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September 9, 2010

Restaurant bans screaming kids

Crying babyA North Carolina restaurant has posted signs reading: "Screaming children will not be tolerated."

So says a WECT-TV report that my colleague Liz Kay sent my way.

"It has been a good thing for us,"  Brenda Armes, owner of Olde Salty restaurant, told the station. "It has brought us in more customers than it has ever kept away."


Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:27 AM | | Comments (13)


I have to say - I find it disappointing that restaurant management feels the need to weigh in by mandating a rule.

The onus should be on a parent's common sense, not an establishment's management, to realize when your offspring is being disruptive to other diners' enjoyment.

Yes, yes, yes, yes - it takes a village and all that.

But nowhere in the child-rearing handbook did it say that your choice to get knocked up entitles you to let your brat raise hell at the next table and ruin my meal. Unless you're willing to pick up my tab, and the tab of anyone who feels put-upon. In which case, go right ahead, junior.

I was brunching with some old friends at New Leaf in Manhattan last fall. I'd love to tell you more about the muffin basket and entrees, but I can't, thanks to the family at the next table that were not only unwilling to control the behavior of their child, but doting on him, as he was throwing food and screaming.

The sad part is, I can't even really blame the child. It's the parents' responsibility.

Kudos to the owners! Parents today don’t want to be responsible for their children. If the did they wouldn’t bring them out at 8 PM to have diner. A responsible parent would be sure their children have eaten at a regular hour such as 5:30 / 6 PM at home in a family setting. Oh but what do I know? It’s difficult enough to have one hand on a fork, one hand holding a blackberry let alone trying to chew. I guess that’s too much to ask of today’s rude parent.

Yay!!!!! I wish more restaurants would follow this example! The majority of kids I see out in public are fine, just fine. They are relatively well-behaved and there's really no harm in a kid acting like a kid, it's what they do.

However...(deep breath)...there are also those kids who are completely out-of-control. And yes, I look to the parents every time because somewhere along the line these children got the idea that their unacceptable behavior was acceptable.

To the parents of unruly, out-of-control children: please don't take them into public if you cannot figure out how to control them, if you cannot figure out how to say "no," if you cannot figure out how to rein them in when little Johnny or little Susie are headed for a world class conniption fit.

And, on behalf of all restaurant wait staff, DO NOT let your children roam free in a restaurant. They can easily get burned with coffee, or knocked down by wait staff carrying food to a table, or trip up other customers or even wait staff, etc etc etc. These are your little darlings, not ours. I don't see them as cute little things roaming freely around a restaurant; I see them as accidents waiting to happen.
And when these accidents happen, parents, DO NOT have the audacity to complain that your child may be hurt - you should have thought of that when you decided to turn them loose in the restaurant.

I absolutely love it! I can't say how many times I have been out either at a restaurant or a Starbucks while a kid is having a meltdown and the mother ignores the child. I think this is part of this "feel good" and "be your child's friend" that is plaguing today's parents. Good for them!

I don't mind kids as long as they don't make themselves noticeable, ie screaming running etc. Right on to these business owners. Letting the kids run like a pack of wild jackals is not only rude but it is INCREDIBLY dangerous. A professional kitchen has everything your kitchen has, tuned up to 11, and no one anticipating kids. Think about it: deep fryer. knives. pots of boiling water.

The spot I saw on the news this morning referred to a woman with an autistic child threatening the owners with a lawsuit because discrimination under the ADA.

Now, this being said:

If Ms. Joker and I were to head to a nice restaurant for a special occasion, and your crotch fruit at the next table was carrying on and misbehaving, and you were doing nothing about it, rest assured that I would say something to you. I have no qualms about it. It isn't often I'm released from my own kitchen, and the last thing I want to deal with are your kids causing a problem.

The above posters are correct- we are not interested in Little Timmy's temper tantrum or Nintendo game. You, as parents should understand the same thing i do about my beloved and viciously lazy pit bull who thinks he's a Maltese: There are just places that are not appropriate to bring your kids or your dog.

Furthermore, those places that ARE kid friendly, such as any of the corporate hell restaurants, go ahead, bring them, but keep control of them. If they begin to act out, correct the damned behavior before a stranger has to.

(will never work in a kitchen that has a "kid's menu" again)

As I told the lady who berated me for moving ahead of her - to get with my wife - while waiting to get on the plane the other day
(AFTER she put down her milkshake. AFTER she collapsed her stroller. AFTER drank half the milkshake. AFTER she assembled her child-safety seat. AFTER she searched her diaper bag for a pack of cookies. AFTER she finished her milkshake AND THEN decided to board the plane, about 10 minutes later, all done in front of the door):

"Your child is not my problem."


It's made the CNN video site:

Again, if someone would please explain to this poor deluded mother, it's not about excluding her precious snowflake of a child - it's about cutting off the entitlement of parents who demand access to everything and everywhere, just because they may have made a reproductive mistake.

Seriously, I'd like to imagine it may just be a matter of semantic on the restaurant's part. Rather than it be a 'discrimintory policy', perhaps a simple rewording to 'We Reserve the Right...' may be enough to assuage these parents.

Or hopefully, at least, a court of law.

So long as the mother is allowed an attempt to pacify her child by breast-feeding in the restaurant, excluding the screaming child seems just.

Children are unnecessary accessories.

As a parent of an 18 month old, I have mixed feelings about this ruling. I wouldn't think twice about taking my daughter out of a restaurant if she was being disruptive. My husband and I have actually eaten our meals separately because I had to take her outside while my husband ate, and he took her out while I ate. (This, unfortunately, happened on Mother's Day, so I ate by myself while my husband tended to our cranky daughter.) Other diners often comment on how well-behaved she is, but I guess we tend to be a bit hypervigilant and think she is behaving worse than others perceive.

With all of that said, we also choose our restaurants carefully and take an early reservation (5:00). If we want to go somewhere that is questionable as to how accepting they are of kids, we get a sitter. Sadly, since becoming a paernt, I've had more meals out at places like Red Robin than I'd like to admit, but so it goes.

Parents should take responsibility for their kids. If your kids are acting up, you take them out. Common sense, common courtesy. It's a shame that a restaurant needs to make a rule because parents don't do their part.

The last paragraph of Jennifer's post hit the nail squarely on the head! If parents don't have the sense to remove their brats from the scene when they act up, then the restaurant is fully within its rights to eject said parents and brats!

On behalf of servers everywhere, thank you.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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