - bar area, no children. We eat at a Ruby Tuesday's occasionally and I do not understand their bar section rules - they make sure young-looking couples are over 21 (I've been asked several times), but seat families in the bar even though other sections are open.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As to the original post - I've realized we are helpless when it comes to ADULTS who do not choose to recognize the limitations of their kids. I don't care if it's a Friendly's or Nobu, unruly and unwatched children are a put off. But so are ignorant adults - the loud drunk, the guy that puts his arm over the seat bench so that I get touchy-feely with him if I sit back, the patrons who are rude to the waitstaff...I give the evil eye to any and all of these without respect to their age. (The evil eye for the kids usually goes to the parents, BTW.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've waited to have children so that I could enjoy adult pasttimes with my husband before we have to put those activities aside. When we have kids, I'll be the first to take the unruly chowpup to the car...and mr. bakinggirl will have enough sense to ask for my food to be wrapped to-go.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'd love to hear from more restaurant managers on why there seems to be a moratorium on asking unruly patrons (kids and adults) to leave...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks to the Chowhound Team for letting us hash this one out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bakinggirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think that's at all uncommon with respect to the bar area/pub rules. I've seen that in multiple areas. It just seems like if you are going to have a no underage policy, you have to apply it across the board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Many restaurants seem to encourage bringing children into the bar area by offering child friendly, bar only menus. It's almost like the restaurant is treating it like a diner instead of a bar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good point about the bar menu. Both the food and the environment tend to be more casual than the dining room, and things are geared more toward a meal that lasts an hour or so instead of two hours or more. All of which makes the bar area well-suited to a family with children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know of any place that bans kids from the bar area, and have eaten there with my kids on numerous occasions at a variety of places. As far as I'm concerned it's totally appropriate for children to eat in the bar area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To queencru: do you think it's okay for a dining room to be "overrun by screaming babies"? The problem is the kids' behavior, not the part of the restaurant where they're seated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I must disagree. Bars are areas where adults come to gather to drink and enjoy more mature conversations that aren't appropriate for younger ears to hear. It's just not an age appropriate place for children to be gathering, and restaurants shouldn't be encouraging that behavior by creating a diner environment in the bar and having an entirely different, more adult decor in the dining room. The restaurant I'm thinking about is a big happy hour hot spot, so it tends to get packed on weekend evenings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think that anywhere should be overrun by screaming children, but it's especially jarring in a small, enclosed area that's supposed to be for adults.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Supposed to be for adults" - according to whom? I can't recall ever being in a bar area that's adults only.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If a restaurant's management wanted to impose such a restriction, I wouldn't have a problem with it. But by the same token, if the owners have decided that the bar area is going to be family friendly, it's kind of hard to justify your hard-line position that they're wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Indiana will not allow people under 21 in bar areas. I wouldn't be surprised if other states didn't have similar laws. It seems that a few others on here agree with me about bars being for adults, so it may be a regional thing with respect to what is considered appropriate or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I absolutely agree about bars being for adults - specifically in American (puritanical) culture, where one cannot drink until they turn 21, and then for some it is a race to see how quickly they can "catch up." Very rarely, at least in my blueblood state of CT, do you find a family establishment like the archetypal rural Irish pub.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was specifically referring to a bar within a casual restaurant as I've always considered those to be adult-oriented places. Otherwise, why bother with the expense of putting a bar area in?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          depends on what sort of bar you're talking about. When we lived near Amarillo, we used to go to Applebees fairly often, and my son loved sitting at the tall tables in the bar area. Sure, there was a t.v. in there, but Applebees at 6 or 7 pm is not even rated pg 13 (and any bar patrons who didn't want to see kids made a bad choice--the dining areas wrap around the bar and were clearly visible).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And as mentioned above, even if you order the same food in the bar area as at a table, the service tends to be much quicker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: saacnmama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm talking more about the restaurants that have a fairly clear separation between the bar and the dining area such as a fully enclosed separate room or one side bar, one side restaurant. I haven't seen the difference in service speed you've mentioned either. Last time I ate in the bar area (during what became a fairly busy happy hour), the service was slower than I typically experienced in that same restaurant's dining room.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just don't understand why a restaurant would go through the trouble of separating restaurant from bar in that manner if children are to be allowed in anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              queencru, at least you and I are on the same wavelength.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I guess my main point was that bar areas in restaurants might be the way one gets around the "no children in restaurants" idea - in more casual eateries, anyway. The point of having a bar is for adults to congregate and have drinks, which is 100% not for children. I'm still hoping someone from restaurant management perspective can shed some more light on this topic.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now, I will pick up my club and dead horse and drag it away... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                >>"I just don't understand why a restaurant would go through the trouble of separating restaurant from bar in that manner if children are to be allowed in anyway."<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Real simple. It gives the restaurant the opportunity to provide two completely different dining experiences, and thus to bring in customers who wouldn't eat there if the dining room was the only option. I'll use a steakhouse that's owned by a friend of mine as an example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The bar area is clearly set off from the rest of the restaurant by half-walls. It has a more casual atmosphere: the tables are closer together, and patrons - especially regulars - tend to carry on conversations between tables. And the menu is different. If you want a burger or a steak sandwich at dinnertime, you need to sit in the bar - they're only served in the dining room at lunch. Although you can get the full menu, the bar menu prices are cheaper (~$10pp as opposed to $20-30pp). And the kind of food that's offered makes it easier to get in and out more quickly if that's what you need to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In short, the reason the restaurant "would go through the trouble of separating restaurant from bar" is that it increases revenue. It has nothing to do with the age of the patrons (although the bar does tend to draw a younger crowd). It has everything to do with getting customers - including families - to spend their money at this establishment instead of somewhere else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, smoking was permitted in the bar only, at least at upscale places. Although, I feel that is/was one more reason to keep your kid out of the bar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I live in California, where smoking has been prohibited in all enclosed public spaces since my kids were born. So for me, at least, it isn't an issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I propose that diners with children who can pass through a Chuckie Cheese door without ducking post a $20 deposit. If the kid behaves for the duration, the deposit is refunded. If the kid barfs, screams above 80 decibels, climbs over booths or runs around untethered like a gazelle, the deposit is forfeited and contributed to a fund that buys a glass of wine or a double-shot for nearby adult victims.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  do loud opinionated adults have to kick in to buy something for the kids?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Only if they're louder than the kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Turnabout is fair play. An adult who commits any of the four aforementioned infractions should buy ice cream sundaes all around. And I'll add a fifth for adults; foul language within earshot of children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, jumping in so late, but here goes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The problem is this:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There are adults, for sure, who are loud and rude and disruptive, shouting or talking on mobiles, or well, drunk and disruptive. These behaviours are generally agreed upon as unpleasant and even, in some cases, illegal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The problem then, is not that children are prone to such unpleasantness and more (running around, kicking chairs, screaming) but that they are often watched over by parents who seem convinced of the preciousness of their snowflakes. That this behaviour, because it belongs to children, is somehow innate and expected, and even charming. And, given how some parents become absolutely furious at the idea that anyone would stop their child from doing what gives him or her joy, whether it is scarfing a jar of a friend's caviar or singing a song loudly, or kicking a chair-- there is a fear of trying to govern or manage what the parents will not. And legal recourse is a bit difficult: Ultimately, children can behave like the drunken adults, and without parents who actually think this is a problem, all those around are forced to deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, it all comes back to adults in the end, but that's also the point. Because adults can't be trusted, they are often asked to leave things at the door: alcohol, firearms, and maybe, at times, children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The hounds posting here may well be the best sort of parent and dedicated to raising a well-behaved child, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking this is the rule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That said, I have no real position on the child-free thing. I think the parents should take charge of their children and realise that at the first sign they can't, they will be booted from the restaurant. Of course, with that, the boards here and on Yelp would be lit with the rage at such restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And I think that parents who take their children to bars should expect the sort of behaviour that can exist in bars-- loud talk and salty language. No chastising others for not caring about your kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You raise a good point here. I might get annoyed at some loud & annoying person at a resto the same as I would a kid, but what *really* sets me off is when that kid's parents are just laughing it off ... "Look at waht little johnny is doing! He's off making friends!".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, loud voices don't tend to annoy me (but high pitched screaming/crying as kids are known to do definitely are irritants), but what I tend to dislike about kids are their propensity for running around, bothering other people, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Adults have to kick in $20 if the kid behaves for the duration. Dana Zsofia and I will clean up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. My first reaction to this question is YES!!! But as I was about to type, I really don't see a lot of children in fine dining establishments. I mostly see them at lunch and family type restaurants. In my own little world, which I know would never exist because families spend lots of dough, I would enjoy adult only grocery stores. It sounds pornographic! ADULT ONLY. I'm not against children, some of my best friends are children. (this is supposed to be funny, because this is what racist people always say.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: waitress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Adult only grocery stores could be interesting. My Mom used to leave us all out in the car while she grocery shopped, we'd just sit there and sing songs and fight with each other, of course now she'd be in jail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There's a Shop Rite in Wall, NJ that has a "kids room" for the kids while the parents shop. Brilliant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My mom would go straight to the produce aisle and grab me a cucumber. I'd gnaw on it. Sometimes was still eating when we went back out to the car.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How did they weigh it and charge your Mom for it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A lot of times cukes are sold "per each".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Always by number, not weight. And she was always honest, even when I'd finished it before we hit the checkout line!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I used to get the heel of the Italian bread to gnaw on!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: waitress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I like to grocery shop at about 2 to 4 a.m.... no kids. No distracted moms on cell phones with kids and carts completely blocking aisles... just have to dodge the stockers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It is a wonderful time to shop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I like to grocery shop at about 2 to 4 a.m...It is a wonderful time to shop."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do my shopping in the same time frame...and I agree to a point. But it's not just the stock people that are in the way. Some aisles you can't get your cart down due to the boxes in the way. The deli section isn't open. Many times the meat section can be fairly depleted and the fresh seafood section also is closed and no butcher on duty for special requests. I've also learned to use the public address system to call the checker when I get up to the check stand, because they do double duty and are somewhere stocking when I get up there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's true. However I rarely want deli items, and I buy my meat from a local farmer, so it isn't that bad. Plus my store has self check out lines. I would agree seafood also is closed. Unles they have someone going with that loud floor buffer thingy... it is worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ...my self check out section is also closed since there's no one there to monitor it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. No. Should there be a cut-off age for elderly customers too who might accidentally poo in their pants or act out?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If a child is acting out in a fine restaurant and the parents aren't doing anything about it...the host/hostess should quietly ask them to escort the child outside for a bit or ask if they'd like their food "to go".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    if that would actually happen it would be awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. A childs actions is a direct reflection on the parents that are raising them. On many occasions my wife and I have been complemented on the fine manors that my children have displayed while dining out. There is no excuse for rudeness when out in public and price point of the establishment is not an excuse. Manors are to be exhibited every where.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wouldn't have helped you in this case... ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Since this thread has popped up yet again, I'm going to share an observation that's been brewing in the back of my mind for a while. People with opinions on this subject tend to fall into two categories: those who have children and those who don't. As far as I can tell without re-reading all 286 posts, all or almost all of the posters who believe that some restaurants should be completely child-free fall into the second category.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Which could explain a lot, but for the fact that many of those in the first category don't have a dog in this fight. Those of us whose kids are indisputably old enough to go into any restaurant have no vested interest in the issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So why do those whose children are adolescents or adults overwhelmingly reject the idea that kids should be banned from restaurants? Simple. We're basing our opinions on facts rather than stereotypes. We know that some children can behave appropriately at a fine dining establishment, while others, for whatever reason, cannot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's up to parents to exercise good judgment regarding whether a child is capable of being a good restaurant patron. Some parents abdicate their responsibility to do so, just as some adult patrons fail to exercise judgment regarding their own behavior. That's why restaurants have managers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles. We're going to lock it now.