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Restaurant bans children under age 6 - What do you think?


Noise Prompts Pennsylvania Restaurant to Ban Kids Under 6

Published July 09, 2011 | Associated Press
MONROEVILLE, Pa.-- A restaurant in western Pennsylvania says it's no longer allowing children under age 6.

McDain's Restaurant and Golf Center in Monroeville says the new policy will take effect July 16.

Restaurant owner Mike Vuick said there's "nothing wrong with babies, but the fact is you can't control their volume." He said all that screaming and crying disturbs many of his customers.

Some restaurant customers said they support Vuick's right to set rules that he thinks are best for his business. But others said they're offended by the policy.

See the rest here:


Personally, I think the restaurant owner can do anything that he thinks is best for his businss (within the law of course). This should be interesting.

I cannot recall a recent restaurant visit we have had that was impaired by the behavior of small children, although I know it has happened in the past.

  1. I get the idea that the restaurant owner can do what they want. But what if they decided that they wouldn't serve people over 65? Or they won't serve women? It's a slippery slope.

    9 Replies
    1. re: donovt

      I'm pretty sure what you suggest is illegal. The courts have already ruled that adults only establishments are legal. There are apartment buildings and other places that are for adults only and also for those where being 55 years old or older are a requirement to get a lease.

      1. re: John E.

        Yeah, that's what I get for breaking my "no posting after drinking all day" rule.

      2. re: donovt

        Restaurants usually have the right to refuse service to anyone but could get into trouble if they systematically discriminate against a protected class. Don't think kids fall into that category, though.

        Clearly, kids are not the only ones that could disturb other diners, but I don't see any reason why a restaurant couldn't have a policy against both kids and rowdy drunks.

        As for kids in restaurants in general, there are some restaurants that cater to families, but for those that don't, that's what babysitters are for.

        1. re: donovt

          The elderly along with others are a protected class, not so with children so that scenario does not apply.

          1. re: Duppie

            This may be apples and oranges but I believe that in California it's still against the law for a landlord to refuse to rent to someone with children.

            1. re: bobcam90

              I think that aspect only applies to housing and there may be exemptions for senior housing.

              1. re: nocharge

                Thanks. I had a feeling that was the case.

              2. re: bobcam90

                When I specified a protected class, I used it in the context of a food service establishment and not housing laws,where children are not to be discriminated against unless it is deemed a adult community, or a adult medical facility.Most certainly apples and oranges

                1. re: Duppie

                  Yep. nocharge set me straight :)

          2. I also agree that the owner should be able to run the business as they think best but as pointed out, it is a slippery slope.

            An arbitrary age number isn't going to solve all of their noise or disruption problems. What about a rowdy, drunk crowd of twenty somethings? What about mentally disabled people who may not have the same filters about noise that someone else would have? Etc.

            I would prefer to see businesses have a general policy about behavioral standards and then reserve the right to not serve people who don't meet them, irrespective of age or whatever. But that takes having the cajones to actually do so. It is a lot easier for some people to stand behind an arbitrary rule.

            It will be interesting to see how this goes.

            10 Replies
            1. re: jlhinwa

              Great point. Bad behavior is NOT limited to children. As stated elsewhere in this thread, I have had more issues with over-21's (and probably up to 70), than children. Much might depend on the restaurants, that we frequent, but still - more adults are total boors, than most children.

              Going back some years, we were dining in a lovely South San Francisco area restaurant. All was excellent, except for one table, that was having an office-party, moved from the office. They were shouting and screaming, while others, around them, were trying to enjoy an evening of "fine-dining." The management approached that table several times, but were ignored repeatedly. Finally, the GM walked to the table, and directed the group (six youngish adults) to leave immediately. As he escorted them out, the entire dining room (full at that point) stood, and everyone applauded. When done, everyone went back to enjoying their food. Not one child in the unruly group. Any, were with family members in the dining room, and no one even knew of their presence.

              It is more to do with behavior, and less to do with age.

              Still, were I a restaurant owner, I would try to make the majority of my patrons comfortable. I am just not sure that this would be my choice.

              At about six years of age, I was introduced to both Antoine's and Galatoire's in New Orleans. I knew what to do, and what to not do, and my parents were right there, should I have gotten other ideas. In those situations, I learned a great deal, and would not trade them for anything, but understand other diners' concerns. In a lesser restaurant, I once stood up in our booth, and spoke to the diners behind us. My mother took me aside, and explained that such was never done. I should have known better, but learned that lesson. Along the way, there were others, but they ONLY happened once, and were never THAT bad.Still, they were NOT appropriate. Some came, after the age of six. Having a sign - "you must be this old," or "you must be this tall," might not have worked.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Unfortunately, not all parents are like yours were! Discipline in some households is nonexistent. I resent going to a very nice restaurant and having my evening ruined by an unruly child, on the other hand I resent my evening being ruined by unruly adults, usually alcohol related,which I have run into far more then the unruly children! It is the responsibility of the manager of the restaurant to take care of what ever situation arises! K

                1. re: Mother of four

                  I agree...this is a good start but should be extended to drunks, loud shriekers and the like.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    Loud drunks = higher revenue

                    Loud kids = less revenue

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                      You can make the dough off getting them drunk..just throw them out when they start to make noise....I once told a restaurant-owning friend to put a locked box out front (sort of like a "suggestion box".) Suggested he put a sign on it that said "Deposit you money here [name some figure] and go home. Tomorrow you'll be just as broke but you'll feel a lot better." he never took me up on it.

                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                        Well, "loud drunks" = lower revenue from me, and I have been known to spend a bunch on fine wines. I try very hard to avoid loud, unruly restaurants, and have been mostly successful. In the instances, where I have not, the management has been notified, and the reviews reflect my impressions.

                        When looking at restaurant reviews, I look closely at dB levels, and for terms like, "live music," "big-screen TV's," "sports bars," and similar.

                        Just my way of thinking,


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Convesely, there are customers who actively seek out noisy restaurants since this indicates the place is trendy, hip, and has lots of "buzz" wheras a quiet restaurant where you can focus on your meal is often described as "dead." There are numerous restaurants that serve excellent food but I still avoid because the place is a deafening echo chamber.

                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            Oh, I do agree, and they are welcome to them. They are just not MY style.

                            Most of my favorites would easily be described as "dead" by many.

                            In the end, all they will miss is the conversation with their guests.


                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                              and then there is a 3rd type who seeks out good food, and the noise level of the place is not a primary consideration.

                      2. re: Mother of four

                        Establishments "bounce" unruly drunks. But heaven forbid that you ask a parent to remove a screaming child. Now that's a law suit waiting to happen. I see nothing wrong with having an adult only eating establishment.

                  2. If one has children, younger than six, then I would look elsewhere.

                    Unfortunately, unruly children have ruined many a meal for me - though unruly adults have ruined many more.

                    I greatly welcome well-behaved children, and relish having them around me, while I dine. Though I have no children, so long as they are young ladies and gentlemen, they can sit at my table, or near-by. Unfortunately, they are not so common anymore, though I cannot pinpoint the why. Maybe their parents are the unruly adults, with whom I also have problems?

                    Many years ago, a high-end restaurant seated us below a table (raised about 4' below another level) with two children, probably 6 and 8, with their governess. I expected the worst, and it was our anniversary. All that I can say was that the two children were perfect, as was their governess. They were an absolute delight to have near.

                    To me, it should not be about the age of the patron, but the behavior of the patron.

                    Just some observations,


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Your post reminded me of when I was growing up in a small town, (no governess) our family would go out for birthday dinners at one of two restaurants in town that had tablecloths. That's how I differentiate a 'nice' restaurant from what are now casual restaurant/bars like Applebee's, TGIFriday's, etc. Anyway, we would get dressed up and go out to dinner as a family, my brothers and I would take turns pulling out the chair for our mother, holding the door etc. Years later I was talking about those birthday dinners with my mother and she said something like, "you know what we were doing don't you, we were teaching you manners and how to behave in public". I was the youngest, but I'm sure these dinners started when I was younger than five years old. I was a little disappointed in myself when it came time for birthday outings for my own family we ended up doing the Chuck E. Cheese thing when they were young and more recently Texas Roadhouse type places. The 'nice' restaurants in the city are a little too pricey for family birthday dinners.

                      1. This reminds me of a story about a fancy hotel in Cap D'Antibes in the South of France (where they really love their small dogs, so much so that dogs sit at the table in numerous restaurants and have their own seat and meal with their owners).

                        A dog at the hotel bit a child.

                        So the hotel banned children.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: smartie

                          Ha! I saw lots of dogs in the restaurants in the South of France, Bordeaux and Carcasonne.

                          1. re: smartie

                            Ha! I'm sorry - but I really love this.

                            1. re: uwsister

                              Me too! Businesses should be free to attract whatever type of patrons they want to. plus I am a dog person, not a child person ; )

                              1. re: MissMechante

                                Id rather see a babies in a restaurant than a urine and feces stained floor.

                            2. re: smartie

                              Having both dogs and children, my experience is that it usually is the child's fault.

                            3. It is their restaurant, so it is their choice.

                              In this economy, if a restaurant wants to limit their patrons, it might be their loss, but I believe it is still their choice.

                              1. I was recently out where one table had three very quiet and well-behaved children and another had a single child who screamed and disrupted everyone in the small place. The parents of the loud child simply said "this is what kids are like." um. No. If we had ever screamed or made a scene in public we would have been grounded or worse. And if that is just the normal way your kid is, please do not bring them to restaurants. If the restaurant in the article has found that the majority of kids under six are disruptive, I fully support their right to exclude them. It isn't Chuck E cheese after all.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: mojoeater

                                  It was out to the car with the child until the child was ready to return and act like he was expected to. A no brainer in our household!

                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                    When the screaming kicks in, you take them out. Isn't this in the parenthood manual you get when the kid's born? My youngest pulled this on me, so we headed out to the car, strapped her into the car seat, shut the door and stood outside until she'd screamed herself out. After about 8 minutes, I open the door and ask, "Are you done screaming?" She sort of snivels and we go back inside. She's totally exhausted and we have a nice quiet meal.

                                    Really, it's not that difficult, people. You're not helping your children by encouraging them to be braying jackasses. Man up or quit breeding.

                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                        I struggled with this when my son was little. I felt like it was important to teach him how to behave/be quiet INSIDE a restaurant (store, etc), not how to quiet down in the car after being noisy inside. My rationale was that if everytime he got screamy we took him to the car and/or left, we were teaching him that all he had to do if he wanted to leave was scream/cry. I did not want my sprout calling the shots in this way. Mom is the boss (or Dad).

                                        We ended up not going out a lot and getting babysitters when we wanted to eat out because even though he never threw a big, noisy fit in a restaurant, the fear of things falling apart kept me from enjoying my restaurant experience. It just wasn't enjoyable for me to worry the whole time that my infant/toddler was going to have a meltdown in the middle of my dinner. Now that he is old enough to straighten right up when he gets the Mom Super Stink Eye (sometimes accompanied by a firm grasp on upper arm), I don't fear bringing him along to restaurants as much any more.

                                        1. re: CapreseStacy

                                          This describes me and my family in restaurants. My youngest is currently just shy of 2-years-old. We only go out as a group to family-oriented restaurants, and usually before 6 p.m. We're getting to a phase with her where it's just not worth the time and anxiety involved--she's usually "fine," but we often end up speeding through dinner or one of us leaves early and walks around outside with her while the other and her big brother finish dinner. It will pass, and we'll all go out again soon enough. But I don't think banning children from dining establishments is the answer.

                                      2. re: mojoeater

                                        Wow. The worst I ever did at a restaurant was either 1) hide under the table (hey, I was three!) or fall asleep with my head in my mom's lap. If we got ansty, my mom always had paper and pens in her purse for tic-tac-toe or hangman.

                                        1. re: Terrieltr

                                          I know! I cannot imagine being loud in public as a child. And in fact, this kid wasn't throwing a tantrum. He would just let out a loud screech. It seemed that any time the parents weren't looking directly at him and playing with him, he'd screech to get their attention. Not at all ok.

                                      3. I can honestly say that our restaurant dining experience has never been disturbed by an unruly child. I don't know if we are just lucky or the types of places we visit attract parents that are very mindful about their children's behavior.

                                        I am a parent and I don't understand why someone would allow their child to disturb the general public in any setting (aside from a doctor's office or someplace it might be unavoidable) by screaming or crying.

                                        Obviously it happens, I just don't understand why parents wouldn't just take the child outside until they calmed down.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                          I totally agree! When our daughter was very young, we always made it a point to sit where we could exit quickly if need be, whether it be church, a restaurant (nice or casual), or even a get together with friends. There was no way I was going to let my beloved child disrupt someone else's enjoyment and even the best-behaved children can melt down at the worst possible time. I don't get why parents think it is okay for others to suffer along with them.

                                        2. Of course the owner can make his own rules. The same way that I can make the choice not to patronize that business, which I wouldn't if I lived in that town. If an establishment does not want my business, I feel no burning need to give it to them.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: rockycat

                                            OTOH, me and my friends would be there regularly. Different strokes and all of that.

                                          2. Bravo, bravo and one more bravo.

                                            1. I don't mind, though I think the 6 year age limit is kind of arbitrary.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                I'm sure you could sneak in the odd 5-year-old without him getting carded. I suspect the rule as it is enforced is something more like 'no babies and no toddlers.'

                                              2. Where I am, I can think of several places where very young children are not welcome. I see no problem so long as the restaurant is upfront about it, so there are no nasty surprises if a family with young ones turns up.

                                                1. What do I think?


                                                  Parents need to pick age appropriate venues, but many times they rather have the restaurant tend their children than hire a sitter.

                                                  1. Was there not also a chef in NYC who also had an age restriction on brunch? And I also recall reading about a cheese shop/restaurant in London with similar rules.

                                                    The way this reads, the owner has had way too many bad experiences with unruly children in his restaurant, possibly losing business over it, and this is the response. People should take issue with those who have given reason for the policy, not the owner imho.

                                                    As much as I agree that ALL forms of bad behavior should be addressed by management, the comparison to adults behaving badly in defensiveness of stuff like this has never made sense to me. Since when does pointing out someone else's bad behavior make another's go away? And lets face it, an owner is likely to have far less backlash if a drunken lout is asked to leave, than if a screaming child with family is kicked out.

                                                    1. I think the general idea is fine, but I think 6 as a cut-off is misguided, as I have seen many children younger than that act perfectly well in a restaurant while older children have not. I have 2 sons who are generally well behaved in restaurants but not always. I do get irritated at "nice" restaurants if someone's child is being disruptive. We are picky about where we take our children for dinner; less so for lunch. But, I think any solution will be flawed.

                                                      1. I applaud what he is doing. I also do not know why anyone would be "offended". He can run his business any (legal) way he pleases.

                                                        1. If I walked into a restaurant and saw young children then to be honest I'd leave - so banning the little dears would make it more likely I'd dine there. Having said that I rarely eat out at a time when small children are eating out.

                                                          I occasionally visit a UK chain restaurant/bar that is 'over 21s only'.
                                                          It's amazing the difference it makes to the atmosphere.

                                                          1. Wonderful!
                                                            I have had too many dinners/lunches ruined by unruly children and screaming babies.
                                                            NO it is not "cute" and their badly behaved child is NOT "cute" while they are ruining others enjoyment of their meal. If I wanted to hear ear piercing screeching, I could hang around subway stations for FREE!

                                                            1. Restaurant owners definitely can do anything that they think is best for the businesses. It is their choice and freedom. That being said, I am sadden to see this. I like little kids and little babies in the restaurants. They are fun to watch and look at. In all honesty, I cannot remember a time when little babies' cry stop me from enjoying my meal, whereas I remember many arguments/crying from adults ruined my meals.

                                                              1. If you have theaters showing films which are adults only, clubs & bars which are age restrictive, even amusement park rides which go by age and/or height, surely restaurants can fall into the same category. As far as the argument saying if they can ban kids, they can ban elderly, etc? Hogwash. Elderly and even retarded adults have some concept on how to behave. And the establishment certainly has every right to toss out any adult patron, no matter what their status, if that patron is causing a commotion.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: David11238

                                                                  There is a movie theater chain , Alamo Drafthouse, that doesn't allow unescorted minors into their theaters. Having recently had a movie ( X Men ) totally ruined by two screaming kids several rows back escorted by two parents oblivious how they were impacting other patron's experience, I can see why a restaurant would do this.

                                                                  And as others have pointed out, there is an economic reason as well I suspect. Both kids and adults with kids spend less per plate than adults alone.

                                                                2. I am old enough to have both been a regular guest and a waiter at a number of the late great Catskill Mountain resorts in NY state.
                                                                  These resorts had childrens' dining rooms. It was a great idea. People (adults) spending good hard earned money for a pleasant meal out should be able to dine sans children. The childrens dining rooms permitted adults if a family wanted to dine together, and also served early bird breakfast to golfers along with the kids from 7 am on.

                                                                  Our family also belonged to a country club from the time I was a young child. Children were not allowed in the mens or womens (before ERA) grills, and only in the main dining room on Sunday or family nights. We learned manners and that some places should be reserved for adults.

                                                                  I have children, there are places I would take them and if they misbehaved they were wisked outside in seconds and the server asked to pack our meals to go. That said, children are not a federally protected class and in states such as Pennsylvania the restaurant owner may make this business decision.
                                                                  I saw the owner intervied on TV this morning, and while I understand his intent, the restaurant itself does not look upscale or sophisticated, certainly not a date night destination.

                                                                  1. Of course an owner can set any rules they want. BUT they'll have to deal with the reaction. Personally, I think it's a pretty hostile statement.

                                                                    Naturally, crying infants can be unpleasant but they don't cry at the volume of, say, loud rap music. And toddlers can be cranky but they can also be pretty damned cute. Any person -- child or adult -- can be obnoxious and inconsiderate but that's the problem. Those people and situations should be dealt with rather than extending blanked rules that don't accomplish much.

                                                                    Meanwhile, kids who only hang out at McDonalds don't learn appropriate social behavior and people who can't tolerate any inconvenience or annoyance don't learn to be more flexible by always forcing their standards on others.

                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                                      Hostile? I don't believe so, perhaps to parents who unequivocally believe their child is the best behaved/smartest/cutest/just curious/ intelligent/precocious/precious/ god's gift to the earth.... but to others who have to endure such a gem..... not so much.

                                                                      1. re: Duppie

                                                                        OK. "Hostile" wasn't a great choice of words but it's a decidedly negative point of view and not very hospitable in an industry known as "hospitality". How many decently and appropriately behaved kids and their families can you discount on a wholesale basis for the sake of a couple kids who are poorly behaved? How many patrons who can eat a $15 filet mignon in reasonable comfort do you have to overlook to pander to a couple who are only interested in their own high concept dining at a public golf course?

                                                                        This is more of that immature American expectation that everything should be flawless and complete so nothing ever grows or matures or innovates anymore. And no one develops a sense of community or empathy for parents who may actually be able to see and spend time with their kids over a weekday or weekend meal.

                                                                        1. re: rainey

                                                                          Or, it's more of that American entitlement that people should be able to do whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want to.....

                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                            Not in the least. But if you can't start with where a kid is, you'll never get to the finish line.

                                                                      2. re: rainey

                                                                        There are plenty of restaurants that are family friendly other than McDonalds. If I go to a place with 10 items on the kids' menu, I would expect that there will be kids there. However, some restaurants are not geared towards families and babysitters exist for a reason.

                                                                        1. re: rainey

                                                                          I must be an anomaly. My parents never took me to finer restaurants much when I was a child, and yet I am not eating my meals off the floor or bothering nearby diners with loud and obnoxious behavior as an adult.

                                                                          1. re: rainey

                                                                            Why can't they learn proper social behavior at McDonald's? Ultimately, learning proper behavior comes from the parents, not the setting.

                                                                            1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                              Agreed. The problem with "learning" is that there's a curve. It kind of sucks to be seated next to the table where the kid is having trouble with his "lesson" that particular night....

                                                                              1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                You really can't learn to sit for the extended time required at a sit down restaurant at a McDonald's. Not to say that there aren't lessons to be learned everywhere.

                                                                                I nannied between high school and college, and was shocked and appalled that my 7 and 9 y.o. charges had never ordered a meal from a waitress before. I had to take them to the Country Club (which my family also belonged to) every day for swim lessons. So one day I decided to take them to lunch in the restaurant, assuming they had been there before. It was a small club, children welcome, and I had been dining there myself since I was their age. But they had no idea what to do, that they had to order while sitting down and then wait more than 2 minutes for the food to arrive. Turns out the parents had NEVER taken them anywhere but fast food! I vowed that day that when I had children they would have appropriate dining experiences at a young age. And they have.

                                                                                There are ways to do this without too much difficulty. We probably eat out at a sit-down restaurant once a week, and have for almost as long as I can remember. My oldest is now 10. Yes, you start out at "family friendly" establishments, but that doesn't have to mean McDonald's or even Friendly's. Local, small and ethnic was always a good bet when my kids were very young. Italian and Chinese are often the easiest. Diners are good as well. You work up to places that are nicer, but perhaps a little louder with a fairly casual vibe. It is also very important to go early. Kids are often starving by 6 p.m. If you don't get to the restaurant before that time, you will have whiny hungry kids possibly still waiting for food at 7, so always figure on arriving at least 30 mins. before you know your kids will need some food in their bellies. And when my kids were under 5 I often carried some crayons and paper with me. When my kids were quite young, we got complemented by the staff almost every time we went out. Of course, now my kids are old enough that they better know how to behave without getting fawned over by cute waitresses. ;)

                                                                                This doesn't mean I think all places should allow kids. For some reason, fewer and fewer parents seem to have any common sense in this matter. I will never forget that when my husband and I decided to treat ourselves with a rare weekend away from the kids and our first ever "tasting menu" experience, it was disrupted by an exhausted toddler at 9 p.m. This was at Tru in Chicago. I have no idea why a parent would think that is an appropriate place to take a young child. I wouldn't take my kids there now.

                                                                                There are many bad behaviors that start at home. If a child is allowed to get up and run around the dining room at home, they don't understand why they can't in a restaurant. Same with throwing food on the floor (past the age of 2), banging silverware, fighting with siblings - the things that shouldn't really be done anywhere, not just a restaurant. To me, these are serious problems that I have sadly witnessed more than once and just the result of lazy parenting.

                                                                                1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                  I disagree........................................
                                                                                  When a fast food joint puts in a play area and encourages the kids to take off their shoes and run around, the setting provides the standards of acceptable behavior.

                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                    I would say that it is only acceptable for children to run around in that separated play area and not the entire restaurant. I certainly don't think the prescence of a play area means it is a free for all. My sons would never be permitted to run elsewhere and if that was an issue with them they would never get to the play area as they'd be on the way home.

                                                                                    1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                      the key is that it is only unacceptable to you.
                                                                                      It is quite common in my area for parents to sit at a table, tell the kids to go play and ignore them for the duration of the visit.

                                                                                      You sound like my kind of a parent.

                                                                              2. as i child my parents took me out to many places. thats how we learn to behave. learning to be a person is a participatory act

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                  but not at the cost of others who did not have the choice of being a participant or not....

                                                                                  1. re: Duppie

                                                                                    Suffering other people's presence is one of the basic, non-negotiable costs of living and moving in society. You'll notice Thew made no mention of being taken to places that banned children. In that case, your choice in terms of participation is whether or not to go to a restaurant yourself.

                                                                                    I'm not saying this restaurant is overstepping in this particular case, but parents who take their kids out in public and are responsible about disciplining/removing them if they misbehave aren't putting everyone else through some huge, unreasonable burden. There is a clear attitude held by a few that children should be neither seen nor heard - that children are unwelcome even in places where they are allowed and welcomed by the restaurant - and this is what some parents (or just people who like kids) consider hostile. Because it is hostile.

                                                                                    On topic, I see no problem with a single restaurant banning small children. It's their business.

                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                      Well said and I agree wholeheartedly, I have dined rather extensively all over and unfortunately only encountered such children in the US,invariably to parents who believe that the din and bad behavior are all somewhat a part of their spawn's personal growth. In Europe and Asia,a child for the most part is still seen but not heard,admittedly old fashioned I'd concede but still apt IMHO.

                                                                                  2. re: thew

                                                                                    There are appropriate places for learning. If a child hasn't learned to sit still, a nice quiet romantic restaurant isn't the right place to teach him/her. Start at a family restaurant and move up. Just as I wouldn't teach my 16 year old to drive starting on the beltway during traffic, I wouldn't start a toddler who was rambunctious in quiet restaurants where dinner can take hours. If you start the child young, in age appropriate places (and, imo that depends on the child because I know 2 year olds who do sit quietly, not many but some) and add on. Learning is a participatory act that shouldn't impinge on everyone else. The only time my kids have ever been noticed in a restaurant is when other customers come up and compliment them. Which, I have to add is a good circle because as people noticed it and complimented them, it made them want to behave even more.

                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                      Agree with this, except that the start should be "at home" and then restaurant.

                                                                                    2. re: thew

                                                                                      "learning to be a person is a participatory act"


                                                                                    3. I have a nine year old who is awesome in restaurants because we have always taken her out and make her behave but not everyone loves kids so I have to say I don't have an issue with it. If I wanted to go I would get a babysitter. i also think I have more of an issue with fine dining than casual. If I was paying 3 bills for a meal I don't want a screaming kid next to me but If I am a t sports bar it doesn't bother me as much.

                                                                                      1. First, I don't think it's the children who are the problem but the parents who do nothing or think misbehavior is appropriate. Second, it's not just the noise caused by misbehaving children, it's their running around that can be dangerous. My FIL had a restaurant, not a date place but regular casual restaurant. He had nice statues inside the restaurant, roped off, and would see kids jump all over them. He had koi fish tanks and kids would bang on them. No parents in sight. When he talked to them, the parents would get irate, very irate. I have friends who think it's appropriate for their kids to run around in the aisles of a dimsum restaurant. If these parents would parent, this wouldn't be necessary and the rest of us are the ones who pay.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                          OMFG THIS. And it's not just in restaurants, it's everywhere--breeders (I refuse to call these people parents) getting their panties in a twist if it's suggested even in the most polite manner that their precious snowflakes are disturbing others or misbehaving. As it's once been said, I don't blame the animal for its training or lack thereof. When a kid acts up in a place I'm in that's not really suitable for children it's the parents who get my patented Glare o' Death, not the kid. Kids don't have to be involved in everything--it's good for adults to have adult time.

                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                            Since I seem to have started this tempest in a teapot, let me explain:

                                                                                            Yes, "breeder" is a term--and not just used by people without kids, it gets tossed around a lot--to describe those who bring children into the world and seem to believe that they are not to be disciplined in any way by anyone. If I'm in a restaurant (trying to keep on the Chow tip) and I see someone letting a child shriek or throw food or race around and not making the slightest effort to curb this behavior--or, more to the point, getting ticked off if it's suggested that not everyone is enjoying the display--I'm going to think "breeder." If someone steps in to intervene, even if it's not completely successful and they're forced to carry a shrieking kid out, I'll think much better of them. Just make the effort, that's all we ask.

                                                                                            I'm not one of those people who sees a small child in a restaurant and automatically thinks "oh, no." Fortunately the majority of people with children are parents. I've been in many upscale restaurants where small children behaved well. I don't think the parents should be complimented for this, though, because that's their main job--to create civilized human beings.

                                                                                        2. There's a place near me, Armsby Abbey, that also banned children under six. They say it's because their chairs are not safe for infants/toddlers, but it's obviously to keep young kids out.

                                                                                          I have absolutely no problem with this (even as a parent). Kids don't have to be attached to their parents every second of their lives. If I can find a babysitter, so can virtually anyone else.

                                                                                          1. As a parent, I'd actually be glad for a well-stated policy like this, as long as it's well-stated. We generally (read: never) do not have the money for both a nice meal and a babysitter, and as I refuse to eat at most chains, on our rare occasions out to a locally-owned establishment, it's always a horribly uncomfortable crapshoot as to whether we'll be welcomed or not. These aren't really upscale places, but because they're privately owned we are never quite sure of their policies or social politics. I do agree that adults can be more annoying than kids, but if you don't like kids, the constant chatter, spoon-banging, eyeballing patrons of even the most well-behaved child will be an annoyance.

                                                                                            I would love it every restaurant would post something along the lines of "Children not appreciated here" or if they are "We welcome well-behaved diners of all ages, but be you 2 or 22, if you are acting like a drunkard you and those that brought you here will be asked to leave."

                                                                                            1. Why can't they just have a ban on rudeness, whatever form it takes? That would cover everything from drunken louts to screaming brats who run around and make everyone's dinner miserable. No cell phones, no loud conversations, shrieking laughter, noisy children and diners of any age who can't stay seated for most of the meal. Such things shouldn't have to be legislated, of course, but not everyone was properly brought up, so just banning obnoxious behavior would really help.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                Practical considerations, i'm sure - it's a lot harder to ask someone with an unruly child to leave without causing a scene than it is to just prevent all children from entering. In the first case, you'll usually have someone create a major disturbance, swear off the restaurant for life and tell their friends to do the same, write furious reviews on yelp, CH, urbanspoon, etc. The latter case seems to have as many people applaud it as complain about it.

                                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                  +1. As stated previously in the thread, noisy and/or obnoxious behavior is not limited to the 6-and-under set. I went out to dinner just this past Friday night with my son (6) to celebrate my sister's birthday, with our Mom and another adult friend. My sister (conveniently) has a 6-year old daughter. The two cousins enjoyed sitting next to each other and laughing/chatting while us grown-ups did the same. It was the group of 5 or so loud men in their 40s/50s at the bar that made me want to SHOOSH someone.

                                                                                                  1. re: CapreseStacy

                                                                                                    No kidding. And it is particularly lovely when the loud, drunk men (or women) are dropping f-bombs and the like. Nothing like a little extra vocabulary lesson while out for dinner.

                                                                                                2. I don't think all children should be "punished" for the "sins" of others. I think it should be on a case-by-case basis. My dd is 9 and she was never rowdy in restaurants (and I mean that "never" quite literally). Partly it's her personality, but I'd like to think it's also the fact that we had her in nice restaurants at a very early age and taught her proper dining etiquette. If kids are banned, then they never learn. They need to learn to respect other diners.

                                                                                                  That being said, parents need to respect other diners by not letting their screeching kids continue. We practice gentle discipline, so I'm not saying a child should be punished. They need to learn, and the first and best teaching tool is their parents as examples. If their parents are not respecting the other diners by letting their kids continue to disrupt the peace and quiet, then the kids won't respect the diners either and will continue to disrupt. I do put it back on the parents. Part of it is the child's personality, but the parents have a duty to their children.

                                                                                                  The restaurant is well within their rights. However I would not patronize it with that policy. No more than I would patronize a restaurant that has some sort of policy such as "you can have one glass of wine, but not two because some others get rowdy after two glasses and we're going to apply a blanket policy because of that."

                                                                                                  41 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: velochic

                                                                                                    I'm curious if you would go there when you're not going out with the kids.

                                                                                                    1. re: velochic

                                                                                                      I'm curious how the case by case sitch would work. Do maitre d's get references for your child from neighboring restaurants? Maybe five minute interviews? Pinch the kid and see if he screams?

                                                                                                      Unfortunately, there's no way to know in advance
                                                                                                      how a child will behave.

                                                                                                      1. re: velochic

                                                                                                        So you are saying that the only way to teach kids proper dining etiquette is to take them to nice restaurants at an early age? Interesting theory. Maybe some restaurateurs frown on kids because their parents use their restaurants as classrooms.

                                                                                                        But this thought about well-behaved kids being "punished for the sins of others" is interesting. As witnessed on this thread, there are plenty of kids that are little saints that will never do anything wrong -- just ask their parents. But does a well-behaved child necessarily enjoy being stuck at a table in a stuffy restaurant for a dinner lasting several hours? If I were a child, I would have better things to do.

                                                                                                        1. re: nocharge

                                                                                                          saying a child has been taught to behave does not mean they are "little saints"

                                                                                                        2. re: velochic

                                                                                                          Restaurants can restrict how much alcohol you can have in the absence of any problematic behavior, there have been examples of this on these boards.

                                                                                                          When I was a teenager, there was a local pizza place who for a while banned teenagers. Sure we were unhappy with the owner, but equally with whoever it was that had ruined it for the rest of us. And while it sucks, people have their comforts and good times ruined by the sins of others all the time. Its why you see apartment ads for "no students" and certain areas are "no pets" etc. I've seen bars that started closing early because enough people's behavior got out of hand. I guess it is also in part why there are dress codes in restaurants and quiet areas in libraries or trains/ferries. Many rules and regulations are spurred primarily by enough people ruining it for everyone else.

                                                                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                            Restaurants can restrict alcohol, but it's a case-by-case basis. They do not establish blanket policies because there are 20-somethings that cannot hold their liquor. I simply believe the same should go for children. I would not dine in such an establishment whether our dd was accompanying us or not.

                                                                                                            @invinother: The maître d’ can, upon arrival of the party including children, tell the parents, "We have a 0 tolerance policy on disruptive patrons including children. You will be asked to leave if your child(ren) disrupt(s) other diners." Obviously there are probably more amiable ways of stating that. Another way of screening would be when reservations are made, the restaurant can ask how many adults and how many children, stating their policy over the phone before confirming the reservation. It does not have to be all or nothing. There are other ways to handle this situation, IMO.

                                                                                                            @nocharge: Yes, I do believe that fine dining is an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere but at those establishments, and that children will not learn the nuances of proper fine dining etiquette without being exposed to those experiences. Multiple courses, how they proceed and how they differ, various utensils, plates, and drinking vessels, when and how to use them, interactions with waitstaff, the menus, and many more things are part of fine dining that a child is not going to experience at their local Friendly's or Cracker Barrel. It *is* a different experience, and one that simply cannot be duplicated at home or in family restaurants.

                                                                                                            And my dd has *always* loved the fine dining experience. Even when she was 3 or 4, she enjoyed long, multi-course dinners and has always been an adventurous eater. You certainly don't have to expect them to sit staring straight ahead and not saying a word. We always included her in our conversations and in my large purse, I always had quiet paper activities that I would engage her in if needed (which was rarely). Mostly she has always talked (quietly) and participated in the conversation and meal right along with us, and I've not once had an issue with her disrupting others. I'm an active parent, though, which for me, could possibly be the absolute most important factor of all in having polite young diners. Passive parenting doesn't work in public... period... not only in fine restaurants but everywhere.

                                                                                                            1. re: velochic

                                                                                                              I'm just going to say we fundamentally disagree. I think children have a time and a place, which isn't in fine dining. I mean, we're on Chowhound, so yes, we're all into food, but I 100% believe high end dining is an adults only club. Knowing that many, if not most, people think like I do, it would never cross my mind to bring my daughter. In fact, I think it's presumptuous and rude.

                                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                Here is the place that some are referring to as "fine dining" and "romantic" that won't be defiled by a kid: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11193/... http://www.mcdains.com/

                                                                                                                No maître d'. No breathless canoodling in the dark corner. Just local duffers (not even membership duffers) who have to have reverent silence in which to work out the finer points of their nassaus and mulligans.

                                                                                                                1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                  That doesn't especially change my opinion. The owners have deemed it an adult environment. I was equating an adult environment with fine dining, but it doesn't have to be.

                                                                                                                2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                  Yes, we fundamentally disagree. I don't think of children as second-class citizens. I think that a well-behaved child has just as much right to enjoy that $200 crab leg dinner as I do. (Oh, and yes, she already knows the difference between a white wine glass and a red wine glass.) But if we all had the same opinion, there would be no discussion, and I'm enjoying hearing everyone's thoughts on this, particularly those with whom I disagree. :)

                                                                                                                  The curious thing is that we travel *a lot*, mostly in Europe and the Middle East and I've never seen this attitude in high-end restaurants over there. I'm sure they exist, but it makes me wonder if it's not more of a North American attitude. Our daughter has always been quite welcome at fine dining establishments. In fact, we were, last month, at a very nice French restaurant (I wouldn't call it "fine", but the entrees were @$50 per person) and at the end of the meal, the gentleman who was seated next to us (speaking in a French accent) came over to say to my daughter, "Young lady, you handled those mussels expertly. Were they delicious?" After she replied in the affirmative, the gentleman said, "It's nice to see children enjoying good food." I took that as both a compliment and reassurance that not everybody has your attitude about children in nicer restaurants.

                                                                                                                  1. re: velochic

                                                                                                                    I don't think children are second-class citizens, but they aren't adults, either. Just as there are certain activities that many deem inappropriate for adults (smoking and drinking at a playground filled with kids, for example), there are some venues that others consider far more suitable for adults than children.

                                                                                                                    It's great that your daughter can behave so well, but is it possible you might overlook some of her less-than-perfect moments?

                                                                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                      Well, I think her "less-than-perfect" moments at fine dining establishments are the same little etiquette mistakes that most adults make occasionally, as well: accidentally bringing the tablecloth up along with her napkin, taking a bite from her roll rather than breaking off a piece at a time, spooning her soup towards herself instead of away from herself, etc. But no, I'm not overlooking anything. She really does sit still, speak quietly, use (and remembers) her table manners and respect us and other diners.

                                                                                                                      Of course we didn't have her in nice restaurants until she was verbal and could understand us, and of course, we gradually went to nicer places as she grew up. We weren't going to upscale restaurants when she was still at my breast. However we lived abroad when she was young, so perhaps it was just a different dining culture all together. I really didn't see any kids acting up in restaurants (except Beer Gardens where they actually have play sets for the kids) and neither did she. She really is a child who can hold her own in the most formal of dining situations without embarrassing herself or others. Like I said, part of that is probably personality, but I also truly believe that experience and rearing are equally to credit. She has several friends from school that are charming dinner companions, as well, so I know it's not a fluke.

                                                                                                                  2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                    'I think children have a time and a place, which isn't in fine dining."
                                                                                                                    There is an easy solution - patronize places that are adults-only. Shun places that aren't. Maybe eventually more fine dining places will adopt this policy or one like it. Plenty of gastro-pubs already do, and many of them have pretty decent or even extravagant food.

                                                                                                                    If you voluntarily go to restaurants that allow children, fine dining or otherwise, recognize that well behaved children have just as much business being there as you do. If you have a problem with this policy, you're welcome to let the owner of the establishment know why he or she is losing your business. But all the ranting against parents just for bringing the kids along, the stink-eye towards well-behaved children (even if you don't do this, you must admit it happens a lot) - that's all misplaced blame. And very rude.

                                                                                                                    Like I said above, I am in favor of this restaurant's policy, though I won't personally be going (and I do live in the Pgh area). I have no problem with a place where people can go if they don't want to be around children. Because it's liberating for those who do. If it gets people to give up the moaning about how kids have no business eating good food in a nice place, great.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                      This is my thought as well. If you don't like seeing kids at restaurants, don't go to restaurants where there are kids.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                        surely that's the point that the restaurant is making that the OP posted about!

                                                                                                                    2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                      In very general terms, I do agree, but then have spent many an enjoyable night, in very up-scale restaurants, surrounded by children, who behave like little ladies and gentlemen. To me, it is all about the behavior, and that is usually from the training and exposure by the parents.

                                                                                                                      If the child is old enough to sit at the table, without some sort of booster chair, and is well-behaved, the age is meaningless to me.

                                                                                                                      Same thing, if the person is acting out, and ruining my meal, the age is meaningless.

                                                                                                                      In general terms, in a fine-dining restaurant, I could see a cut-off at six years of age, though there would likely be major exceptions.


                                                                                                                    3. re: velochic

                                                                                                                      I learned all those skills at my mother's dining table. IMO there are adult activities, kids activities and blends. Fine dining (in a restaurant) in my family was considered an adult activity. Something the adults got to indulge themselves in. A reward for all the "play dates" they'd had to endure :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: bobcam90

                                                                                                                        " A reward for all the "play dates" they'd had to endure :)"
                                                                                                                        Okay, that may be *the* best argument for the no children policy I have read yet. ;)

                                                                                                                      2. re: velochic

                                                                                                                        "Yes, I do believe that fine dining is an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere but at those establishments, and that children will not learn the nuances of proper fine dining etiquette without being exposed to those experiences. Multiple courses, how they proceed and how they differ, various utensils, plates, and drinking vessels, when and how to use them, interactions with waitstaff, the menus, and many more things are part of fine dining that a child is not going to experience at their local Friendly's or Cracker Barrel."

                                                                                                                        Enough with the argument that kids need to learn manners in a fine-dining establishment. We had no money growing up and once a year we went to Eat-n-Park (local equivalent to a Friendly's or Cracker Barrel). It was always a big deal and we were given a lecture on how to behave. God forbid you made a big slurping sound trying to get the last drop of milkshake from the glass! I never ate in any other restaurant until I was 13 and I have managed just fine in my adult life eating at nice restaurants.

                                                                                                                        1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                          I think my dad may have you beat. The first time he went into a restaurant, he was in his late teens. And yet, shockingly, he does not act like a wild animal when we go out to eat.

                                                                                                                          1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                            I didn't say anything about manners. I said the nuances of fine dining, which, IMO has a set of etiquette rules that just are not necessary to use in a restaurant where your utensils are wrapped in a paper napkin. I also don't think it can be duplicated at home where (hopefully) orders are not being taken, there isn't a waiter, a tab will not be presented, etc. Basic table manners should be used everywhere. This is not what I'm discussing. I'm talking about how a child conducts themselves in a fine dining setting. If they have the etiquette of an adult and can conduct themselves as an adult, they should not be banned just because the establishment comes up with some arbitrary age (nor should other diners give them the stink eye just because of their age).

                                                                                                                            1. re: velochic

                                                                                                                              Well, in my home, Sunday dinner was set, like we were at Antoine's. My mother set the table with her best china, and silverware, that she polished that day. There were obviously no wait staff, but it was a rather formal affair. Even in our very modest home, etiquette was certainly observed. The TV (rather a novelty in those days) was turned off in the living room, and we sat quietly, with cloth napkins, though paper fit the bill for the rest of the week. My parents served, and I sat quietly, enjoying the time, the food and even that respite of formality. When we did go to the "city," I rather knew was was expected, though my parents did give me instructions on the train over.

                                                                                                                              When I acted out, and it did happen, I was gently pulled aside, and told to behave, just as we did at Sunday dinner.

                                                                                                                              While "fine-dining" out has a lot to teach a youngster, home can prepare them pretty well.


                                                                                                                          2. re: velochic

                                                                                                                            Yes, because god forbid a kid be the only one in kindergarten who can't tell a red wine glass from a white wine glass....

                                                                                                                            I kid, but yeah, I don't understand why fine dining nuances are anything a child needs to learn.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                              its not fine dining they learn - it's being part of a society

                                                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                Well, one rather small esoteric segment of it, anyway.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                  no, i think they learn the very essence of it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                    How is fine dining the very essence of society?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                      Fine dining is definitely not an essence of society. Otherwise we would be imply wealthy people have more "essence" than poor people. The manner, conduct, respect, ... etc reflect from fine dining are important. Though we can still argue these are not the VERY essence of society, they are important.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                        I am sorry, but one's "station in life" seldom figures into the mix. Some people have great social skills and manners, while others do not.

                                                                                                                                        I came from a poor family, but there was an essence of refinement, even in our poverty. It's about the socialization that one goes through, and how well they learn those lessons.

                                                                                                                                        Does everyone need to learn them? No. As mentioned above, it's for a "small and esoteric segment," but the lessons can have major implications, later in life. I feel that they are well-worth learning, but then, that is just me.


                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                          Mr. Hunt, I agree with you. My family had little money but my mother emphssized "breeding." What many would describe as "class" but she shaid if you uesd that word then you didn't havr any :)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                            I totally agree. Or as I often say, "class is not an economic circumstance, it is a mindset."

                                                                                                                                        2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                          fine dining isn;t the essence of society - but the rules of interaction with other human beings in a respectful and tolerant manner is. ANd that is more evident in fine dining places than elsewhere. Sadly in this thread i hear a lot of talk about learning respectful behavior, and very little about the other side of the coin, tolerance, which apparently many adults need to still learn

                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                            " fine dining isn;t the essence of society - but the rules of interaction with other human beings in a respectful and tolerant manner is. ANd that is more evident in fine dining places than elsewhere"

                                                                                                                                            This is just stupid. There are people in 3rd world countries that will never see, much less step foot in a "fine dining" place that are more tolerant and respectful then many of those that patronize said restaurants.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: melo7

                                                                                                                                              no question. and i did engage in a bit of hyperbole. but while i ahve no problem with a restaurant owner making the rule, i think having the whole family engaged in such activities raises better kids.

                                                                                                                                              I do not take my son everywhere i go. there are situations where i don;t think it's fair to him, and thus to others. but 99% of fine dining places do not fit that criteria to me.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: melo7

                                                                                                                                                I do not recall anyone in this thread mentioning dining in any third-world countries, so am not sure where you are coming from.

                                                                                                                                                That said, I would only hope that the children are exposed to civil behavior, and any cultural differences could easily be worked out.

                                                                                                                                                Heck, the first time that I dined at an Ethiopian restaurant, I had to ask how to eat to kitfo. Though my "table manners" are pretty good for Western cultures, I had much to learn, but did so readily.

                                                                                                                                                I would only hope that in their country, they had been taught "table manners." The rest is easy.


                                                                                                                                              2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                I agree with you, at least in part. Learning about "fine-dining" is but one block in a larger "lesson plan," albeit a big part.

                                                                                                                                                One area, where we may disagree is the "tolerance" aspect. I can think of many situations, where I should not have to "tolerate," but then, it just depends, doesn't it?

                                                                                                                                                One, totally hypothetical situation would be if I was having a business diner with a prime donor. While we are dining, and toasting their US $ 10M gift to a foundation, children are running about, and hitting our table. Tolerance would not be in my makeup there. Sorry.

                                                                                                                                                Now, if those same children were behaving themselves at a near-by table, I would probably whisper my congratulations to the parents, when I left, and tell the children what a pleasure it was to dine in their presence. I have done that several times.

                                                                                                                                                Much would depend on the situation, the location and the behavior. Still, some acknowledgement is often warranted, and can be a good thing. Good behavior from a younger diner should not be expected, but when one encounters it, notice should be made.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  i agree. i never said anything about children running about and hitting your table as being OK.

                                                                                                                                                  and i'm not saying every restaurant is a place i'd bring my kid. i think a place like per se or like wd-50, for different reasons, aren't the best place for kids. but i wouldn't relegate them to only casual dining places either.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                            Perhaps, but it can be a very important "small, esoteric segment."

                                                                                                                                            I am astounded at the number of "young professionals," who have no clue how to act in a business diner at an up-scale restaurant.

                                                                                                                                            We do "recruitment dinners" about 10x per year. Those vacant positions are from about US $100,000 to US $ 3M per year. You might be surprised at what I too often see. Many of my observations are excellent, but then some send me off to ponder.


                                                                                                                                        3. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                          "I kid, but yeah, I don't understand why fine dining nuances are anything a child needs to learn."

                                                                                                                                          For us, it's because my husband and I enjoy fine dining and we also enjoy our daughter's company at dinner. We have taught/are teaching her these nuances because we see no need to choose one or the other. We can enjoy both at the same time.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: velochic

                                                                                                                                            Those sound like great reasons for me, but then, what do I know?

                                                                                                                                            I have a feeling that I would love having you, and your family, at the next table anywhere.


                                                                                                                                  2. This is an interesting subject. I was raised going to lovely restaurants and we have raised our son the same way. He was in his first tablecloth restaurant at 6 weeks.
                                                                                                                                    I will be the first to admit he is a child that is more like what we call him " a little old man in a child's body". He has always sat through the meal quietly, never even acted like he thought about getting up or crying or whatever.He has opened the door for me (and ladies in general) for as long as I can remember when his father is not with us. He says sir and ma'am. Very mannerly. I am not sure why he is like this and I stopped at one because the next one would have been a hellion I am sure.

                                                                                                                                    BUT I can totally see where this owner is coming from....many people do not make their children mind and let them make messes. I would be mortified to leave a restaurant the way I have noticed people do!!! A few weeks ago we went out with friends and their child to eat,,,the child climbed all over the place, threw food, and was loud. I am not sure who was more horrified...me , my husband, or our son!!!!

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                                      Not all owners have issues with kids. A few months ago, a local chef-owner of a respected white tablecloth restaurant invited my 9 yo and 3 of her classmates to dinner at his restaurant. The 4 girls sat together at one table, the Spouse and I sat a another table across the restaurant but within direct sight of the girls' table. The girls behaved as well as any other diner. I thought the volume of their conversation was a bit louder than it needed to be, but I was hyper-sensitive to their behavior. No other patron seemed put out or gave them the Stink Eye. The kids had a nice experience and when I had dinner there last week sans child, most of the staff asked to give their regards to our daughter.

                                                                                                                                      Case by case basis. These 4 girls could be taken anywhere. Another 4 girls, who knows? But kudos to the chef for being open-minded and accepting. He's earned my respect and our continued business.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: rockycat

                                                                                                                                        Certainly, there are many restaurants where being family friendly is part of the business model. Here is an example of a white tablecloth restaurant that wants families with kids to come in for Sunday dinner.

                                                                                                                                    2. Maybe once a year a child will partially ruin a meal out for me--

                                                                                                                                      but the restaurant owner might have it happen twice a week. I doubt he banned kiddies after one incident.

                                                                                                                                      Surely kids can learn in social situations with family and friends long before they join *paying* customers in a restaurant. People go to eat a wanted meal. Nothing else should be expected of them, like assisting in the training of, or even admiring, other people's children.

                                                                                                                                      1. It's obviously a reaction to incidents. Out of control toddlers are not the same as out of control young adults, the former are the fault of their parents while the latter are their own fault and can be expelled from the establishment for due cause.

                                                                                                                                        I would expect that the policy really means disruptive children are not welcome - they're not really going to require ID for kids. I've been to a few places where clueless parents allow their kids to do whatever they want and it's not a good thing, either for the safety of the kid or the enjoyment of other paying patrons.

                                                                                                                                        1. I think it's fine. And I doubt it will become a widespread policy of all restaurants since so many rely on family dining.

                                                                                                                                          I also think it's time to stop making this about the children explicitly. It is about the parents and their styles which may be incompatible with the functioning of a restaurant or the comfort of other diners. This involves parents who:
                                                                                                                                          1. Let kids run wild because aren't toddlers cute.
                                                                                                                                          2. Change infants and toddlers in the dining room (yes, too many stories being reported),
                                                                                                                                          3. Think that everyone finds their children's "sweet screeches" (yes, a mum once used those words to describe her infant's noises) as sweet as they do.
                                                                                                                                          4. Think that socialising children simply happens by taking them to any restaurant. This work can be done in multiple places, especially as this rule will never become widespread.

                                                                                                                                          So no, it's actually not about the children, it's about the adults who are watching over them-- and likely those same adults who were loud drunk 20-some things and inconsiderate 50-somethings. But when they are older, they can be removed without a tedious stink being made.

                                                                                                                                          And for all those huffing, "well, he lost my business!" bear in mind that the restaurateur has retained others who were likely fleeing.


                                                                                                                                          And please, would everyone stop with the protected class business? Children's rights, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, include: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. Core principles are: non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. These are seen as necessary to human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children's rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services-- restaurant attendance? Not so much.

                                                                                                                                          And, if you'd like to argue non-discrimination and right to participate fully in family life, please note:

                                                                                                                                          The Convention expressly recognizes that parents have the most important role in the bringing up children. The text encourages parents to deal with rights issues with their children "in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child" (article 5). Parents, who are intuitively aware of their child's level of development, will do this naturally. The issues they discuss, the way in which they answer questions, or the discipline methods they use will differ depending on whether the child is 3, 9 or 16 years of age. (http://www.unicef.org/crc/index_under...)

                                                                                                                                          So perhaps the rule here could be seen as protecting children from parents too negligent to understand issues of discipline and development, leading to a failure of adequate inculcation into social and cultural life. And changing nappies in the dining room? Hardly conducive to dignity. And again, restaurants are not listed as a necessary site of this inculcation at infant and toddler age. (And yes, I say this knowing well-mannered and easy-going toddlers whom I would prefer as dining companions at times.)

                                                                                                                                          I'll admit I wonder how many hounds who get so outraged over consumer's "rights" exhibit the same passion when it comes to the UN mandated rights to health care and education.

                                                                                                                                          OK, I think I've wasted quite enough time here.

                                                                                                                                          1. I've had way more dining experiences impaired by loud drunks than I have loud children, but there are already enough limits on what private business owners can and can't do. If a restaurant owner doesn't want children under 6 in his restaurant, he shouldn't have to accomodate them. And I'm speaking as the mother of a young boy who has been eating out with us since he was 3 and he has always behaved himself - or we wouldn't have brought him along. And the few times he misbehaved when he was youngerer than that, we always immediately removed him from the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                            1. In passing, It's astounding how just about every parent on this tread is fortunate to have a child who is so well behaved,possesses a old soul,ate out perfectly fine at 3 or 4 years old,was complimented by other diners.....I sure such a child exists,it's just seems we have such a concentration of them here,or perhaps parents so want to believe that their offspring is the golden child and not the specimen we're talking about.

                                                                                                                                              24 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                I have a six year-old, and I get seriously annoyed at crying, whining, disruptive children in restaurants (and in some other public places as well). But I'm beginning to think that I'd prefer these little demons as dinner guests to some of the posters on this thread.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                                                  .....so I guess Chucky Cheese is in heavy rotation in your repertoire.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                    No, I've fortunately never had to go to such a place (I know of friends who've had to go b/c of kid's birthday parties there). But I live in an urban area with a surfeit of dining options, so fortunately there's something for everyone. I imagine the choices are much more limited in smaller settings, which must be tough for some families looking for a night out with good food.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                  my kid is 6 and a half. he is not a little saint. he is also not a demon. he is a normal 6 year old boy. sometimes he misbehaves. usually he does not. he does not scream and cry and throw fits - that is really more 2-3 year old behavior. there is a huge difference between 3 and 6, in terms of understanding and behavior. sometimes he gets cranky when the food is slow in coming and sometimes he acts out. And still his is rarely louder and more disruptive than the 4 suits enjoying their 6 martini post work dinner.

                                                                                                                                                  not a saint. not a demon. a normal child. just as you probably were once too.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                    The difference being my parents didn't take me to "adult" restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                          because i feel like you and your family, missed some wonderful opportunities. again this is solely my opinion. i would not like to lose those experiences i had a child with my parents, nor the ones i'm having with my child now.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                        Some of this may be an age thing.
                                                                                                                                                        When I was under 6 there really were only 'adult' restaurants. The fast food and casual family chains hadn't taken hold. That left 'adult' restaurants, driveins, and luncheonettes.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                          Same here, bagelm. And when, on the very rare occasions that my parents could afford to go to dinner, they also afforded a babysitter for me.

                                                                                                                                                          But things have changed. Generally for the better. But I'm still as absolutely fine with a place saying "no kids" as I am with a place saying "Bring 'em all and let 'em round around".

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                            "And when, on the very rare occasions that my parents could afford to go to dinner, they also afforded a babysitter for me. "

                                                                                                                                                            That was the situation in my family also. It wasn't a common occurence and I believe there are times parents want to be "just" partners for a few hours.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                              Generally we ate dinner at a restaurant on Sundays and we were well dressed, well behaved and quiet. My father had a look that could kill. We didn't blow a good thing by misbehaving.

                                                                                                                                                              Saturday nights, my oarents went out without the kids. By the time I was 5 my older brother was of sufficient age to babysit for us. Before that, one of the neighbors would sit, and the next week my parents could watch their kids. Back then babysitters cost 50 cents an hour. My 14 year old gets $10 per hour now. The economics of a baby sitter encourage some to take kids out to dinner with them, but they should carefully consider the choice and style of restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                              Possibly, we are contemporaries, having grown up in about the same time, though probably in totally different places.

                                                                                                                                                              We had no concept of "fast food." That was some years in the future. Everything was "adult dining," though some was more "casual" and "family-oriented," than others. Where I grew up, there was not much "fine-dining," though only 75 miles to the west, was New Orleans, and all the fine-dining that I could have asked for at the time.

                                                                                                                                                              I "cut my teeth," so to speak, on those family-oriented, though adult restaurants, and then got rewarded by going to New Orleans, to put on my suit, or sport coat, and "eat like a grownup."

                                                                                                                                                              I can only recall two instances, where there was a baby-sitter. Maybe it was because both parents worked, and they did not get to spend that much time with me. Even on "adults night out," I often was brought along, even if the host/hostess of the card games, etc., did not have children. I was on my own then, and had to make do. I had to behave like a "little adult," and must have managed, since I was allowed to live.

                                                                                                                                                              The closest thing to a Chucky Cheese that I ever encountered was a "bowling" machine at one little family restaurant. I was allowed to play that, until the first course came, and then no more. I was seated and quiet for most of the rest of the meal.

                                                                                                                                                              Somehow, I do not feel the least bit deprived - just a different time, and a very different place.


                                                                                                                                                          2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                            I think fathers have a more realistic opinion of their children and recognize that kids will be kids and any normal child gets antsy having to sit quietly for 1+ hour at a table simply because Mom and Dad believe they sired another Benjamin Button.
                                                                                                                                                            My brother and I was drilled from an early age on table manners by both my parents and school but we didn't see the inside of a fine dining establishment till we were 9and 10.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                              That's an interesting observation. While fathers may be less prone to seeing their baby as a budding wonderchild of manners and culture (and I say *may*), I also find that it's typically mothers who engage the child, entertain the child, are more aware of their surroundings, and are likely to pick up after a child when in restaurants. Again, these are not absolutes on either side.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                                any normal child? hhhhmmm .

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                well-put. This describes my 6.5 year old son, as well.

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                                It's what you're choosing to read into the posts. Many have said they believe children shouldn't be running around, being disruptive and don't allow their children to do so. And, many have said there are age appropriate venues for different ages/ maturity. Are you saying posters who say that are lying? I think, on CH, posters are more entrenched in food and restaurants and know what is appropriate behavior. I do know where you're coming from because I have far too many friends who claim their kids are well behaved and are hellions when we go out and I refuse to go out w/ them. But, all you have to do is talk to them about what they find appropriate for behavior to know--they'll tell you it's okay for kids to play in aisles, speak in loud voices, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                The problem is, when someone wants to see all kids as monsters, he'll see the bad ones and overlook the good ones. Or, as I was told in the UK, I'm a nice quiet American vs the regular ones. Ummm, or maybe that's all they're noticing.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                  As I indicated in an earlier post the children and parents I described are unfortunately North American. I recently ate at a fine dining restaurant in Hong Kong adjacent to a family from Spain with 2 young daughters, perhaps 4 and 6 years old who not only enjoyed a 2 hour multi course dinner but were perfect ladies through out .It was obvious from the onset that their parents were in complete control and had trained their daughters well. Just the night before however I encountered a Canadian family who's kids ran amuck in a famous goose restaurant much to the distress of the staff and diners. I don't blame the kids but their entitled and clueless parents.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                                    There are examples of properly behaved and improperly behaved children from all cultures. I agree that the blame lies with the parents but don't think it is as simple to say "this" group behaves well and "that" group does not.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                      I travel a lot for my job and most visits include dining with clients, I rarely see children other than North American acting up in restaurants in Asia or Europe, where parents for the most part take a dim view of badly behaved children as it reflects directly on them. There are exceptions of course but in the 18 years of traveling and dining in every thing from currywurst stands to formal banquets,I have yet to encounter a squealing brat that wasn't a precious flower of a North American parent.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                                        Do you notice this more when you are traveling? If so I wonder if it is poor judgement on the parents in taking a child to a sit-down restaurant when the lack of routine that comes with traveling has put the children out of sorts, while that same child is normally well behaved. But I guess the root problem of poor judgment by some parents remains.

                                                                                                                                                                        I will add, and one example does not a rule make, but the friend of my oldest son whose behaviour in our home I find the most disrespectful is from Thailand.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                          Oddly enough my wife's great nephews and nieces all have Yayas{Nannies} and spend little time with their parents alone but all have been trained to behave properly in a restaurant environment simply because in their society eating out is a family affair and done frequently.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                    "Or, as I was told in the UK, I'm a nice quiet American vs the regular ones."

                                                                                                                                                                    Though it is getting slightly OT (even though mentioned in several replies), we were dining upstairs at a favorite French restaurant in Mayfair. The room was nearly full. There was a 4-top in the corner, and there were two American women, with two men. They were laughing and screaming at everything. As the upper room cleared out, there was a 4-top with two British couples. As tables opened up, farther from the loud folk, they moved, and they moved, and they moved, until they, like us, were against the wall. Fortunately, the two men with them, who were equally as loud, were British. Finally, when the moving British group left, a gentleman in the group stopped by our table. He apologized for the two British men being so loud. I smiled, and apologized for the two US women being equally as loud. We smiled at each other, and just shook our heads.

                                                                                                                                                                    It's not always the children. After all, they likely do not know better. Adults? They certainly should.


                                                                                                                                                                2. Where can I get a reservation? The restaurant made a stance and now people can do the same. Within the last few days we were at a expensive restaurant and were seated next to a table with a baby. I asked to be moved. I did not want to be next to the child, my choice. The table were still there at 9:30 pm when we left. Even at 5 or 6 we were went to bed earlier than that, it isn't fair to the child or other diners.
                                                                                                                                                                  FYI after that we sat quietly ordered quickly spoke quietly and left quietly, we were not troublesome diners just people who do not wish to spend a night at a relatively expensive meal in the company of a baby. As I said its a choice you can make.
                                                                                                                                                                  A secondary point when at cheaper ethnic restaurants I turn a blind eye to babies and children taking it as part and parcel of the evening.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I love babies and toddlers and usually enjoy watching them in restaurants but lately I've noticed a new trend. Screaming is the new clapping (remember Murphy Brown?) Screaming or shrieking is no longer frowned upon but rewarded with smiles from the parents. Recently we were dining when a scream was so unexpected and loud that I visibly jumped in my chair and the parent noticed and I think it was a wake up call because there was no more screaming from their table.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Fine with me. Their house and their rules. Though, I think any restaurant making this policy needs to understand that it won't be well received by a great many people. If its a risk they are willing to take, its their business. The slippery slope argument is always one that I've thought might be an issue. But, in reality, I guess its not.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I think it's his right as owner to set down the rules that he wants for his establishment.

                                                                                                                                                                        Personally, this would make me more likely to frequent said restaurant, as I have PTSD, and have been triggered more than once by a screaming child.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I saw the restaurant in question on the news last night -- and it did not look anywhere near to fine dining.

                                                                                                                                                                          I do not like disruptive people when I am dining out -- be they small children, large children, adults who act like children etc.

                                                                                                                                                                          I remember sitting at dinner (in a booth) when my kids were younger and the children at the booth behind us kept standing up and looking over at us. Then they started reaching over. I waited for the mom's to tell the kids to stop or sit down or anything -- but they didn't They were seated at the other side of the table against the wall - drinking a glass of wine and ignoring the kids. I let it happen a few times and then I looked at the kids and told them to sit down and stop it. They did thankfully.

                                                                                                                                                                          Parents have to parent their kids -- that's the bottom line. The restaurant owner can do what he wants and other folks can vote with their wallets.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                                                                            I have not seen the restaurant, only heard the myriad reports on it.

                                                                                                                                                                            Not sure that it needs to be fine-dining. If the patrons are mostly adults, and those patrons are being disturbed by children, then so be it. It should be the owner's decision on who he/she wishes to serve.


                                                                                                                                                                          2. for once in my life i'd rather observe this conversation than take a hard stance, but i think there is a generational thing going on.

                                                                                                                                                                            people go to restaurants much more frequently these days than they did 20 30 an 40 years ago, and half of the food dollar is spent on food outside the home. older folks are more likely to not have gone to a restaurant until older ages as children, more likely to have experienced sharp divisions between fast food places and "nice" restaurants without the fast-casual or corner bistro models common today, more likely to have brown-bagged at school and work. since people eat more at restaurants these days, restaurants are normal, for some folks more normal than eating at home. as a result more people will bring kids to restaurants. sadly, cooking at home and family meals at home are getting less common, and as the family meal becomes a special event, it's possible that many people's rationale will be: "shoot, we never eat as a family, why should one of us have to miss out by cooking and cleaning-- let's go to a restaurant." when the "normal" of one group meets the "special occasion" of another, there will be friction. i see this as a variation of someone wearing shorts or flip-flops to a semi-fine restaurant. the person wearing the informal clothes' rationale is that going to the restaurant is a normal occurrence, so why dress as if going to a funeral or court? someone else who holds restaurants as special occasion places, reserved for a certain class of people to have a certain class of experience, will chafe and complain that their own standards are not being respected by the other person.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you, soupkitten. I was noticing the apparent generational divide pretty strongly myself. To me, parts of this conversation sound akin to "I had to walk 10 miles to school in the snow, uphill in both directions," or "I remember when a chocolate bar costs 5 cents and we didn't have the 5 cents to spend on it." I'm not devaluing the experiences of the older posters, but I don't see how it's relevant to the situation at hand today.

                                                                                                                                                                              Just because some posters were not in a position to have these experiences as a young person does not in any way mean that young people today should not have these experiences. I didn't play team sports as a child because our circumstances made it unrealistic. Therefore, should my child not play team sports? Kids these days! (insert irony)

                                                                                                                                                                              While some young children are perfect little monsters, the vast majority are not. They are either well-behaved or average. The one or two who act out are the ones who are noticeable and every other child is being tarred with the same brush. We've all had meals where we've witnessed young children act like ladies and gentlemen and meals that were ruined by terrorizing little demons. Which ones do you remember more clearly?

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Sorry if this has been brought up before, as I haven't read all the posts.
                                                                                                                                                                              This is a sad reflection on society, if you ask me. Back in the day (I feel old saying that~!), parents had more control over their kids.
                                                                                                                                                                              You squealed, you either got the stink eye or a pinch or some negative reinforcement. I remember having to behave in restaurants, in church.. in public in general. That was my parents' expectation and they disciplined me.
                                                                                                                                                                              I think some parents are lazy and self absorbed (and I'm sure this does not apply to any CH'ers) and don't give a rat's behind that their kids are loud or running around like hooligans. They couldn't care less that the behavior bothers people.
                                                                                                                                                                              I know we've all seen this at least once or twice. I remember being in a Friendly's restaurant several years ago and this kid was screaming. I mean top of lungs loud. The lazy ass mother did absolutely nothing. Acted like it was normal and ignored her kid.
                                                                                                                                                                              It's sad that the restaurant owner put this rule into effect, but it's his right and I'm sure he knows that some people would be offended.
                                                                                                                                                                              It's always the rotten apples out there that ruin things for the rest of us who know how to be socially appropriate, kind and considerate.

                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm willing to bet there have been bad parents throughout history....and that the generation before yours lamented about "kids these days"....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                  While I agree with most of your post, I don't know that I would characterize most parents as "lazy and self-absorbed." I have many friends with children whose behavior just shocks me. This is a terrible thing to say, but I actually have trouble maintaining friendships with other parents, and find it difficult to get together with old friends that also have kids just because I am a much stricter parent. I have to really bite my tongue to not step in, and after a while it becomes obvious. The worst part is that these parents are loving, educated, well-intentioned people. What's happening? IMO, parents are exhausted. Both mom and dad are working very long hrs. They are often older (hey, I'm older too, and you can talk all you want about having more patience, being wiser, etc., but you also have less energy) Kids are also exhausted after spending all day in a stimulating day care environment. I can't even count how many times I have heard parents say, when asked why they don't do more about it, that, "it's just not worth it." They are so tired and spend so little time with their kids anyway, that the last thing they want to do is spend their time together yelling, or sticking their kids in time-out, or sending them to bed early for bad behavior. So instead, they choose to ignore it and their tolerance for what is "appropriate" goes well beyond what any of their own parents would have allowed. Add to that the fact that they don't have time to cook so they just take the kids out, and you have a recipe for disaster in restaurant behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Of course, this isn't everyone. And, of course, we have friends with well behaved children. But I do agree that the problem is worsening - this is not just some myth being created by a bunch of old fogeys who just don't remember what it was like when their own kids were 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree with your excellent points.
                                                                                                                                                                                    I did say "some" parents. I want to make that clear. Lots of parents do not fit into this category.
                                                                                                                                                                                    It's not all and of course not all kids are good at keeping quiet and sitting calmly. It's the parent's apathy that really gets me. They just don't care and would rather carry on like nothing is going on when little Johnny is running up and down the aisle and bumping into me! (yes, this really did happen and every adult in his party didn't give a hoot)
                                                                                                                                                                                    Kids are kids and always will be kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. i'll go in further - i don't mind when young kids wander around a restaurant, as long as it isn't running and screaming. I've had delightful experiences when a 3 or 4 year old walks up to the table i'm at and starts to talk to us or ask us about the food we're having, or even showing me a valued toy. I think it's wonderful, and i enjoy it. children are to be cherished. usually a parent comes running over horrified, but i always assure them it's ok. i'm often making faces or waving to kids across restaurants too. I like kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                  again - i'm not talking about running around like crazy and screaming. but fearless interaction with me - i encourage it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thew, I have had similar experiences, and I love children as well. However, as a parent it is my job to recognize that not everyone on the planet feels the same way about kids as I do. And there is almost no way to tell who those people are just by looking. Therefore, I think the polite thing to do is ere on the side of caution.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Since people up-thread are using dogs as an example, I will too. I am NOT a dog person, and admit that it really bothers me that I am supposed to accept dogs out and about in places that are not specifically intended for dogs. But, it bothers me even more that dog-lovers will paint someone like me as some sort of evil animal hater and get worked up because of it. As much as I hate to compare children to dogs, I feel it is much the same. I shouldn't just assume that a person is okay with my kids walking up to them in a restaurant any more than a dog owner should assume I'm okay with their dog licking things up from under my table at an outdoor cafe.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                                                                      i agree. i was speaking just for myself. but i think it's sad that we dont embrace kids more openly as a whole, in these situations

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                                                                        As a former waitress, I have to say that having kids walking around is dangerous. I had come close to losing a tray a few times and I'll admit that at times I had exaggerated almost dropping a tray in order to get the parents attention. Didn't always work though.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                          I also am a former server, and it is generally the parents that are at fault, not the kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yesterday, my wife and I went into a local ice cream parlor for a 4PM cone. We were seated at a table enjoying the air conditioning, when I saw two toddkers seated alone on the bench outside. The mother had parked them and come in to get the treats.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Never mind that this is illegal, and DCF could take away the kids it is dangerous. I saw the young boy run across the parking lot to the bushes, and the even younger girl follow. I ran outside, grabbed the kids, brought them back to the bench, sat them down and told them they weren't moving until mommy got back. (There was a lot of traffic in the lot). The mother came out saw me, and yelled, how dare you discipline my kids, I told them not to leave the bench!

                                                                                                                                                                                          I told her she was lucky she wasn't scraping the kids off the lot, or Main Street just past the bushes, or being taken away in a squad car in handcuffs.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Nice kids, terrible parent.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                                            I wish I was shocked by the mothers reaction, but it is all too common I fear.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                        Total opposite of me....If I'm seated at a table in a restaurant, I definitely do not want random children approaching the table to start a conversation. Totally inappropriate! I don't want to see their drooly toys either. They should not be wandering around a restaurant, period. I really don't want stranger children in my personal space ever if there's no reason for it. Same for crawling over booths, I would ask to be moved immediately. It's not cute at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Now if it's in a line at an outdoor ice cream stand, or at a park for children, it's not as bad. Recently, standing in line at a waterpark I had a long conversation with an 8 year old girl about what rides were, scary, fun, what was different at the park now vs. 15 years ago. Much more appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't understand parents that think everyone should be interested in or want to be around their children. I am not a parent because I have no interest in kids, why would I want to be around theirs?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MissMechante

                                                                                                                                                                                          and if the toys are not drooly?

                                                                                                                                                                                          i agree - crawling over booths would be wrong. but walking around quietly - doesnt bug me in the least

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                            But why is the child walking around a restaurant - going up to strangers no less - with no supervision? I don't mind if we are out and a parent is walking their toddler around before dinner comes. But to have a child just wander around seems so... odd to me. If your child is old enough to walk sturdily on their own two feet, they are old enough to sit quietly in their place for dinner until the check comes and everyone is ready to go*

                                                                                                                                                                                            *of course getting up to go the ladies/mens room is the exception

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                                                              exactly, if the parent is taking them around the room to the bathroom or to look at the fish tank or whatever, that's different. If the kid is wandering around, putting their hands on strangers tables and starting "conversations", that's a problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                This is my thought, too. Kids are taught not to talk to strangers so wandering the restaurant to chat to others seems counter-intuitive for parents. How is a three year old to distinguish when it's okay to chat to strangers or not? I've had a 3-4 year old follow me to the bathroom (I stopped him at the door) and the parents didn't notice. Scary.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MissMechante

                                                                                                                                                                                              I totally agree with you!! I don't want to see them making faces at me, peek a boo at me, pointing at me, jabbering on and on. I don't think its cute. I don't want to feel their bouncing against the back of my booth seat. I don't want to run into them, have to step over and around strollers and basenetts. I don't want to be asked to retrieve thrown toys or crayons. I don't want to have to see babies and toddlers with food smeared all over themselves, and the floor around us. I don't want to hear bickering, arguing, crying, or tantrums of any sort. I'm there to enjoy my dinner in peace. If I wanted that kind of atmosphere I'd go to McDonalds or Straw Hat Pizza or Chuckie Cheese. Parents need to get a clue, no one thinks their kid is cute besides them.

                                                                                                                                                                                              When we were kids we would NEVER act out in public. If we did so, we were removed instantly from the place and put in the car. That meant one of my parents had to sit there too and miss their dinner, you KNEW you were going to be severely punished when you got home. Now for the babies.....if you have to miss your dinner because your baby is screaming and you have to leave early or sit in the car....oh well. That's the price you pay for eating out with a baby.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Obviously this owner has had it with bad parental behavior. He's probaby asked parents to mind their kids, remove their screaming kids and been threatened with all kinds of action legal or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MissMechante

                                                                                                                                                                                                Sort of off-topic to this particular discussion, but I came pretty close to a serious eye injury within the past year at a restaurant when one of the children in the next booth not only was standing up, but throwing things. I was chatting away with my friends when whammo, I got a pretty solid smack in the eye/face with a large bunch of rubber grapes that had been part of some display. I'm no weenie, but that thing hurt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The parents laughed. Gave a sort of giggly half sorry after everyone at our table gave them the "are you kidding me?" look, and then went on with their meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                Next time I'm in a restaurant, I'm going to wander over to nearby tables of strangers and ask them what they're eating and show them my awesome new iPhone and fabulous new shoes I recently got.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I like kids a lot, and I understand they don't have the same self-control as an adult, but I really don't see why my example would be inappropriate but yet adorable when it is a child. I find it a little weird as well that you hear so much about parents who would go off the deep end if a stranger spoke to their child or went in the vicinity of a stroller (those don't touch my child/wash your hands stickers or whatever they are), but yet instilling in that same child that it is ok for them to invade others personal space.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                  id have no problem with you walking up to me if you were interesting and funny about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Since I don't have kids, but like them very much, I'm sure I could calm the child with a sympathetic look and change his/her behavior with a logical and instructive word or two. Dontcha think?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd tell him/her there is no Santa Claus and the Boogie Man is real.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. A different take: A horrible business decision on the owners part! To rid himself of one set of clients with the hope of replacing them with another set of clients is a bad management decision. Doesn't work. Never offsets what he will have pushed away. Maybe he feels good, and maybe a lot of people agree with the decision--but not on the business merits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also tried to look up the place up on the itnternet to see if I could find any reviews. Nothing, not even a mention, other than his decision, which is getting a lot of publicity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I guess the place doesn't even merit a mention, much less a review. If the food were any good, it probably would at least have a review! Who knows. Anyhow, would you rather go to a lousy restaurant with that rule, or a decent restaurant without that rule?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DPGood

                                                                                                                                                                                                    there is also a big difference between a baby and a 6 year old - something the owner doesnt seem to understand. he also doesnt understand his menu is stuck in 1974, and reads more like a bad kids menu. maybe he should ban people over 12 instead

                                                                                                                                                                                                    but hell - it's his place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    and seeing as this is getting national publicity - good for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Your post made me look up his menu. That alone ought to cause most adults to self-ban. I can see why so many families with kids want to eat there. A change in menu would do more to get rid of the under 6 crowd than any policy he could think of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why does a restaurant that serves Pizza Bites also ban children?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Kitchen Nightmares...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, it's Monroeville, not Manhattan!
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Seems like pretty standard fare off the Sysco truck... for a menu stuck in 1974. But, it probably pleases the locals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey, Pittsburgh has a fairly decent little food scene. Monroeville - not so much AFAIK, but the locals who like good food only have a 15 minute drive into town. Let's not blame a shitty menu on those of us near Pittsburgh. I've had some bad food in Manhattan too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I knew someone would take this as a slam.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Been to Pittsburgh lots. Great food. Dined in many rural places in PA and this place is pretty much standard fare.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Manhattan has a more sophisticated food scene. Sorry, it does. You're not going to find an anti-griddle in most small town restaurants. No, not everything that comes out of a molecular kitchen is delicious. Save the argument on that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is just self-evident stuff.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure Monroeville resident do not have pedestrian taste but obviously they like this place as it's been around a while.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              No aspersions cast, ok?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well if could be losing money but propped up by the golf course and someone who thinks they are a restaurateur...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But I can't imagine the proprietor making this decision unprompted. Probably has a solid cadre of regulars that he needs to keep happy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Could be a boost for business in the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Monroeville isn't rural.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I'm pretty sure I've spent far more time in Manhattan than you have in Pgh if you don't know that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's bad food to be had everywhere, is the point. Even in... gasp... NY city.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    belly laugh haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I wish his restaurant was near my house! I have very adorable nieces and nephews whom I love, and who all know how to behave in restaurants. I have no desire to have my meal or conversation disrupted by someone's child who hasn't been taught better public manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Though I totally agree with the restaurant's intentions, I think that there are easier ways to go about getting the desired effect. There are places where small children just should not be, and fine dining is one of those places in my opinion. I'm not old or old fashioned, I'm just shy of 21 and I have worked in the service industry enough to know that sometimes ill-behaved children are just not conducive to the environment that the restaurant is trying to provide. All that being said, wouldn't it be easier to just have a sign saying something to the effect of "We do not provide a childrens' menu"? People would know that the food is going to be more "grown up" and if they do bring their children, the price, accommodations, and expectations for the children will be the same as for the adults.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pegathaismyname

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's a nice idea in theory, but some parents truly need these things spelled out for them. They're either a bit dense or simply don't think that it applies to them or their offspring.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Cheesecake Factory, for example, has no kids menu yet they're still full of children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pegathaismyname

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A couple of nearby double duty type taverns have the after 9 no kids rule, or they used to. It was really strange to go to this place on a wing night and see kids running around while people (including their parents) were throwing back jugs of beer and eating nachos and wings. But there was a point in the evening when the mood of the place I guess moved more over to bar than restaurant. You also weren't allowed to smoke in there until after 9pm back when you could still smoke in bars, so maybe the rule was tied to that and may not even exist any more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                We used to have a bar like that near my office. It had at least 3 separate clienteles. Lunch time was all local business people. Dinner hour was mostly families from the neighborhood and after about 8PM or so was mostly hard-core drinkers. We never had a problem bringing our small child to dinner there as there were so many other families with small kids. But after dinner, even I didn't want to be in that bar, let alone have my child there. No written rules, though. It was just more or less understood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The timing of this story is uncanny for me. My sister, and family are visiting next week with my niece and nephew who are 8 and 6 respectively. My sister and brother in law really want to eat at a fairly upscale Indian place. They don't have many Indian offerings back home. The kids won't eat Indian. So I've offered to take the kids somewhere or just watch them while they go out for Indian. She said oh no we'll feed them before then they'll just sit with us and play their Nintendo DS. I said well it's fine dining and kids sitting playing Nintendo DS would not be appropriate. And she doesn't get it, she says oh they do it all the time it keeps them from acting up. So the mentality is to include the kids in everything regardless of it being appropriate or not. She's gone mad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now I'm a bit floored by this. We were both raise with parents that would remove us from a place if we acted up and manners were strictly enforced. So I just don't get it. It think it's more of a parental generational thing than how these parents were raised. I'm certain we were not raised by apes since we share parents.. I love my niece and nephew but I'm not going to sit at a table in a fine dining resto, especially one that I go to regularly, while they play video games.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's another pet peeve, although at least it keeps them quiet--kids at restaurants completely intent on devices like Nintendo DS, often with full (and ignored) plates of food in front of them. A couple of months ago at my neighborhood's not-particularly-child-friendly cafe--it doesn't discourage children but at the same time doesn't have booster seats or high chairs--I saw a boy who looked to be about eight come in with his parents, his head down, madly pressing buttons on his DS. He lifted his head the grand total of ... twice, both times grudgingly and with much dramatic eye rolling when his mother requested that he take a bite of his sandwich. To me this is the modern equivalent of bringing a book to the dinner table, which in my family was verboten (and I was a huge bookworm as a kid so that seemed very unreasonable, ha ha).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My take is that your sister is so used to doing this--and let's be honest, if the kids are quiet and not running around few if any restaurants are going to say anything--it doesn't occur to her that two kids eating nothing and playing video games is pretty disrespectful of the restaurant, particularly an upscale one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  restaurants dont have feelings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  if they are not disturbing anyone - and they are paying for food, whether eaten or not, i cannot see how it hurts the restaurant at all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If the sole point of the child is to be distracted, why bring him at all?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i agree. but thats a different point. a kid playing a ds or coloring in a book is not disrespectful to a restaurant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is when they're not eating or ordering anything--which is, you know, the whole idea behind going to a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, it kind of blows if people want to eat there and a four-top is taken with two people who couldn't care less about eating the food. In that case, I'd say, it would be nice if the kids, if not there to appreciate food or learn how to socialise and be part of family life, stayed home with a sitter in this case. If the point is complete distraction-- they've eaten and won't be engaging, why bother? (As invino notes too.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The restaurant doesn't have feelings, but when space is at a premium it would see nice to be considerate to others rather than take the stance that "If I'm paying for it, then I'm entitled to do whatever I want."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This example seems to go against your own advocacy that children join their parents as a point of becoming socialised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i didnt advocate it - i simply said it isnt being disrespectful to the restaurant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: abigllama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Although in this thread I am advocating children being able to join their parents at fine dining restaurants, I *do* agree that if they have to be distracted with a video game that they should not be at the restaurant. Upthread I discussed our experiences with our daughter (9) and if she is eating with us in a fine dining establishment, she is expected to act like an adult. No books, no games, participate in the conversation, be mannerly, and use appropriate dining etiquette. Then again, our daughter doesn't play video games (we don't have any systems at all), but even at home she is not allowed to have books at the table. That, to me, is rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In restaurants that have crayons and an activity sheet... have at it! If the restaurant is providing it for the kids, it's obviously welcome (and obviously not fine dining). But I still think that books and video games... and cell/smart phones... should be verboten and *everyone* needs to participate in the meal (no matter where they are eating). Eating together as a family is just TOO important to me and if kids are going to get to play at the dinner table, they might as well just eat by themselves in front of the T.V.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. I'm a mom and, while my children are older, I don't have a problem with a restaurant stating that children are not welcome. Kids do not need to go everywhere with their parents. Going out to dinner with your kids and where you go to do that is a choice- we're not talking a pediatrician's waiting room here. Of course there are weddings and vacations where that might be challenging, but you make the best choice for your child in the situation. Also, as an adult, I like going to places where there are not kids sometimes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think part of the problem is that many children (and adults, too) haven't learned how to be present and enjoy a meal. Cellphones, texting, milling around, video games, books are not appropriate when dining in the company of others. I know there are a million threads about this, but isn't the point of dining out to enjoy the food and other people's company? If a person is unable to do that for whatever reason then they shouldn't be in the restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When my boys were young we did take them out. Not to the nicest places in town, but to nicer restaurants. Our expectations for their behavior was made very clear from the beginning. (and were the same at home, btw). Mostly they were well-behaved. When they weren't we immediately addressed the behavior. If it continued, one of us would take the child out until he was ready to return. If that didn't happen, then we'd have the remainder of dinner packed up, pay the tab, tip well, and leave. I think that only happened once, but it was an important lesson.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is important to set kids up for success when eating out. Make sure they are old enough to understand the expectations. Don't take them to nice places when they are tired, cranky, or not feeling well. Don't order a five course meal if you know you would be lucky to make it through an entree. Take the time to model appropriate behavior, make sure the child can participate in the conversation (boredom=trouble), and help the child to do well. And most importantly, take kids to restaurants that are appropriate for their abilities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Goldieg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What it comes down to , imo, is that parents who are attentive and don't want to bother others will notice their chidlren's behavior and remove them from the situation BEFORE tantrums and screaming happen. When I'm out, I can see children on the verge of tantrums and parents do nothing about it/don't notice it and the full blown tantrums happen much to the surprise of the parents but not to the rest of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        " And most importantly, take kids to restaurants that are appropriate for their abilities."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Exactly. It's not age dictated but child dictated. We stopped eating out, at any restaurant w/ my children, from about 10-12 months until after two, other than family restaurants. We realized one of use would be out w/ a child while the other was sitting alone eating and that wasn't fun. When they could sit still for a meal, we started off with casual places, go in at off times, order everything at once (no appetizers or desserts), eat and get out. As they got older, we lengthened the time and went to fancier restaurants. The first time we took them to "fine" dining, they were about 10 and it was a mother's day special dinner (obviously where children are welcome) and they knew how to behave at that point, through exposure to restaurants at their level. As I said above, you teach a teen to drive, first on side streets and then bigger and busier roads. when they're ready. Eating out is the same way. Just as I wouldn't expose my new driving teen to busy traffic and get in others way until it was shown he could do it, I wouldn't bring a child to a fancy restaurant until I was more confident he/she could sit still for that long. And, you hope your judgement is correct but if not, you remove the child/teen from the situation ASAP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm 100 percent on board with this. It isn't just the noise and distractions but the SUV strollers blocking passage, the bags of toys and products for the kids, the unsightly messes they make etc...there's no shortage of family friendly places in the world that cater to their every whim and desire. In fact 'Family" is probably the most indulged and catered to market in North America.It'd be nice if they could also ban them on public transit during rush hour too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            this is another example of the strawman argument that litters this thread. it is possible to think it is ok for a 6 year old to be in a fine dining place, with out that meaning you say it is ok for "SUV strollers blocking passage" and the like. One does not in any way shape or form imply the other.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And banning kids from public transportation? maybe they need to get to school. maybe they are with their parents who have actual lives, and need to get places. why is you getting to work more important than that? maybe all laws need to follow the simple dictum - what is good for jamesm is the whole of the law. yours might be the most extremely ridiculous comment in an extremely ridiculous conversation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not sure where you live but in my world it's pretty normal to see babies and toddlers in strollers. In fact, it's a logical assumption that one will follow the other. So yes, babies, toddlers and strollers in every single way, shape and form implies the other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would venture to say that I for one would enjoy dining with your family,your common sense approach to parenting and especially dining out with young adults is commendable and all too often lacking. I believe your post actually gave some of us hope that all is not as it appears.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks--and I have to say, the people who did come up and compliment my children made a big difference, too. I'm not saying it happened often but when it did, it made them sit up taller and feel good about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My wife and I usually send over dessert when we have the pleasure to dine in the company of well taught and appreciative young adults,regrettably we don't do so often enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. The restaurant owner is tired of parents using his place for a frigging daycare.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          More power to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Samalicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            are you saying a family spending time together is the same as daycare? no one is dropping the kids off and leaving them there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. While this story is in the news, I'll bet many kids will be told to be quiet and sit still -- lest they be responsible for the banning of all kids from restaurants everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.