My Pet Peeve Doesn’t Seem To Be Going Away

Filed in National by on January 15, 2014

I really don’t understand why things like this keep happening.

Acclaimed molecular gastronomy chef Grant Achatz caused a stir over the weekend when he took to his Twitter account to ask his followers if a ban on babies was in order at his three-Michelin-starred Chicago eatery Alinea.

The clearly ruffled Achatz paused his dinner service to complain about a couple at his restaurant who brought in an eight-month-old, who promptly started to wail.

“Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad,” Achatz tweeted. “Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no,but..”

Alinea obviously doesn’t encourage diners to bring their babies — there are no high chairs on site; the baby sat on its mother’s lap — but it doesn’t have a written policy prohibiting their presence.

The establishment uses a ticketing system which requires would-be patrons to reserve, and pay for, their entire meal (minus the drinks) weeks in advance. If something comes up at the last minute, Alinea allows customers to sell their reservations or hand them off to someone else.

Personally, I found Achatz’s tweet extremely reasonable.  I would have kicked the couple out, but I’m mean and this has always been one of my pet peeves.  Yes, Virginia, there are places you shouldn’t take your children.

The story goes that this couple had made reservations and their babysitter canceled at the last minute so… they should what?  If you answered anything that involves taking an 8 month old to Alinea’s consider yourself wrong.  I’m also on the fence about refunding their ticket.  What if you had tickets to a concert or an Eagles’ game and your car broke down, or you got sick?  Would you be entitled to a refund?  How would that work?  What if you took a baby to the symphony or a play or a movie and the baby started crying?  Should you be allowed to stay?

Years ago, when my husband and I were in a wedding (that my back-up sitters (Grandparents!) were also invited) I lined up a string of emergency sitters because we had to be there.  Certain events, like dinner at Alinea’s, require back-up plans.  And, yes, in the past we’ve had sitters cancel – which meant, if we couldn’t find another sitter, our plans were canceled, as well.  That’s the way it goes when you’re a parent.

But this portable child thing is nuts.  Know what it also is?  100% unfair to the child and 100% the fault of the parents who place their child in this situation.  Not the child’s fault.  The parents’ fault.  And it’s been happening a lot, and not only at ridiculously expensive restaurants.  Even at family/regular restaurants some people aren’t watching their children – most seem to watching their phones.  I’ve seen children running around these establishments (which is extremely dangerous given trays of hot coffee/heavy plates, knives, swinging doors, etc.) and going to “visit” other diners.  What is up with that behavior?  Not everyone thinks your kid is adorable.  Hell, not everyone likes kids.  I like mine, on occasion ;-), but that doesn’t mean I want to spend every second with them.  And if I’m out for an evening (with, or without, my kids) I shouldn’t have to engage with your child (that’s your job).

And when you take your children to public establishments the point is to teach them how to behave at those establishments, and if they don’t behave then you leave.  It really is that simple, and I’ve left many family restaurants with doggy bags filled with food that hadn’t yet made it to our table.  In fact, we would have the waiter bring the check immediately after we ordered so we could make a quick get-a-way, if necessary.  My child’s meltdown was not a group project.  My child’s latest knock-knock joke or new Pokemon card was not an open mic night.

The parents who took their 8 month old to Alinea were wrong.  The baby was miserable (duh) and so were the rest of the diners.  And while it’s sad that their sitter canceled, it wasn’t fair to make other diners suffer.  So, I guess I’m voting for the no kids rule.

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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (67)

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  1. puck says:

    Who cares what they do in some frou-frou restaurant that you can’t even get into. I’m not terribly concerned about the problems of ignorant yuppies. Now if they start kicking people out of ordinary restaurants that families might actually go to, that’s another problem.

    Restaurants in general have profited greatly from abandoning their old dress codes and overly formal service, which allowed more people including occasionally families to come to some pretty nice places, and it’s a lot more civilized. There is now a whole new category of restaurant called “upscale casual.” Families are no longer restricted to restaurants with paper place mats and ketchup bottles on the table, and the industry is better off.

    And if a kid is acting out in a restaurant, he is probably hungry. Get the lead out and bring him some food. If people are complaining, give them another glass of wine.

  2. m.v. buren says:

    puck: resent much?

  3. Dorian Gray says:

    Alinea is probably the greatest modern restuarant in the country. I consider it an artistic experience to dine there. If you take a screaming toddler you should be ejected straightaway. By the way, there are several restaurant that still enforce a very strict dress code. There are at least two in NYC that I know of (Jean George and La Bernandin). I believe the French Laundry in California also does.

    Look, I agree that this is a rich person’s problem. However, it does frame the broader idea Pandora has described. When did these fucking kids get to go everywhere with their parents and bother me at my $500 meal (or while watching a show on Broadway I paid $200 to see, etc.)

    There’s a social contract here. You wanted kids so now you’ve got limits on your leisure activities. Puck, going to Alinea isn’t about feeding yourself when you’re hungry, or if it is it is only secondary. If your fucking kid needs chicken fingers stay away from the big people’s table.

  4. pandora says:

    If a child is misbehaving, crying, annoying other diners at an ordinary restaurants the parents should remove the child, or be removed themselves.

    Out of curiosity… should a person speaking loudly on a cell phone at a restaurant be asked to end the call or leave? Or should we just bring everyone around the loud cell phone talker another glass of wine?

  5. About two or three times a year, we go out to a ‘special occasion’ restaurant. For, um, special occasions. It’s about what we can afford.

    If some self-indulgent parents decide to inflict a screaming kid into that special occasion, they should be instructed to leave. And attend parenting classes. Taught by me.

  6. pandora says:

    Basically, I think parents who take their children to “special occasion” restaurants are selfish. Same goes for parents who don’t remove disruptive/crying children. These parents have only one priority – themselves. None of this behavior is done for the benefit of the children.

    Dorian says: “There’s a social contract here. You wanted kids so now you’ve got limits on your leisure activities.” Bingo.

  7. puck says:

    It’s all about your Cinderella fantasies and unrealistic expectations. If you want a romantic interlude or an intimate gathering, don’t choose a public place, You can’t control everyone’s behavior. Besides, bringing children to “artistic” restaurants is an extremely limited problem. Write in again when it becomes a pattern.If the adults can’t smile and go about their business, they lack the grace to be out of the house.

    I’ve had a crying infant in a restaurant before. They usually cry for about three minutes until they get comfortable. But certain adults can stay agitated for the whole dinner.

  8. pandora says:

    Wrong. Dining without having to listen to a crying baby at La Fia or Eclipse is not an unrealistic expectation. It is the expectation. Dining at Joe’s Crab Shack for a romantic interlude is an unrealistic expectation. You don’t see the difference?

    Seriously, there are places where parents should not take their children. The problem is that some parents don’t believe this, so… get ready for children bans, because when common sense fails we end up with rules.

  9. Alice says:

    @Pandora — Would your view regarding the incident at Alinea be any different if the infant had been perfectly behaved while the parents ate dinner?

  10. Alice says:

    (I see that my question was answered in another comment while I was composing it.)

    So, kids should be banned entirely from expensive restaurants but only from ordinary restaurants if they are misbehaving, crying, or annoying other patrons. Got it. Interesting class-based position to take on a progressive blog.

  11. pandora says:

    @Alice – Nope. 😉

  12. pandora says:

    It isn’t class-based, it’s child-based – and not only child-based when it comes to disrupting behavior. There are restaurants, and other places, that ban cell phone use. Are you okay with that?

  13. Joanne Christian says:

    Once I was in a nice restaurant, and a toddler was toddling away from his adults, as they enjoyed the meal. Not a breakaway get-away–but a meandering around the mainfloor area. Well, child meandered around the wrong table–a couple–nicely dressed, say forties were quick to establish their boundaries. The woman SCREAMED “Get your bastard kid away from me!” Hush went the room. Father picks up the kid, not a word, and sits back down to eat the meal. Woman and date continue their meal. Joanne drops jaw, continues her meal and all I kept thinking was if I was on either end of that interaction, I would have been mortified, gotten the check and been outta there. Maybe this is the new social contract.

  14. liberalgeek says:

    I would like to do a longitudinal study on the impact of that interaction on the parents, child and screamers’ behavior.

  15. Geezer says:

    And people wonder why I won’t eat at a restaurant if I can possibly avoid it…

  16. Tom McKenney says:

    I really enjoy fine dining. I don’t ever remember being disturbed by a child but other diners are another story. I just want to enjoy my meal and converse in peace. Whether it is cell phone use, the need to let everyone else know you are there, drunkenness, or some other reason some people practically shout at restaurants.

  17. puck says:

    “get ready for children bans, because when common sense fails we end up with rules.”

    An empty threat. Most restaurants can’t afford to alienate such a large proportion of their customer base They usually need all the patrons they can get.

    LOL, can you imagine restaurants with a rope line outside, and bouncers checking you out to see if you and your companions are good enough to get in?

  18. Alice says:

    @Pandora — A fair objection in that “based” was the wrong word to use when what I was intending to suggest is that there is a class advantage —- this expensive/ordinary distinction overwhelmingly advantages diners in higher economic brackets who want a night out to dinner without any children around.

    I suppose the shorter way to say it is that I’m interested in understanding why a diner such as yourself gives the proverbial hindquarters of a rodent whether the occupants of another table at Eclipse, La Fia, etc. include children, if everyone at the table is well-behaved.

    And as for restaurants etc. banning cell phone use, yup, I have no problem with it, because in my own observation people at restaurants generally cannot successfully talk on their cell phones while speaking at a voice level that is no higher than the overall level of conversation/noise in the restaurant. If people could successfully do that, then I don’t really see why I should care if they are talking on their cell phone instead of the person across the table from them. It’s all background noise. In what way does that impinge on me?

  19. pandora says:

    You have the best stories, Joanne! The screaming women should have been kicked out with as much public humiliation as possible.

    Also, the toddler shouldn’t have been meandering (and, no, that does not excuse the banshee’s horrendous behavior). The toddler should have been seated, for their own safety, or walked around with their parent. Do certain people not understand how dangerous a restaurant can be to a child?

  20. liberalgeek says:

    And as for restaurants etc. banning children, yup, I have no problem with it, because in my own observation people at restaurants generally cannot successfully manage their children while speaking at a voice level that is no higher than the overall level of conversation/noise in the restaurant. If people could successfully do that, then I don’t really see why I should care if they are there with their children instead of another adult. It’s all background noise.

    Fixed your paragraph for ya, Alice.

  21. Dorian Gray says:

    Actually I needn’t imagine being evaluated at a restaurant to determine whether I was allowed to come in, because it’s already happened at the places I mentioned above.

    And I must second Pandora’s bit about progressive v conservative. Since when is it “anti progressive” to insist on enjoying my pan roasted Turbot with truffle risotto without your kid crying because he can’t get pass your iPhone password screen to play his fucking stupid candy game.

    I also remembered something… The Dilworthtown Inn used to require a jacket for men. Does anyone know if this is still the case?

  22. liberalgeek says:

    I remember showing up at The Mendenhall Inn in the 90’s as a 20-something and needing to borrow a jacket.

  23. Dana says:

    I found it somewhat interesting that Mr Gray couldn’t use the noun “kid” without the adjective “f(ornicating)” preceding it. In his second comment, he did manage to separate the words, but they were in the same sentence. 😆

    One wonders if some readers might infer that Mr Gray doesn’t like kids at all.

  24. ‘Course, up here in the backwoods of Pennsyltucky, our fanciest restaurant is a McDonalds, so we all don’t have your problems. 🙂

  25. pandora says:

    You know, we make these decisions everyday when it comes to small children. (I’m focusing on the under 6 crowd since children over 6 should know how to behave in a restaurant. If they don’t, then we have bigger problems.) We don’t take children into rowdy bars on a Friday night. We don’t take small children to see the “Wolf of Wall Street” or to strip clubs. We know this is inappropriate. Unless it’s okay to take a child to a bachelor/bachelorette party if your babysitter cancels?

    When people take children to an upscale restaurant we are setting them up to fail. We are asking a 2 or 3 year old to sit still and be quiet for a long time. The odds say this won’t happen. Again, parent’s who do this aren’t doing it for the kids – they are doing it for themselves.

    If parents removed their children when they started crying, running around the restaurant, etc., this wouldn’t be a problem and there wouldn’t be a debate. It’s the cell phone comment from Alice that LG fixed.

    And while some restaurants won’t “alienate such a large proportion of their customer base” because “they usually need all the patrons they can get” there are restaurants who rely on catering to adults who are their customer base.

  26. puck says:

    ” Mr Gray couldn’t use the noun “kid” without the adjective “f(ornicating)” preceding it.”

    I can’t wait until he comments about dining out on Mother’s Day.

  27. It seems to me that I have been called, among other things, an (insert slang term for the sphincter here), because I am just so unsympathetic to the plight of the poor and the working class. Yet here, on this very site, we have the interesting situation of our good, sympathetic liberal commenters telling us how the less fortunate ought to have to shell out more of their hard earned dollars, for babysitters, should they think that they ought to be allowed into “special occasion” or “artistic” restaurants.

    It’s s’posed to be us wicked, rich Republicans who wants to enforce the class barriers, to keep out the menials and the workaday Americans, remember? 😆

  28. pandora says:

    Nope. This isn’t a post about fancy restaurants. BTW, the couple with the crying baby was at a fancy restaurant (they could apparently afford) so this isn’t directed at the poor – there goes your argument! This is a post about parenting. Kids shouldn’t be running around and climbing over booths/tables at McDonald’s either.

  29. Jason330 says:

    molecular gastronomy = dick

    That said, ban the babies. There are baby events and there are grown up events, and eating in some dick’s molecular gastronomy restaurant is a grown up event.

  30. Geezer says:

    Dana: There’s nothing class-based about not wanting kids in an adult restaurant. It’s age discrimination, not class discrimination. If people want to pay months in advance for an outrageously expensive meal that might be interrupted by crying kids, well, I can only wish that was my biggest problem. You probably do, too.

    “I can’t wait until he comments about dining out on Mother’s Day.”

    Don’t even get me started on those fuckers.

    Also, what Jason said.

  31. pandora says:

    LOL! I hadn’t seen that, SW. That’s great!

  32. puck says:

    If you need a private room for your dining experience most restaurants will accommodate you, for a price. But money is no object for those who want the adult, artistic experience, right? Privacy and control over your environment isn’t cheap.

  33. liberalgeek says:

    Good point. If you need to bring your kid, pay to rent the private room! You can probably even set up the Pack and Play back there!

  34. Dorian Gray says:

    @Puck 🙂 It’s true. Kids are extremely annoying. Babies, toddlers, tweens, teens… even college age kids are incredible boors. That said, there are places that I am required to tolerate children and places where I shouldn’t have to… That’s all.

  35. Davy says:

    6 Del. C. s. 4503 provides:

    “All persons within the jurisdiction of [Delaware] are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, facilities, advantages and privileges of any place of public accommodation regardless of the . . . age . . . of such persons.”

    I did not research how the courts have interpreted this law, but on its face, the law bars restaurants that are open to the public from banning young children.

  36. Aoine says:

    @ Davy, yes the law says that

    It also talks in another section about public disturbances and causing a nuisance

    So it’s not about banning babies, it’s about banning bad behaviour by ANYBODY in ANY PUBLIC PLACE where and when it infringes on the rights of others to enjoy their activities.

    Dot, period end of story.

  37. Liberal Elite says:

    @DG “Alinea is probably the greatest modern restuarant in the country. I consider it an artistic experience to dine there.”

    That’s for sure. I view my meal there among the top five in my life.

    But I’ve been on both sides of this issue… As someone with several kids and enough money to go to really nice places, we’ve been both the offender and the offended. But we travel a lot, and when traveling, choices are often limited.

    One problem is that people have different levels of tolerance and different expectations. What we see as totally normal behavior, others have found troubling. And we would avoid the better restaurants when the kids were very young, but what we see as a plain ordinary restaurant, others might see as a special event place.

    That said… Babies don’t belong at Alinea. Some of the service ware they use looks like torture devices that could easily injure a child. So… I’d hate to go back to Alinea and have a crying baby at the next table. It’s just not done.

  38. Davy says:


    But you may not accomplish that objective by simply banning all children. Dot. End of Story.

  39. Dana says:

    Mr Gray: Ought we to assume that you were never a kid, and will never have any yourself?

  40. Dana says:

    The law Davy cites would probably have a specific exemption allowing the exclusion of minors at places which serve alcohol.

  41. pandora says:

    If Dorian decides not to have children, that’s his decision and he shouldn’t have to sympathize, or change his life, to accommodate those who have kids. Seriously, Dana, what’s your point? I have two children and I don’t want to have to dine with other people’s children – or my own when they were younger.

    And this isn’t, despite Davy’s attempt to derail this thread (Gotta love law students and their righteousness), about discrimination – it’s about common sense. The law may not allow banning children, but if you take your child to an upscale restaurant (that doesn’t have a kid’s menu or high chairs) then you’re an idiot. (Too harsh?)

  42. Dave says:

    The restaurant has been placed in an unenviable position of creating consideration policies. Once upon a time people had consideration for their fellow man out in public. They would use their indoor voices. They would go outside to take a call. They would move to the right when blocking faster traffic. They wouldn’t bring children to places were children were unable to be what they are. They wouldn’t park diagonally taking up two parking spaces to keep their car from being scratched. And so on.

    This lack of consideration for others has become rather rampant in our society. To play off of a progressive meme, it is societal privilege. They have a right to bring their children, so they do. Inconsiderate and self absorbed is what they are. While individual rights are certainly important in a society, with those rights come the responsibility to exercise those rights responsibly, including consideration of how exercising those rights will affect other members of the society. Consequently there can and should be limits on exercising one’s rights. Just as the prohibition against yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre constrains the First Amendment right, there are limits to exercising all our rights.

    Bottom line, if the parents had consideration for other diners they would have made other arrangements, but since it was all about themselves there was no consideration evident. In short, they had no class (which is not about money, but how one carries oneself).

  43. pandora says:

    You can play off a Progressive meme, but this isn’t only about Progressives. This behavior crosses party lines. This is about selfishness – it’s about, “I don’t want to eat at Chuck-e-Cheese so everyone has to put up with my kids. It’s all about the parent – not the child and the other diners.

  44. Dave says:

    My comment had nothing to do with Progressives or parties. I was using a word “privilege” as in the meme “white privilege” and since I wasn’t using the entire term I included context.

    You are right this is about selfishness to wit.

    adjective: selfish
    1. (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

    You say tomato. I say tomato.

    Further, my comment was suggesting that it was more than just being selfish, it is being nearly oblivious of others. Sort of like someone driving slowly in the left lane oblivious to a stack a cars behind them as if they were the only ones on the road.

  45. puck says:

    “Sort of like someone driving slowly in the left lane oblivious to a stack a cars behind them as if they were the only ones on the road.”

    If a driver wants to pass a car that is driving the speed limit, he should just turn on his lights and siren and pass. If you don’t have lights and siren, cool your jets and get in line behind that law-abiding citizen.

  46. Dave says:

    “cool your jets and get in line behind that law-abiding citizen.”

    See? Lack of consideration! Where in my comment did I say they were driving the limit? Yeah, I know the road is yours. You paid for it. You get to use all of it that you want. But ya know, there’s other people in this world.

    Restaurants are public places, so I guess if you feel like farting from either end, it’s ok, cause you know, you have the right.

  47. Geezer says:

    Let’s remember that this is not a typical “do we take the kids or stay home”? situation. Because of the restaurant’s policy on reservations and payment, somebody whose sitter fell through at the last minute is confronted with a possible loss of a couple of hundred dollars (perhaps LG and DG, who apparently have dined there, can tell us how much the tab runs).

    From a purely selfish standpoint, can either of you guys give us a brief recap of the dishes you had? I don’t much care for eating that way myself — even when it’s free — but I love reading about it.

  48. Geezer says:

    “If a driver wants to pass a car that is driving the speed limit, he should just turn on his lights and siren and pass. If you don’t have lights and siren, cool your jets and get in line behind that law-abiding citizen.’

    And there you have the difference between an ideologue and a normal person. Regardless of what the law says about the speed limit, it also used to stipulate using the left-hand lane for passing, not cruising. Driving etiquette is well-known to all, even those who, like puck, insist on using the law to justify being an asshole.

  49. pandora says:

    Oh no! You guys just hit on another of my pet peeves. Get out of the left lane!

    And Geezer, Alinea allows you to sell your tickets or give them away. And if this was a big financial burden for the couple with the baby then they should have arranged for a back up sitter, as I have done in the past.

    This is basically about courtesy – courtesy to the baby and other diners. But the parents that took their baby to Alinea’s was all about ME!

    (Sorry if I misunderstood you, Dave.)

  50. puck says:

    If you do the math, speeding and lane-jockeying really doesn’t get you there that much faster, and isn’t worth the risk to you, me or our families. For the distances we drive in Delaware, the time savings is usually measured in seconds, not minutes. So it’s really all about your feelings. You have to be first, you have to be going faster than the other guy, just because you feel you are entitled. It’s not worth the risk to swerve around someone into the oncoming lane. On Delaware roads there will be a normal chance to get by in a few minutes. The other guy will turn off soon anyway, It’s not like you will be stuck behind somebody for more than a few minutes in Delaware. Control your feelings like an adult, not some kind of adolescent.

    One of my cars is a minivan with a 4.0 liter engine. Frankly it is a little overpowered for a minvan. Often people behind me feel they just have to pass a minivan no matter how fast I am actually going. The antics of these entitled pricks makes me smile.

  51. pandora says:

    “So it’s really all about your feelings. You have to be first, you have to be going faster than the other guy, just because you feel you are entitled.”

    Or… it’s really about your feelings. You have to hold up traffic by going slower than the other guy, just because you feel entitled. Of course, there’s the right lane for that sort of behavior. And passing a car isn’t always about going faster.

    This is one of the things I love about NJ. Go ahead and try and drive in the left lane. You’ll get a ticket… as you should.

  52. Dana says:

    I once urinated off a PennDOT inspector by telling them how they set speed limits on new roads:

    1 – They send two men out, in an automobile, with the driver instructed to drive in a manner comfortable and reasonable for the road.
    2 – The passenger’s job was to monitor the driver’s speed, and record the numbers.
    3 – When they get back, PennDOT takes the numbers, figures out the average speed that the driver found comfortable, subtracts 15 MPH, and sets that number as the speed limit.

    “Why, why, that’s not how it’s done, Bob sputtered, not exactly pleased with me at the time. 🙂 But if it’s not the method used, whatever they do use yields similar results.

    If you drive on I-80 or I-81 or the Pennsylvania Turnpike around here, and you actually obey the posted speed limit, someone is going to run slam over the top of you. The speed limits set on those limited access highways are actually dangerously low, because they throw up occasional slowpokes obeying the speed limit as obstructions to traffic. When I drive those roads — which is actually fairly infrequently — I will set the cruise control for 73 MPH, 8 MPH over the posted limit, because I know that the state police will not pull me over for that. The police recognize the hazards of the too-low speed limits as well, and enforce accordingly.

    Remember the 55 MPH speed limit, which supposedly saved gasoline. That was so ridiculously low that it was eventually abandoned because the public were voting on it with their right feet.

  53. Dana says:

    By the way, Interstates 80 and 81 have a lot of commercial truck traffic. If you are driving 65, you just might see “EIGHTLIN” in your rear view mirror, because he’s run up too close for you see the whole name.

  54. Jason330 says:

    “I once urinated off ”

    Just stop this.

  55. Dana says:

    Why? It catches your attention more than the usual phrase.

  56. Dave says:

    Regardless of speed I am traveling, when I see a vehicle approaching my mirror, I move over (if possible) in order to not impede the driver. I do that before they reach me. Maybe the person is trying to get to the hospital to say goodbye to a loved one who is dying. Maybe there is a reason for their speed. Maybe not. But I am not going to be the entitled dipwad that won’t move over in a simple act of common courtesy just because I don’t think they should be traveling at that speed.

  57. Jason330 says:

    Just stop it, or I’ll throw you out on your ass and your be back to annoying the librarians.

  58. the cajun says:

    Oh, I was lovin’ this thread.

    Pandora said: “I really don’t understand why things like this keep happening.”

    Simple answer would be disrespect.

    Working in the restaurant biz, there are stories I could tell that simply cannot be made up.

    If you’re kid’s idea of dining out is the ball pit at McD’s they are not ready for a real dining experience. If you teach them how to act properly in public they will be welcomed. If not, bad on you as a parent.

    Babies should not be in restaurants. Nor should toddlers. The knockdown drag outs I have with young parents who demand their stroller be allowed in the dining room would take your breath away. It’s not that we hate your kids, it’s a SAFETY issue.

    This ain’t about YOU! No restaurant in town worth its salt allows strollers inside. Some of those things are the size of a Buick! I don’t care how much it cost. If you can afford that expense, you can afford a sitter. This has nothing to do with ‘class’ warfare. Try Common Sense.

    Have you ever seen a diner clear their table, throw a baby on top and proceed to change the diaper? In a full dining room? I have. And, there are changing stations in each restroom. There was applause when they were told to leave.

    Ever see a small boy urinate in a potted plant because both parents were too lazy to take him to the restroom and he REALLY had to go? I have.

    Parents bring kids into the bar so they (parents) can watch a fave sport on TV. Kids aren’t allowed in bars, but the adults whine that they don’t want to go to a “family” restaurant with TV because of the screaming kids. Of course, their darlings are different.

    Your kids dancing on the dining room table at home may be adorable for you and your family. Not in a restaurant.

    Come on, customers (with kids) call for reservations and remind me they’re coming down for an adult weekend – no kids – and they’d prefer an area where there won’t be any in the dining room. I know exactly who they are and where to seat them. I know their kids, have watched them grow up, these kids are well behaved as a rule. Adults just want to have some adult time in a fine dining atmosphere.

    If you can’t control your kids, teach them proper etiquette in a public setting, stay home or take them where they can destroy the place and have a good time while you remain mesmerized by your cell phone.

    No child has the right to ruin any adult’s dining experience. Period.

    PS – I’ll even co-teach those classes with Bulo! 😉

  59. Knows better says:

    I have to agree with so many here but want to add yet another aspect to consider. The black tie season is upon us as it is every year. My tux is already out and the shorts off to the cleaners. not real fond of this time of year but its a necessary evil and a way of raising huge amounts of money for organizations that need lots of money.

    Over the years we’ve been doing this I’ve yet to see even one child under 14 and those few were usually the children of a incoming/outgoing president of whatever organization was doing the black tie dinner. Some of these things go into the thousands of ticket paying attendees (we usually head out before the bands get going) and for some reason the babysitters always are on the job.

    We’ve been doing these things maybe an average of seven a year for the last 20 years and never once heard a baby cry. Do the nice restaurant thing enough times and it’s going to happen. Go figure?

    First one up is a party of over 1600 people held at the Marriott. Every year the place sells out every room. Figure that one out! It’s ALWAYS on a Friday night yet there won’t be a baby in the building (might be a few conceived that night). Over the years I’ve seen many a couple that we knew had infants and toddlers at home or somewhere they didn’t have to worry about them.

    Like the cajun above me wrote I, and the wonderful wife of 32+ happily married years would readily agree KEEP THE BRATS AT HOME.

    Great post Pandora.
    Great site all.

  60. Liberal Elite says:

    @Kb “Over the years we’ve been doing this I’ve yet to see even one child under 14…”

    Because people who are traveling don’t go there.

    Did you ever travel with kids?
    What did you do when you went to eat? Leave them in the car?
    What did you do when they got hungry? Give them a bag of chips?

  61. pandora says:

    Traveling is a whole other story, and not comparable to a restaurant. Traveling with young kids can be very difficult and I will gladly help any parent in that situation. Believe it, or not, but I’m not advocating house arrest until the age of 7. 🙂

  62. jason330 says:

    No class or economic strata has a lock on good parenting. Bad parenting can be found in every American income bracket or social strata. It would be difficult to implement, but my answer to this would be an executive order admonishing American parents to stop sucking so bad.

  63. Knows better says:

    @ Liberal Elite the only traveling involved in the one affair is from a home in the local region and spending the night away from home because they know they will be drinking alcohol and be out late. The Marriott has a huge convention center and as Pandora states traveling is a whole different story but to answer your question YES when we have traveled with kids and they become anything less than on best behavior they get taken out of the building. Being a parent is a responsibility and kids that don’t know how to behave don’t go to restaurants, movie theaters or any other place where they can disrupt what should be ‘normal’.
    Get a grip on things Lib Elite.

  64. Dana says:

    Mr 330 wrote:

    Just stop it, or I’ll throw you out on your ass and your be back to annoying the librarians.

    I s’pose it would be a first to be kicked out for not using profanity. 🙂

    This will probably not surprise you, but I speak the same way I write.

  65. Jason330 says:


  66. Liberal Elite says:

    @p “Traveling is a whole other story, and not comparable to a restaurant.”

    Not true. Virtually every time I took my kids to a restaurant was when on travel… and I’m not the only one. These are times where there aren’t a lot of good options.

    I’ll bet the couple who brought the kid to Alinea was on travel. I was when I went there. In fact most of the patrons there were from out of town.

    When you see a small child at a nice restaurant, odds are that he/she is traveling.