Question of the Day: Should Children be Banned from High End Restaurants?

This post is spawned for an article from NBC Chef Grant Achatz starts Twitter debate: Should babies be banned from high-end restaurants? by Tracy Saelinger (TODAY contributor).

I don’t think they should ban babies, it is up to the parents to be respectful of others who are dining. If the baby should get agitated or upset and cry, take a breather and walk with the baby. At 8 mo my son was still Breastfeeding so a quick boob fix was all he would need to nod back off again or at least relax and be in mommy milk trance for a while. With that said, my almost 2-year-old doesn’t understand “inside” voice yet. Personally, I would never dream of bringing him to a 3 hour, 18 course meal that cost over $200 per plate and you have to wait for weeks or months for a table.

If you can afford a restaurant that expensive then you probably have a full-time live in nanny that the kids can stay with. Or at least a full-time nanny/babysitter you can ask to stay late and pay them an overtime bonus. Do babysitters cancel, sure they do but then be the respectful parent and walk out when your baby starts to cry. If you are like most Americans and you can’t “normally” afford the restaurant then it is a “special” date night and you should enjoy your spouse/significant other/whoever you are with without babies and children.

We have not had a date night since R was born. We did attempt it once when the little guy was 5 months old but we were called back before our dinner was served. We take him everywhere, he has even been to an Irish Pub!! Of course it was for a late lunch, but he had a good time sitting at the table like a big boy, no high chairs there. He is a good baby/toddler and on the rare occasion when he gets a little loud(or has a tantrum) I excuse myself and take him outside for a cool down walk. Most times people give the look of sympathy as I walk by with a mad toddler.

All in all, maybe not ban babies but if the parents don’t get off their asses and take the baby out of the restaurant then definitely have the waiter politely ask them to take the baby outside until it has calmed down and is no longer crying. It is the parents who need to be respectful of others.

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