Caruso's, a self-described classy restaurant near Charlotte, North Carolina, certainly isn't the first dining establishment to ban children, but it's the most recent to make headlines. After a child was playing too loudly on an iPad, the owner had enough, and this past January enacted a ban on kids under age 5.
"Finally, we had to ask them to leave," manager Yoshi Nunez told The Washington Post about the incident that launched the ban. "They were upset, but they didn't seem to care about what the other guests thought. We tried to be nice about the situation, but we're here to take care of customers and we can't tell a parent how to control their kids."
Outrageous? Or admirable? That depends on what side of the table you're dining at (or, um... not). But Nunez told The Post that reservations have surged since the ban became effective. And if the restaurant's Facebook fans are any indication, many people are totally applauding the move. If you're a parent who likes to take your (yes, sometimes unruly) kids out to eat—the comments will make you cringe.
Here's just one example: "So happy a proprietor is taking a stand for customers that wish to dine in a peaceful environment! I can't tell you how many of my meals were ruined by selfish parents taking their screaming uncontrollable kids out to a fine dining restaurant! Are they are to cheap for a sitter or just clueless to others? Kids 10 & under in my opinion need to be banned. There are so many places to eat on this planet, save the fine dining for the grown ups people!! What couple wants to drop $300+ for dinner only to have some brat running around like a lunatic!! It's like DUH how dumb/selfish can parents be these days?!"
You may recall that back in 2011, a Pennsylvania eatery stopped admitting kiddos, dividing the community, with some patrons supporting the measure and others left feeling outraged. Similar bans have happened at other restaurants across the country since then, and around the world for that matter. The consensus seems to be that restaurant owners and staff have had too many experiences with kids behaving badly, and receiving feedback that it's taking away from other patrons' enjoyment of eating out.
As a mom of three, I'll admit there's no doubt that some children (ahem, sometimes mine) don't behave well when they go out to eat. But many times they can sit in a restaurant quietly, for the most part, and just eat their meal. It's too bad the stereotype of kids running amok in public ruins it for families that can go to a restaurant without incident.
The bottom line is that kids are never going to learn how to behave appropriately if they're banned from restaurants. But that aside, because I get that it's not a restaurant's responsibility to teach my kid how to act, let's not forget that children are people too. I don't like that a public place would discriminate against someone just because they're a certain age.
That makes me want to ban the restaurant, personally. What's your take?
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Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.