“I wonder how this would go over if a DC place did it?”

dumpster fire

Thanks to Justin for sending this article from the Washington Post about a restaurant banning kids under the age of 5:

“The ban — conceived by the restaurant’s owner, Pasquale Caruso — has led to a dramatic increase in reservations, said Nunez, who said Caruso’s has seen a spike in diners, from about 50 per day to around 80.

It’s hard to say whether child bans are officially a restaurant industry trend, but they’re no longer particularly unusual. Caruso’s — which describes itself as “traditional, classy, intimate” on its website — is the latest in a series of eateries to ban children or introduce measures to control them.”

How do you tell if a kid is 4, 5 or 6 years old? Anyway, let’s go to the polls!

200 Comment

  • where’s the “yes, for kids under the age of about 10” option?

  • I wouldn’t say I support it, but restaurants can do what they want. I eat out plenty with my kids (6 and 8). They know how to behave in a restaurant and if they’re bothering you it’s probably because you’re an intolerant curmudgeon. I would be less likely to eat at a restaurant with a kid ban even when the kids aren’t with me.

    • I have no problem with kids (or adults) who know how to behave, but I have a big problem if I go to place for a nice meal and kids are running around (to be clear, it’s the parents who are the problem here) or adults are behaving like poorly trained kids. It’s like someone smoking at a restaurant.

      • Right, which is why I think bans like this are dumb. Ban people who are disturbing other people rather than picking an age cutoff.

        • ever tried to tell a parent that they’re parenting wrong, especially in the service industry? nip the problem in the bud rather than put yourself in that hairy situation.

        • Now that’s a ban I could get behind

        • justinbc

          As “A” said, when you try to get selective in your singling out then you open yourself up to much more retaliatory accusations, arguments in the restaurant, etc. If you blanket prevent the thing from being a possibility you at least spare yourself that hassle.

          • If a restaurant decides it’s too hard to only kick out the people causing problems, that’s their business. I happen to think this ban will apply to more people who are not causing problems than who are, and will alienate potential customers.

          • It absolutely will apply to more people than those who cause problems, and likely will alienate some customers. But, it will endear the restaurant to others.

          • By the way, excellent choice of a photo to accompany this poll.

          • dcd, totally. You knew it was going to get heated. I’m actually impressed that things seem rather civil.

      • The problem is a lot of people who don’t know how to behave don’t know that they don’t know how to behave. I have a good friend who lets her young children run all over the place in a restaurant and when I said something to her about it, she just said “They’re little kids, that’s what they do”. So people who know how to behave/have kids who can behave get the short end of the stick.

      • I think a lot of the time parents are so used to it they don’t even realize how loud or obnoxious their kids are being, or have the attitude that it’s just how kids that age behave. That would be fine at a kid-oriented restaurant, but not the kind of establishment we’re talking about here. I also worked in restaurants in the DC area for a long time, and I don’t think I ever saw a kid under 12 or so behave appropriately (I generally didn’t work in places where you would expect to find a mass of kids). It’s easier on everyone to just say, “Sorry, this isn’t the right place for them.”

        • “That would be fine at a kid-oriented restaurant, but not the kind of establishment we’re talking about here.”
          Did you look at the menu? Where I come from, this is the definition of a kid-oriented restaurant . . . Americanized, inoffensive Italian food.

    • yes, anyone who doesn’t agree with your view on something you are clearly biased in favor of is intolerant and a curmudgeon.

  • I have 2 kids under 5. Some places just aren’t as family friendly. To be honest, I don’t always want to eat with them. That’s why my wife and I do a date night at least once a month without them.

    • This! The people who let their kids run amok (not saying this is the majority) don’t realize that the couple at the table next to theirs could be having their first expensive date night since the baby was born, etc. I don’t have a problem with kids in restaurants; I have a problem with negligent parents in restaurants, and the food industry folks who’ve weighed in here correctly noted that it’s easier to stop that problem with an age limit than to try and tell a particular customer to beat feet.

  • I don’t support it, but restaurants are free to make that choice. But if my kids aren’t welcome, then I don’t feel welcome and wouldn’t go.

  • I would definitely go to a restaurant that did this. I already don’t go to restaurants with a children’s menu. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of ill-behaved kids. Sometimes I think parents get beaten into submission over time and don’t even realize how loud and generally awful their kids are being. Especially under 5 is perfectly reasonable. A child that age can’t sit and behave through a restaurant-length dinner.

  • I think not having kids is becoming more and more prevalent, so we could start seeing more of this. I looked at the menu and it’s kind of expensive (for that area) so I can’t imagine taking a small child there in the first place. I’ve encountered kids in many restaurants and many of them are well-behaved, but man some of them are a mess. I mean there are kid free resorts around the world so how is this different?

  • As a crotchety 50 year old, I’ve noticed a trend where kids have to be welcome everywhere, I don’t see anything wrong with having places that aren’t for kids.

  • Speaking of Justin–did JustinBC stop commenting on Popville? I kinda miss his contrarian views, even if I disagreed with quite a few of them.

  • Nah, I don’t have kids but I don’t support this. It seems like a super douchey/pretentious stance for a restaurant to take. Kids are kids and are part of society, so adults can deal with them. There’s plenty of loud and obnoxious adults who dine out that I’d like banned too.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think most parents in DC are generally not bringing kids into 5 star establishments, so sorry if you can’t handle the kid who’s too loud at your neighborhood small plates joint.

    • but shitty adults get kicked out of places all the time. shitty kids/parents raise hell if they’re singled out, because they feel entitled to do shit like change a shitty diaper on the table.

      • And you’re saying this based on what? All the times you’ve watched managers try to kick families out, or all the diapers you’ve seen changed at the table?

      • Nobody would every do this if there was a changing table available.

        • Worked service industry for 15 years. Can definitely vouch for -A. All these things happen ALL THE TIME. I have witness a woman change her baby ON A BAR. Ask anyone in the service industry for their “worst child/mombie” story and EVERYONE has one/twenty.

  • I rarely if ever went out to “sit down” restaurants as a child. Our house with 4 kids ate dinner at home the vast majority of the time. I’ve eaten out with some families and their young kids who really can’t control themselves. Crawling over booths, under the table, running around the dining room, complaining when food isn’t ready in a few minutes, etc.
    I’m also someone now who prefers to dineout “early”, as in dinner time when there tends to be more families with young kids. The majority of the time, the kids are totally fine, but when there is the one or two who’s acting out, it really crushes dinner for the wife and I who don’t go out all that often.

    • As a follow up, we went to a resort in Mexico a few years ago that had a pool that didn’t allow children. It was amazing.

      • Yes, totally agree with adults-only areas of resorts. THE BEST. But I’m fine with well-behaved kids at restaurants. (Although I honestly cannot think of the last time I was at a DC restaurant and noticed any children at all…)

      • Yeah we made the mistake of not going to an adult-only resort in Mexico and it was AWFUL. It was basically like being in a daycare 24/7. Every guest besides us had multiple small children who completely took over the entire resort including the beach and pools. Sometimes you just want to be able to drink a margarita and have adult time without listening to non-stop ear-piercing shrieking.

  • I have small children and I can’t imagine ever taking them to the kind of restaurant that would ban kids. It would be expensive and stressful.

    What are some small child-friendly sit-down restaurants in NW DC? (By that I mean, children’s menu, changing station, room for a stroller, not fancy.) I bring the kids to IHOP or to Open City (if it’s early enough/pre-crowd), but otherwise we don’t really go out with them.

    • Emily: Try Slash Run on Upshur. It’s great for adults (bar, live music, trivia night, etc.) but I’ve been there a few times and each time it struck me as very child-friendly. They mainly serve burgers and hot dogs. I’m not sure about a changing station but it meets your other requirements. 🙂

      • I love Slash Run, but don’t they rather infamously not have changing facilities? Their bathroom is tiny, no room for one. Also, if I remember correctly everyone got up in arms about them doing basically this, strongly encouraging people to leave the kids at home after 8.
        Which personally, since it is the restaurant I probably go to most often now, I love. But it doesn’t exactly fit Emily’s criteria.

      • The new Taqueria del Barrio and Ruta delVino on Upshur are both family friendly and have room for high chairs, strollers and have changing tables!! Homestead on Georgia was very family friendly too! I’ve been told 10 Tigers is also but I haven’t used their restroom yet.
        Downtown, the Old Ebbitt Grill, the Hamilton and any Clydes is super family friendly. Also every Cava Grill is great.
        Baby friendlydc.com has a more comprehensive list

    • American City Diner if you’re looking for another diner.

    • 2 Amys.

    • The Diner in Adams Morgan, The Coupe, Purple Patch (allegedly has a toy corner for kids to play in, but I haven’t been myself yet), Meridian Pint, I’ve heard Mintwood Place is actually pretty kid-friendly.

    • 2 Amys is the ultimate in kid-friendly restaurants – between 530 and 730, it’s PACKED with kids. And they have a changing table. Cactus Cantina is right next door, if the wait is too long

    • If we didn’t go to family-friendly restaurants, we would never see our friends with kids. A few places where we have had successful meals with small children are below. I note that they were mostly successful because we went early, they brought stuff for the kids to do (coloring, books, games), and didn’t let the kids run around.
      – Slash Run is a good option (I think they were working on a changing table), but not after 8. (There were some posts on this last summer.) One of the owners has kids, though, and I think they strike a good balance.
      – Petworth Citizen
      – Timber (order at the counter and they have picnic tables)
      – Meridian Pint
      – 2 Amy’s
      – Cactus Cantina

    • We went to All Purpose in Shaw at 530pm last summer and there were a bunch of families. We’ve recommended to friends with kids and they all loved it. The menu is varied and good for families, has a bunch of food that kids will eat plus sophisticated stuff for adults. Pricing is good. Not a ton for room for multiple strollers, then again if you’re going out to dinner you should bring a small collapsible travel stroller that can be tucked away in a corner. Bathroom situation is good too.

  • One could argue that, in many instances, it’s the parents of these kids (and their Nimitz-class strollers in the aisles) that are most offensive and experience-ruining. I have a hard time blaming little ones who don’t know any better.

    • This is a good point – the blame falls squarely on the parents of said “problem” kids.

    • justinbc

      You could absolutely make that argument, but then what’s the solution as a restaurant? Ban on people ages 25 to 40 in case they might have kids?

    • I don’t think anyone is blaming the kids.

    • DC seems to have the worst behaved kids and it’s usually because the parents are sitting there being oblivious. And, yes, the SUV strollers (usually filled with parents’ stuff) is a good marker. There are plenty of people over 40 with little kids here so Justin’s snarky comment would be better with a bit more accuracy.

      One covert way to address this would be a dress code, but that would eat into the adult trade big time.

      • justinbc

        I’m sure there are people in their 60s with young kids, but if you’re going to come up with arbitrary numbers you’ve got to start somewhere. It wasn’t intended as a jab against older parents, but of course somewhere in DC would take it that way.

        • But you’re right, older parents are the worst. When you’re in high school and everyone mistakes your mom for Grandma, it’s kind of a downer.

  • I support a ban on anyone under 29

  • I don’t generally support a child ban. But I’d hella support a ‘people who can’t behave in public ban’. Because ban manners and poor behavior in restaurants is not limited to those under 5 yrs old. And I say this as someone who has worked in the DC bar scene for the past 13 yrs.

    • Sure ditch the kids and the obnoxious parents with the double-wide strollers but remind everyone else it’s a shared space too. Common courtesy? I don’t want to hear f this f that or who did who from the party sitting next to me. The last time I had problems at a DC restaurant it wasn’t the kids, it was hearing three women trying too hard and bragging about their foreign exploits. Not only didn’t I want my kid to hear it… I didn’t want to hear it.

  • I have kids (although they are well past 5) and I don’t care.
    If I’m going to boycott restaurants, I’ll start with the ones that don’t take reservations. I do, in fact, avoid those that value their time more than they value mine.
    My one caveat is that restaurants make their child-ban VERY obvious. Large placard on the door obvious. I do not want to walk into a restaurant with my children and have them told they are not welcome. They would be confused and mortified, especially since their manners are darn good and they know it.

  • I support a ban on kids and kid paraphernalia such as giant strollers everywhere, especially rush hour metro trains. What’s with having kids anyway? They’ll hate you when they’re 13, will live in a crappy post-apocalyptic world anyway, and blame it rightfully on us. Thanks but no thanks

  • 9 times out of 10 if I have a poor dining experience due to excessive noise it’s because of adults, not kids. We take our one year old out all the time, and the second he gets loud or annoying one of us takes him out until he calms down. It sucks for us, but shouldn’t ruin anyone else’s dinner. Babysitters cost upwards of $20/hour in this area…that’s a lot to put on parents who enjoy dining out.

    • The question is what is the threshold you define for “loud and annoying”. Not trying to pick on you specifically, but as some OP wrote, there is a difference between what parents think is tolerable and what others think

      • Right, of course that’s arbitrary. In my situation we have a low tolerance for it before we take our kid out. I understand it’s not the same for everyone else. But in the end I’m still more likely to experience loud and obnoxious adults in restaurants than kids.

        • Maybe bc there are more adults in restaurants than there are kids ? wink wink

          • So what? You still get disturbed during dinner. This is one of those things that sounds nice, but practically speaking wouldn’t change much.

    • Well, dog walking costs upwards of $15 for a half hour in this area…that’s a lot to put on people who own dogs and enjoy spending their time in public places. Everywhere should allow dogs!

      • Not even remotely the same thing.

        • My response was meant to be sarcastic, but my point still stands. Just because babysitting is expensive in this area doesn’t mean kids need to be allowed everywhere. Sometimes when you make certain life choices, you make tradeoffs, including not being able to do everything you used to enjoy without a second thought.

          • I’m not saying kids should be allowed everywhere. For example, we never go to movies anymore cause a baby in a theater just doesn’t work well. But we’ve taken him to several restaurants and had no issues. You can kick out rowdy kids without banning them all.

  • I am not inherently into banning kids. Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids whose behavior can make it impossible for other diners to enjoy the meal. That may be because the parents don’t bother to control/can’t control their child’s behavior or may be that the child has other issues that make that easier said than done. Not all children that are young misbehave in public I have seen some very young children behave very well but not all restaurants are places to take children, particularly those that are disruptive.

    Whichever the case, it is that owners business and it is up to him to set the rules for the place. Obviously he didn’t do this because a child or two over the years caused problems and I am sure he didn’t decide this casually.

    I don’t have kids. But I don’t reflexively hate them either. However, when I go out to eat I don’t want to have to cover my ear because some are shrieking or worry they will bump my table and spill my food when they are running around.

  • Only sort of related to this, the Post did an article on bringing kids to restaurants the right way as a way to train them to have good behavior at restaurants when they’re older.


  • Some are acting as if this would be a city-wide ban. If some restaurants implement a ban, there are literally hundreds of others you can take your kids to. Your well-behaved child can be well-behaved at another place.

    • As a parent, the question is simply whether I would ever visit a restaurant without my kids that would bar me from entering with them. The answer is no. I think there are plenty of occasions that are unsuitable for children, but a ban just gives a bad vibe that I would remember and couldn’t get over. Like you said, there are other options.

      • Fair enough, but if you acknowledge that there are situations that are unsuitable for children, why the ire toward a restaurant acknowledging the same thing? Seems like you are one of the rational parents that would either chose an appropriate restaurant to bring your children to or leave them at home if you wanted to dine at a place that wouldn’t be suitable. But many rules are meant for those that aren’t so rational.

        • The policy just makes me feel unwelcome. And I’m completely willing to acknowledge personal bias on that. I don’t want to control the restaurant’s policies, but I can spend that time and money at places that make me feel comfortable.

        • +1

  • I have no problem with this. Kids don’t need to be everywhere, and parents like a break from kids sometimes too. The restaurants who want to ban kids are probably not the kind kids would enjoy anyway, and there will always be plenty of restaurants that welcome kids. Not everything has to be for everybody.

  • Maybe I’m immune to kids because I have two (ages 2.5 and 6), but I am more annoyed with poorly behaved adults when I dine out. You know…the ones that yak loudly on their cell phones or to the person 2 feet away from them so that EVERYONE in the restaurant knows that their sister’s boyfriend is a complete asshat. Or people that treat servers like their personal slaves and are just plain rude. We generally don’t dine out in really nice places with our kids (nice places are for date nights), but when we do, we make sure we try not to disturb others and clean up after our messy angels.

    • You can directly or indirectly (complain to the manager/waiter) address loud/annoying adults if it’s really bothersome. Good luck telling a parent to get their unruly kid under control. Where do you people dine out? I’m rarely bothered by other adults in restaurants and we eat every Friday night.

    • +1000
      This, plus the Macbook parkers who glare at you/your child for talking or making conversational-level noise in their “office.”

  • A slightly different twist on this: An eatery I frequent opened and, years later, a junior high charter school has opened next door. In the afternoon, the eatery now serves as a de facto place for teenagers to hang out while they wait for their parents — often up to two hours. The kids don’t order food, and many make mischief. Management is bedeviled. IN such a case, I think banning kids is a good idea. This hanging out happens every weekday.

    • I think the chick-fil-a in tenleytown had that issue. Now you can’t dine in during after school hours or something. That I have no issue with.

      • I refer to a place starting with “Tea” near Navy Memorial/Archives. Let them know if you have any pointers.

    • Well first management should require guests to purchase something, or minimum purchase per table. At least make money off the mayhem. If that doesn’t work, then I’ve seen several cases of restaurants near high school students make a rule that no kid under a certain age is allowed in without an adult during certain hours. Middle school kids especially are easy to spot.

  • I would support a restaurant making it very clear that this is a formal establishment where kids might not feel comfortable and that may not be able to meet the needs of small children. Maybe even saying that guests who disturb other diners will be asked to leave. it doesn’t outright ban kids, but makes it clearly that they aren’t necessarily welcome. If a kid is quiet, can stay in their seat, and doesn’t make a mess, then I have no problem dining next to them. The problem is if parents expect the restaurant to cater to every whim of their little snowflake and guests to limit their language or put up with a kid crawling underneath the table.

    • I worked at a restaurant that tried this tactic, and it didn’t work. For example, we didn’t have high chairs, so when someone brought in their kid here we would run across the street and borrow one from a neighboring restaurant. Not really a big deal on our end. Every single parent reprimanded us for not owning a high chair, even though it was clearly a fancy place with breakable objects and we marketed ourselves as a high-end romantic spot. Granted, we’d only get a kid in once every couple weeks or so, but no one ever seemed to change their plans upon founding out that it was not a suitable kid place.

  • justinbc

    I should point out as a Charlotte native that this particular area is pretty much am affluent suburban haven. It would be somewhat equivalent to a child-heavy area like Del Ray doing this, except the people are probably more well-off and less used to being told they can’t do what they want to do. I’m not sure what the equivalent area of DC would be…Kent or Woodley Park or something maybe, areas that already market themselves as family friendly.

  • I have multiple thoughts:
    – No problem at all with a kid ban. I also think 5 or so is the appropriate age cutoff, because older than that and you likely start to lose a non-negligible amount of business (just a guess), and most kids older than 5 can be expected to behave at a restaurant.
    – I would completely support (and go out of my way to patronize) a restaurant that kicked out people who disturbed other diners. Kids, adults, drunks, whomever.
    – The parents in the linked article behaved abominably. Giving their kid an iPad to watch at dinner at *high* volume (hell, at any volume audible to anyone else!) is ridiculous. Sometimes people amaze me.
    – Along those lines, there was a tweet in the article from Grant Achatz, the chef/owner of Alinea, on any short list for best restaurant in the world, about a couple who brought an 8 month old who cried during dinner. This is to a restaurant that is one of the hardest tickets to get in the world. People are nuts.
    – While I don’t have any quarrel with the policy, Caruso’s does suffer from delusions of grandeur. Giving your entrees Italian titles doesn’t make you a fine dining restaurant. The menu is identical to offerings at hundreds of strip malls in the NJ. And I’ll bet all the money in my pocket that NJ strip mall Italian > Mooresville, NC Italian.

    • Seconding you on all the points you make. As well as missing the Northeast and its abundance of Italian foods!

    • not to mention re: Alinea that dinner for two with alcohol regularly tops $1,000. if i was in alinea and saw/heard a child crying i’d be absolutely livid.

      • Having eaten (and loved) at Alinea, agree a crying child would definitely ruin your experience. There was no music playing, a small, intimate dining room (we at downstairs, only maybe 6 tables) and all your senses are really needed to fully enjoy it.

        • I can absolutely see some parent complaining that the restaurant should stop serving one of its famous dishes that incorporates smoke because little Madison is very sensitive to odors. I have said this before, but people are ridiculous.

    • I’ve noticed the trend of portable devices without headphones on planes, starting a few years ago with portable DVD players but growing exponentially now that everyone has a tablet (mostly given to children, but I’ve witnessed a few adults use them without headphones, too). Not surprised that it jumped ship to restaurants. The one time I said something, at around 1 AM on a red eye, the parent noted they had 2 kids watching the same movie. “You’re in luck, I have a headphone splitter you’re welcome to borrow, so they can both listen!” “But then how will *I* hear the movie?” 3 movies on an overnight flight, loud enough that a good quarter of the plane could hear it. If anyone but you can hear your device, then you should be wearing headphones…

  • As a personal policy I don’t support (many) bans. It’s a restaurant’s choice or suggestion. But, I think unruly kids should not be dining in classy restaurants if at all but at least say after 8pm. I raised one kid – now in college. We were sensitive to fellow diners thus had only a couple of favorite restaurants and restricted timeslot of where we’d dine as a family. Like for example, Cactus Cantina from 5:30 to 8pm. Our kid was an avid reader, well behaved, and stayed at our table. I would like to see more restaurants take a little action in gently informing absent-minded and neglectful parents of when their precious little ones are affecting the experience and comfort of the patrons around them.

  • jim_ed

    Nah, this is a trash policy. If you’re billing yourself as a top flight restaurant then you should have a front of the house manager who is experienced enough to deftly handle boorish behavior from customers regardless of age. If you don’t, thats your fault, not your customers, and especially not their kids. Furthermore, I’m exhausted by how much supposed “adults” get bent out of shape by the minor actions of others. These are the same people who equate reclining your airline seat with felony assault. Kids can be annoying, some people chew loudly, other pick food from their teeth at the table – you’re an adult, deal with it.
    That said, on a personal note; my kid is three, and we don’t take her to fine dining yet, or anywhere that isn’t at least implied to be kid friendly, because shes loud and hasn’t grasped the concept of “appropriate venues to sing every song you know at the top of your lungs” yet. Parents should know whats appropriate and whats not.

    • “Parents should know whats appropriate and whats not.” Umm, but they don’t. That’s the problem. Did you read the article? “The final straw was a little girl using an iPad with the volume on high, a device her parents refused to turn down despite repeated requests from the staff at Caruso’s.”

      • +1 Everyone keeps saying that THEY know how to make their kids behave or would be smart enough to not bring them to a fancy place, but there’s a reason we have “Caution: Contents Hot” on coffee cups.

        • Because someone who once went to a McDonald’s is a complete blithering idiot, along with everyone on the jury for her lawsuit?

          • Yes, because some people are idiots. We make rules that prevent behavior that may seem like a no-brainer to many, but are meant to deter those who are oblivious to the impacts of their behavior.

          • That is a perfect summation of the reasons for this ban, and why I don’t have a problem with it.

          • But that needlessly bans well behaved kids. Why not just ban all disruptive behavior and be clear that it includes children? You’re singling people out before they’re a problem.

          • because everyone on the jury wanted to punish mcdonald’s for its absurdly negligent and callous behavior? because mcdonald’s had been warned its coffee was dangerously hot (by coffee standards) several times? because mcdonald’s refused to even pay the $20,000 ms. Liebeck requested for having third degree burns on her thighs and vagina, requiring skin grafts?

          • McD’s, at the time, heated their coffee to 180-190 degrees well above a safe level with something like 700 claims for being burned by their coffee in the 10 yrs prior. She suffered 3rd degree burns in her nether region, and she only sued for her actual medical expenses. Now we can say the jury went overboard, sure, but I don’t think spilling coffee on yourself and being severely burned because it was way too hot makes you an idiot…but maybe that is just me.

          • HaileUnlikely

            As -A notes, the McDonald’s coffee case was more complicated than that. McD’s used to serve their coffee obscenely hot, i.e., well outside the norm. I’d prefer not to have a cup of Starbucks poured down my pants, but I’m reasonably confident that it would not be nearly as injurious as was McD’s back in the day.

          • the amount she asked for (20K) was a gross underestimate, given that she estimated only 2500 for future expenses and ended up being disabled for years after the incident.

          • You clearly have never read the details of that case.

        • Sorry I used the coffee reference, geeze!

      • jim_ed

        Then, as I mentioned – its on your staff. You’re supposedly this classy restaurant and not a TGI Fridays, right? You should have a manager that knows how to handle situations like this. If not, then train your staff better or hire someone with more experience. I’m assuming this restaurant serves alcohol, right? You’re telling me they’ve never had someone over indulge and make a scene, or some schmuck make an inappropriate pass at a waitress? I worked at a pretentious country club in high school and these things happened weekly, but this restaurant can’t handle a 5 year old girl with a loud ipad?

        • So let me get this straight: the staff repeatedly requests the parents turn down the device. Parents repeatedly refuse. Finally the staff ends up asking family to leave, and that’s the staff’s fault? ……

          • jim_ed

            If they couldn’t handle it swiftly and appropriately and it grew into a spectacle large enough that forevermore children must be banned, then yes.

          • jim_ed

            Also fwiw the person relaying the story is the front of the house manager, so of course he isn’t going to admit their culpability in creating a scene.

          • “this restaurant can’t handle a 5 year old girl with a loud ipad?”
            They did handle it – they kicked them out, got a raft of crap for it, and decided that it isn’t worth the hassle, hence the ban.

  • Wait. Can we talk about the restaurant describing itself as “classy”. It must be SO nice inside. Like an Olive Garden.

  • And more on topic. I’d rather see a restaurant/bar ban 20-30 year olds.

  • I think the people that say yes will look back once they have kids and realize how ridiculous they were being, especially when they’re banned from eating at a restaurant with their own kids.

    • what if they don’t?

        • And what if they never plan to have kids as I am pretty sure is the case with Justin and some others on this board?

          • +a million. I’m so sick of people assuming that eventually, everyone wants kids. I don’t, I haven’t ever, and I’m old enough to know my own mind, thank you very much!

          • I don’t think anyone is assuming that everyone would or should have kids. As a fairly new parent I would fully support anyone who decides kids aren’t for them.

          • Annoyed said “I think the people that say yes will look back once they have kids…” and that statement assumes everyone plans to have kids one day. I actually do plan to have a kid, but the condescending tone in Annoyed statement is well, annoying.

          • But based on your response, “they will,” you can see why it came across as you making that assumption, right?

          • Nope. I don’t make assumptions.

            And again, I don’t think annoyed was saying everyone will have kids. But those who are saying yes and do decide to have them may change their minds.

          • “….may change their minds”
            Uh, “will” change their minds is what annoyed said. Not “may”. In the future, anyone “may” do just about anything, so that’s not really a useful observation.

          • Well given all the blanket statements levied at parents and kids in this topic I’m not surprised someone said “will” when perhaps “may” would be more appropriate.

          • And of course it’s a useful observation that opinions may change once you find yourself on the other side of a ban.

          • “And of course it’s a useful observation that opinions may change once you find yourself on the other side of a ban.”
            Only if you assume your listener is not astute enough to see that possibility. Maybe I give people too much credit.

          • It would appear so.

        • Don’t have kids, never will because I know how to use birth control. Won’t change my mind.

    • This reminds me of the commenter a while ago who said s/he don’t understand what purpose childless people have in life, or something of the sorts. It’s just phrased so arrogantly. There are people who don’t want or physically can not have children.

    • There are a number of parents posting here who have no problem with this policy. In fact, as many have said, parents sometimes like to have a night out on their own, and a restaurant that prohibits kids ensures that we haven’t paid for sitters only to fine someone else’s kid disrupting our evening. Plus, many of us haven’t succumbed to the “my kids must be welcome everywhere!” syndrome.

      • Sure, which is why the better phrasing is that having kids “may” change your perspective. It seems like a lot of the comments about entitled parents and crappy kids are coming from people who haven’t had children. I may have had the same opinion a few years ago, but now I want the opportunity to take my kid out provided he behaves. That doesn’t mean I have a kids must be welcome everywhere syndrome, just that I think banning them from a restaurant is stupid.

        The point remains that just because you paid to leave your kids at home to avoid disruptions at dinner doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

        • If I go to a kid free restaurant, it will.
          And I’ve been accused, not without justification, of being overly pedantic sometimes, but holy cow. The may/will issue has run its course.

          • No, it means you won’t be disrupted by kids. It doesn’t mean you won’t be disrupted by 10 year olds, teenagers, or other adults.

            And fwiw I wasn’t blaming you for the may/will issue, I was just tying back in with my posts above.

          • Jesus, yes we realize just because a small child is there there could be other disruptions. dcd is correct, you’re pedantic AF!

          • Calm down champ. My only point is that a blanket ban like this prevents well behaved people from enjoying a restaurant, and doesn’t actually guarantee that people who don’t have kids are going to have an uninterrupted and pleasant dining experience. I would fully support management kicking out a family with unruly children, but I disagree with banning them ahead of time for what they *might* do.

  • El Camino in Bloomingdale just made Wednesday night “family night” with free kid meals alongside a paying adult….and it’s turned the place into a pretty awful scene.

    We have kids – and we take them out – but we don’t let them free range like feral gerbils the way the parents at El Camino have been doing (and when sitting at El Camino in the past Boundary Stone seems not to care, either). If that’s how you let the under 5s behave, then any ban is justified. It’s turned us off El Camino entirely.

    Newborns and babes-in-arms are fine, but let’s face it parents: From 2 until 6 or so, kids don’t have the patience or social/emotional skills to sit relatively calmly in a public space.

    Get a sitter and leave them at hope.

    • I am sometimes forced, against my will, to go to Guapos in Tenleytown on Friday nights, which is a de facto family night. It’s borderline intolerable.

    • That’s quite the blanket statement. I’ve seen plenty of 2-6 year olds behave fine at restaurants.

      • I meant to reply to that, too. Yes, plenty of kids from 2-6 can behave at restaurants. Also, when you go to a Mexican restaurant, you’re pretty much in a parent with small kids wheelhouse. Sides of rice and beans, quesadillas, tacos – Mexican restaurants are the rare places where kids, even many picky eaters, can get food they like that is similar to the food their parents get, and parents can get entrees they want without breaking the bank. Family night or not, if we lived in Bloomingdale we’d be there all the time.

    • To be perfectly honest, it’s dependent upon the parents. I have been out with other parents who’s kids embarassed the shit out of me. Kids running around like they own the place, screaming, mom doesn’t care… The odd thing is, I see it WAY more in DC than I do any where else. I almost feel like it is a DC thing to allow that sort of behavior. Not saying kids elsewhere don’t act like kids, just that I have seen some pretty egregious stuff in DC.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    I think an absolute ban of any kind is undemocratic and probably doesn’t serve the purpose it intends. I’m a relative of the owners of the Prime Rib. They still have a dress code (jackets required) and enforce it. A high end restaurant ought to have at least a behavior code and a maître d’ who seats patrons as appropriate. Some kids at some times will be fine. The same kids at other times might not be. It is up to the parents and the establishment to decide.

  • I don’t necessarily support it, but a restaurant can do whatever they think is necessary. I’ve been going to restaurants since infancy, including fancy ones, and think it was a good way to learn how to behave. It was a fun experience, I got to put on a pretty dress and act like a “big girl” (not to mention I enjoyed the food…prime rib and fish incrostata en sale were my favorites). That said, I knew what was expected of me. I didn’t get a different bar because of my age, aside from the allowance of books at the table to occupy myself with (I was a weird quiet kid who was happy flipping through books or coloring, even under age 5). I knew I had to sit in my seat, speak at the same volume they were, and eat my food appropriately. My parents wouldn’t have brought me if I couldn’t handle it, and in the event of it being a bad day, they were prepared to get up and leave immediately if I were to start to misbehave.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bringing children to restaurants, even fancy ones, as long as they are behaving appropriately. It’s up to the parents to know what their kids can and can’t handle and be willing to cut the meal short if there’s an issue. Unfortunately not everyone is willing to do so, and I understand that it’s difficult for a restaurant to remove uncooperative guests.

    • My parents trained me at a very young age how to act appropriately when we went to nice restaurants for dinner. They either brought books for me to look at, or something for me to draw/color with and under no circumstances was I allowed to get up from the table (except to go to the bathroom) or whine if they were taking time to talk over drinks or whatever. If I misbehaved, I got the 1, 2, 3…count to regain control of myself and if that didn’t work, we left immediately, I got spanked and sent to my parent’s room on a time-out. (My room had toys and dolls and books in it, so that was not a punishment for me). They divorced just before I was 5 and I remember very clearly how this went down, and I misbehaved once – never again. Fancy food and getting to be a “big girl” was made out to be a really big deal at my house.

  • So, it would be totally cool for a restaurant to ban the elderly because many of them are demanding and annoying at mealtimes?*
    *(Speaking from my experience of working as a waiter in an assisted living facility years ago.)

  • How often are there even kids in DC restaurants? I have two kids (age 11, twins), and rarely do we see other kids in DC restaurants. Isn’t this more of an Olive Garden problem than a Jaleo problem?

  • Graham King

    It’s capitalism. Let businesses do what they want. The market will decide what’s best.

  • Space Bar in Arlington doesn’t allow anyone under 21. So, no kids in high chairs screaming and throwing their grilled cheese on the floor. We go there every week. Heaven.

  • Sorry I’m late, I had to pop some popcorn.

    • I am really hoping that a new restaurant opens in my neighborhood that bans non-organic, gluten-filled children so I can I finally enjoy the unique experience of farm to table dining without being interrupted.

    • Didn’t mean that to be a reply to you but is that popcorn organic?

  • Honestly I rarely see kids at restaurants in DC anyway. So…problem solved?

  • I know spaces are a lot tighter here, but wars like this make me miss the bar/restaurants in my hometown area. They usually have 2 rooms (one bar with some tables, one dining room; wall between them, sometimes even with separate entrances). You must be 21 to sit in the bar area. There’s even one with three rooms: bar, casual dining room, and formal dining room (21+ for the bar and 18+ with minimal dress code (no shorts, jeans, t-shirts, or flip-flops) for the formal dining room). Family-friendly AND adult-friendly. Many places here are on 2 floors…having one floor be 18 or 21+ only would save a lot of hand-wringing.
    Otherwise, restaurants can do what they want and let the chips fall where they may. Sounds like it’s working well for this restaurant…they claim business is up, so it sounds like people were looking for a calmer environment there, and maybe weren’t getting it before. I would absolutely choose a restaurant with a ban on (young) children if I was looking for a classy, calm place for a formal dinner. And, while I do not have or want children, my mind would actually even more “made up” if I confronted a place with a ban like that when trying to take my nieces and nephews places. They’re not the quietest or best-behaved kids (not completely out of control, but they do sometimes have issues with the concept of an “indoor voice” or need to stand next to the table to get the jitters out), and I wouldn’t want to be in a quiet place or a place with small, tightly spaced tables when they forgot their volume control for a minute or just *had* to stand up, but then the people at the next table couldn’t get up themselves or be served easily. If I didn’t know the ambiance of the restaurant (new place, we’re traveling somewhere I’ve never been), I would appreciate the heads up this wasn’t the place for us. I would MUCH, MUCH rather be in a place with children in tow where those behaviors will NOT be met with daggers from couples finally enjoying a kid-free night as I rush to shush them as quickly as possible…it makes ALL of our nights less stressful!
    “Unruly customers of any age will be ejected” sounds good, but is difficult in practice, as noted by many with restaurant experience. You’re just asking to be flamed by people who you eject AS WELL AS people who think someone *should* have been ejected and wasn’t. And, as others have noted, yes, this will “punish” people with kids who are extremely well-mannered/controlled, but the rules don’t exist for those who will whisk their kid away at a cry lasting more than 30 seconds with deep apologies offered by the spouse who stays behind. They, unfortunately, exist for the parent who hears “can you please turn down the iPad or use headphones” and starts screaming at the manager that they will damn well do what they want, the customer is always right, and a loud episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is preferable to their kid finger-painting the walls with red sauce to entertain themselves. If your kid is that well-behaved, you can probably lie when they’re 4 and say they’re 5 and no one will say “boo” to you eating here. Or just boycott them forever. The choice is 100% yours!

    • And I suppose I should provide more clarity to the idea that I support these bans if the owners/managers decide they’re in the best interest of their business: places that implement them are not places you *have* to go, nor are they the only restaurant for 100 miles. This isn’t the DMV that you HAVE to go spend a few hours at every once in a while, and a babysitter could cost you $100 for something you HAVE to do. If a restaurant is the only one in town, it’s likely not in a densely populated area, nor is it likely to be a high-end, refined place. A lone restaurant in a small, rural town banning young kids would be business suicide. Where restaurants put bans like this in place, there’s probably a restaurant a few doors down the street that will be happy to serve your kid overpriced chicken tenders with a side of crayons and a coloring book, and smile and say “we’ve all been there” if your child loudly announces they have to poop in the middle of the meal.

  • I am .a parent of a 19 month old. There are days where she is an angel at a restaurant, and there are days where she will not stay in one place or more than 5 seconds. Getting her to sit in a high chair or booster is nearly impossible. There are times where I have picked her up and left the restaurant. She is not a bad child, and in the past where we could take her anywhere and she was an angel. Obviously, these days are over. We still take her out to restaurants, but it has happens less and less. (food delivery is a godsend)
    I am on the side where the restaurant has the right to ban kids if they want to.

  • A restaurant should state the rules up front. Just like the quiet car on the train. No judgments.
    I have a three year old and it’s hit or miss. I will say that the iphone is a godsend.
    But some people need to lighten up. Kids are unpredictable. I refuse to be on house arrest just because I am the parent of a child. We live in the city. There are a lot of adults who are much more insufferable than the moody or wild child. Mind your own business.

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