Pennsylvania Restaurant Bans Children Under 6

eatingMcDain’s Restaurant in Monroeville, Penn., which identifies itself on its website as a “fine casual dining” establishment, has instituted a new policy banning children under 6 from dining in the restaurant.  As The Huffington Post reported:

In an email sent to customers, owner Mike Vuick wrote, “Beginning July 16, 2011, McDain’s Restaurant will no longer admit children under six years of age. We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”

Some customers are outraged at the new policy, which is not prohibited by law. The Pittsburgh news channel WTAE quoted one mother, Stephanie Kelley:

Kelley’s son, Jameson, is 13 months old. She had planned a July 16 dinner outing at McDain’s with a group of 20 visiting family members from North Carolina, but Vuick told her he would not take the reservation if she plans to bring young Jameson. “We really enjoy eating at McDain’s, and Jameson is very well-behaved,” Kelley said. “If they’re so concerned about noise, what do they plan to do about the loud people at the bar?”

But others support Vuick’s right to deny service if young children disturb the atmosphere he’s trying to create in his restaurant.  “”It’s up to him. If he thinks they’re a problem under 6, then I think the patrons should abide by that,” Suzanne Swigart told WTAE.

Recently Malaysia Airlines banned young children from their first class cabin, and in March, former Top Chef contestant Dale Levitski banned children from brunch at his Chicago restaurant.

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  1. by amanda

    On July 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    NOTE TO SELF; You have children now… Lock yourself in the house until they grow up..

  2. by Jason

    On July 13, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Who names their restaurant McDains?

  3. by Jamie

    On July 13, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I think this is a great idea… there are plenty of other restaurants for kids to make a noise in

  4. by Kay

    On July 13, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Honestly, I totally understand. There are some parents who let their children get out of control and they ruin it for other people. If your kid is kicking and screaming, get your food to go and get the heck out. Some parents feel entitled. I have a child and I vowed never to be one of “those” parents. There are a ton of other restaurants. And anyways, don’t you want to go to a place that welcomes their customers, especially your child, with a smile??

  5. by Cheryl

    On July 13, 2011 at 8:03 am

    If you don’t like a companies policy don’t patronize them. Seriously, why would you want to go someplace you (and your family) are not welcome?
    The sad truth part is his reason for doing this is spot on. If more parents disciplined there children and taught them proper manners this would not be an issue.
    As the mother of a toddler, I’ve had to leave a public area because my son had a meltdown.

  6. by Alena

    On July 13, 2011 at 8:17 am

    -it’s a private business and they have the right to refuse service to people with unruly children.
    - how about taking your children to a more child-friendly place and visit the grown-up places with just the grown-ups. There are just some places that children don’t belong. (and yes, I do have children, including a toddler).
    -there are lots of restaurants (and other places – like B & B’s) that employ this policy, so why is this news??

  7. by Alice

    On July 13, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I believe they can do as they please with their business. Which of course also means I can take my business wherever I choose. I would definitely not choose their restaurant for any ocassion, with or without children. To the locals, your money will speak louder than anything. Specially in this time of recession.
    This “children are a nuisance” trend is getting out of hand.

  8. by Jamie

    On July 13, 2011 at 9:24 am

    The fact is many children are a nuisance. Why should people who have paid a decent amount of money be subjected to the screaming and shouting from a noisy child? Some parents need to realise the impact that their children can have on the atmosphere of a place they are visiting. By no means am I insinuating all children are like this, as there are many, many delightful children. And yes Alice you are right, money does speak louder than anything, and I for sure would rather go to McDains now this policy is in place.

  9. by Les

    On July 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I don’t see a problem with this. There are plenty of “family friendly” restaurants, so why not take the children there? I have an energetic toddler, and I choose wisely when dining out. I also “save” certain restaurants for date nights. And I must admit, when I have hired a babysitter for a peaceful night out, I like to enjoy my dinner “scream-free”…

  10. by Whit

    On July 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Personally as a parent, I don’t appreciate being told where I can and can’t take my child. My kids are 6 and 3 and have been eating in restaurants (and yes, that includes some fine dining ones) regularly since they were both babies without any issues. In fact, we are frequently complimented by servers and other patrons on how well behaved our kids are so it pains me that irresponsible parents who DON’T instill table manners on their kids are ruining it for everyone else! With that said, while I wouldn’t patronize this restaurant out of protest, I AM glad that now the crotchedy old people who go to FAMILY-FRIENDLY places just to complain and roll their eyes if they are seated in a section even remotely close to a child, have a place to go and be bitter about the world.

  11. by Les

    On July 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Irresponsible parents who don’t instill table manners?it’s not easy to instill manners into children under 2 years of age. How do you instill table manners in a baby with colic? Or a 7 month old who doesn’t want to sit still? Or a 1 yr old testing his food and making a huge mess everywhere. It’s not just mis-behaving children who cause a disturbance at restaurants. It’s also the energetic and curious spirits that do. It’s in the nature of kids to be that way. Yes, there is such thing as calm children, but the ones who aren’t calm are not always misbehaving or not being taught table manners.

    In response to comment made by whit.

  12. by Alice

    On July 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Ok Les, you of course are free to do whatever you want as well. However I’d like to point out that not all children misbehave when they go out to a restaurant. My kids are very well behaved. They do not stand up the table, do not scream, use their cutlery and say please and thank you. This restaurant’s policy is totally discriminatory. It’s the same as if, for example, they decided to ban all young men because some young men have gotten drunk at the restaurant and caused a rucus.
    I would never patronize such a business, thankfully there are many restaurants that do not discriminate against families.

  13. by Whit

    On July 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Les-the policy doesn’t say “no babies” or “no 2 year olds”. It is a blanket policy for all children under 6, meaning if I lived in this town, I would be excluded because I happen to have a 3 year old. By 3 years old a child is definately old enough to comprehend and follow rules or face consequences for not doing so.

  14. by Les

    On July 15, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I understand how it can be frustrating to not be allowed to a restaurant when you know your children will remain calm and behaved. On that aspect I can see how other children may “ruin” if for parents with calm and older children. So I agree with that aspect. I am just thinking of it as a perspective of when I go out to eat (with my child or not, fine dining or not) and I sometimes get frustrated with loud, screaming misbehaving children. Maybe we could all meet in the middle and follow a general rule of thumb, if your children are loud, and disruptive, take them out… :) or if you know your children our the energetic ones, leave them home? That way the parents with the calm children can still enjoy all restaurants.. As well as everyone else…

  15. by Teslchick

    On July 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I feel bad that the owner had to have a “no kids under 6 policy”. I don’t think in this economy he would actually want to lose customers. And yes I have a child– a very energetic 19 month old. I either arrange to have him looked after (yes– I am very lucky to have grandparents around to watch him) or I go to a family friendly restaurant. I am very aware that not everyone thinks my child is adorable and funny– and by the same token– I may not think your child is cute or adorable either. I’ve left a shopping cart full of items I wanted to buy simply because I didn’t want to disturb everyone else waiting in line. I chose to have kids and if, for a few years, I can’t go to a certain restaurant with them, then I go somewhere else. Going off topic– it’s kind of like the people who waste food simply because they’re at a buffet. Just because you bought the dinner buffet doesn’t mean you have the right to take whatever you want and then not eat it. Just because you are paying for dinner doesn’t mean you get to inflict your kids on everyone else– who also paid for their dinner.

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