Rome Restaurant Under Fire for Banning Kids Under Age 5

A popular restaurant in Italy is turning away kids younger than 5, and parents are not happy about it.

baby eating at restaurant
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When in Rome, you better leave the kids at home.

At least if you're planning to dine at La Fraschetta del Pesce, a popular family-run restaurant that is now banning kids younger than 5 from the premises.

The restaurant—located close to the city's historical center— is coming under fire for turning away young kids with the following sign posted in the window: "Due to some unpleasant incidents caused by a lack of manners, children under 5 are not allowed in this restaurant."

Say what?

"We were left speechless, without words," one man who was with his 2-year-old son wrote on TripAdvisor. "It is unbelievable and not even legal." And over on Facebook, many commenters on the La Fraschetta page raged that the policy seemed to violate several Roman statutes about providing access to public spaces and businesses

La Fraschetta owner Marco Magliozzi attepted to justify his decision by listing a string of complaints against the young customers: They run slalom among the tables. They throw olive oil on the floor. They've sent salt shakers flying across the room. They try to dismantle the furniture, they shout, they cry, and above all, they hate fish.

Can't really argue with that last point—my kids don't eat it.

Look, I get it. Restaurants and kids aren't always a perfect match. Just this past summer we saw an Australian restaurant draw its biggest weekend numbers in 14 years of business after banning kids under 7, and a Maine restaurant owner remains unapologetic after yelling at a little girl in his establishment in order to get her to stop crying.

"Life's full of choices and you've got to live with all of them," the Maine woman told the New York Daily News at the time. "I chose to yell at the kid. It made her shut up, which made me happy, it made my staff happy, it made the other 75 people in my restaurant happy. And they left, they may never come back. Other people may not come in—their loss, really."

What do you think?

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld

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